Three Recipes for Skordalia: Greek Garlic Sauce

Yesterday here in Greece we celebrated Greek National Independence day and also the feast of the Holy Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. Now I won’t go into the stories of these 2 events, but I will discuss what Greeks typically eat on this day…Yes, it’s all about the food.

We continue to be in the fasting period, and this day is one of the few days that fish is allowed. Greeks typically eat fried salted cod, bakaliaro and skordalia (a type of garlic dip). Obviously, fried salted cod doesn’t sound too healthy but if you think about it, it isn’t that bad. Cod is low in fat and calories so even frying it will not really make it excessively calorie rich. A healthier alternative with less salt, is using fresh cod baked in the oven with tomatoes, onions, parsley, olive oil and garlic and, my mom adds raisins, also known as bakaliaro plaki.

As for the skordalia, I have to say that it is definitely potent but delicious. Skordalia is also served with boiled beets, complementing each other perfectly. You can call skordalia a dip, but personally I believe it is too strong to just serve as an appetizer with bread sticks. Apart from the beets, this sauce usually accompanies the cod or is cooked together with pork or rabbit. It needs a strong wine as well.

Skordalia is like other Greek dips; rich, healthy, full of antioxidants, in this case from the garlic and olive oil (and walnuts if you add them). Skordalia can be made with potato, bread or with a combination of walnuts (sometimes almonds) and bread. Potatoes will give you a smoother consistency, while the bread skordalia will be a bit grainier. And no, skordalia does not contain cream. The recipes below are slightly changed versions from the traditional cookbook Hrisa Paradisi.

Salted cod and garlic on sale

Traditional Greek Skordalia

Traditional Greek Skordalia


  • 7-8 garlic cloves
  • 1 pound of potatoes
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • Salt


  1. Peel the potatoes cut in cubes and boil in water until soft.
  2. Once boiled, strain and mix with a hand mixer until smooth.
  3. In a food processor process the garlic cloves with a bit of salt until it is a paste.
  4. Add ½ of the olive oil in the food processor and continue mixing.
  5. Add the garlic paste to the potato and mix with a wooden spoon.
  6. Add the rest of the olive oil gradually, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing until oil is absorbed.
  7. Add a bit of red wine vinegar for taste, mix well.


To make skordalia with bread instead of potato follow the same recipe but instead of using potatoes, use 10 ounces of stale bread (without the crust) soaked in water and vinegar. Squeeze well and then mix and work the mixture with the garlic paste with a fork or with your hands until it is well combined. Than add the olive oil gradually.

Skordalia with Walnuts


  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 2 ½ ounces of walnuts
  • 1 large slice stale bread
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • Salt

1.  Grind the walnuts.

2.  In a food processor process the garlic cloves with a bit of salt until it is a paste.

3.  Add the walnuts to the garlic paste and mix well.

4.  Soak the bread (without the crust in water and vinegar) and then squeeze well.

5.  Mix the bread with the walnuts and garlic mixture. Mix until smooth.

6.  Add olive oil gradually until olive oil is absorbed.

7.  Add a bit of red wine vinegar for taste.

Nutritional Value per 2 tablespoons Skordalia: 72 calories, 0.48 grams protein, 6.5 grams fat, 3.8 grams carbohydrates

Photo #1 for flickr by Klearchos Kapoutsis
Photo #2 by Olive Tomato

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  • Reply fran fry February 17, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Hi…enjoy your recipes and comments. your recipes for the delicious sounding sauce were passed onto me in us by a cook-friend in japan. i would like to use a couple of your recipes in a future column on cooking lamb. i write a food column called the frying pan for two small papers in pa. will be glad to cedit you and your site. thanks.

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD February 17, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      Thank you, glad you enjoy the recipes. The content on olivetomato is copyrighted-Please contact me directly at

  • Reply Dino Androuliakos March 10, 2013 at 7:55 am

    Hi Elena. I have been surfing the web for Skordalia like my mother used to make it. Your recipe looks like the exact one ! Thank you. Can you tell me how to make Pastruma ? It seems the powder for coating the dried meat was a secret ?

  • Reply Traditional Greek Roasted Salted Cod with Onions, Tomatoes and Raisins-Bakaliaro Plaki | Olive Tomato March 23, 2014 at 9:58 am

    […] So on this official holiday it is common to eat salted cod. It can either be consumed fried with skordalia (garlic dip) or roasted with onions, tomatoes and raisins (bakaliaro […]

  • Reply Anonymous April 4, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    Thank you

  • Reply Sonny Raguso April 9, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    I love Skordalia! I just wanted to pass along another serving suggestion. Here in Chicago, Spring means Fresh Smelt, and I always serve my smelt deep-fried with crispy fried baby Artichokes and plenty of Skordalia. Try it, it’s delicious!

