Greek Meat Sauce “Kema”

by Mary Papoulias-Platis

Post image for Greek Meat Sauce “Kema”

This Greek Meat Sauce can save you time in the kitchen. Make a big batch for pasta night and keep it in the refrigerator or freeze it for many of your favorite meals. In the Greek household, this sauce remains the comfort food most kids remember. I know my brother will drive many miles for a bowl of this sauce with his spaghetti. You can find variations of this meat sauce in many of my other recipes such as: Pastitsio, and Stuffed Tomatoes and Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. This sauce is always better the next day! The difference in a Greek Meat Sauce as Kema, is the touch of cinnamon added to the dish. Cinnamon is commonly used in various sauces in the Greek cuisine, so please don’t leave it out.

Use the meat sauce as follows:

  • On any pasta as a topping
  • Use to stuff vegetables- eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini
  • Add it to your casseroles.
  • On pizza with feta, and red peppers


Use a large skillet to saute onions and meat.


Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until sauce thickens. It will turn much lighter in color. Cool. Store in the refrigerator up to 3-4 days or freeze until ready to use.


Greek Meat Sauce "Kema"

This Greek Sauce can be used for many of your dishes from simple pasta to casseroles and lasagna.
Course sauce
Cuisine California Greek
Keyword dinner, Greek, main dish, meat sauce
Servings 4 -6
Author Mary Papoulias-Platis


  • 1 pound ground beef or lamb
  • 3 chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste or 1 can tomatoes
  • 1-1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a pinch or two of cinnamon
  • Myzithera Cheese or Parmesan for topping


  1. In a deep skillet add the butter and cook the onions until tender.
  2. Add the meat and cook until browned.
  3. Add the tomato paste diluted with 1 cup water.
  4. (Or add the tomatoes,chopped)..
  5. Add the wine, bay leaf, salt ,pepper and cinnamon(optional).
  6. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes until sauce thickens and changes to a much lighter color.


© 2014 – 2022, Mary Papoulias-Platis. All rights reserved.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lizthechef

That pinch of cinnamon is the special Greek touch –

2 Mary Papoulias-Platis

You’re absolutely right Liz!

3 Trisha

Hi, love your blog. I made your New Year’s cake, it was wonderful. My friends and I traveled to Greece in September, so we had a Greek meal for New Year’s.

How many servings does this make? You mention making a large batch and I’m just curious if I should double the recipe.


4 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Thank -you Trisha and Happy New Year! I guess I left that off. It should serve 4-6 comfortably!

5 Nick @

Greek meat sauce is hearty and flavorful, and the ultimate comfort food. In our family we make sure to use plenty of cinnamon to perfume the sauce!

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