Tzatziki

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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.

Tzatziki in a bowl surrounded by sliced cucumber and cherry tomatoes.

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 tsahseekey. 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.

Draining the liquid from grated zucchini.

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.

Tzatziki mixed in a bowl.

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.

Tzatziki in a bowl with a sprinkle of dill on top and surrounded by cucumber slices and cherry tomatoes.

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.

Scooping tzatziki out of the bowl with a slice of cucumber.

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.

Tzatziki in a bowl topped with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of dill, next to sliced cucumber and cherry tomatoes.

Best Tzatziki Recipe (Easy & Authentic)

4.95 from 39 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

Tzatziki is a creamy, yogurt-based sauce that will brighten up any summer meal. This easy, authentic recipe pairs beautifully with vegetables or grilled meats. Watch the quick video below to see how I make it!

Video

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 ½ cups Greek yogurt
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and grated
  • 2 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions 

  • 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.

Lisa’s Tips

  • This recipe yields about 2 cups of tzatziki. 

Nutrition

Calories: 59kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 160mg | Potassium: 110mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 36IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Appetizer, sauce
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Tzatziki, Tzatziki Recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally posted June 2020, but updated to include new information.

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




86 Comments

  1. Great recipe! Quick & easy to make and tastes a million times better than store bought brands.5 stars

  2. I agree with Deb’s advice to use an immersion blender to bring that recipe to an awesomeness level, so good it won’t last very long in my house..

    Thank you so much Lisa for this healthy and diabetic friendly recipe 🌺🙏

  3. I love tzatziki. And this was a simple easy to follow recipe with simple ingredients. I find myself coming back to your page for simple clean eating.5 stars

  4. Thank you so much Lisa for teaching me how to eat clean and also teaching me how to make many things at home with healthier ingredients!!! I have learned so much from you thank you 😊💖 Happy New Year!!!5 stars

  5. Best tzatziki ever!!!
    Super easy and delicious recipe! Last me in the fridge for a couple of days, until my husband finished it all, he even ate a bunch of celery with it!
    I got your book and I love it!!!! It’s my bible for food :)5 stars

    1. Thanks so much for buying my cookbook, Ale! And I’m happy you and your husband love this tzatziki. It really is great with celery!

  6. Tastes so fresh! I only gave 4/5 stars because I wasn’t a fan of the grated cucumber texture, but I used an immersion blender to smooth it out and it was just fine. Will make again!4 stars

  7. I have been following Lisa and making her recipes for 5 years now and I’m not kidding when I say EVERY single recipe is 10/10!!! This tzatziki recipe is another crowd favorite. Growing up, my dad would always make homemade tzatziki dip, so when I decided to surprise him with this recipe at our last family outing – he asked me for the recipe!! Seriously, it’s so delicious and I love how big of a batch it makes, so I have a veggie dip for my whole week!5 stars

    1. Aw, you’re so sweet, thanks Rose! I’m so happy you’ve enjoyed my recipes and thanks for being a loyal Downshifter. Tzatziki really is a must-make recipe for family outings!

  8. This recipe is so good! It’s a great way to use up garden cucumbers, too. I’ve used this sauce 3 times with a couple extra garlic cloves(were garlic crazy). The lemon juice makes it addicting. My husband loved it in his lunch for veggie dip the day after I used it for chicken gyros.We also used it to dip homemade potato wedges.Love it!5 stars

  9. My sister makes tzatziki sauce with sour cream, but it doesnt taste nearly as good as the tzatziki sauce made with yogurt.
    Thank you again Lisa for delicious and easy recipes ❤️

  10. I know i will love this like i do all of Lisa’s recipes so far.. the bowl of freshness is intoxicating as I continue to remove the moisture from the cukes.. Any advice on tips on removing all this water? I’ve tried the sieve push, cheesecloth and now I’m on @ my 40th piece of paper towelling. Any secrets anyone can share? For me this is turning an easy recipe into quite a long one.. But I can’t wait to taste it!!5 stars

    1. You don’t have to overdo it, cucumbers will always keep some moisture! As a Greek, a secret is to put some salt on the grated cucumber, it makes it easier to drain. An use real Greek yogurt, not runny/watery yogurt. The lemon in this recipe is the real twist, I had always used vinegar instead!5 stars

  11. This recipe is so easy to make and tastes so fresh! I made it tonight to serve with herbed chicken, cut veggies, roasted broccoli, and cantaloupe. A perfect combo for a warm evening. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  12. i just made this but swapped out the greek yogurt with whole fat regular organic yogurt since that’s all i had in hand.

    everyone needs to make this as it’s super duper easy and tastes phenomenal.

