Aug 1, 2008

Kay’s Tzatziki

Filed under: Greek Food,sauces,Recipes — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Kay @ 9:20 am

Pita Gyros with Greek potatoes for dinner tonight. Now what makes Greek food really great is Tzatziki. I love the stuff. On top of meat, chicken, French fries or just with plain bread as an appetizer. I like it all. Doesn’t matter if it’s prepared authentically or with a twist. I always make my Tzatziki in the morning (often even the night before) so that all the separate ingredients slowly come together and form an outburst of flavors.


Greek yogurt
1/2 cucumber
Garlic (to taste)
Mint (dried or fresh)
1 tsp olive oil
Lime (or lemon)
Red or green chili pepper
Salt & Pepper
Parsley (optional)


Basic stuff here. Start by peeling the skin off the cucumber, even though you could also just clean the cucumber and leave it on, I guess. Matter of taste, when it comes to raw vegetables I always prefer taking it off, God knows how many sweaty hands grabbed it before you put it in your mouth, you know? I’m pathetic like that. Good thing I’m taking the gyros route tonight because I don’t think this cucumber would have survived another day in my fridge. See what a sad excuse for a cucumber I have to work with here?!?

Now take its guts out with a spoon.

Thinly slice it and sprinkle a royal amount of salt on top.

The salt will dehydrate the cucumber so the sauce won’t get too watery once its added. See how the water is already surfacing right after I added the salt? Transfer the slices to a colander and let them drain, the longer you’ll let them sit there the dryer they will become, so don’t leave them too long or they’ll end up all sad and shriveled up.

I cut the onion in half and only used a few very thin slices. You don’t want the onion to be too overpowering.

Chop the chili pepper. I used about 1/3 of a fairly large pepper. Depending on how spicy you like it, use more or less. I like it spicy so I also leave some of the seeds in.

Grate, chop or crush the garlic, just do whatever you like doing to it. I always either chop or grate, don’t think I even own a garlic press. I have these Ikea graters (just E1 a piece) all over the kitchen and use them for everything. Ginger, garlic, cheese, you name it it, I grate it. Remember that garlic flavor tends to become stronger over time, and since you’ll want to make the sauce ahead of time, don’t use too much. It’s Tzatziki, not plain garlic sauce.

Reminds me, I recently bought this garlic bag. Thought it looked cute (hey now, I’m a woman:) and it holds quite a few bulbs. Was amazed to find it wasn’t just a fun gadget, but it really works, too. The garlic keeps fresh much, much longer than it normally would. They also sell them for onions and potatoes, so am definitely buying those as well. But anyway, I digress.

Open up a jar of good and thick Greek yogurt. If you open the jar and find yourself frowning because it looks more like putty than it looks like yogurt; you know you have the right stuff!

I used about 6 heaping tablespoons. This should easily serve 4 people.

The trick is to try and keep the stirring to a bare minimum – the more you stir, the thinner your Tzatziki will be. So throw everything on top, add a tsp olive oil, a good pinch of salt (don’t overdo but especially don’t skimp, it will take a lot of salt before it gets too much and an under-seasoned Tzatziki tastes horrible) a fair amount of pepper, 1/4 tsp dried mint and a good squeeze of fresh lime juice. Feel free to use lemon juice, I just prefer lime juice.

Use a tea towel or some kitchen paper to dab the cucumber and add them to the mixture as well, sprinkle some parsley on top.

Now gently fold everything together, taste and adjust the seasoning when needed. Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to give the flavors a chance to blend together and to let the sauce thicken a bit more.

You end end up with a beautiful, thick and tasty sauce that’s so versatile you can use it with anything, but especially try it alongside grilled meat or chicken. Serve on a pretty platter and garnish with some lime or lemon slices, cucumber curls, finely chopped chili pepper and a bit of parsley or mint.

Kay’s Tzatziki
  • Greek yogurt
    1/2 cucumber
    Garlic (to taste)
    Mint (dried or fresh)
    1 tsp olive oil
    Lime (or lemon)
    Red or green chili pepper
    Salt & Pepper
    Parsley (optional)
  1. Peel the cucumber cut it in half and use a spoon to remove the seeds. Thinly slice it, transfer the slices to a colander and sprinkle with a generous amount of salt. Let them drain for a while.

    Thinly slice a small piece of onion and chop the chili pepper. Grate or chop the garlic. Combine 6 tbsp Greek yoghurt with salt and pepper to taste, 1 tsp oil, 1/4 tsp dried mint and squeeze in some lime (or lemon) juice.

    Add the cucumber, onion and chili peppers and combine. Keep the stirring to a bare minimum to prevent the Tzatziki from becoming too thin. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

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    1. 1

      This is already my favorite! Thanks Kay!!

      Richard on Jul 31, 2008 @ 11:19 pm Reply
    2. 2


      Thank you so very much! This recipe is wonderful!! I’ve been looking for a good recipe for Tzaziki since we left Omaha, NE over 11 years ago! We used to get great food from a little place called John’s Grecian Delight while living there. I could not get Greek yogurt but have found by allowing my yogurt to drain for several hours out on the countertop produces a similar yogurt. When we make yogurt I always allow some to culture a little longer to produce a tarter, thicker yogurt. Now I have another use for it! Once again thanks. My husband was so pleased when he tasted it especially on the grilled lamb.

      Peggy on Jan 4, 2009 @ 5:27 am Reply
    3. 3

      I really like this blog good job.

      SriMa on Aug 30, 2009 @ 10:56 pm Reply
    4. 4

      It’s such a shame you don’t like cilantro! I understand not appreciating an herb though because I really cannot stand basil. It completely ruins a dish for me :( But how parsley is your substitute, cilantro would be mine :) I can’t get enough of it!

      And thank you for this recipe. I’ve been trying to find a good tzatziki recipe, and I think I’ve found the winner. Your website is gorgeous and the food you make always looks so mouth-watering good!

      Ree on Dec 5, 2009 @ 12:47 am Reply
    5. 5

      Fresh, spicy and delicious Tzatziki. A few years ago, when we returned from Crete, I’ve tried to make it, but without success… Tzatziki was pretty horrible and I’ve never tried more until yesterday. Now I’m happy with it:)

      Diana on Feb 7, 2010 @ 6:18 pm Reply
    6. 6

      Wow thank you so much for this recipe! My husband and I love it and I have shared your website with my mother-in-law. I love the pure flavors of this sauce, and I always make your greek style wraps to go with it.

      Elyse on Jul 13, 2011 @ 12:56 am Reply
    7. 7

      I lived in Greece and love love love tzatziki, your recipe looks terrific, and the thick thick Greek or Balkan style yogurt is essential, as is the salting and deseeding of the cucumber.  Can’t wait to try your recipe with the added chili pepper!  

      JanP on Aug 31, 2011 @ 6:25 am Reply
    8. 8

      I’m looking forward to trying this.  I do note that the printable version of the recipe only gives the first step, at least on my computer.

      Paul on Dec 4, 2011 @ 10:39 pm Reply
      1. This is a 2008 recipe, underneath the printable recipe is a link that says ‘Click here to print recipes older than 2010’.

        Kay on Dec 4, 2011 @ 10:48 pm Reply

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