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Soutzoukakia Recipe (Rich Greek Meatballs)

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If you love your meat dishes rich and juicy, then you will be able to find a little place in your heart for our Greek soutzoukakia recipe, which packs an incredible amount of flavor in each and every bite.

Soutzoukakia Recipe

If the thought of chowing down on juicy spiced meatballs soaked in a rich, aromatic tomato sauce sounds like you’re idea of a perfect dinner, you should give this beloved Greek dish a try.

What is Soutzoukakia?

Greek soutzoukakia are traditionally made from either minced beef, or a mixture of minced beef and pork/lamb (we’ve used beef and pork in our recipe), and mixed with bread crumbs, egg, and various herbs, spices (commonly cumin and cinnamon) and seasonings, before being rolled into oblong-shaped meatballs.

These meatballs are first fried in oil, then finished in a rich tomato-based sauce.

Variations

Turkish meatballs: While we won’t go too deep into the neighboring İzmir köfte, which are similar, the biggest differences are the fact that no pork is used, and other ingredients are included, depending on region, such as potatoes or diced tomato, among others.

Meat: Our recipe calls for a mixture of both minced beef and minced pork, but one, or a combination of, beef, lamb, or pork can be used to make these meatballs.

Recipe Ingredients

To make our soutzoukakia, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Meatballs:

  • Ground Meat (Beef & Pork) – 1 lb ground meat (0.5 lb or 225 grams of ground beef and 0.5 lb or 225 grams of ground pork)
  • White Bread – 2-3 white bread slices (150 grams)
  • Milk – 1/4 cup whole milk
  • Red Wine – 2 tbsp red wine
  • Olive Oil – 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Egg – 1 egg
  • Garlic – 2 garlic cloves
  • Cumin – 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt – 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Black Pepper – 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • Parsley – handful of fresh parsley (2 tbsp when minced)
  • Flour – 1/2 cup plain or all-purpose flour (for flouring the meatballs before frying_
  • Neutral-Tasting Oil (such as Sunflower Oil or Light Olive Oil) – 1/2 cup for frying the meatballs

Tomato-Based Sauce:

  • Tomatoes – one can of diced tomatoes (14.1 oz or 400 grams)
  • Tomato Paste – 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • Red Onion – 1 medium red onion
  • Beef Stock – 1 cup beef stock
  • Wine – 1/2 cup red wine
  • Garlic – 2 garlic cloves
  • Cumin – 1 tsp
  • Sugar – 1 tsp white granulated sugar
  • Bayleaf – 1 bay leaf
  • Cinnamon – 1 cinnamon stick (or substitute of 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon)
  • Salt – 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Black Pepper – 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • Olive Oil – 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Parsley – handful fresh parsley (for topping the dish at the end)

Step-by-Step Instructions

Meatballs

Step 1 – Break up the 2-3 white bread slices in a food processor using the pulse of chop function to get fresh breadcrumbs.

Note: If you don’t have a food processor, you can also use a regular countertop blender.

Step 2 – In a large bowl, add the breadcrumbs from the previous step, one teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of black pepper, one teaspoon of ground cumin, and roughly 2 tablespoons of minced fresh parsley.

Step 3 – Add the 2 tablespoons of red wine, 1/4 cup of milk, and 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil.

Step 4 – Add the ground beef and ground pork and the beaten egg.

Step 5 – Mix everything well. You can use a large wooden spoon or your hands.

Step 6 – “Knead” the meat mixture with your hands until you get a homogenous texture (as seen in the picture below).

Step 7 – Divide the meat mixture into 12 and make 12 oblong-shaped meatballs.

Step 8 – Roll the meatballs through the plain (all-purpose) flour until they’re lightly floured all over.

Step 9 – In a large frying pan, over medium-high heat, add the frying oil. Any neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point will work. I used sunflower oil in this recipe.

Heat up the oil until shimmering. Add the meatballs and cook until golden, about 7-8 minutes, turning to make sure they’re browned on all sides.

Step 10 – Drain them on a paper towel.

Tomato-Based Sauce

Step 11 – To a large frying pan, over medium-high heat, add 3 tablespoons of light olive oil, one diced red onion, and one teaspoon of kosher salt. Sautee for 3-4 minutes.

Step 12 – Turn the heat down to medium, and add two minced garlic cloves, one tablespoon of tomato paste, half a teaspoon of ground black pepper, one teaspoon of ground cumin, and one teaspoon of white granulated sugar, and saute for 1 minute.

Step 13 – Add one can (of 14.1oz or 400 grams) of diced tomatoes, half a cup of red wine, 1 cup of beef stock (or one stock cube dissolved in 1 cup of water), one cinnamon stick, and a bayleaf.

Step 14 – Add the fried meatballs to the sauce and cover the pan.

Step 15 – Simmer for about 12-15 minutes (turning the meatballs halfway) until the meatballs are fully cooked and the sauce has thickened.

Serving Suggestions

Pilaf: If you want to keep things authentic, serve these delicious meatballs with a side of pilaf rice. If not, although not authentic, many other types of rice will make for a hearty base on which to enjoy the meatballs and sauce.

