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Greek Baked Meatballs in Red Sauce

Greek Baked Meatballs: Soutzoukakia


Perfectly tender baked meatballs, prepared Greek-style with onions, garlic, spices and fresh herbs in a special red sauce. Be sure to check out the notes for tips and ideas.



For Meatballs

  • 2 slice whole wheat bread (toast-size), toasted to a medium-brown (or use Gluten Free bread if you need)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup 60 ml milk or water
  • 1.5 lb/680.389 g lean ground beef
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp/2.36 g ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp/1.3 g ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp/0.6 g dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup/17 g  chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • Drizzle Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil

For Red Sauce

  • Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup/118.294 ml dry red wine
  • 30 oz/850.486 g canned tomato sauce (that's 2 15-oz cans of sauce)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 tsp/1.77 g ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp/1.3 g cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp 2 g sugar
  • Salt and Pepper


  1. In a small bowl, place the toasted bread and cover with milk (or water) to soak. When bread is soft and well-soaked, squeeze the liquid out completely and discard remaining milk if any.
  2. Transfer the bread to a large mixing bowl. Add round beef and remaining meatball ingredients. Knead well until well-combined. Cover the meat mixture and rest in the fridge for now.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. While oven is heating, prepare the sauce. In a sauce pan or large skillet, heat 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add onions and cook for 3 minutes or so. Add garlic and cook for another minute, stirring regularly. Now add red wine and cook to reduce by about 1/2, then add tomato sauce, bay leaf and remaining sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Prepare a large baking dish and lightly oil the bottom with extra virgin olive oil.
  6. Take the meat mixture out of the fridge. Wet your hands and scoop portions of about 2 1/2 tbsp of the meat mixture and form into large elongated meatballs (football-shaped.) You should have 15 to 16 meatballs or so. Arrange meatballs in the papered baking dish and top with the sauce (be sure to have removed the bay leaf from the sauce.)
  7. Place the baking dish on the middle rack of your heated oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the meatballs are well cooked through (check part-way through to make sure sauce is not dry, and if needed, add a little bit of water to the bottom of the baking dish.)
  8. Remove from oven and add another drizzle of EVOO. Garnish with parsley and serve over rice or orzo.


  • Cook's Tip: baking time will vary from oven to oven
  • Cook's Tip: The toasted soaked bread is what makes these meatballs extra juicy. Do not skip this part. If you need to, use gluten free bread.
  • Cook's Tip: here we use lean ground beef, but you can use equal portions of ground beef and ground pork.  You can also mix in ground turkey.
  • Prepare-Ahead Tips: If you want to get a head start on this recipe, you can make the sauce one night in advance.  You can also mix the meat mixture one night in advance of cooking; store in the fridge in a glass container with a tight lid. When ready to cook, warm up the sauce and follow recipe instructions from step #6 on.
  • Tips for Leftovers: these Greek meatballs should keep well for 3 or so nights in the fridge.  Store in tight-lid glass containers. You can also freeze leftovers; thaw out in the fridge overnight. Heat leftovers in a medium-heated oven, add more liquid to your pan and cover until warmed through.
  • What Else to Serve Along? These meatballs are great over Lebanese rice or plain orzo. Turn this dinner into a Greek feast by adding a side of Greek Salad along with Greek Green Bean Salad or Briam! 
  • Recommended for this Recipe: Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil (from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olives) and from our organic spice collection, ground cumin.
  • SAVE! Try our Greek Olive Oil Bundle and our Ultimate Mediterranean Spice Bundle! 
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Greek

Keywords: Baked Meatballs, Meatballs in Red Sauce, Greek Meatballs


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