This homemade tzatziki recipe, the traditional Greek cucumber sauce, features fresh dill, creamy Greek yogurt, and garlic. Perfect for dipping pita!

Tzatziki recipe | Homemade tzatziki sauce

We just returned from Greece and we’ve been working to recreate some of the fabulous eats we had there. If you’ve been to the country or are a fan of Greek food, you probably know about tzatziki, that famously creamy and garlicky Greek cucumber sauce. It’s commonly eaten as a dip on pita or veggies, or as a gyros sauce (one of our favorite sandwiches, when we flex our flexitarian muscle). So if you’re wondering how to make gyros sauce, you’re in the right place!

Want a quicker, easier spin? Try this Quick Cucumber Sauce.

What makes the best authentic tzatziki?

Eating tzatziki sauce in Greece tastes like heaven. So Alex and I took up the challenge to to create a homemade tzatziki sauce recipe. Turns out, just as with the best potato salad or tomato sauce, everyone and their grandmother has an opinion on the “right” way to make a tzatziki recipe. Fortunately we were prepared for this, since we posted a tzatziki recipe back in June 2012.

There was lots of debate in the comments about the perfect tzatziki recipe! Dill or mint (or both)? Lemon juice or vinegar? Olive oil or none?

Tzatziki recipe | Greek cucumber sauce | Authentic tzatziki recipe

Common tzatziki ingredients

We set about to try our hand at making authentic tzatziki sauce again. After lots of research and trial and error, we found our contender for the best tzatziki recipe. What’s in our tzatziki recipe?

  • Grated cucumber: Just a bit of it, which keeps a creamy consistency
  • Dill: It’s a little more traditional than mint, though some recipes we’ve seen even omit the dill.
  • Olive oil: important for taste and texture.
  • White wine vinegar: there’s just a bit of acid for some tang: typically white wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • Full fat Greek yogurt: using full-fat yogurt is key to get the desired creaminess

Want more with cucumbers? See Top Cool Cucumber Recipes.

How to make tzatziki

Making homemade tzatziki is incredibly easy! To make this Greek sauce, you’ll first need to peel and grate the cucumber, then squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible. Next, mix together the grated cucumber with minced garlic and dill, Greek yogurt, white wine vinegar, olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper.

For the best flavor, you’ll want to let the mixture refrigerate for a few hours before serving. If stored in an airtight container in the fridge, your homemade tzatziki should last up to a week.

Want more with cucumbers? See Top Cool Cucumber Recipes.

dipping pita and veggies into tzatziki  recipe | How to make gyros sauce

Tips for the best tzatziki sauce

Now, making this tzatziki recipe isn’t just a matter of mixing all the ingredients above together! There are a few tips for how to make gyros sauce / homemade tzatziki sauce at home:

  • Squeeze out as much liquid from the cucumber as possible. Too much water in the cucumber makes for a watery dip. After you grate the cucumber, place it in a fine mesh strainer and use your hands to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
  • Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours to allow the flavors to marry. To really amp the flavors in this homemade tzatziki sauce recipe, let it sit in the fridge for a few hours before serving. This lets all the flavors meld together and makes for the most flavorful sauce.

While we’re not Greek ourselves, this is the culmination of our research, recipe testing, our best memories of Greece, and the consensus of our taste testers. One last tip: we noticed it was usually served in a shallow dish or plate (instead of a deep bowl, for easy dipping), garnished with a drizzle of olive oil and many times an olive.

What’s your best tzatziki recipe? We’d love to hear your tips!

dipping pita and veggies into tzatziki  recipe | How to make gyros sauce

Looking for more Greek recipes?

Our trip to Greece has inspired us to cook more Greek fare at home. Some of our favorite Greek foods to make are:

This tzatziki recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Tzatziki Recipe

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 ½ cups 1x


This homemade tzatziki recipe, the traditional Greek cucumber sauce, features fresh dill, creamy Greek yogurt, and garlic. Perfect for dipping pita!


  • 10 ounces cucumber (1 medium cucumber or 3/4 large cucumber)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (do not substitute dried)
  • 18 ounces full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper


  1. Peel the cucumber, cut it in half, then scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Grate the cucumber using a box grater, then place the shreds in a fine mesh strainer and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Sprinkle with kosher salt, then let stand for at least 10 minutes to drain any remaining water. Squeeze once more to drain.
  2. Mince 1 clove garlic and chop 1 tablespoon fresh dill.
  3. When the cucumber is ready, mix cucumber, garlic, dill, 18 ounces Greek yogurt, 1 ½ tablespoons white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and a few grinds of fresh ground black pepper. Refrigerate for at least 1 to 2 hours so the flavors can marry. Keeps up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
  4. To serve, drizzle with olive oil; if desired, garnish with olives and a sprig of dill. Serve with pita, crackers, or vegetables.
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Mixed
  • Cuisine: Greek

Keywords: tzatziki recipe, how to make tzatziki, tzatziki sauce, Greek tzatziki

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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  1. I love tzatziki – it’s such a refreshing and cooling dip and just perfect for anything from bread to grilled meat. Your tips are super helpful; I think I always go too heavy on the cucumber and I can’t wait to make batch after batch over this over the summer.

