JOIN! 12 Weeks for $1

Greek Meatballs with Tomato Sauce (Soutzoukakia)

4 to 6 Servings

1 hour 20 minutes

Made This Recipe? Write a Review.
Thank you for submitting your review! A member of our team is confirming the review meets our site's Community Guidelines. It will be posted on the site shortly.

Known as soutzoukakia, these cigar-shaped meatballs are seasoned with cumin and garlic, then simmered in tomato sauce. The dish has origins in Smyrna, a former Greek settlement and now the Turkish city of Izmir on the Aegean coast. Our recipe is based on the soutzoukakia we learned from Alexandra Manousakis and Afshin Molavi of Manousakis Winery on the Greek island of Crete. Made with a combination of ground lamb and beef, the meatballs have a deep, rich flavor perfectly matched by the tangy-sweet tomato sauce. If you prefer, you can use 1 pound of either type of meat. An instant thermometer is the best way to check the meatballs for doneness; alternatively, cut one open—when done, the center should not be pink. The meatballs are browned on the stovetop, then finish cooking in the same pan in the oven, so you will need a 12-inch oven-safe skillet for this recipe. Soutzoukakia typically are offered as part of a meze spread, but served with rice, they’re a terrific main.

4 to 6



Don’t use tongs to turn the meatballs in the skillet. Until they’re browned on all sides, the soutzoukakia are quite delicate and easily marred by tongs. A thin metal spatula is better for rotating them.

1 hour 20 minutes


  • 2

    medium yellow onions, peeled

  • 3

    tablespoons panko breadcrumbs


Pardon the interruption

You need to be a Milk Street Digital Member to see the full recipe


and get access to all of our recipes and articles online, as well as in print.

How we use your email.

Your email address is required to identify your subscription. We will use it for customer service as well as other communications from Milk Street. We will not share, or rent your email address.

Chrissie S.
October 3, 2022
Nice recipe
The shape of the meatballs is not easy to work with. I will make this again but will try round meatball shapes instead. Also may increase the sauce a bit.
Robert F.
June 20, 2022
Really delicious
My wife and I love this dish. Easy to make and great with wine.
Kelly B.

Good, but didn’t wow. Will try again with crushed tomatoes, thinking the fresh tomatoes were lacking flavor this time of year. Summer tomatoes from the garden should be wonderful in this recipe. Will also use fresh oregano instead of dried in the meatball herb blend and sauce for added flavor.