Soutzoukakia (Greek Meatballs in a Tomato Sauce)

"Lovely, delicately seasoned meatballs in a tomato sauce done in the style of the Greeks from Smyrna. This is a warming, hearty dish, great year round, but especially in winter."
photo by sbogdanos photo by sbogdanos
photo by sbogdanos
photo by sbogdanos photo by sbogdanos
Ready In:
1hr 15mins




  • Soak the bread in the wine for about 5 minutes, or until thoroughly softened.
  • Then, squeeze out and reserve the excess wine.
  • In a large bowl, combine the ground meat with the wine soaked bread, onion, garlic, egg, parsley, grated cheese, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Mix the ingredients until thoroughly blended.
  • Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours.
  • Dampen your hands, pinch off small portions of meat mixture, about the quantity of a teaspoon or just over, and shape into approximately 20 oval rolls (looks sort of like an elongated, slightly flattened, meatball).
  • Dredge them in flour.
  • Heat olive oil in a large frying pan.
  • Add the meatballs and fry until browned all over, turning occasionally and allowing time for the meat to cook thoroughly. (alternatively, if you want a 'lighter' recipe, you could just brown in a non-stick pan or bake them in the oven - not as flavourful, but still good).
  • Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Strain the oil you fried the meatballs in through a fine sieve into a cooking pan.
  • Add all the sauce ingredients, and the reserved wine.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce is thick.
  • Drop in the meatballs, stir to cover all over with the sauce, and simmer covered for 15 minutes.
  • Serve hot with rice, french fries, or mashed potatoes.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Anna T
    I really liked the flavor the wine gave to the meat. It was delicious even though I forgot the cheese. For the sauce however, I used a few cans of diced tomatoes and a can of tomato sauce. I also added a little more cinnamon and simmered it uncovered for a longer time in order for the sauce to thicken. I served it over noodles with additional parmesano regianno cheese. YUM!
  2. Chris J.
    The wine flavor came through, but I made the mistake of serving with two acidic dishes so not a good pairing with lemon rice and tabbouleh. But the tomato dish here came out great.
  3. FunCook
    This was good, but not great. I tried it after another sites (MyGreekDish) and theirs was better. Part of it was that the cinnamon was in the meatball, and the onion was in the sauce (which is the opposite of this). I have been realizing that I do not like fresh onion in meatballs, so that may be part of it.
  4. Kathy D.
    Very tasty! Family loved it. Will definitely make again!
  5. Arichka
    I made my meatballs using ground beef,parmesan and crushed tomatoes for the sause. Meatballs are very delicate and difficult to turn when frying ,they are easily fall apart. I made these meatballs in hope they would taste like the ones we had in Athens 2 weeks ago but they didn't. They were not bad but just did not taste autentically Greek.


<style>body { background: url(""); background-repeat: repeat-y; }</style> OK, here goes. I live in Athens, Greece. I moved out here many, many years ago from Ottawa, Canada - so I am blessed in having two wonderful heritages! I suffer from compulsive obsessive behaviour with regard to food and my psychiatrist thought it would be a good idea to find a 'society' where many have the same problem and try to find a cure. So far, I've copied a couple of thousand recipes from this site and my psychiatrist has thrown the towel in and refuses to answer the phone when I call. What did I do wrong? Got 3 kids that keep me on the go - 10 and under at this point (2008) - I may not get round to updating this for a few years, so you'll have to do your own maths. I teach English full-time and Greek Cookery part-time. I would like to make the cooking part of it full-time and the English Grammar part of it part-time. That's all for now.
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