When my Chief Culinary Consultant lived outside of Washington, D.C., his apartment was within walking distance of umpteen restaurants, which we took advantage of regularly. One of my favorite places to grab food before we settled in to watch an afternoon football or hockey game was Moby Dick House of Kabob. We ordered the same thing every time – gyros and a platter of hummus and pita. We’d bring it back to my CCC’s apartment, spread it out on the coffee table and enjoy while we watched a game. Ever since he moved back to Pittsburgh two years ago, I’ve craved gyros. There are some places around downtown that I’m sure have some good ones, but none where either of us lived. Once we bought our house in May, I discovered that there was a gyro place about five minutes away… and they are good! Gyros are officially back in my life.
Even though I can get them readily again, I have long wanted to try my hand at making gyros at home. I finally made it happen, and as everyone knows, the first step to great gyros is great tzatziki sauce.
This sauce is incredibly easy to make, and the key is to make sure that the cucumber is salted and drained before being thoroughly dried and chopped fine. This ensures that the cucumber has had its water extracted before being mixed into the sauce. If you skip this step, the sauce will become watery. Once the cucumber is taken care of, the rest of the sauce is simply mixed together, with classic ingredients of Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and dill. (This is a fabulous recipe to use that homemade Greek yogurt we whipped up a few weeks ago!)
This tastes best when it’s been refrigerated for at least an hour or two so that the flavors have a chance to meld together, but I dug in immediately; no harm, no foul :)
Stay tuned, because tomorrow we’re making gyros!
Two years ago: Sea Salt Caramels with Vanilla Bean
Three years ago: White Sicilian Pizza
Six years ago: Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeds removed and cut into large chunks
- 1½ teaspoons (1.5 teaspoons) kosher salt, for draining cucumber
- 1½ cups (300 ml) plain Greek yogurt
- 1 small clove garlic, grated
- 4½ teaspoons (4.5 teaspoons) lemon juice
- 1½ teaspoons (1.5 teaspoons) chopped fresh dill
- Place the cucumber in a colander in the sink and sprinkle with the kosher salt. Let sit and drain for 30 minutes. Dry thoroughly with paper towels, then chop very finely.
- Combine the finely chopped cucumber with the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice and dill. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. The sauce can be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
Was spot on!
Was wondering if you can add to a food processor to combine
Every time I make tsatziki sauce, when I add the lemon juice, the yogurt turns to milk and the tsatziki sauce is too runny. No more lemon juice for me. Yogurt, cucumber and dill works fine for me.
So easy to make and delicious! I’ve been making this recipe for years and it’s a family favorite.
Is this the same as Moby Dick’s Cucumber Sauce? << That is what I was searching for…
Thank you much!
I’m not sure how much it tastes like it, but it might be close!
Way WAY too mich lemon juice. Before adding the lemon it was AMAZING. Maybe one tsp instead? Or add 1/2 a tsp at a time and taste test. It has a great aftertaste still but with 4 1/2 tsp it tastes like lemon sauce.
Yes, I finally found it, thank you for this! I actually really enjoyed making it. By any chance do you know how to make their Green Sauce as well?
I want to try this recipe but I don’t have bacon. Can I use bacon fat? How much? Tablespoon? Thanks!
Hi Martha, There is no bacon in tzatziki sauce?
I am SO planning on making this.
In Step 1, after the cucumbers have been drained, do you rinsed them of the salt before drying them?
Hi Louise, I do not rinse them.
Instead of rinsing cukes w/ water, just wipe them a little bit with dry paper towels, or a dry (hand)towel. Just a thought.
Can I mix sour cream with the plain Greek yogurt (& other ingredients)-to make Gyro sauce?
Hi Elizabeth, I used this as-is as a gyro sauce, but I’m sure you could stir in sour cream if you’d like!
Made this over the weekend and LOVED it. Thanks for sharing!
The Tzatziki Sauce sounds very good except for the garlic. Definitely NO on the garlic but the rest sounds better than any other recipe I’ve seen. This will be a keeper for me!
I have been making this Tzatziki Sauce and the Gyro recipe for about 6 months now and let me tell you IT IS AMAZING! I live in NYC and this just about beats any of the street meat vendors. I try to always keep the ingredients on hand. I have friends and family who stop by very often and I like preparing it for them. They are always impressed. I follow the recipe almost EXACTLY as written. The only modification is that I add a little Chicken Bouillon seasoning to the meat. It really is a delicious recipe!! Thanks so much for this!!!!!
I just want to apologize,….I made this again this morning,…but not with the yogurt,…I used sour cream, and everything else that you had in your recipe!! Love it!! Maybe i just got a bad Yogurt!! Again,…I’m sorry,..but with the sour cream it is delightful!!!
I just made this,…and it is absolutely awful,…it is just not what you get,…when you get a gyro,…at a pizza shop or anywhere else! I am so bummed!! I’ve been trying to add more of what you have in your recipe,…not so much!! Really disappointed! I bought my stuff the other day,…made it today,….just sad,…was looking forward to this great sauce!! Oh well,..I’ll have to look at someone elses recipe!! Not trying to be rude,….just was SO disappointed,…its in the trash!! Bummer!!
