A platter of tzatziki, drizzled with olive oil aside pita.

Tzatziki is a Greek yogurt- and cucumber-based condiment, typically seasoned with herbs such as mint and dill, garlic, and lemon. I grew up eating it with this chicken souvlaki, but I find it to be a nice match for both meat and vegetarian dishes alike:

The process of making tzatziki is simple: grate cucumbers, drain them in a sieve (if you wish), then mix them into Greek yogurt along with a minced clove of garlic, minced herbs, fresh lemon juice, and salt.

Until recently, I never drained the cucumbers, but taking the time to do so has a twofold benefit:

  1. It prevents the tzatziki from becoming too liquidy. If you like a tzatziki with a thick consistency, draining the cucumbers is important. If you don’t mind a thinner tzatziki, skip this step.
  2. Draining the cucumbers gives you a few tablespoons of fresh cucumber juice, which you can use to flavor water along with some mint, honey, and lemon OR which you can use in a cocktail (such as a cucumber-gin gimlet … more very soon!)

Here’s the play-by-play: Gather your ingredients:

Tzatziki ingredients.

Grate the cucumbers coarsely using a box grater.

Grated cucumber on a board.

Set the cucumbers in a sieve to drain.

Grated cucumber drained in a sieve.

Meanwhile, chop up some herbs and a clove of garlic.

Mint and garlic chopped on a board.

Combine Greek yogurt with the drained cucumbers, herbs, garlic, fresh lemon and salt.

A bowl of tzatziki.

Tzatziki is best served shortly after making it, but it will keep in the refrigerator for a day or two.

A jar of tzatziki.

I typically serve tzatziki with grilled meat, such as this chicken souvlaki or this smoky grilled chicken, or roasted vegetables, such as this roasted eggplant salad (a favorite!), but it’s good on its own, too. Smear it over a platter, drizzle some olive oil over top, and serve it with pita chips. Yum.

A platter of tzatziki, drizzled with olive oil aside pita.
A jar of tzatziki.
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A platter of tzatziki, drizzled with olive oil aside pita.

Tzatziki (Greek Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce)


Description

Tzatziki is a Greek yogurt- and cucumber-based condiment, typically seasoned with herbs such as mint and dill, garlic, and lemon. I grew up eating it with this chicken souvlaki, but I find it to be such a nice match for roasted vegetables, such as this eggplant salad, and vegetable burgers, such as these mushroom and sweet potato veggie burgers or these falafel burgers.


Ingredients

  • 1 large or 3 small cucumbers (about 810 oz)
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, I like the Fage 5%
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 23 tablespoons minced herbs, such as mint and/or dill
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh-squeeze lemon juice (from about 1/2 a lemon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Grate the cucumber coarsely on a box grater. Transfer to a sieve and set over a bowl to drain. Squeeze the cucumber a little bit to encourage the moisture to drain out. Let drain for at least 5 minutes. 
  2. In a medium bowl, stir the cucumber into the yogurt, along with the garlic, herbs, lemon, and salt. Taste. Adjust with more salt and lemon to taste. 
  • Category: Condiment
  • Method: Stir
  • Cuisine: Greek

Keywords: Greek, cucumber, yogurt, sauce, tzatziki, garlic, mint, dill