This easy recipe for the Greek yogurt and cucumber sauce Tzatziki takes less than 20 minutes to make and is delicious served as a dip or as a sauce for grilled meats and veggies.
A few years ago I had the pleasure of visiting Greece and tasted some of the best, most authentic Tzatziki (pronounced Taht-ZEE-kee) sauce of my life. Everyone in Greece makes their Tzatziki sauce a little bit different, and this is my version. Serve it as a sauce for grilled Shrimp Skewers or Lamb Meatballs, as a dip with Quinoa Crackers, or dollop onto some Zucchini Fritters or Falafel. This sauce is also known as Cacik in Turkey and Tarator in the Balkans.
Why this recipe works
- Beginner friendly recipe - anyone can make this!
- Short list of basic ingredients.
- Fast. It only takes 20 minutes to make.
- Versatile. It use it as a dip or a sauce - it goes great on everything!
- Greek Yogurt - For the best texture, you must use strained Greek yogurt. Traditionally in Greece Tzatziki is made with yogurt made from sheep's milk or goat's milk, but cow's milk yogurt is just as good. Full fat, whole milk yogurt will taste the best, but use whatever type of yogurt you prefer, just make sure it's a plain, strained, thick Greek style yogurt. My favorite Greek yogurt is from Cabot - it has 10% milk fat so it tastes exceptionally creamy. You can also use sour cream in place of the yogurt, or use a combination of the two, for an even richer Tzatziki sauce.
- Cucumber - I like to use the long, smooth English (or Seedless) cucumbers that are typically found wrapped in plastic at the grocery store because they have thin skin and less seeds than traditional cucumbers. You can easily substitute a regular cucumber, but you'll need to peel it, slice it lengthwise and remove some of the seeds with a spoon.
- Red Onion - Most Tzatziki recipes don't have red onion, but I like the little extra kick that it gives. A little goes a long way. If you don't like it, leave it out.
- Dill - Traditional Tzatziki does not include any dill, but I like to put it in mine. You can swap it out for fresh mint or use a combination of the two.
- Box Grater - I consider the box grater an essential kitchen tool. For this recipe, I use the small holes on one side to finely grate the garlic and onion, and the large holes on the other side to grate the cucumber.
Step by step instructions
- Using the small holes of a box grater to finely grate the garlic so that it makes a paste, then add it to a medium sized bowl.
- Grate the onion the same way so that you get about ½ teaspoon of grated onion and its juice, then add it to the bowl.
- Use the large holes of the box grater to grate the cucumber. You should end up with about ¾ cup of grated cucumber. Add it to the bowl.* (See note)
- Add the dill and yogurt to the bowl, season with salt and mix to combine. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice, taste, and add more as needed.
- Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Tips for success
- If using s standard cucumber has a thick, waxy or tough skin, peel it first. Same goes for the seeds - if they are tough and/or large, use a spoon to remove them before grating.
- Be careful with the grated onion - if you use too much and it will taste too strong. If you don't love onion, just leave it out.
- For a thicker Tzatziki Sauce, wrap the grated cucumbers in a tea towel and squeeze out all of the liquid before mixing.*
- For an extra thick Tzatziki, strain your yogurt even more by placing it in a cheesecloth or paper towel lined strainer and letting it sit, with a bowl underneath of it, for at least one hour or up to overnight. This will drain out more liquid from the yogurt, resulting in a super rich, thick and creamy Tzatziki Sauce.
- It's best to let the Tzatziki sit for a few hours before serving to let all of the flavors meld, but it will still taste great right after making.
Faq about Tzatziki Sauce
Tzatziki is traditionally served as a mezze or dip, as a sauce for grilled meats, veggies and seafood, and drizzled over gyros, falafel and other pita sandwiches. It's great served on the table as part of a light summer dinner with an assortment of grilled foods. There is no wrong way to eat Tzatziki!
Greek yogurt is simply regular yogurt that has been strained of it's excess liquid. Greek yogurt is thicker and creamier than regular yogurt which has a much looser texture.
Tzatziki is best eaten within 2-3 days, but it will keep for up to 5 days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. If you plan on making your Tzatziki in advance, be sure to squeeze out the liquid from the cucumbers before mixing.
Did you make this recipe and LOVE it? Please leave a star ⭐️ rating and/or comment to help other readers. I absolutely love hearing from you and do my best to answer all questions and comments. I love seeing when you make my recipes, so please tag me @ColeyCooks on Instagram and I will repost!Print