Was wondering if you could add ingredients to a food processor to combine
This is a wonderful recipe. I just want to tell you how much I enjoy your blog and find some amazing recipes.
This is so close to the reciper we used in cooking class in greece!, we were taught to shredded the cucumber like a block of cheese then salt let sit while the rest is put together then grab a handuful at a time and squeezed out all the water and then mix it into the dip . it may be an idea to keep in mind if you want some and dont have a half hour to wait on it draining
Been craving Tzatikki Sauce for weeks now and finally made your recipe today! Stumbled upon your blog while looking up ingredients for it earlier today while in the grocery store and now I’ve just spent the last two and a half hour obsessing over your blog! I’ve now added somewhere around 20 need to try recipes to my to do list! Cant wait to see how they all turn out, all of your stuff looks incredible!
Great recipe! but just so you know what you had at moby dick is a little different than tzatiki (does not have garlic, lemon juice or dill) and can also be a side dish in persian food. (mobdy dick: yogurt, cucumber, mint, salt and pepper)
This came in handy for a quick lunch (w/grilled chicken wraps). Family loved it. Thanks!
I really love your site. Your recipes are great and I love the dishes that I’ve made. However, I would like to mention that one of the basic ingredients of tzatziki that is not mentioned here is vinegar. Lemon juice is sour, but vinegar is what tzatziki really needs. That’s how we make it here in Greece.
What kind of vinegar and how much? Would you replace vinegar for the same amount that is listed for the lemon juice? I’m wanting to try it both ways to see which I prefer more.
I still have cucumbers to use from our garden. This is the perfect recipe. Yum!
I didn’t know it was that easy!
Mmm I love tzatsiki, and all nice simple, healthy ingredients =)
I love that I have every ingredient on hand to make this right now!
This would be such a hit at a party, thanks for the future yums!
I also grate, salt and then use my ricer to get rid of any excess moisture. If I can I leave the cukes for at least 4 hours in a sieve, lined with a coffee filter if I decide to forgo the ricer.
Mmmm! My Favorite! I could eat tzatziki on almost everything!
Oh I love tzatziki! My favourite is to have it with lavosh crackers, some cheese and a glass of white wine! Perfection!
I love tzatziki as a salad dressing and on sliced tomatoes!
This sounds SO perfect. When I first moved to Memphis over a year ago, I was so sad because I couldn’t find good, real Greek food (hate to pull the Greek card here, but I’m Greek and want REAL Greek food). I tried a local place, and ordered their tzatziki plain to try it (a real test)…one mouthful of mayo later, I’m never going back there again.
Yours has me dreaming of a real Greek restaurant. Simply divine.
cannot wait for the gyros tomorrow YUM!
Is it ok to use Low Fat or Non Fat Plain Greek Yogurt??
Hi Silvia, Yes, I used low fat Greek yogurt.
Does it cause a problem if you leave out the lemon juice? I can’t have the acid.
Hi Nancy, It is a staple ingredient for flavor and texture purposes, I’m not sure how it would taste without it.
This is one of my favorite sauces! In Greece, you can’t have souvlaki without tzatziki you know!
You could also add some good olive oil and 2-3 tablespoons of ouzo!
Simple and great!
I made tzatziki this weekend too!! I tried a trick from Ina Garten – you grate the cucumbers onto a kitchen towel and then wring out the moisture! Nice if you are in a rush. Yours looks so delicious, and I can’t wait to see your gyro recipe!
Was just going to make the same comment. This is close to how my husband does it. He grates the cucumber (and always only buy the skinnier european-style cucumbers rather than the american ones – they have far less moisture and seeds in them), salts it, lets it drain (assuming you have time) and then does the “wring out” afterwards to get any last moisture out of it. Depending on what we’re using the tzatziki for, we’ll use mint in addition to or instead of dill.
I grate and drain the cucumbers too! I was actually looking for some uses for the cucumber water that is drained off and that’s how I ended up here, in a round-about way. It always smells so delicious and I hate to waste it. I’m about to start a batch of tzatziki and tonight, I think I’ll try just drinking it!
We might could use the juice as a spritz on our face! That’s what I thought of!
A local Thai restaurant serves cucumber water. It is a refreshing thirst quencher for spicy Thai dishes.
Mmm!!! I love tzatziki! It is the perfect thing to top any greek food with!
Yes Tzatziki is very tasty and good with gyros. You could also try Tzatziki with french fries, or fried zucchini.
Our Village had a popular local burger place that after many years of absence, was resurrected by the family last month. They serve burgers, as they used to, with sliced tomato and finely shredded cabbage drizzled with Tzatziki sauce (Texas Ranger Burgers), OMG! TO DIE FOR!
Tell your CCC he’s SPOT ON with Moby Dick! My parents lived in Georgetown for 18 years and that was our FAVORITE carry out when we visited. Now, I work in Silver Spring with a Moby Dick within walking distance! Can’t wait to try this recipe… AT HOME!!
Used to be a Moby Dick’s in McLean, Virginia as well!
I’m one of those people that could eat this stuff straight from the spoon. LOVE it!
Oh, this is a very popular dip in Sweden. :) We just never put dill in it.