  2. Not to distract from the main point of your post, which looks delicious, but if you’re looking for a gyro without having to flex, Sinking Ship has a vegan one that’s amazing.

  3. I am of Greek descent and make this wonderful dip often. I do not use dill, as some people don’t like it and find it doesn’t add or detract from the yogurt-cucumber flavor. I am a lemon lover so prefer it to the vinegar bite…..and have only strained “American” yogurt before the Greek style was so available. I do use the box grater for the cucs, better on the tongue than the strips. But great post and I will follow you along on your food journey.,
    Thanks for your input.
    PS My sister is Sonia and I am Alex. How’s that for a oddity?

  4. Indeed, your recipe is authentic (I’m greek, was born and raised in Greece- lived there 25 yrs). You can use a 2% or less, if you strain it (Faye is a good brand to use). Also, in some places in Greece, together with the cucumber they grate a pickle. Yes, I know, sounds strange. But it tastes awesome too!

  5. Thanks for a great recipe. I made this for a barbeque tonight – delicious!! I’m not a dill fan so I substituted fresh oregano from my garden. Served it with peppers and snap peas and homemade pita chips.

  6. I lived in Greece for over a year in the early 1990’s (about 6 months in Athens, the rest in Hellenikon Crete), and am baffled by references to mint, dill, vinegar and other stuff. All the ‘tzeziki’ I had (a LOT) was just yogurt, cucumber and garlic. The cucumber was peeled, too. Peeling it keeps it from having that ‘too strong’ cucumber taste. Peeled cucumber remains light and fresh (refreshing?) and is probably impossible to have too much. I can imagine some people putting lemon in, since it’s the second most popular tree in Greece (after olive), but that’s about it. I made it in the U.S. for the last 20 years, often adding sour cream for thickness (real Greek yogurt has only become available in the last few years). I grate the peeled cucumber onto a couple heavy paper towels and squeeze out all the moisture. Never had s problem with “too much cucumber” making it “not creamy”. In Crete especially there were only two kinds of tzeziki: “garlic” and “extra garlic”. The extra garlic usually meaning its just older, since it gets stronger the longer it sits. (Mine is often too strong for my wife the second day, so I started making hers separately with less garlic). Most of the places I had tzeziki just used powdered garlic, too. The more ‘touristy’ spots might add a crushed clove or two just to have the ‘bits’ in it. However, since personal taste is paramount, I would suggest that people experiment a few times. Divide the yogurt and cucumber mix into a few small bowls, then add garlic (various amounts), lemon, or whatever else to the different bowls and see what you like. Also, most places just served it with “plain bread” …the closest thing here would probably be fresh Italian bread. Almost forgot–olive oil? Never saw it, but Greeks will often put it on anything and everything, so I wouldn’t be surprised.

    1. My friend was trained by the Greek army as a chef and served as a personal chef to the president in the 1970s. He would agree with you that adding dill or anything else like it is not traditional.

      From my experience, the addition of mint is more of an Arab/Lebanese thing. Maybe it comes from Cyprus, where the cultures mix so wonderfully, but I am not sure.

      I like it any way you make it, personally hehe.

  7. Just made it and I am having a hard time waiting for the “marrying” period, but I know it will be well worth it. I made it to go with a batch of kofte. Not sure but it may need a little honey.
    I love tzatziki so much and don’t want to change it at all but I must do what tastes the best for the kofte and my readers.
    Greek yogurt is the key to great tzatziki. Mmmm!

  8. I just made this – it’s sitting in the fridge but tasted pretty good already! I will say, tread carefully if you don’t have white wine vinegar on hand and use lemon juice for the acid. I added it about 1/8 tsp at a time, mixed, tasted, and I think added prob 1/2 tsp or so total – so depending on your lemon it may need a lot less :) Figured I’d throw out a warning since I’ve ruined enough things learning to cook by accidentally adding too much lemon in the past.

  9. Great recipe for our tzatziki ( i am Greek you see, so i know the good tzatziki:), the only omission is that the tzatziki goes with Dakos ( Cretan barley Rusk).

  10. I’ve looked at a bunch of recipes and comments over the past hour and my hair stands on end. Mint? Vinegar? When have you ever heard of a Greek dish recipe include white wine vinegar? Any dish?

    Including mint sounds more Turkish or Lebanese, in which case it would have a different name.

