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Or, homemade meatballs with roasted garlic, olives, and tomato sauce. Psilakis tells us that if you want to make these balls the night before, follow the recipe through cooking them, then cool and reserve in the refrigerator. Before serving, warm them through in a 325-degree oven, stirring gently so you don’t break up the meatballs, and follow through to the last step to finish them.

Click here to see How to Make a Better Meatball.


For the chunky tomato sauce

  • One 15-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, juices included
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large Spanish or sweet onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 Cup red wine
  • 1 fresh bay leaf, or 2 dried leaves
  • 1 large handful basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 Cup water

For the meatballs

  • 15 slices Wonder Bread, crusts trimmed off
  • 1 1/2 Cup milk
  • 1 Pound ground beef
  • 1/2 Pound ground pork
  • 1/2 large Spanish or sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 Cup finely chopped parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons dried Greek oregano
  • 1/2 Cup grated Graviera cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • All-purpose flour, as needed
  • 90/10 blend of canola and extra-virgin olive oil, for shallow-frying
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • 2 whole scallions, sliced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 12 cracked, brined green olives, pitted and torn
  • 12 Kalamata olives, pitted and torn
  • 12 cloves Garlic Confit (recipe below)
  • 1 Teaspoon fresh dill leaves
  • 15 leaves basil, torn
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed

For the garlic confit

  • 3 Cups garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 fresh bay leaf, or 2 dried leaves
  • 8-10 sprigs thyme
  • Kosher salt and whole black peppercorns, to taste
  • 2 Cups blended oil, (50 percent canola, 50 percent extra-virgin olive), as needed


Calories Per Serving531

Folate equivalent (total)71µg18%

Riboflavin (B2)0.4mg23.1%

Greek Soutzoukakia


My Mum is good at making Souzoukakia Smyrneika coz my Grandad was from Smyrni and left with the great exodus in 1922.

Welcome to our blog! Here you can learn how to prepare delicious, traditional Greek dishes from recipes used in the home by local mothers and grandmothers! A lot of them are well-known and others perhaps not so well-known outside Greece. These are all recipes prepared by my wife Maria - she loves cooking and I love eating, so we make a great team!

We live on the island of Corfu in Greece and Maria comes from a family of chefs. Her recipes combine know-how with the simplicity of local, traditional Greek cooking.

These recipes are all for 4- 6 servings (depending on your appetite!) but if anything is left over it can easily be saved for the next day, which is what we do.

There is a Metric Converter towards the bottom of this sidebar if you need it.

History of Soutzoukakia

Soutzoukakia is an iconic Greek dish of braised meatballs in a spiced tomato sauce that comes from the Greeks who lives in the Asia Minor, or present day Turkey. The full Greek name for this dish is Soutzoukakia Smyrneika. The Smyrneika in the name is for Smyrna, or present day Izmir, Turkey. The Greeks who were refugees when the Turks burned Smyrna in 1922 (the event that decidedly ended the Greco-Turkish War) brought this recipe back to Greece and across the world with them.

Savory spices

While cooking meatballs in tomato sauce may seem link an incredibly Italian application, this tastes much different from traditional meatballs marinara. The spiced in the sauce are what really distinguish this dish. Ground cumin, cinnamon, and smoked paprika along with a dash of hot chili flakes infuse the sauce with a depth that brings your palate directly to the region. When I was living with Sicily, I cooked this for my Sicilian roommates because it was similar to the meatballs they were familiar with, but the spices in the sauce took it in a totally different direction.

How to serve

You can serve this dish as part of a mezze platter with lots of crusty bread to soak up the sauce. But I recommend it as a main course. Serve it over rice, or even some saffron infused rice. It also pairs nicely with potatoes, either mashed or roasted.

Soutzoukakia Step-By-Step

Spiced Meatballs Braised in Tomato Sauce by xtinaxenos on Jumprope.

Steps to Make It

Soak the bread in some water in a medium-sized bowl. Add 1/2 cup of sweet red wine and let the bread absorb the liquid for a few minutes.

Squeeze the liquid out from the bread, then tear it into small pieces and add it to the ground meat.

Add the garlic, cumin, salt, pepper and eggs. Mix well to incorporate all the ingredients.

Using portions of the meat mixture about the size of a large walnut, form sausage-like rolls about 4 inches long and 1½ inches thick.

Heat an inch of vegetable oil in a skillet and carefully add the soutzoukakia to the pan. Fry them until they're lightly browned on all sides. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

Prepare the sauce in a Dutch oven while the soutzoukakia are frying. Add 1/4 cup olive oil to the bottom of the pan, then add the tomato sauce, sugar, cinnamon and the remaining cup of wine.