Mashed Potatoes: As with many meatball dishes across the world, Greeks too have succumbed to the wonder of meatballs paired with mashed potato.

We took a pretty big leaf out of the Greek cuisine book, and served our soutzoukakia with rice, finished with a few sprigs of parsley.

Because of the spices used, the aromatic qualities of this dish are sure to get you and your dinner guests in a great mood as you wait for it to be cooked.

Everything from the warm, vanilla notes of the cinnamon to the acidic, sweet notes of the tomato make for a dish that is as just as kind to the nostrils as it is the tastebuds.

Sure, meatball dishes are a staple in many different cuisines. But there really is something quite special about Greek soutzoukakia, and how those herbs and spices really elevate the flavor of the meat and sauce.

Keep things simple with some pilaf rice or mashed potatoes, and you have a dish that is fit for so many occasions, from fancy dinner parties to a hearty meal to feed the kids and family in the evening.

Soutzoukakia Recipe Card

Soutzoukakia (Greek Meatballs)

4.60 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Author: Nomad Paradise
Course: Mains
Cuisine: Greek
Servings: 12

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1/2 lb ground beef 225 grams
  • 1/2 lb ground pork 225 grams
  • 2-3 white bread slices 150 grams
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 tbsp red wine
  • 3 tbsp olive oil extra-virgin
  • 1 egg
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • handful of fresh parsley 2 tbsp when minced
  • 1/2 cup plain or all-purpose flour for flouring the meatballs before frying
  • 1/2 cup sunflower or light olive oil or another neutral-tasting oil like vegetable oil or canola oil for frying the meatballs

Tomato-Based Sauce

  • 1 can of diced tomatoes 14.1 oz or 400 grams
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp white granulated sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick or substitute 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • handful fresh parsley for garnishing the dish at the end

Instructions

  • Break up the 2-3 white bread slices in a food processor using the pulse of chop function to get fresh breadcrumbs (note 1).
  • In a large bowl, add the breadcrumbs from the previous step, one teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of black pepper, one teaspoon of ground cumin, and roughly two tablespoons of minced fresh parsley.
  • Add the two tablespoons of red wine, 1/4 cup of milk, and three tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Add the ground beef and ground pork as well as the beaten egg.
  • Mix everything well. You can use a large wooden spoon or your hands.
  • “Knead” the meat mixture for a couple of minutes with your hands until you get a homogeneous texture.
  • Divide the meat mixture into 12 and make 12 oblong-shaped meatballs.
  • Roll the meatballs through the plain (all-purpose) flour until they’re lightly floured all over.
  • In a large frying pan, over medium-high heat, add the frying oil. Any neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point will work. I used sunflower oil in this recipe. Heat up the oil until shimmering. Add the meatballs and cook until golden, about 7-8 minutes, turning to make sure they’re browned on all sides.
  • Drain them on a paper towel.
  • To a large frying pan, over medium-high heat, add three tablespoons of light olive oil, one diced red onion, and one teaspoon of kosher salt. Sautee for 3-4 minutes.
  • Turn the heat down to medium, and add two minced garlic cloves, one tablespoon of tomato paste, half a teaspoon of ground black pepper, one teaspoon of ground cumin, and one teaspoon of white granulated sugar, and saute for 1 minute.
  • Add one can (of 14.1oz or 400 grams) of diced tomatoes, half a cup of red wine, 1 cup of beef stock (or one stock cube dissolved in 1 cup of water), one cinnamon stick, and a bayleaf.
  • Add the fried meatballs to the sauce and cover the pan.
  • Simmer for about 12-15 minutes (turning the meatballs halfway) until the meatballs are fully cooked and the sauce has thickened.
  • Serve with your choice of side dish (such as white rice) and top with fresh parsley.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: If you don’t have a food processor to break up the bread into breadcrumbs, you can also use a regular countertop blender.

Did you make this recipe?Mention @nomadparadisefood or tag #nomadparadisefood!

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Authors

  • Doina Johnson is a recipe developer and writer. Doina has been cooking for most of her life, and her style draws from many different influences. She cooked with her mother and grandma growing up in Eastern Europe, before adding modern, western influences to her style when living in the United States for about a decade. Then, she traveled full-time for several years, trying food in Europe, Asia, and South America, and bringing those influences into her own cooking. She strives to introduce passionate homecooks to world cuisine, generally by trying the food herself abroad and then recreating it at home and, at times, enlisting the help of local foodies and chefs.

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  • Hey there! We are Dale and Doina, the founders of Nomad Paradise. We traveled full-time for over three years, and while we now have a home base in the U.K., continue to take trips abroad to visit new places and try new cuisines and foods. Our food guides are curated with the guidance of local foodies, and their contribution is indicated under each article. We also cook the foods we try abroad, and you can discover how to make them in our 'recipes from around the world' category.

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Recipe Rating




Candy

Wednesday 26th of July 2023

I made this for dinner tonight with ground meat and lamb. The rich gravy just set it over the top. I served it with mash potatoes and pita bread to soak up all the gravy. I can't wait to make again. Thanks can't wait try your other recipes

Elaine Barrington

Wednesday 31st of May 2023

Made this for supper last night! Delicious! Used all beef though, didn't have any pork or lamb