Classic Greek Dishes

From Baklava to Spanikopita, the Must-Try Dishes from the Greek Isles

These are dishes at the top of the request list for lovers of Greek food. From simple to elaborate, they are ​classic dishes that delight Greek food enthusiasts the world over. From baklava to spanikopita, these are the must-try dishes from the Greek Isles.

  • 01 of 20

    Moussaka

    Moussaka
    Tastyart Ltd Rob White / Getty Images

    Perhaps the most widely recognized of all Greek dishes, this oven-baked casserole of layered eggplant and spiced meat filling topped with a creamy bechamel will be the highlight of any Greek meal. It can be time-consuming to prepare, but it will delight your guests.

  • 02 of 20

    Baklava

    Baklava
    MmeEmil / Getty Images

    A perennial favorite, this classic Greek pastry is made with flaky phyllo dough layered with a cinnamon-spiced nut filling and bathed in sweet syrup. It’s crunchy, sweet, and very decadent. 

  • 03 of 20

    Horta Vrasta - Boiled Leafy Greens

    Boiled spinach with sesame
    MIXA / Getty Images

    Greeks love their leafy greens and for a good reason. They are healthy and delicious. Packed with nutrients and flavor; these greens will compliment any meal. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and enjoy.

  • 04 of 20

    Chicken Soup Avgolemono

    Greek Egg-Lemon Soup (Avgolemono Soup)

    The Spruce

    The ultimate in Greek comfort food, this soup is a hearty and delicious staple of any Greek household. A traditional chicken soup finished with a creamy egg-lemon flavor; it is sure to become a family favorite.

    Continue to 5 of 20 below.
  • 05 of 20

    Tzatziki - Creamy Cucumber-Yogurt Dip

    Tzatziki dip
    Rob Palmer / Getty Images

    A tangy cucumber dip flavored with garlic is the perfect complement to grilled meats and vegetables. It's served on the side with warm pita bread triangles for dipping and is also used as a condiment for souvlaki.

  • 06 of 20

    Pastitsio

    Pastitsio, Greek macaroni, meat and tomato dish baked with bechamel sauce, served on a plate, view from above
    Clive Streeter / Getty Images

    Three essential components make up this dish - pasta, meat filling, and a creamy bechamel sauce, all layered in a pan and baked to golden perfection. But you'll have a messy kitchen as each of those requires its own separate preparation. You'll dirty a few pots and pans making it, but it will be so worth the effort.

  • 07 of 20

    Galaktoboureko - Custard Phyllo Pie

    Perennial favorite - Greek Galaktoboureko. Lynn Livanos Athan

    Hard to pronounce, but so easy to eat! This custard-filled phyllo pie is an outstanding Greek dessert, drenched with a lemon and orange-infused syrup. It's rich, creamy and so delicious that you will want to make it again and again.

  • 08 of 20

    Fassolatha - Classic White Bean Soup

    Bowl Of Vegetable Soup
    Debbi Smirnoff / Getty Images

    A staple of any Greek household, this classic white bean soup is often on a Greek family's menu at least once a week. You can keep it simple or embellish with extra vegetables, either way, you'll find yourself returning to this hearty bean soup recipe.

    Continue to 9 of 20 below.
  • 09 of 20

    Spanakopita - Spinach Pie

    Plated veggie pastry on white plate
    Jonathan Bielaski/Light Imaging / Getty Images

    Greeks will make almost anything into a pita or pie, especially fresh greens like spinach. This tasty pita happens to be so popular, it's popping up in mainstream grocery store freezers everywhere you turn. Why buy the frozen stuff when you can make your very own mouthwatering pan?

  • 10 of 20

    Youvetsi - Beef Stew with Orzo

    Beef stew with orzo pasta - Youvetsi. Lynn Livanos Athan

    A traditional beef stew in a rich tomato sauce that's baked in a clay oven with delicious orzo pasta and topped with a heap of grated kefalotyri cheese. This hearty and delicious one-pot meal is the ultimate Greek comfort food.

  • 11 of 20

    Stuffed Grape Leaves - Dolmathakia

    Stuffed Grape-Vine Leaves served as appetizer
    gulfimages / Getty Images

    Stuffed with rice, pine nuts, and fresh herbs, dolmathakia (dol-mah-THAH-kya) take a little bit of time to prepare, but the result is a volatile appetizer or main course, depending on how many you make. These can be served warm or cold. 

  • 12 of 20

    Taramosalata - Carp Roe Spread

    Taramosalata
    Joy Skipper / Getty Images

    The Greek meze (meh-ZEH) or appetizer table would not be complete without this traditional spread. While it used to be made with a mortar and pestle, you can use a food processor. Serve with plenty of fresh bread for dipping.

    Continue to 13 of 20 below.
  • 13 of 20

    Fassolakia Lathera - Green Beans in Tomato Sauce

    Green bean salad
    Jupiterimages / Getty Images

    Vegetable dishes that are cooked with olive oil and tomatoes are referred to as lathera (lah-the-RAH) in Greek because the key ingredient is flavorful olive oil, or “lathi.”  This is a great way to prepare fresh green beans as a side dish or a vegetarian main meal.

  • 14 of 20

    Melomakarona - Honey Walnut Cookies

    Cookies cooling off
    Bill Boch / Getty Images

    Delicious walnut cookies doused in a cinnamon flavored honey syrup and then topped with more chopped walnuts.  A classic Christmas offering, this cookie is unlike anything you've tasted before.

  • 15 of 20

    Pork Souvlaki - Grilled Pork Skewers

    Grilled pork souvlaki
    Lynn Livanos Athan

    Souvlaki (soo-vlah-kee) is the term used to describe “little skewers” of meat that are marinated in a wonderful red wine marinade and then grilled. Serve this with tzatziki on the side.

  • 16 of 20

    Domates Yemistes - Stuffed Tomatoes with Meat and Rice

    Summer tomatoes stuffed with rice and ground meat - Yemista
    Lynn Livanos Athan

    A Greek staple of the summer season when tomatoes are abundant and at their peak. You can also use the same filling for peppers, zucchini, or any other vegetables that may be available.

    Continue to 17 of 20 below.
  • 17 of 20

    Tsoureki - Greek Easter Bread

    Traditional Greek Easter bread - Tsoureki
    Lynn Livanos Athan

    The traditional bread of Greek Easter, Tsoureki is a rich yeast bread flavored with orange and a delightful spice called Mahlab (also called Mahlepi) that is ground from the pits of wild cherries.

  • 18 of 20

    Keftethes - Greek Meatballs

    Greek meatballs
    Lauri Patterson / Getty Images

    Keftethes (keh-FTEH-thes) are savory Greek meatballs that are served as an appetizer or meze (meh-ZEH). The traditional recipe calls for frying the meatballs, but this baked version is quite good and just a bit healthier.

  • 19 of 20

    Kourabiethes - Almond Shortbread Cookies

    Kourabiethes - Greek shortbread cookies with confectioner's sugar and almonds
    Lynn Livanos Athan

    A Greek family celebration wouldn’t be complete without the delightful buttery goodness of kourabiethes (koo-rah-BYEH-thes).

    These are very rich cookies (as are most shortbread cookies) yet somehow lighter and melt in your mouth good. Be sure to make extra because these will go fast.

  • 20 of 20

    Tiropites - Phyllo Cheese Triangles

    Spinach,Feta Cheese and Mushroom Filo Triangles
    MIB Pictures / Getty Images

    These finger-friendly triangles are made with phyllo pastry sheets and filled with a delicious mixture of Greek cheeses. You can prepare them and freeze them to bake for a great snack whenever you wish.