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Traditional Macedonian Moussaka Recipe (Meat and Potato Casserole)

Traditional Macedonian Moussaka – An easy Moussaka recipe made with ground beef, spices, and potatoes. This traditional Macedonian recipe is satisfying comfort food that tastes amazing!

A TRADITIONAL MACEDONIAN RECIPE

My favorite childhood dish is THIS Traditional Macedonian Moussaka, aka Meat and Potato layered casserole. 😍

Flavorful layers of ground beef and potatoes with a baked crunchy milk and egg custard; a true comfortable dish for the soul.

Moussaka to Macedonians is like shepherd’s pie to Americans. Or, lasagna to Italians. Just like shepherd’s pie, moussaka is a satisfying casserole that is a meal in itself. 

The variations in moussaka recipes go beyond the filling and topping. Ground turkey or a vegetarian portobello filling is one. Some recipes even call for layer of other vegetables like zucchini squash, or eggplants. BUT, where I come from, a layer of thinly sliced potatoes with a filling of ground beef is a must. 

Ingredients for Moussaka

The ingredients for a Macedonian moussaka recipe are simple:

  • potatoes
  • onions
  • ground beef
  • tomato paste
  • eggs
  • milk
  • seasonings

How to make Traditional Macedonian Moussaka (Minced Meat with Potatoes)

Let’s get this right – It’s a layer of potatoes, layer of ground beef, another layer of potatoes, one more layer of beef, and a last layer of potatoes. Top that with a mixture of milk and eggs and you’re set. Got it? Good! 😊

  • Preheat oven to 375˚F
  • Next, cook sliced potatoes in boiling salted water for 5 minutes; drain under cold water and cool immediately. Set aside.
  • Then, heat olive oil in heavy skillet over medium heat and add onion; cook for 2 minutes.
  • Next we add ground beef; break apart with a wooden spoon and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic.
  • Then, add tomato paste and stir until completely incorporated.
  • Season beef with paprika, salt, and pepper. Taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Layer 1/3 of the sliced potatoes on the bottom of a baking dish.
  • Then, top the potatoes with half of the ground beef mixture.
  • Next, arrange another layer of potato slices over beef. Add remaining beef mixture and top with last layer of potatoes. Set aside.
  • In a bowl, whisk the eggs; then whisk in the milk, salt, and pepper; continue to whisk until thoroughly combined.
  • Next, pour the milk mixture over the potatoes.
  • Then, bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until casserole is set.
  • Finally, let the moussaka rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

How to make ahead

  • Moussaka can be assembled and refrigerated up to two days in advance and baked just before serving.

How to store Moussaka

  • Fridge: Moussaka can be stored in an airtight container and kept in your fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Freeze: You can also freeze your Moussaka. Simply cool and then place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Reheat:  When reheating, you’re going to want to go low and slow. Let Moussaka thaw and come to room temperature. Then, for best results cover the Moussaka with foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes in a 325˚F oven.

What is the difference between Moussaka and Lasagna?

  • Moussaka is a dish similar to lasagna, the primary difference being that it uses potatoes instead of noodles, and it also contains different spices.

What to serve with Moussaka?

More Casseroles

ENJOY!

macedonian moussaka served on a black plate with a fork

Meat and Potato Casserole {Traditional Macedonian Moussaka}

Katerina | Diethood
An easy Moussaka recipe made with ground beef, spices and potatoes. This traditional Macedonian recipe is satisfying comfort food that tastes amazing!
 
4.75 from 12 votes
Servings : 6
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 6 russett potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch round slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef, (hot pork sausage tastes great, too)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups milk

