Updated Aug 29, 2023
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Tzatziki is a creamy, yogurt-based sauce made from thick yogurt, grated cucumber, fresh dill, zesty lemon juice, and minced garlic. It’s a refreshing, cooling sauce you’ll love – just spread it onto grilled vegetables, grilled meat, or enjoy as a dip.
How to Pronounce Tzatziki?
First of all, you’re probably wondering how to pronounce this recipe (if you don’t already know). A quick breakdown is tsah–see–key. With an emphasis on tsah, which should sound like the z‘s in pizza. So now that we’ve got that figured out, let’s dive into what it is.
What is tzatziki?
Tzatziki is a refreshing cucumber and yogurt sauce that has made its way through Mediterranean cuisines. While it’s strongly linked to Greece, places like Turkey, Cyprus, and the Balkans all have their own twist on it. The common base is strained yogurt, cucumber, and dill, along with additional herbs such as parsley, cilantro, or mint.
It’s fresh and bright flavors make it perfect for pairing with grilled meats and gyros. Which is how it’s typically served. But I’d say it dresses up grilled veggies pretty nicely too. And of course, serving it as a dip on a mezze platter is a no brainer.
Greek Tzatziki Ingredients
While it may be difficult to pronounce, it’s easy to make (hooray). For the best authentic tzatziki, you need just a few ingredients:
- Greek Yogurt: To mimic the thick and creamy consistency of goat’s milk (in traditional Greek versions), full-fat Greek yogurt is ideal. But you can certainly use low-fat greek yogurt as well.
- Cucumber: The secret here is to grate the cucumber into shredded bits. It will give it that light but chunky texture.
- Dill: Use freshly chopped dill to maximize the herb-like flavors.
- Garlic: I’m using two garlic cloves here, but feel free to add one or two more if you like it extra garlicky.
- Olive Oil: A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to add to its creamy texture.
- Lemon Juice: A little squeeze of fresh lemon juice is added for added brightness.
- Salt: Just a pinch of kosher salt or sea salt ties everything together.
Are you dairy-free? Check out my vegan tzatziki – it’s a tasty alternative!
How To Make Tzatziki Sauce
Grate and drain the cucumber. After you’ve peeled and grated your cucumber, drain it in a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Make sure to press down to remove all the liquid. If you don’t have a sieve, you can also use a nut milk bag or cheesecloth to gently squeeze it until all the moisture is out. This is key to prevent watery tzatziki.
Mix it all together. Add all of the ingredients to a mixing bowl and stir together until it’s thick and creamy. Let the mixture rest to allow the flavors to meld together. Trust me, the wait will be worth it. You can also taste test here to see if you need extra lemon juice, herbs, or salt.
Let it rest. For the best tzatziki, I recommend letting the sauce chill in the fridge for a couple of hours, so that the flavors can meld together.
Ways to Dip, Drizzle, and Spread
Similar to hummus, tzatzki is great for using as a dip, sauce, or spread. Here’s a few ways to make the most of it.
- Dip it with my seed crackers, cassava flour tortilla chips, or sliced vegetables. And if you combine the crackers and veggies, it makes for the perfect mezze platter!
- Drizzle onto grilled skewers such as chicken souvlaki or these Greek chicken kabobs, meatballs such as these pork meatballs or tuna meatballs, seared salmon, roasted vegetables, zucchini fritters, or onto tabbouleh.
- Spread it onto my falafel flatbread with tomato slices and microgreens or inside a chicken or gyro sandwich.
Storing and Make Ahead Options
You can store it in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge. Just know that it might get a little more watery the longer it sits. I also don’t recommend freezing, as cucumbers can turn a bit mushy in the freezer, and the lemon might curdle the yogurt.
Complete Your Mediterranean Meal
Want more Mediterranean meal ideas? Here are some appetizers, sides, and snacks that are light, refreshing, and filled with spices.
Best Tzatziki Recipe (Easy & Authentic)
- Drain the grated cucumber by pressing down on it over fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Alternatively, you could use a nut milk bag or cheesecloth and gently squeeze until all the moisture is out.
- Mix all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl until everything is well combined.
- Let the mixture rest for a few minutes for the flavors to meld together. Taste test to see if you need to add any extra herbs, lemon juice, or salt.
- Serve immediately or let it chill in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- This recipe yields about 2 cups of tzatziki.
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Recipe originally posted June 2020, but updated to include new information.