  13. First of all (and this comes from a Greek), tzatziki is pronounced jajeekee with the stress on the second syllable. It is a common mistake that foreigners make that has us struggling not to laugh as a nation every time we hear it. (It just sounds so weird otherwise!)
    Second, I would recommend cutting the cucumber into tiny cubes and adding it at the last minute. It makes a huge difference. Also, I would swap the lemon juice with white wine vinegar and the dill with dried peppermint. Although, dill is traditionally used in tzatziki nothing can match the combination of yoghurt and peppermint.4 stars

  14. So, have you ever tried this recipe with plain coconut yogurt instead of dairy milk yogurt?

    1. If you’re looking for a dairy-free option, I also have a vegan tzatziki recipe on the website :)

  15. Delicious! Super easy and pairs so well with the Greek Chicken Kabobs. I added a bit of honey and extra salt. Thank you for another great recipe from this site!5 stars

  16. Um…uh.  This isn’t a dip…this isn’t a sauce… this is so good you just eat it out if the bowl.  I think you could put this on a shoe and it would taste good.  I think I’m in love with Lisa because of this.5 stars

    1. Haha, it really is delicious on virtually anything, isn’t it? Except maybe the shoe 😉. I’m happy you enjoyed this recipe, Chris!

  17. I am not finding the video. It says it is below, but I cannot find the link. Can somebody help me? Thank you!

  18. My very first tzatziki ever and such a winner. So easy and spot-on flavorwise. Feels like being back in Greece. Thank you Lisa!5 stars

  19. I made this as a lighter appetizer dish with veggies for Thanksgiving so everyone could have a snack, but so it was not too filling. It was the perfect blend of ingredients and so flavorful. Even though it seems like a summer dish, everyone loved it and it was gone in a flash. 5 stars

  20. Hola! Hola! :D Been meaning to make this recipe but I never have fresh dill on hand. Is it possible to use dried and how much?

    1. While I think fresh is best in this recipe, you can certainly use dried as well. I’d use 1/3 the amount if using dried.

  21. This is THE tzatziki! It tastes so much more fresh than store-bought. I purchased a nut milk bag specifically for this recipe and I’m glad I did because I’ll keep making this until the day I die5 stars

    1. Oh yay, I’m so happy you love this recipe, Lauren! A nut milk bag comes in hand for several of my recipes, so I’d say that’s a great investment. :)

  22. Hi Lisa
    I am making your mayonnaise recipe.

    Can you substitute regular white vinegar in place of white wine vinegar?

  23. Hi Lisa!
    Which is lower calorie, your vegan tzatziki or this one?
    Is this one really just 36kcal?

    1. Hi Kimberly- regular tzatziki will have lower calories as the vegan tzatziki is made from cashews, which are higher in calories compared to yogurt.

  24. This is such a great recipe! It is so fresh and delicious. I are it with some Greek chicken I made, and created rice bowls with brown rice, chicken, red onion, and the tzatziki. It was delicious. I did make the mistake of not measuring the lemon juice, so I added a fit to much, but it still tasted great. Just a bit more tart.5 stars

    1. Hi Caille- What a perfect Mediterranean meal! Happy to hear this Tzatziki sauce turned out great. But yes, the lemon can be a bit strong sometimes!

  25. I just whipped this up really quickly to go with my Baked Tuna Meatballs (also from Lisa!). Seriously. Good. Easy. Quick. I can’t believe I have waited this long to make it! Thank you!!!5 stars

    1. Yay! I’m so happy you loved both recipes, Jennie. They really do go great together – enjoy! :)

  26. So so good. Love a good tzatziki!! I learnt to make these from the chef when we visited Santorini.5 stars

  27. No idea why, but I only ever make tzatziki during summer. Thanks for reminding me to make another batch.5 stars

  28. I’m preparing some cheese boards next week and I just love this recipe! I need to include it as another dip! 5 stars

  29. Hi Lisa, I love Tzatziki and I am making it frequently. I use vinegar instead of lemon but I’ll try your version too. Another idea how to use it is as salad dressing, goes fantastic with potato salad or plain lettuce salad. Regarding the pronunciation it might help if you read it as jajeekey because ‘tz’ in greek sounds more like ‘g’ as in gymnastic. Anyway :) I love your blog and thank you for sharing your recipes.5 stars

    1. Hi Sofi- Absolutely! It’s such a versatile recipe that can be used in so many ways which I’ve included in the blog post :)