Spaghetti with Meat Sauce (Makaronia me Kima)

Three magic words to bring back the comforts of childhood for every Greek are makaronia me kima. This is a favorite family meal in Greece, tasty enough to interest adults yet totally kid-friendly.

Ingredients for the greek recipe, makaronia me kima, greek spaghetti with meat sauce.


1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb onions, chopped finely (a few small or a couple large)
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup red wine
2 lbs tomatoes, pureed in a food processor or grated.
6 whole peppercorns
1 stick of cinammon
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
3/8 tsp pepper (or to taste)

Cook It!

Put the ground beef in your pot, with the onions and garlic on top, and heat over medium high.

Saute onions and beef for greek recipe makaronia me kima, greek spaghetti with meat sauce.

When the beef begins to sizzle, that means it’s releasing its liquid and you should begin to break it up with a spoon, stirring the onion and garlic in as you go.

Break up the meat finely for the greek recipe makaronia me kima, greek spaghetti with meat sauce.

Keep stirring and chopping up the meat for about 10 minutes, until the beef is no longer pink and the onions have softened. Then add one cup of red wine.

Adding wine to the greek recipe makaronia me kima, greek spaghetti with meat sauce

Continue to cook over medium high, stirring frequently and continuing to break up the meat until it is in very small pieces with no lumps of meat left.

Simmering the beef in wine for greek recipe makaronia me kima, greek spaghetti with meat sauce.

Simmer until the wine has evaporated and the bottom of the pot is mostly dry. I couldn’t get pictures of the bottom of the pot through the steam, but here you can see there’s a lot of liquid with the meat and it needs more time to evaporate.

Wine has not yet evaporated from meat in the greek recipe makaronia me kima, greek spaghetti with meat sauce.

Now you can see the liquid is mostly gone. Time for the next step!

The wine has evaporated, ready for the next step in the greek recipe makaronai me kima, greek spaghetti with meat sauce.

Add the tomato puree and spices, and simmer partly covered for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add tomato sauce and spices to greek recipe makaronia me kima, greek spaghetti with meat sauce.

Boil spaghetti, and top the spaghetti with the meat sauce. Sprinkle with grated myzithra (or any hard cheese).

A serving of makaronia me kima, the greek recipe for spaghetti with meat sauce.

I am entering this in Presto Pasta Nights, hosted this week by Katie of Thyme for Cooking, and founded by Ruth of Once Upon A Feast.


  1. Comment by Peter

    Um-Hm…one of my faves, remind me of “giagia” making Makaronia.

    Peter’s last blog post..Greek Gazpacho

  2. Comment by Lulu

    Hi Peter, I know there’s lots of versions of this. Did your giagia use cinammon?

  3. Comment by maria verivaki

    i’ve never been such a fan of this one, although my husband is. i prefer mince with mashed potato or a bed of rice

  4. Comment by Ivy

    I have taken photos of this dish many months back but never got to post it with all the recipes I have accumulated. Mine’s a bit different so may be I will post it soon.

  5. Comment by Lulu

    @3 Maria, mashed potatoes with this do sound good.

    @4 Ivy, I’ll be very interested to see your version if you post it.

  6. Comment by katie

    The cinnamon is the Greek touch, isn’t it? The first time I tasted it I could figure out what it was, but I loved the flavor it added to the sauce. Great step-by-step!

    katie’s last blog post..Barley with Chives; Free laptop computer….

  7. Comment by manju

    I like how your sauce is more meat than sauce — looks really good! My MIL accidently put cinnamon in her pasta sauce one night when she was making us dinner at camp and she kept apologizing for her “mistake” but we told her that we had tried a similar dish in Greece and she refused to believe us. I’m sending her a link to your recipe so she can finally see (after 5 years) that she really was making a Greek, instead of Italian, dish that night! ; )

    manju’s last blog post..Guam Fiesta Plate: Red Rice, BBQ Chicken & Finadene

  8. Comment by Gloria

    Lulu, look soo yummy! you make me feel so hungry (is night here) I love it!! (reallyt I love all greek food) xxGloria

    Gloria’s last blog post..Cheese and prawns Flaky Dough Empanadas (Empanadas de hojaldre con gambas o camarones y queso)

  9. Comment by Cheryl

    Always a favorite! I haven’t made it like this in a while though as I’ve been making my mom’s recipe. Whenever I try anything new like swap cinnamon for the brown sugar…the kids detect it and I’m in the doghouse!
    Your recipes are always so easy to follow, great work Lulu!

