Meat and Potato Gratin - Moussaka

Today is my Birthday!! I am turning 21! For the fourteenth year in a row! ;-) Happy Birthday to ME!

Many moons ago, during my first year in college, I wanted to celebrate my birthday with a meal prepared by yours truly for a few special people. I chose to make this traditional Macedonian moussaka, or a meat and potato gratin, and serve it with a side of homemade bread and a simple salad. Sounds great, right? Well…

All I knew about moussaka was that it was made with potatoes and ground beef. Simple, I thought. Homemade bread? No problem; I have a ciabatta recipe. This was my birthday menu and I was super excited!

Meat and Potato Gratin

I browned the beef. I even sprinkled it with some seasonings. I cut the potatoes and layered them in my baking dish. I topped the potatoes with beef, and added one more layer of potatoes. I set the oven to 425, because that just sounded right to me, and placed my pretty meal in the oven to bake. No eggs, no milk. Somehow, without anything to bind it together, this meal was going to come together as good as my Mom’s and we were going to lick our fingers clean. Ehhhh! WRONG!

Nevermind the fact that I was so upset about my Moussaka not coming out like my Mom’s; at the time I could not figure out why it didn’t. All I had in that casserole dish was burnt potatoes and ground beef. It was dry and tasteless. I truly had not a clue about using milk and eggs in this dish. At the time I thought eggs were only used for breakfast and cakes.

Because I was so upset, I never got around to making that bread, either. No Moussaka, no bread… Giordano’s deep dish pizza was the next best option.

So. Let’s get this right – It’s layer of potatoes, layer of ground beef, another layer of potatoes, topped with a mixture of milk and eggs. Got it? Good! :)

Meat and Potato Gratin


Meat and Potato Gratin {Traditional Macedonian Moussaka}
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: Serves 4 to 6
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 3 teaspoons paprika
  • 5 to 6 medium sized potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2½ cups milk
  • 3 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Heat olive oil in heavy skillet over medium heat and add onion and garlic. Cook and stir until translucent.
  3. Add ground beef and paprika, and cook until beef is browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Butter a 13x9-inch glass baking dish.
  5. Layer half of the sliced potatoes and sprinkle with a small amount of salt and pepper.
  6. Top the potatoes with the ground beef.
  7. Spread remaining potatoes over beef, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  8. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs until thoroughly combined.
  9. Pour the milk mixture into dish to cover potatoes; cover with foil.
  10. Bake for 45 minutes, or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
  11. Remove foil and continue to bake until top is brown and bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes.
  12. Let rest 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

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57 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. odeliah May 26, 2014 at 12:09 PM - Reply

    any chance you have a milk substitute for this dish?

  2. Jane July 15, 2013 at 9:07 AM - Reply

    happy BD Katerina! :) hugs

  3. Beti April 20, 2013 at 6:54 PM - Reply

    Can’t wait to prepare it! I’m making it for some friends tomorrow! Great blog Keti!

  4. Phatima Pour Hakimi April 3, 2013 at 8:03 AM - Reply

    yumm!!! i so enjoyed baking that :D thnxx a mil for the recipe!!!

    • Katerina Petrovska April 3, 2013 at 8:56 AM - Reply

      HI, Phatima! :)

      Thank you very much… I am SO glad you enjoyed it!

  5. Olga@StardustDecorStyle February 11, 2013 at 2:25 AM - Reply

    This is a variation of moussaka (no eggplants here or minced meat) that my mom used to make when I was a kid and I loved that meal! Just got an idea for tomorrow’s menu!

  6. Sandra January 29, 2013 at 9:21 AM - Reply

    Thank you for the great recipe. This has become a family favourite .

  7. Nadine January 27, 2013 at 2:16 PM - Reply

    Just made this for the family and it was fab. Made a few changes though… used Turkey mince and put a layer of low fat mozzarella and light marscapone cheese sauce over each layer of potatoes. Also put some peas in with the meat. Thanks for posting!

    • Kate@Diethood January 27, 2013 at 2:44 PM - Reply

      That’s great! And YUM!! Your version sounds fantastic!

  8. PolaM January 23, 2013 at 1:40 PM - Reply

    I hate when that happens! So disappointing!

  9. Kristy January 21, 2013 at 2:39 PM - Reply

    Happy birthday again. :) This looks delicious. I could eat way too much of this. Great choice for a celebratory meal. I always like comfort food on my birthday.

