You might know it as the cucumber sauce for gyros, but this flavorful and healthy greek yogurt dip is so much more! Greek Tzatziki is delicious on everything!
Authentic Greek Tzatziki
Tzatziki is made with yogurt, grated cucumber, fresh garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and seasoned with fresh herbs (usually dill).
I learned how to make Authentic Greek Tzatziki after buying a few store-bought brands. The store-bought tzatziki didn’t have the same fresh flavor that I craved.
Luckily, homemade tzatziki sauce is easy to make.
And making this delicious sauce at home is way cheaper too!
I usually make a large batch of yogurt sauce because it tastes incredible on practically everything.
I use this exact recipe in my Greek Meal Prep Bowl because it is healthy a full of protein.
Let’s Get Started!
Also, if you are going to make tzatziki you might as well figure out how the heck tp pronounce it!
Zat-Zee-Key! OR hear the actual tzatziki pronunciation.
What is Tzatziki Dip Made Of?
Traditionally tzatziki is made with strained goat or sheep milk yogurt. You may be able to find this, but I find that in the US, it is easier to use more commonly available Greek Yogurt.
Greek Yogurt is also a strained yogurt and has a thicker consistency than plain yogurt or European style yogurt.
I stick with full-fat yogurt, but using low-fat or fat-free Greek yogurt to make this yogurt dill sauce is perfectly fine. There is not a significant texture difference when compared to the full-fat version.
The most critical step in this recipe is shredding, salting, and then removing the excess water from the cucumbers.
The easiest way to remove water from your cucumbers is:
- Shred the cucumbers using a box grater. (you can use a food processor for this as well)
- Add the shredded cucumbers to a bowl, sprinkle with salt and then toss.
- Let the salt and cucumber sit while you prepare the rest of the Greek yogurt sauce.
- Strain the cucumbers into a seize.
- Turn the cucumbers out on to a clean dishtowel.
- Roll everything up into a ball and squeeze out as much water as you can.
I use Persian cucumbers or English cucumbers for my Tzatziki sauce recipe.
Both Persian and English cucumbers have a mild flavor and a more tender skin. Plus, the seeds are relatively nonexistent, so you don’t have to worry about peeling or de-seeding them.
If you can’t find Persian or English cucumbers, then I would recommend peeling the cucumbers and removing most of the seeds.
Fresh garlic is always best. But I do sometimes substitute with pre mince jarred garlic.
Christopher Ranch is a popular brand that you can find almost anywhere.
PRO-TIP: To remove the garlic smell from your hands and fingers, save the lemon rinds from this recipe and smash them all over your fingertips. To get the garlic smell out of my cutting board I sprinkle on a little Kosher salt and then rub it in with the halved lemon rinds.
Fresh Lemon Juice is a flavor that is seen a lot in Greek recipes.
Lemon juice adds a not of bright freshness to tzatziki that makes in the perfect gyro sauce.
Gyros are usually made with ground lamb, garlic, and other strong spices, like oregano. The flavor of lamb tastes so wonderful when eating with this refreshing, creamy, dill flavored yogurt dip.
The lemon juice gives this sauce just the right amount of acidity.
When making fresh tzatziki you will want to choose an olive that has a lot of flavor.
Choose a high-quality Extra Virgin Olive oil.
Bottles labeled as Virgin Olive Oil have less flavor. And the ones labeled as Olive Oil and can actually be refined. Which you definitely do not want.
Buying olive oil can be a lot like buying wine. It’s confusing, and you might just pick the prettiest label. DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE!
If you want more info on how to pick the right olive oil, check out this article.
I always use non-iodized salt.
Sometimes I am not even sure why iodized salt is sold these days. Who uses that stuff? Anyhow.
Pick Kosher salt or Himalayan pink salt. I also love Real Salt from Redmond. I buy the coarse ground Real Salt and keep it in one of my salt grinders.
I’m a tiny bit of salt obsessed.
Do you know how some people collect magnets when they travel? I collect salt. I love the different colors and flavors of salt. I know, I’m strange.
Now that you have everything you need to make the Best Tzatziki Sauce — Let’s get to it!
How to make tzatziki sauce 101
- Start by getting out two large bowls, a box grater, a metal sieve or strainer, and a clean kitchen towel.
- Get all of your ingredients out and ready to go.
- Start by shredding your cucumbers with the box grater. You can also use a large handle for this step.
- Set the sieve over a large bowl and then add the cucumbers to that sieve. Salt and toss the cucumbers. Let them sit while you prepare the rest of the tzatziki.
- Add the yogurt, fresh garlic, lemon juice, and salt to the second bowl.
- Add the fresh dill and the olive oil.
- Stir until everything is well combined.
- Add the cucumbers to a clean kitchen towel, press as much water out as possible.
- Add the strained cucumbers to the yogurt sauce.
- Stir and then serve with everything!
What to Serve Tzatziki With
Grilled or Roasted Vegetables
- Red Bell Peppers
- Egg Plant
- Red Onions
As An Appetizer Dip with
- Fresh Pita Bread
- Pita Chips
- Fresh vegetables
- Greek Meatballs
As A Sauce with:
- Pita Sandwiches
- Greek Meal Prep Bowl
Storing Tzatziki and other FAQs
How to store fresh tzatziki.
Store fresh homemade tzatziki in an airtight container up to a week. Some water may still surface from the cucumbers. Simply give it a quick stir before you serve it.
How about Freezing Tzatziki?
I have read that you can freeze tzatziki, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Freezing may preserve its freshness, but cucumbers usually do not freeze well and will be mushy.
If you think you may need to freeze it, you could make half the batch and then also leave out half of the cucumbers. The yogurt dip by itself should be fine in the freezer, especially full-fat yogurt.
Thaw the yogurt and add cucumbers before serving.
If you liked this recipe, leave a comment! I’d love to hear how it came out and what you ate it with.
Oher Appetizer Recipes You’ll Love
- box grater
- Shred cucumber and place in a mesh strainer. Sprinkle with salt. Toss and set aside. This step pulls out the excess water in the cucumber and keeps the tzatziki from becoming too watery.
- Mix yogurt, garlic and dill, lemon juice, and olive oil.
- Press the liquid out of the cucumbers and then add to yogurt mixture.
- Salt and pepper to taste.