    Cheryl’s last blog post..Weekend harvest

  10. Comment by Lulu

    @ #6 Katie, yes, it’s really the cinammon that makes it Greek.

    @ #7 manju, I’m so glad you now have ‘evidence’ for your MIL!

    @ #8 Hi Gloria! I wish I could email you some! :-)

    @ #9 Hey Cheryl, you’ve got to keep the little ones pleased! I’m going to be making a few meals for a family vacation that includes my nieces, and it’s more nerve-wracking than cooking for adults.

  11. Comment by noobcook

    Love the step by step photos! I wonder how the taste will change with the addition of the cinammon stick, I will try it out next time to add a greek touch to my pasta :)

    Thanks for visiting my blog! 😉

  12. Comment by Lulu

    Hi Noob! Hope you like it! Let me know what you think if you try it. (No pressure to like it. ‘Course, I’ll inform the Greek mafia if you don’t. :-)

  13. Comment by Paula

    Love, love,love the addition of cinnamon! Gosh, I bet it smells terrific, too! Your recipes are always so delightful. Double yum on this one!

    Paula’s last blog post..Perfect Pronto Pesto

  14. Comment by Lulu

    Thanks, Paula! And you’re right, the cinammon smells even better than it tastes, which is saying a lot!

  15. Comment by Laurie Constantino

    I’ve been playing around with different kinds of cinnamon lately and it’s surprising how much they vary. I’ve settled on a Vietnamese cinnamon for recipes like this – it adds a nice kind of spice. I like using this kind of sauce for pastitsio – mmmm.

    Laurie Constantino’s last blog post..Summer Doldrums with Recipe for Three Bean and Macaroni Salad with Green Olive Dressing

  16. Comment by Lulu

    Hey Laurie! I had no idea that different cinammons would be, well, different. I wonder if it’s due to climate, tree varieties, or proccessing? Not that it really matter to us eaters though.

  17. Comment by Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    Love the addition of cinnamon here — most people don’t realize how well it compliments beef, not just in Asian cooking but in stews, too.

  18. Comment by Lulu

    Hi Lydia! That’s absolutely true. I certainly had no experience of cinammon in savory dishes until I was introduced to it in Greek cuisine.

  19. Comment by Bellini Valli

    For every cook there is probably a slightly different version. Brings me back to my days in Calgary:D

    Bellini Valli’s last blog post..Taste & Create – Roasted Garlic & Grape Tomato Pasta with Basil & Arugula

  20. Comment by Lulu

    I agree Val, it’s one of those things that can go many ways.

  21. Comment by Teresa


    Thanks for the link! Dh is gonna love this one. :-)

    Teresa’s last blog post..My Kitchen My World: Jamaica!

  22. Comment by Lulu

    You’re welcome, Teresa!

  23. Pingback by Everybody’s working for the weekend. « Irene en route.

    […] when I went to Greece, I had a really simple meal of spaghetti with meat sauce (it’s probably this, which looks fucking delicious) that tasted so fantastic and unlike any spaghetti I’d had before.  Well, since not […]

  24. Comment by vicki

    not only cinnamon, but nutmeg.. that is something makes you wonder what is that?

  25. Comment by Eleni

    Cinnamon, with a dash of nutmeg and allspice, is what makes a good Greek spaghetti sauce.

  26. Comment by Deno

    Cinnamon has become a staple in Greek meat dishes. Hundreds of years ago cinnamon was used to cover/disguise the foul smell of meat. As adding cinnamon became regular practice in Greek homes it was incorporated in many meat dishes the mos famous being Makaronia me Kima.

  27. Comment by Don H.

    This recipe looks great and think I’ll make it a bit “more Greek” using ground lamb versus beef. Cinnamon and allspice are also the spices that make Cincinnati style chili (like Skyline) so unique and GREAT versus traditional chili sauce. This recipe is like Greek 3 way “chili”!

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