Cooking Methods Used in Greece

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Fire hearth of ancient stoveWhen cooking Greek food here in the United States, we use the resources that are available to us. For most of us, that means we most commonly use our stovetops, ovens, and occasionally the gas or charcoal grills that we may have outside. However, the story is a little bit different in Greece. Sure, there are plenty of modern kitchens that are equipped in the same way as our kitchens here are, but that’s not the only way people cook. Traditional cooking methods are still commonly used, especially in the villages. Here’s an overview of some of the different methods people use to cook in Greece:

Clay Oven

While eating in a taverna that was tucked away in a village during a recent stay to Greece, it was hard not to notice the large clay oven that the owners used to cook the majority of the food. Sure, they did have a kitchen that is similar to ours here in the United States, but many of the larger dishes, such as the roasted chicken and green beans that they had on special that day, were slow cooking in the clay oven, which was being heated by wooden logs. These ovens are ultra traditional and have been used in Greece for hundreds of years. Sometimes, there will only be one or two of these ovens in the entire village, and people take turns using them throughout the day to bake bread and make other dishes.

Clay Pot Cooking

Greeks often use clay pots to cook some of their specialty dishes. In some areas of Greece, foods such as lamb and vegetables are packed into a clay pot with spices and sealed away in a clay oven for several hours as it gently slow cooks. Other methods require burying a small, sealed clay pot underneath hot coals directly into the ground. Modern cooks often get similar results by using clay or ceramic cookware and slow roasted dishes in their modern ovens. However, wherever you can find a clay oven, chances are pretty good that the people often use clay pots to cook.


Another common Greek method for cooking foods is to do so on a spit, which involves piercing foods, usually meat such as goat or lamb, with a large pole and rotating it over a fire. Nowadays, you can find steel spits that turn automatically using a motor. However, the old method of tying meat to a spot and turning it by hand is still used when a motorized spit isn’t available. This is an especially common way to cook the Easter lamb not only in Greece, but among Greek communities all over the world.

Although cooking methods in Greece vary depending on the region, many home cooks have adapted to modern cooking methods that involve the stovetop, grill, and oven. However, there are still places in Greece where traditional methods, such as the clay oven, are still used pretty frequently. If you have the opportunity to try foods cooked using these styles, you won’t want to miss out!

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This post was written by Greek Boston

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