Fill the empty tomato sauce can with water and add this to the Dutch oven as well.

Boil the sauce over medium-high heat until some of the water has evaporated and the sauce has thickened. Add the soutzoukakia to the sauce when they've finished frying.

Heat the sauce and the soutzoukakia to a boil and remove from the heat. Allow the sausages to sit and absorb the sauce for a few minutes before serving.

Tips and Variations:

Less cumin is always better than more. This spice can be strong and overpowering.

If you're not a fan of canned tomato sauce, you can certainly make your own.

Serve the soutzoukakia with potato puree, rice pilaf or fried potatoes.


For the oriental meatballs

  • 500 g chickpeas
  • 3 tablespoon(s) olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon(s) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon(s) cumin, powder
  • lemon zest, of 1 lemon
  • lemon juice, of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 onions, dry
  • 1 clove(s) of garlic
  • 1 bunch mint
  • 1 tablespoon(s) parsley
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 200 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
  • 1 onion, dry
  • 1 stick(s) cinnamon
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon(s) oregano, dry
  • 1 chili pepper, dried
  • 1 clove(s) of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon(s) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon(s) tomato paste
  • 3 tomatoes
  • salt
  • pepper

  • 1 kilo ground mince ( beef, pork or a combination)
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 slices of stale bread
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • chopped parsley
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of red wine
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tins of tomatoes
  • 1 large finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  1. Soak bread ( without crusts) in milk for around 10 minutes
  2. Mix together the mince, herbs, spices, bread, and eggs
  3. Shape the mixture into oblong meatballs and fry gently in oil until golden brown
  4. For the sauce, mix saute the onion and garlic in oil
  5. Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, more cumin and salt and pepper In a saucepan
  6. Add the wine and gently simmer for around 20 minutes until it has thickened somewhat
  7. Add the sauce to the pan of cooked meatballs

Soutzoukakia – recipe for authentic Greek dish

Fantastic Greek recipe for an excellent grill. Delicious, full of Mediterranean flavors and covered in a rich and thick tomato sauce! This is a warming and authentic Greek dish, perfect for a cold evening! Soutzoukakia meatballs are a special occasion food, something served when you have a gathering or for a Sunday dinner.

One of the reasons is that this is the meat and the meat was not served every day in original Greek cuisine, but if you like it you can eat them every day because these Soutzoukakia meatballs are outstanding.

Soutzoukakia is a meatballs dish originated in the East by Greeks from Smyrna or Constantinople (today Izmir/Istanbul), in Minor Asia. Soon the recipe became very successful in the rest of the country and lives so to this day. As a result of its popularity, it is cooked in numerous ways, and many families have their own secret way of cooking these meatballs. Some use lamb, others beef, or pork, even several ground meat mixtures.

The secret ingredient that makes these meatballs (Soutzoukakia) unique is cumin. Cumin is a very aromatic spice that will soak through the meat and introduce it with its unique aroma, but be cautious, only use it in moderation as it can be a little intense! It goes perfectly with beer.

The beauty of this recipe is that it looks difficult to make but in fact, it is very straightforward and the result is a beautiful and delicious dish.


1) SOUTZOUKAKIA: Put minced meat and other ingredients into the bowl and mix for about 5 minutes until the mixture becomes uniform. The mixture should then be left in the fridge for half an hour to “rest”. After that, make small meatballs from the mixture. Heat the oil in the pan and cook the meat. After cooking put the Soutzoukakia on the kitchen paper to absorb the excess fat.

2) SAUCE: Put all the ingredients into the pan and cook them for a short time for 10 minutes with occasional stirring until the ingredients are seated, but so that the sauce doesn’t become too thick. As soon as the sauce is ready, remove the pan from the stove, put the Soutzoukakia meatballs into the sauce to absorb its aroma. Serve with a rice or mashed potatoes and a green salad.

1/2 kg of ground pork
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 spoon of salt
A little bit of cumin
1/2 glasses of dry red wine
2 minced melba toast
1 egg
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 a glass of water
frying oil

Ingredients for the sauce:
1 can of tomato juice or 4 freshly stewed tomatoes
1/2 a teaspoon of sugar
Salt and pepper
1/2 a glasses of water
3 teaspoons of olive oil or butter

Recipe Summary

  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ⅜ cup raisins, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chopped flat leaf parsley
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon white sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • skewers
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preheat grill for high heat.

