Musaka Recipe -
Musaka Recipe
  • READY IN 1 hr


Recipe by  

"I learned this from my Bulgarian mother in law though it's probably Turkish in origin. The recipe calls for 'chubritsa', a Bulgarian herb that can be difficult to find in the states, so basil can be substituted in its place."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 4 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    15 mins
  • COOK

    45 mins

    1 hr


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook ground beef until evenly brown. Season with paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir in potatoes, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, and summer savory. Add enough water to just barely cover. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Pour meat mixture into 9x13 inch baking dish, and spread evenly. In a small bowl, mix together the egg and yogurt; pour, and spread evenly over meat mixture.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until top is golden brown.
Kitchen-Friendly View


  • Tip
  • Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Jul 15, 2003

This was easy to make and taste was great! I have one question for the writer. After browning the ground beef you did not say wether to drain the grease from the pan. And after pouring in the water it was soup like. So when I poured the egg and yougrt on top, before I baked it, it sunk into the liquid. Was this the intention? I wanted to follow the recipe so I did not drain. Please respond.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Jul 15, 2003

Personally I'd never even heard of Musaka, so didn't know what it was supposed to look like or taste like but the ingrediants sounded intreging. (OK, so I'm easily amused) I didn't realize till I popped the dish into the over that there was no "cook till golden brown" or "cook till potatoes are done" (although, in hindsight, I guess that's a given). I substituted some of the ground beef with mushrooms and onions, maybe that was a mistake. The dish was not very flavorful, although it was interesting. This recipe has promise but it needs further instruction and more flavor, more spices, maybe more tomato sauce or extra diced tomatoes. I'll give it one more shot.

Mar 15, 2006

Altered this a bit based on reviews. Used fine herbs in place of chubritsa. Omitted the EVOO all together...just browned my meat, potatoes, and onions and drained off what little grease there was. Added a 14.5 can of diced tomatoes in sauce, doubled the other spices and added 2 more chopped tomatoes and let this simmer to help with the 'raw' potato issue. Omitted the water altogether. I also added eggplant. Salted the eggplant first and placed in a colander w/weight on top to squeeze out that bitter juice. Rinsed off and sauteed in EVOO and layered the meat/potato mixture and eggplant. It was amazing how much this smelled like gyro meat while it was cooking and also tasted a bit like it too. Loved the easy yogurt sauce in place of the harder to make Bechamel. Sprinkled the top of the yogurt sauce w/a little nutmeg to make it more like a traditional Bechamel sauce found on Moussaka. Covered at first then the last ten minutes took the lid off. The potatoes were completely done. Also only used 2 potatoes and 1 larger eggplant.

Jul 13, 2003

I used beef broth instead of water and it was quite scrumptious. The entire family enjoyed it.

Apr 11, 2011

I am Bulgarian and the dish is almost spot on. Traditionally we use pork instead of beef. In the states I use half pork and half beef, draining the fat after browning. Also, a very crucial step is that the yogurt/egg/ mixture should be added to the top about 10 minutes before the dish is done cooking, not at the beginning.

Jul 13, 2003

My husband absolutely loves this dish. Its robust flavor and simple ingredients make it a must-have for my recipe box.

May 20, 2004

I served this recipe to a group of Turks and Bulgarians. I didn't tell them what I was making and I am American, so when one of them took a bite and said "Oh my god! You made Mmusaka!" I could not have been more pleased. One lady didn't even believe it was my first time making it. The thing is that I ended up adding about three times the amount of paprika and twice the cumin and cayenne pepper in order to make it come out with what I consider enough flavor. But then, I (and most Bulgarians and Turks) like strong flavor. Next time I will also add about three times the Chubritsa (summer savory) which I found at a mediterranean grocery store, because I could not taste it at all in the dish. I boiled the potatoes for about 15 minutes before cooling them in cold water, then peeled and cubed them. I used about 12 ounces of plain homemade tomato sauce. I drained the meat after cooking and found the amount of olive oil called for in the recipe to be way too much; 2 tablespoons is plenty for browning the beef. I also added a little less water to the mix prior to baking. Even though I had to modify the ingredients significantly, I am going to give this recipe 4/5 stars because my Turkish boyfriend is still bragging to all his friends about my cooking because of it:-) One more note: the Turkish version of this recipe definitely calls for eggplant, which can be bought sliced and canned from wherever you buy the chubritsa. Thanks for sharing this recipe Lisa!

Sep 03, 2006

This is the traditional BULGARIAN musaka. The only difference, I find is that this recipe uses ground beef. Bulgarians usually prepare the dish with ground pork. The Greek version usually has eggplant in it. It a tasty dish, and it is very easy to prepare.


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  • Calories
  • 728 kcal
  • 36%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 44.3 g
  • 14%
  • Cholesterol
  • 145 mg
  • 48%
  • Fat
  • 49.4 g
  • 76%
  • Fiber
  • 6.2 g
  • 25%
  • Protein
  • 27.8 g
  • 56%
  • Sodium
  • 961 mg
  • 38%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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