This easy Serbian ground beef potato moussaka is a nourishing casserole you’ll learn love from the first try. This dish is truly a uniting meal, and it’s made the same way in Bosnia, Croatia, and Macedonia too.
I bet when you hear moussaka it takes you to Greece. However, this amazing casserole is made all over the Balkans also (and Egypt, Lebanon, and Turkey too!).
Think of today’s recipe as a slimming version of the Greek moussaka. For example, Balkan moussaka usually skips eggplant and almost never uses bechamel as a topping. (I told you this moussaka is easy peasy!)
Instead, potato rounds and seasoned ground beef are layered, baked, and finished off with an egg plus sour cream topping. (Milk, yogurt, and heavy cream work too!)
However, this isn’t to say you’ll never find a Balkan moussaka with eggplant along with potatoes and minced beef. However, this is usually the exception more than the rule.
If you were wondering what moussaka looks like, think of it like lasagna, if you exchanged lasagna sheets with potatoes. While they taste differently, the preparation process is similar. Except this moussaka is much quicker to make.
Ground beef and potato moussaka holds a special place in my heart. It was one of the very first meals I learned how to make. Nailing this dish made me feel I was finally grasping this cooking thing. 🙂
(By the way, Balkan pronunciation of moussaka is “moo-suck-ah.”)
Why this recipe works?
Many, many, MANY versions of moussaka exist! You’re probably wondering what makes this recipe special. Well, it’s two things!
- The ease - two layers, repeated a couple of times, then topped. Does it get easier than that?
- The taste - soft, comforting potatoes mixed with perfectly seasoned meat and a hitting-the-spot refreshing topping is a comforting combination of flavors.
Oil: Sub with butter.
Beef: For a different taste sub ½ or all the meat with ground pork turkey or veal.
Seasonings: This recipe suggests the most used seasonings. Adjust to your own taste.
Topping: Sub milk and sour cream with heavy cream and/ or yogurt.
Potatoes: Older potatoes are better for this recipe.
(Our lightning-fast instructions are here to give you an idea of how to make this dish. For more detailed information look at the recipe card below!)
- Heat oil. Cook onion and garlic until translucent.
- Add ground beef and seasonings. Brown the meat, and take off heat.
- Heat oven. Oil potato rounds.
- Layer potato in pan. Top with meat. Repeat few times. Bake.
5. Mix egg, milk, sour cream.
6. Pour topping over the moussaka.
7. Return to oven for another 15-20 min.
8. Rest a bit, then serve.
Browning meat: Remove meat off heat as soon as the pink turns to brown. If you brown it too much the meat will be hard after baking.
Potato thickness: Potato rounds should be thickness of about 8mm or ⅓ of an inch. This is an approximation with a little wiggle room. However, if you go too thick the potatoes will not be done. On the other hand, if you slice them too thin they’ll shrivel up and become more like potato chips and less like a nourishing layer of potatoes.
Serving: Allow moussaka to rest for 15-20 minutes after taking it out of the oven.
Storing: Store leftovers in the fridge no later than 2 hours after moussaka has been baked. Simply wrap in saran wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. If you don’t eat after this time, discard it.
Freezing: Freezing is not recommended for this dish.
Both are layered dishes. However, while the lasagna is layered with pasta, moussaka is layered with potatoes and/ or eggplant. Moussaka is most closely associated with Greece, Middle East, and the Balkans, while the lasagna is, of course, Italian.
Similar to lasagna, pasticcio is also a pasta dish. Meanwhile, moussaka layers consist of eggplant and/ or potatoes.
Moussaka is a perfectly fine dish to serve by itself. However, it goes well with homemade bread, a side salad, and a lighter soup. Some like a dollop of sour cream on top also.
We recommend you keep moussaka in the fridge for up to 24 hours. After that, it's best to discard it, due to potatoes.
Yes and no. Some moussaka recipes contain potatoes, some contain eggplant (aubergine), while some contain both. (This particular recipe does contain potatoes.)
More One-Pan Goodness
- Chicken and Rice Bake
- Cheese Pie
- Spinach Pie with Phyllo
- Mushroom Lasagna with Bechamel
- Oven Lemon Chicken
Would You Do Me a Favor?
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Prijatno and bon appetit!
EASY Serbian Ground Beef Potato Moussaka
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 yellow onion medium, diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 pound ground beef pork, veal and turkey also work
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 pounds potatoes peeled and cut into ⅓-inch rounds
- 2-4 tablespoons oil or vegetable or coconut
- Salt to taste
- 3 eggs
- 14 ounces sour cream
- 3 ounces milk
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley minced
- Heat oil in a deep pan over medium. Add onion and garlic. Cook until translucent occasionally stirring.
- Add ground beef and seasonings. Frequently stirring brown the meat lightly. Remove from heat.
- Heat oven to 450°f/ 230°c. In a larger bowl mix potatoes, oil and salt. Mix well with your hands until all potatoes are covered.
- Evenly layer roughly ⅓ of potato rounds into a 9x13 inch pan covering bottom of the pan. Top potatoes with roughly ½ of the meat filling and spread evenly. Repeat. Top it off with one more layer of potatoes. (In total you’ll have 3 potato layers and two meat layers in between.) Place in oven and bake 40 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk topping ingredients until integrated.
- Take the pan out of the oven and pour the topping evenly over moussaka.
- Return moussaka to the oven for additional 20 minutes or until the top gets a golden color.
- Rest for 15-20 minutes before serving.