  10. laura January 21, 2013 at 8:21 AM - Reply

    I wonder how this would be with some sort of cheese involvement? It sure looks yummy :)

    • Kate@Diethood January 21, 2013 at 8:36 AM - Reply

      I’m sure some cheese would make this dish extra special!! I would go with feta. :)
      I was just trying to keep it real with this recipe…traditional, if you will. :)

      • laura January 21, 2013 at 8:38 AM - Reply

        Oh yes! I totally understand. I’d never even heard of moussaka until today :)

        • Kate@Diethood January 21, 2013 at 8:42 AM - Reply

          If you like one dish meals, and if you like meat and potatoes, give this moussaka a try. :-)

          • laura January 21, 2013 at 8:58 AM -

            It’s what’s for supper :)

          • Kate@Diethood January 21, 2013 at 9:15 AM -

            Awesome! :) Let me know what you think!

  11. Dijana January 21, 2013 at 7:08 AM - Reply

    Happy Birthday! I haven’t made this in a long time and it’s long overdue! The first time I made it was when I was preggers-talk about risk! My recipes didn’t seem to come out right when I was pregnant,so I had my mom on speed-dial :-)

  12. Liz January 21, 2013 at 6:22 AM - Reply

    Happy, happy birthday, Kate! The hubby would LOVE your moussaka…no eggplant! And I love a one dish meal…mmmmmmm. And I haven’t thought of Giordano’s pizza in years…so good :)

  13. Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb January 21, 2013 at 3:32 AM - Reply

    Belated Happy Birthday Katerina! =D
    Its so cool that you are in my age group, I didn’t know. Your Moussaka looks incredible and we are totally into baked layered dishes at home.

  14. Nami | Just One Cookbook January 20, 2013 at 11:22 PM - Reply

    Oh no I missed your b-day by one day. Sorry for my belated birthday wish, but I still want to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I so wish to be celebrating 21 again, I don’t even remember how many years ago… lol. Still have no husband around so this sounds like a perfect easy dinner for three of us!

  15. Laura (Tutti Dolci) January 20, 2013 at 11:18 PM - Reply

    Happy happy birthday, Kate! :) This looks like such a comforting gratin!

  16. mjskit January 20, 2013 at 10:21 PM - Reply

    Happy Birthday!! Glad to see you’re still celebrating your 21st! I finally had to switch to a higher number. :) What a great dish to celebrate your birthday with! Meat and potatoes – you can eat more comfort food than that!

  17. Terra Baltosiewich (@CafeTerraBlog) January 20, 2013 at 6:44 PM - Reply

    Happy Happy Birthday!!!! Yay to being a January baby, we ROCK!!! I have never made moussaka, but it truly looks delicious! What a wonderful dish to enjoy for your special day! I hope your day is filled with happiness, smiles, and lots of laughter! Big hugs, Terra

  18. Happy birthday! I’m not even going to tell you how many times I’ve celebrated 21. :)

    It’s so interesting to see the differences in our dishes. Armenian moussaka is so incredibly different than this. It has the meat, we use eggplant, not potatoes, a white sauce and cheese. :)

  19. Valerie January 20, 2013 at 11:33 AM - Reply

    Bon Anniversaire, Katerina! We’re the same age- I’m just a few months older. *grrr* :p

    This dish looks scrumptious! Yay for eggs!! :D

  20. kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts January 20, 2013 at 9:48 AM - Reply

    Happy Birthday! I have made my birthday meal and I love doing that–sharing what I love best with those I love best.

    This looks delicious and something the family will definitely go for.


  21. Shea Goldstein January 20, 2013 at 8:32 AM - Reply

    Happy Birthday Kate! Guess what? I’m 21 too! For the 15th time ;) Your gratin looks divine – pinning!

    • Kate@Diethood January 20, 2013 at 9:51 AM - Reply

      Thank you, Shea!!! I love being 21! Again!! ;-)

  22. Ramona January 20, 2013 at 6:55 AM - Reply

    Happy Birthday Katerina!! Wishing you many, many more 21st birthdays. :)

    Lovely Moussaka! See how far you have come from that first try so many moons ago. You got it down to a science now. :)

    Hope you enjoyed every bite…. and some birthday cake. :)

  23. Ellen January 20, 2013 at 2:36 AM - Reply

    Happy birthday! Enjoy your gratin-and hopefully some cake too!

  24. Rachel @ Bakerita January 20, 2013 at 1:25 AM - Reply

    Happy birthday!! This looks super delicious. What a yummy gratin!

  25. Nancy R January 19, 2013 at 11:04 PM - Reply


    I absolutely love moussaka. My mums moussaka always seems better than mine even though the recipe is the same. Mmmm……..I wonder why that is?

  26. Averie @Averie Cooks January 19, 2013 at 10:37 PM - Reply

    I don’t eat meat and I hardly ever eat potatoes but I will say this is the prettiest meat and potato gratin ever!

    And happy 21st bday, again :)

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