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD April 10, 2014 at 7:04 am

      Thanks for the suggestions Sonny! Skordalia and fish are such a greta combo. Those artichokes sound yummy

  • Reply Great Website! May 28, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    I have a lot of potatoes and was thinking about making a large batch of skordalia. Can it be frozen?

    • Reply Helen Robles June 26, 2014 at 3:59 am

      I have refrigerated and safely ate skordalia after two weeks of being refrigerated with no problem!

  • Reply Helen Robles June 26, 2014 at 3:57 am

    I believe my Mom made the skordalia a bit smoother by adding a bit of fish broth from the dry cod. Have you heard of this?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD June 26, 2014 at 5:55 am

      Hi Helen,
      I’ve never heard of that but it sounds like a great idea because you will also get an infusion of flavor. Thanks for sharing!

      • Reply Wendy Reeves March 24, 2015 at 4:49 pm

        Hi Helen, First, love the recipes. Never heard about the one with walnuts. To answer the person above, I was taught that a little of the starchy water from boiling the potatoes helps, both with skordalia and taramosalata, to make it more “elafri”, that is lighter, more “whippy”. Works great! Always preferred lemon juice over vinegar, and…one more suggestion… is AWESOME with koukia!!

        • Reply Wendy Reeves March 24, 2015 at 4:52 pm

          Whoops, meant to address Elena, and refer to Helen’s post 🙂

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  • Reply Cathie Stamos-Plassmann August 23, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    Your recipe for Skordalia that includes the stale bread and walnuts is the closest to the one my mom makes. Sometimes she makes it with the walnuts, other times with the almonds, or both. As a child I remember her making it in a large wooden bowl with a very large wooden pestle and I would have the task of mashing up the garlic with the salt, and would then take turns with my mom adding the other ingredients and mashing till smooth. When I got married my aunt gave me a very large wooden mortar and pestle and I would make my own skordalia. We eat it with fried zucchini and also with cooked dandelion greens and a Greek vegetable dish called magerema. Since I grew up with the “bread” version, I’ve never been able to get used to the potato version. The bread version seems to last a long time, although it doesn’t usually last that long around here!

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD August 24, 2014 at 9:06 am

      Thanks for sharing Cathie! I also prefer the bread version!

  • Reply P Soileau September 2, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    I buy skordalia at our farmers market and the vender SWEARS that the ingredients are olive oil, garlic & citrus…no potato, bread etc. Can that be possible?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD September 3, 2014 at 7:07 am

      It sounds like the vendor is describing some sort of garlic paste, not skordalia.

  • Reply 10 Greek Food Ingredients to Add to Your Diet Now | Olive Tomato November 13, 2014 at 1:38 pm

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  • Reply Golfo Vastakis March 26, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    We make the walnut skordalia all the time, especially during Lenten periods, as it is a staple from our area in Central Greece. As a shortcut, I’ve had great success in putting all the ingredients in the Vitamix and blending together….adding more olive oil as needed. Look forward to reading more of your blogs!

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD April 2, 2015 at 6:29 am

      Thank you for sharing Golfo! These mixers are such a great help.

  • Reply Nosh: Super-Garlicky Mashed Potatoes (Sort-Of Skordalia) | beyondpaisley April 29, 2015 at 5:28 pm

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  • Reply Terri September 18, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Had this last weekend at a restaurat, loved it and they told me the ingredients. They use Texas toast, garlic, lemon and olive oil. I made some this morning but added too much lemon zest. Then I looked up a recipe haha. Thanks for the help your recipes are very helpful. T

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD September 23, 2015 at 7:11 am

      Thanks for sharing Terri! I didn’t know what Texas toast was, but I looked it up.

  • Reply Dafna January 4, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    These recipes look great! Any idea how long I can keep this in the fridge? Can it be frozen?

  • Reply Julie April 20, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    My mom was a terrific cook! Born and raised in Constantinople, she was the queen of mezethakia! Her secret to a silky, white skorthalia, was pignoli nuts. Never, ever, potato! I will be making her bacaliaro and skorthalia on Palm Sunday. Have a Blessed Pascha✝

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