Greek Moussaka With Potatoes

Greek moussaka with potatoes

Philippe Desnerck / Getty Images

Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 90 mins
Cool: 30 mins
Total: 3 hrs
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 1 casserole
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
1181 Calories
40g Fat
149g Carbs
62g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 1181
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 40g 51%
Saturated Fat 16g 81%
Cholesterol 148mg 49%
Sodium 399mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 149g 54%
Dietary Fiber 21g 75%
Protein 62g
Calcium 322mg 25%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Moussaka with potatoes is a terrific choice for those who don't care for the well-known version with eggplant and also when eggplant is not in season. Like all moussaka dishes, this is a layered dish of sliced potatoes, a meat sauce, cheese, and a creamy béchamel sauce. In Greece, moussaka is most often made with ground beef, though lamb is an excellent substitute.

Moussaka is traditionally served in very large pieces, and it is a heavy dish. Serve with a green salad, crusty bread, and dry red wine. If anyone has room for dessert, a fruit sorbet or cheese with fruit is a light way to end on a sweet note.


  • For the Meat Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 medium onions (chopped)
  • 2 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 cups chopped ripe tomatoes with juice
  • 1/2 cup finely ground toasted breadcrumbs
  • Sea salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or 1-inch cinnamon stick)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 6 to 8 whole cloves
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • For the Béchamel:
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 15 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • Nutmeg (to taste)
  • 3 to 9 egg yolks
  • For the Casserole:
  • 5 to 6 pounds potatoes (peeled, cut into 1/2 inch slices)
  • 1/2 cup finely ground toasted breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup grated kefalotyri cheese

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this Greek dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Make the Meat Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat the frying pan or skillet over low heat. When the pan is hot, add 2 tablespoons of oil and increase the heat to medium-low.

  3. Add the onions. Sauté the onions until translucent, moving them around the pan with a wooden spoon.

  4. Add the meat and continue to sauté until lightly browned.

  5. Add the tomatoes, 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, garlic, cinnamon, bay leaves, allspice, cloves, wine, and tomato paste. Mix well.

  6. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. If there is still liquid in the pan, continue to simmer uncovered, stirring to prevent sticking, until the mixture is as dry as possible. This step is crucial to prevent the final dish from having too much moisture.

  7. When dry, discard the bay leaves, cloves, and cinnamon stick (if used), and set sauce aside uncovered until ready to use.

Make the Béchamel Sauce

  1. While the meat sauce is simmering, make the béchamel. Start by gathering the ingredients.

  2. In a large saucepan, heat the milk over medium-low heat until hot.

  3. In another large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. As soon as it melts, add the flour, and stir with a wooden spoon until there are no lumps.

  4. Increase the heat to medium-low and add the hot milk slowly, stirring constantly with a whisk.

  5. Continue stirring until the sauce begins to thicken; it should be creamy but not too thick.

  6. Remove from the heat and stir in salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

  7. Working with 1 egg yolk at a time, beat the yolk with a fork, and stir it into the béchamel until the desired color is reached.

  8. Return to the heat, whisking briskly until well blended.

  9. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to use.

Make the Casserole

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large frying pan, sauté the potato slices until lightly browned.

  3. Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C. Lightly oil a large baking or roasting pan and sprinkle the bottom with the breadcrumbs.

  4. Place a layer of potato slices on the breadcrumbs (it's OK to overlap).

  5. Spread the meat sauce evenly on top of the potatoes.

  6. Cover with the remaining potato slices, and carefully pour the béchamel sauce evenly over the top.

  7. Bake for 30 minutes.

  8. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and continue to cook for another 15 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.

  9. Remove the moussaka from the oven and allow to cool for 20 to 30 minutes.

  10. Serve and enjoy.


  • Moussaka is traditionally eaten warm, not hot, but it can also be eaten at room temperature and is great on the second day.
  • Moussaka can be prepared up to the béchamel and refrigerated overnight. The next day, add the béchamel and cook. It can also be completely cooked and cooled, then frozen. Defrost completely and reheat.

Recipe Variations

  • Switch from beef to ground lamb if you prefer.
  • Use 3 cups of canned tomatoes if you don't have fresh ones available.
  • Pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano can be used instead of Greek kefalotyri cheese.