    Salting cucumbers, then adding more salt to the mix sounds excessive–or American. I know yogurt can stand up to a lot of salt (just think of a standard plain or mint lassi), but there’s really no need. Just seed and squeeze the moisture out, but if you salt it, don’t add more later. I make Japanese pickles by burying spears of Asian or English cucumbers in salt for a couple of hours, then rinsing and drying them before adding ginger, garlic, hot pepper and rice vinegar. Note the “rinse” part–once it’s mixed, you can add more salt to taste. But without rinsing, it would be inedible (except to a drunk Russian).

    There are two crimes one can commit when making tzatziki–use an American-style cucumber (the ones with deep green, thick, waxed skin) and use of improper yogurt. One could take the regular plain yogurt in strain it, but that won’t work quite as well. But a far worse crime is using typical adulterated yogurt (like Oykos) that’s thickened with modified food starch, gelatin, an assortment of gums or pectin. Yes, pectin–one of American brands promotes its “all-natural” and “no starches” credo by adding pectin.

    Fage remains my choice, but it’s impossible to find the full-cream version any more. But there are local alternatives available that are nearly as good (Europeans would laugh at me for prefering Fage). As long as it’s full-cream and has no thickeners (see above), it’s all good.

    So there are six ingredients: yogurt, cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, salt and dill. Pepper and olive oil can complete the seasoning. Or not.

    Looking over Food Network versions, they all look like Scandinavian cucumber salads rather than tzatziki (Scandinavians do use vinegar). Way too much cucumber in large chunks. If you’re going to do that, just mix a dressing with yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, dill, garlic, salt and pepper. But there should be as much yogurt as olive oil and lemon juice combined. Add sumac and you have dressing for any salad.

  11. I forgot to add–I’m planning to experiment with a few versions. For one, it might be interesting to substitute flash-blanched fennel fronds for dill (same plant family). Also, adding shredded young ginger (not the regular brown-skinned variety) might be interesting. Now that Persian/Japanese cucumbers and Greek yogurt are readily available, things are a lot easier.

  12. Just wanted to chime in and tell you Thank You so much for this recipe. After I started making my own Greek yogurt at home. I was so excited with how well it turned out that I couldn’t wait to make some tzatziki and google stumbled onto your recipe and tips. It’s been a couple months since then and I’m so pleased with how many ways I can use tzatziki sause. Besides making falafel I have replaced using mayonnaise in practically everything. I have found I can freeze in tupperwear with a piece of wax paper pushed down directly onto of the tzatziki, like fage does. My man didn’t even notice which was good since I only put some in the freezer for roughly 3 weeks just to see “does it freeze good”.
    I know you asked for any other tips people could give but for my family your recipe is perfect for our pallets. We prefer the vinegar over the lemon juice, which I tried (lemon juice) in our second batch. I will say though, I do use 2% milk when I’m making my Greek yogurt BUT… it is homemade and I add a little powdered milk while it’s cooling down to 110° to thicken it up.
    Thank you again this recipe is my go to this summer and forever!

  13. Thank you so much for this recipe. I can’t wait to try it. I LOVE tzatziki sauce. We recently relocated from Canada to Florida. I have searched in many different grocery stores in our area and have been unable to find this family favorite. Tzatziki is great on sandwiches, as a dip etc., but our absolute MUST have is when we make sweet potato fries and souvlaki. We had dinner at a small local Greek restaurant one evening, and their tzatziki sauce was so delicious and I was so desperate to have some in my refrigerator that I paid $8.50 for a small styrofoam coffee cup full. Thank you for saving me from doing that again.

  14. I keep a container of homemade tzatziki in the fridge at all times. We love it on so many things…yes, salmon is one. Scrambled eggs is another. On bagels as a substitute for cream cheese (for those of us who aren’t fans). I use labneh, the Greek yogurt cheese found at most ethnic shops which is less expensive than “Greek yogurt”. I grate, salt & hand squeeze Persian cucumbers, then add chopped mint & parsley, lots of pressed garlic, a good amount of lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper. Then I pack as much as possible back into the labneh container & put the rest of it in a bowl and that doesn’t last long. It’s wonderful, too, w/zucchini fritters, and, of course, with lamb.

  15. Hello, just wondering how long this will last in the fridge? (can it be made a few days ahead before entertaining?)

  16. love the tips and research here! I’ve always wanted an “authentic” recipe, even local Greek restaurants have a fairly wide range of quality, so good to know which ingredients have most impact, and also the tip about he moisture content in cucumbers, thank you!

    1. Oh thank you! Everyone has their own recipe, but we really like this one, and it tastes close to Greece (but not QUITE, since you have to be there to fully enjoy it, ha!).

  17. Amazing recipe! I have made it twice now and it’s just incredibly delicious. And authentic. And I’m not really very much of a cook so it was easy enough for me to make. Thanks so much.

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