This classic tzatziki recipe is made with just a few ingredients and will be ready in only 10 minutes. It's perfect for vegetables, meat, or simply as a dip. Check out our video and step-by-step tutorial.
One of the important things about Mediterranean recipes and especially Greek recipes is that they are made with fresh and ingredients. Today, I want to talk to you about a classic Greek cucumber and yogurt sauce called tzatziki. You can serve it as a dip alongside other Greek dips and spreads such as skordalia and and melitzanosalata or use it as a sauce on chicken gyro or souvlaki.
What is tzatziki?
Tzatziki (Tsaht-zee-kee) is a Greek sauce found throughout the Mediterranean and the Middle East. This yogurt sauce is known as cacik in Turkish cuisine and has similarities to Iranian mast-o-khiar. It's common to serve it as a dip or spread. Tzatziki is usually made with strained goat or sheep's yogurt, cucumber, salt, herbs such as dill and mint, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice or vinegar.
Tzatziki sauce is often served in Greek or Mediterranean restaurants as a side dish or mezze alongside main dishes and adds a refreshing note to the flavor profile of the dishes it accompanies, thanks to its blend of cucumber and yogurt. This sauce is usually served cold.
Is it good for you?
Nutritionally speaking, this yogurt cucumber sauce is a light addition to meals relative to popular condiments like mayonnaise or ranch. Since it's made with yogurt, tzatziki is also a good source of protein.
This is truly the best Greek tzatziki recipe because it's delicious, easy and simple. It has just a few ingredients:
- Cucumbers: It's best to make this recipe with seedless cucumbers such as English cucumbers or Persian cucumbers. If the cucumber you're using is too seedy, scoop out the seeds using a small spoon. You don't need to peel the cucumbers to make tzatziki at home.
- Yogurt: I love using Greek yogurt because it's thick and has the perfect consistency for this Mediterranean sauce, but we can use regular yogurt or whole milk yogurt too.
- Garlic: I like the flavor of garlic to shine in this recipe so I use a few cloves. If you like it more subtle, you can use less garlic. I suggest you avoid using garlic powder.
- Fresh dill: You can also use dried dill if fresh is not available.
- Olive oil: I love finishing this recipe with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. It gives such a nice flavor.
- Lemon: Just a hint of lemon adds so much brightness to this Greek sauce.
Preparing the cucumbers
To make tzatziki, you need to grate the cucumbers. As you know, cucumbers have a lot of water in them and they start releasing it once they're grated.
To prevent your tzatziki from becoming too watery, it's best to squeeze grated cucumber and discard the liquid. By squeezing the grated cucumber, you'll make sure that the Greek tzatziki will have a thick and spreadable consistency.
Kitchen tip: You can place the grated cucumber in a cheese cloth and let the liquid drain instead of squeezing it with your hands.
- Grate the cucumbers and squeeze them very well. Discard the liquid and put the cucumber in a bowl.
- To the grated cucumber, add yogurt, minced garlic, fresh dill, olive oil, lemon juice and salt.
- Mix well until all the ingredients are combined.
- Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
This tzatziki recipe is very simple and you can whip it up in no time. It goes well with with many dishes. Here are some of my serving suggestions:
- As a part of a mezze platter with hummus, dolmas, vegetables and pita chips.
- With grilled meat dishes such as garlic chicken, beef shish kabob, keftedes or kofta kebabs.
- Spread on pita bread to make a gyro or chicken souvlaki wrap.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can make this Greek cucumber sauce ahead of time. Cover it and refrigerate for up to one day. To serve, give it a good stir and top with some fresh herbs.
I don't recommend freezing tzatziki because it contains dairy. When you freeze dairy sauces, frozen dairy crystals will form in the sauce and once thawed, the sauce will lose it's consistency and flavor.
If the non-dairy yogurt you use is thick and tastes like Greek yogurt, you can definitely use a non-dairy variations.
Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Notes and tips
- You can add mint in addition to or instead of fresh dill. Herbs make this yogurt and cucumber sauce very tasty.
- Tzatziki sauce is best served fresh and cold. You can store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for about 3 days. Stir the sauce well before using it.
- When using fresh garlic, you may find that the taste is too strong. If so, please let it sit in the fridge for a few hours before serving. The longer it sits, the less of a bite the garlic will have.
- This recipe calls for minced garlic cloves. I don't recommend taking any shortcuts such as using garlic powder, mashed garlic or store-bought minced garlic since they lack some of the flavor of freshly minced garlic.
Looking for more Greek recipes?
- Eggplant Moussaka
- Greek Pastitsio
- Greek potatoes
- Greek salmon salad
- Lemon chicken orzo soup
Tzatziki Recipe (Greek Cucumber Sauce)
- 3 Persian cucumbers
- 2 cups Greek yogurt
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tbsp fresh dill chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Wash and dry the cucumbers. Peel them in stripes and grate them in a large bowl.
- Squeeze the grated cucumber in your hand and discard the excess water.
- Place the squeezed cucumbers in a bowl and add in yogurt, minced garlic, fresh dill, salt and lemon juice.
- Mix well and cool in the fridge for thirty minutes.
- Stir well and serve with grilled meat, veggies or pita bread as a dip.
- You can use one English cucumber instead of three Persian cucumbers.
- Don't use garlic powder or store-bought minced garlic instead of garlic cloves in this recipe.
- You can add mint to this Greek sauce in addition to or instead of fresh dill. Herbs make this yogurt and cucumber sauce very tasty.
- Tzatziki sauce is best served fresh and cold. You can store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for about 2 days. Stir the sauce well before using it.
- When using fresh garlic, you may feel that the taste is too strong. If so, please let tzatziki sit in the fridge for a few hours before serving. The longer it sits, the less of a bite the garlic will have.