In a large bowl, mix together ground beef, onion, raisins, and parsley. Season with cayenne pepper, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, sugar, salt, and pepper, and mix well. Form into 6 flat sausages around skewers. Lightly brush sausages with oil this prevents sticking to the grill.

Arrange skewers on hot grill grate. Cook for approximately 15 minutes, turning occasionally to brown evenly, until well done.

What is the secret to this Homemade Smyrneika Soutzoukakia recipe?

These mouth watering meatballs have a combination of lamb and beef mince meat. Lamb mince meat is fattier giving a fuller and richer taste to Soutzoukakia. Lamb mince meat pairs really well with beef mince.

Prepare the Soutzoukakia meatballs in the beginning of the day or hours prior to cooking and store them in the fridge. This will allow the mince meat to absorb all the lovely spices and other ingredients and taste delicious. If you happen to be a rush, let them rest for 10-15 minutes.

Another little secret lays in the spices used in these succulent meatballs. The two main spices are cumin and coriander. Coriander has an earthy, citrus flavour which pairs very well with Cumin. Cumin’s slight bitter earthy flavour complements Coriander.

Cumin Meatballs In Red Sauce - Greek Soutzoukakia

Last updated September 1, 2020 . Originally posted May 16, 2020 By Jenny Skrapaliori-Graves . 18 Comments .

Greek Soutzoukakia are delicious meatballs in red sauce flavored with cumin. They are a favorite food of almost any Greek person I know. I have not met one that will not have a second round of soutzoukakia when they have the chance.

Soutzoukakia is basically a meatballs in tomato sauce with a middle eastern influence. The use of cumin, ouzo and fresh mint give a distinct fragrance and flavor to these meatballs. I love how tender they are, they literally melt in your mouth and only make you want more.

I usually double the recipe and make enough to be able to enjoy leftovers. They go well over buttery mashed potatoes or basmati rice. Add a green and tangy salad and you have the meal of your dreams.

1. In a bowl soak the bread in the milk. Using a colander discard all the milk and press the bread down to remove as much moisture as possible. 2. Add the onion and garlic in a food processor and process until onion is finelly diced.

3. In a large bowl mix the ground meat, bread, olive oil, onion and garlic, egg, cumin, chili flakes, and ouzo. Add the finely chopped mint. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix really well. 4. Take a tablespoon of the mixture and shape in to long oval shapes, like the shape of a football. This is the traditional shape of these meatballs.

5. Roll each meatball in the flour, shake off excess and set them aside on a plate. 6. Add the light olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat and let it heat for 1 minute. Add meatballs to the pan a few at a time. Brown on both sides for about 1 minutes each side. When they reach a light brown color, remove meatball with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil. Set aside until needed.

7. In a large wide pot heat the extra virgin olive oil in medium heat. Add the diced onion. Sauté onion for 1 minute. Add the cinnamon stick, 2 tsp ground cumin and a pinch or more of chili flakes. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir everything together. Sauté for 1-2 min. 8. Add the tomatoes, add the ½ cup of water, stir well. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.

9. Increase heat and add the shot of ouzo. Let the alchol evaporate, about 2 min and reduce heat to medium-low. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix tomato sauce really well. 10. Add the meatballs one by one in the sauce. Be gentle so they keep their shape. Cover the pot and simmer in low heat for 10 minutes or until he meatballs are cooked through.

Tips and tricks

  • If you have no access to ouzo substitute with white wine. If none available or do not want to add any alcohol just omit altogether.
  • I love using San Marzanno tomatoes but in the summer I usually switch to fresh. I grated them and depending on how sweet or bitter they are I add 1 tsp of sugar in the sauce while cooking.
  • You can substitute the ground beef and pork with ground turkey. If you decide to do so, omit the milk and bread and add &frac23 cup bread crumbs instead in the meatball mix. The ground turkey has a high liquid content so you need the breadcrumbs to absorb it.

You may also like

  • For crazy dipping in the soutzoukakia sauce make this Greekflatbread-pita.
  • These instant pot gigantes beans & roasted tomatoes are quick and really delicious.
  • For a super easy meal try this yellow squash tart with puff pastry.
  • This lemon chicken with garlic & herbs has classic Greek flavors.

Check all the pantry items a Greek kitchen wouldn’t go without.

If you’ve tried this recipe or any other on The Greek Foodie, then don’t forget to rate it and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it.

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Watch the video: Σουτζουκάκια σμυρνέικα τα αυθεντικά