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375˚F.
  • Cook sliced potatoes in boiling salted water for 5 minutes; drain under cold water and cool immediately. Set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add onion; cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add ground beef; break apart with a wooden spoon and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic.
  • Add tomato paste and stir until completely incorporated.
  • Season beef with paprika, salt, and pepper. Taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Grease a 13x9-inch baking dish.
  • Layer 1/3 of the sliced potatoes on the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  • Top the potatoes with half of the ground beef mixture.
  • Spread 1/3 potato slices over beef.
  • Add remaining beef mixture and top with last layer of potatoes. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs; then whisk in the milk, salt, and pepper; continue to whisk until thoroughly combined.
  • Pour the milk mixture over the potatoes.
  • Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until custard is set and potatoes are a golden brown.
  • Let rest 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 352 kcal | Carbohydrates: 29 g | Protein: 27 g | Fat: 14 g | Saturated Fat: 5 g | Cholesterol: 138 mg | Sodium: 144 mg | Potassium: 1208 mg | Fiber: 5 g | Sugar: 6 g | Vitamin A: 775 IU | Vitamin C: 21.9 mg | Calcium: 196 mg | Iron: 8.2 mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Macedonian
Keyword: how to make moussaka, macedonian cusine, macedonian recipes, moussaka, moussaka recipe
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56 comments on “Traditional Macedonian Moussaka Recipe (Meat and Potato Casserole)”

  1. Hi, I’m trying this recipe for the first time! I can’t anywhere in the recipe that says when the parsley should be added – I read all the comments and saw where someone asked, and you said to read the recipe, not the blog post, but I can’t find it in the recipe either. Thanks!

  2. I made this vegan, added a little cumin and ginger – very tasty!! Also covered for first 45 min, then uncovered for last 10 min. Used Gardein crumbles, 1 cup oat milk, 1/4 cup cashews in hot water in food processor, 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast and 1 flax egg) The flax egg made little brown dots everywhere but flavor & consistency was still good!!

  3. I baked for 55 minutes and it was still liquidly. The “custard” would not set. It seems like 2 cups of milk was too much for the recipe.

    1. I covered mine with aluminum foil for 45 min, then uncovered for 10 min and it was perfect! (Maybe she should add that to recipe?)

  4. A couple of years after you posted this, however i just have to say this has become a family favourite and i make this like 2times a month.
    Thank you

  5. Just tried this, was very nice however think it needed cheese, will definitely try this again. Thanks very much

      1. Love this recipe! I make it at least once a month. I am sensitive to red meat so I substitute the pound of ground beef with 1/2 pound ground turkey and finely diced brown mushrooms. So delicious!

  6. This isn’t a musaka! Musaka is a Greek dish with eggplants, potatoes, mince and bechamel sauce.. This is a typical fyrom plate not a musaka.

    1. You do realise it’s an Ottoman dish, like most food in the Balkans (including ‘Greek’)? Educate yourself before commenting.

    2. I love this recipe my buba used to make it so thank you so much for sharing as I live in England I didn’t know the recipe. Also to the Greek person commenting on this dish read the title and don’t be so quick to judge and negative the world has many dishes not just the Greek

  7. Avatar photo
    Olga@StardustDecorStyle

    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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

    1. Katerina - Diethood
      Kate@Diethood

      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. 🙂

          1. I doubled the ingredients as per the recipe for a larger serve . I questioned doubling the milk and eggs mixture. I didn’t use it all and still to much .

      1. Instructions are a bit confusing and incomplete. Like when do you add the parsley? Or did I missed it? Also do I bring the potatoes to a boil and let boil for 5 min, or do I bring the water to a boil and add the potatoes to boiling water and let boil for 5 min?

        1. Hi!
          All the detailed information is in the recipe card further down the page. To make things easier, click on the “jump to recipe” button at the top of the post, which will automatically scroll down your page to the recipe card.

  10. 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 🙂

  11. 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 🙂

  12. Avatar photo
    Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb

    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.

  13. Avatar photo
    Nami | Just One Cookbook

    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!

  14. 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!

  15. Avatar photo
    Terra Baltosiewich (@CafeTerraBlog)

    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

  16. Avatar photo
    The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time

    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. 🙂

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

    This dish looks scrumptious! Yay for eggs!! 😀

  18. Avatar photo
    kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts

    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.

    Thanks!

  19. Avatar photo
    Shea Goldstein

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

  20. 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. 🙂

  21. HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATERINA! 🙂

    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?

  22. Avatar photo
    Averie @Averie Cooks

    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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