Soutzoukakia (Greek Meatballs in Red Sauce)

Soutzoukakia are spicy sausage-shaped meatballs that are lightly fried and then cooked in a tomato-based sauce. This dish comes from the once Greek part of Asia Minor, Smyrna, and was brought to Greece by refugees from Asia Minor.

Soutzoukakia are very filling and are perfect on cold winter days. They are best enjoyed with a side of rice or mashed potatoes.

Enjoy this traditional soutzoukakia recipe by Greek celebrity Chef Giorgos Tsoulis.


Soutzoukakia (Greek Meatballs in Red Sauce) with Rice

Giorgos Tsoulis

Soutzoukakia is a traditional Greek dish consisting of oblong-shaped meatballs made from ground beef mixed with various spices such as cumin and garlic, served in a rich and flavorful tomato sauce made with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and spices.

Prep Time 20 minutes

Cook Time 30 minutes

Waiting Time 30 minutes

Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Course Main Course

Cuisine Greek



For the meatballs:

  • 500 gr ground beef
  • 100 ml whole milk
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp cumin ground
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

For the sauce:

  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 500 gr crushed tomato
  • 2 whole spices
  • 200 ml water
  • salt
  • pepper


  • Place all the meatballs ingredients in a bowl and combine them by hand. Cover the bowl with transparent film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  • Shape the minced meat into balls about 60 gr each and place them on a large plate.

  • Heat a frying pan over medium to high heat, pour in the olive oil, and cook the soutzoukakia meatballs until golden all over. Once ready, transfer to a plate and set aside.

  • Using the same pan, reduce the heat to medium. Add the olive oil, onion, and garlic, and saut for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste with cumin and saut for an additional 1-2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, spices, water, salt, and pepper and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

  • Add the soutzoukakia meatballs to the sauce and continue cooking for another 5 minutes until they are well-cooked, and the sauce thickens.

  • Serve hot, accompanied by rice.


Chefs tip: Use milk along with soda to make the meatballs even fluffier.

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Giorgos Tsoulis

Celebrity Chef Giorgos Tsoulis specializes in modern Mediterranean cuisine and his recipes are widely appreciated not just in Greece and Cyprus but also around the world.

He has been the executive chef of numerous successful Greek restaurants, while at the same time hosting many popular culinary TV shows in Greece and Cyprus. Giorgos Tsoulis is passionate about educating his fans in more sustainable and healthy cooking and eating while making the most of the flavors of the ingredients.

As sustainable cuisine ambassador for WWF Hellas, he plays a key role in cooking activations that relate to the European #Eat4Change program, as well as the #Farm2Fork program.

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