Classic Greek Eggplant Moussaka

  • PrepTime: 2 Hrs
  • CookTime: 45 Mins
  • TotalTime: 2 Hrs 45 Mins


  1. 3 to 4 eggplants  (about 4 pounds)
  2. Salt (for salting the eggplants)
  3. 1 pound potatoes (peeled, boiled)
  4. 1 splash water
  5. 8 large eggs (whites and yolks separated)
  6. 1/2 cup olive oil (divided)
  7. 2 cups breadcrumbs (divided)
  8. 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (or lamb)
  9. 2 large onions (finely diced)
  10. 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  11. 1/2 cup dry red wine
  12. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  13. 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  14. 1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
  15. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  16. 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  17. 1 teaspoon sugar
  18. Salt (to taste)
  19. Freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  20. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  21. 1 cup all purpose flour
  22. 4 cups milk
  23. 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  24. 1 cup Kefalotyri cheese (Parmesan, or Pecorino Romano)


  1. Gather the ingredients for the vegetables.  
  2. Using a sharp peeler, partially peel the eggplants, leaving strips of peel about 1-inch wide around the eggplant. Slice the eggplant into 1/2-inch slices.  
  3. Place the eggplant slices in a colander and salt them liberally. Cover them with an inverted plate and weigh down the plate with a heavy can or jar. Place the colander in the sink and let the eggplants bleed for 1 hour—15 to 20 minutes minimum.  
  4. While the eggplants are bleeding, cut the potatoes into into 1/4-inch slices. Set aside.  
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and lightly grease with some of the olive oil.
  6. Rinse the eggplant slices with abundant water and dry with paper towels. Reserve.
  7. Add a splash of water to the egg whites and beat them lightly with a fork. Place breadcrumbs on a flat plate.  
  8. Dip the rinsed and dried eggplant slices in the beaten egg whites and then dredge them in the breadcrumbs, coating both sides well. Save a handful of breadcrumbs for assembling.  
  9. Place the breaded eggplant slices on the foil-lined baking sheets and bake for 30 minutes, turning them over once during cooking.  
  10. When the eggplant is finished cooking, set aside and lower the oven temperature to 350 F.
  11. Gather the ingredients for the meat filling.  Eggplant Moussaka Recipe
  12. In a large sauté pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and brown the ground beef until the pink color disappears. Add the chopped onion and sauté the mixture until the onions are translucent, or about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  
  13. Add wine to the pan and allow it to simmer and reduce a bit. Add the cinnamon, allspice, parsley, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and sugar. Stir well.  
  14. Allow the sauce to simmer, uncovered, for approximately 15 minutes so that excess liquid can evaporate. It should be a dry and chunky sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  
  15. Gather the ingredients for the sauce.  
  16. In a medium saucepan, slightly warm up the milk, without boiling it. Turn the heat off and cover.
  17. In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add the flour to the melted butter, whisking continuously to make a smooth, lump-free paste. Let the flour cook for a minute but do not allow it to brown.  
  18. Add warmed milk to the mixture in a steady stream, whisking continuously. Simmer over low heat until the sauce thickens a bit. Do not bring it to a boil.  
  19. Whisk the 8 egg yolks in a small bowl.
  20. Remove the sauce from heat, and stir in beaten egg yolks and a pinch of nutmeg. Return to the heat and stir until sauce thickens. Set aside.  
  21. Gather the eggplants, potatoes, meat sauce, bechamel, the reserved handful of breadcrumbs, and cheese.
  22. Lightly grease a large deep baking pan (a lasagna pan works perfectly). Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with breadcrumbs.  
  23. Leaving a 1/4-inch space around the edges of the pan, place the potatoes in a layer on the bottom. Top with a layer of half of the eggplant slices.  
  24. Add the meat sauce on top of the eggplant layer and sprinkle with 1/4 of the grated cheese. Top with another layer of eggplant slices and sprinkle once again with 1/4 of the grated cheese.  
  25. Pour the béchamel sauce over all, being sure to allow the sauce to fill the sides and corners of the pan. Smooth the béchamel on top with a spatula and sprinkle with remaining grated cheese.  
  26. Bake for 45 minutes or until béchamel sauce is a nice golden brown color. Allow it to cool for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing and serving.  
  27. Enjoy!


  1. If you just need half of the servings, go ahead and make the full recipe but use two smaller baking dishes instead of a large one. Freeze one of the dishes and bake the other one. The one headed for the freezer can't have béchamel on top—you'd need to make just half of the amount of béchamel for the moussaka you're actually baking. The frozen moussaka will keep well for up to 3 months. When you want to reheat it, thaw in the fridge overnight and then make and pour the béchamel on top right before baking.
  2. If you need to make ahead of time, assemble and cover without the sauce. Keep in the fridge unbaked for up to two days. Make and pour béchamel sauce right before baking the dish.
  3. For cooked leftovers, keep covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat at 350 F for 30 minutes.
  4. Because there is no need to salt and rinse the zucchini, simply wash well and pat dry. Trim the ends and then slice transversely into 1/2 inch slices.
  5. Bread the zucchini as you'd do with the eggplant and bake for the same amount of time.
  6. Follow the rest of the recipe as instructed.