Serbian Moussaka Recipe

Serbian Moussaka on a reed mat 2

Potatoes: The key to Serbian Moussaka

Serbian Moussaka is a comforting and flavorful dish that combines layers of sliced potatoes with ground meat, all baked in a creamy egg sauce. It is a great dish to serve a crowd, and there are endless ways to make it your own. If you’re used to moussaka from Greek or Middle Eastern restaurants, this version will be much different than what you’d expect, but it is sure to delight. 

The most important step in this Serbian Moussaka recipe is slicing potatoes into thin rounds. You can choose to peel the potatoes if you prefer not to eat the skins or for appearance. If you are going to peel the potatoes, I would recommend choosing russet potatoes to make this recipe. Since russet potatoes are usually medium or large in size, you won’t have to peel as many to make this dish. If you’re not peeling the potatoes, you could just as easily use red or yellow to make this recipe.

Serbian Moussaka Recipe

When slicing your potatoes, keep in mind that they’re only cook time will be in the oven. While they will bake for an hour, they’re baked in an egg and milk mixture, which won’t boil and bubble the same way a tomato sauce or stew would. That is why it’s so important to keep your potato slices as thin as possible. See more on how to do this in the tips section below.

Creamy Egg Topping: Holding the Moussaka together

Similar to Greek moussaka which is topped with a bechamel sauce, this Serbian Moussaka recipe is also topped by a creamy sauce. The difference is that bechamel’s primary source of cream is only milk, while this recipe uses both milk and sour cream. Bechamel is also generally a thick cream sauce, made thick using flour. The creamy topping in this recipe is never really thickened per se, so much as it sets as it cooks.

The creamy sauce in this recipe is a combination of beaten eggs, sour cream, and milk. While the milk and sour cream are what make this sauce creamy, the eggs are what really make the dish. If made without eggs, this dish would turn out as potatoes and beef in a thin, albeit tasty sauce. With the eggs added, the sauce remains fully combined, turns golden as it cooks, and fully encapsulates all of the potato layers. It also sets such that the dish can be sliced into easy to remove pieces.

Serbian Moussaka on a plate 1

Tips:

There are a few different ways to make the creamy egg topping, depending on what you have in your kitchen:

  • By whisk: This will be the easiest and most reliable way to make the topping. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. It will take a few minutes, but this will give you a very well mixed topping.
  • By fork: If you don’t have a whisk, a fork is the next best thing. The tines are great to break the egg yolks and distribute them through the mix. The downside – since there is so much liquid milk and also so much sour cream, it can be tough to get a smooth mix with just a fork. Don’t worry if your mix isn’t entirely smooth though, your finished product will still be delicious.
  • By blender: To blend the creamy topping, just add all of the ingredients to a blender or food process, and blend until smooth. Be careful not to blend for too long though, as over-blended eggs may become too stiff. This stiffness should be detectable right after blending though, so as long as your topping mix can be easily poured into the baking pan, you shouldn’t have any problems.

As a final tip on the creamy egg topping, make sure that you let the Serbian Moussaka rest for at least 10 minutes after it comes out of the oven. If cut too soon, the creamy topping may not set properly, resulting in a strange texture. I let mine rest for 20 minutes, and was still happy with the temperature when I served it. If you’re worried about it losing too much heat, you can cover it loosely in tin foil.

Make the meat your own

One of the best parts about this Serbian Moussaka recipe is that there are plenty of customizations to satisfy any need. While I used ground beef as my meat, you can use any ground meat that you enjoy. This dish would go great with ground turkey, ground pork, or even ground veal.

Many recipes for Serbian Moussaka do not include the paprika when making the meat. I strongly recommend it, as it adds a delightful flavor. You could also get very creative when spicing the meat. While paprika is great, I think dried oregano, parsley, or other Italian herbs sprinkled into the meat would be wonderful. While it wouldn’t be traditional, you could even go so far as to add tomato paste and/or wine to the meat. If adding wine, I suggest no more than ¼ cup per pound of meat though, to avoid making it too watery.

A-pan-of-Serbian-Moussaka-1

Slice those potatoes extra thin for a fun twist

As I mentioned before, slicing the potatoes is the most important step in making Serbian Moussaka. The more evenly you can slice the potatoes, the better. That is why I strongly recommend using a mandoline slicer to make uniform potato rounds. That will ensure that the potatoes cook evenly.

You can also play with different slice thickness of the potatoes. I recommend not slicing thicker than ¼ inch, but you can also go much thinner. I saw one suggestion to slice the potatoes as thin as you would to make potato chips, which sounds delicious. The only consideration when slicing your potatoes very thin is that you should make sure your potato layer itself is not too thin. If you get your potato slices paper thin like chips, I suggest laying them out in a ¼ inch thick layer, overlapping to leave as little open space as possible.

Serbian Moussaka on a reed mat

How should I serve Serbian Moussaka?

This Serbian Moussaka recipe would go great with a side salad and any of the following side dishes:

Serbian Moussaka with potatoes and parsley 1
Serbian Moussaka on a reed mat 2

Serbian Moussaka Recipe

Serbian Moussaka is a comforting and flavorful dish that combines layers of sliced potatoes with ground meat, all baked in a creamy egg sauce.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine European
Servings 6
Calories 376 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • ½ tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Medium onion, diced
  • 1 lb Ground beef
  • 3 lbs Russet potatoes
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • 2 tbsp Minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsely for garnish

Creamy Egg Topping

  • 4 Large eggs
  • 1 cup Sour cream or yogurt
  • 1.5 cups Milk
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • In a skillet on medium-high heat, brown the ground beef while breaking it into small chunks. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.
  • Drain any remaining fat from the skillet, and add ½ tbsp of olive oil. Turn the heat on to medium-high again.
  • Fry the onions until they have started browning, then add the minced garlic and continue frying until the garlic is golden.
  • Return the beef to the skillet.
  • Add paprika to the beef and onion mix and stir well to combine fully. Remove from heat.
  • Spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray.
  • Using a mandolin or knife, slice the potatoes into ¼ inch or thinner pieces. As you slice, begin layering in the greased pan. Continue layering the potatoes until you have covered the bottom of the pan and added slices to cover the holes between slices.
  • Once you have completely covered the bottom of the pan and filled in the holes, add half of the ground beef mixture evenly across the pan. The layer may look thin, that is expected.
  • Repeat steps 8 and 9 for one more layer of potatoes and one more layer of beef, adding the rest of the beef to this layer.
  • Layer more sliced potatoes on top of the second beef layer until well covered.
  • Now make the topping. Combine all topping ingredients and stir with a fork or whisk to combine until mostly smooth.
  • Pour the topping over the baking pan, working slowly to ensure even coverage.
  • Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • If you want a crispier top to your Serbian Moussaka, broil it on high for up to 4 minutes, checking every 1 minute.

Nutrition

Calories: 376kcalCarbohydrates: 49.3gProtein: 16.2gFat: 13.2gSaturated Fat: 6.8gCholesterol: 158mgPotassium: 1363mgFiber: 7.2gSugar: 5.4gCalcium: 125mgIron: 5mg
Keyword eggs, ground beef, potatoes, Serbian Moussaka
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Join My Newsletter

Subscribe and we'll send you recipes and meal plans.

Freshly Subscribed

Something went wrong

Join My Newsletter

Subscribe and we'll send you recipes and meal plans.

Freshly Subscribed

Something went wrong