This easy tzatziki sauce recipe will brighten up any meal for your summer! Tzatziki is a thick, creamy, rich yogurt sauce with a garlicky bite. It is delicious with falafel, on grilled chicken, in a gyro sandwich. You can also serve it on its own as a dip with warm pita chips and veggies.
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WHAT IS TZATZIKI
Tzatziki is an easy and tasty recipe, typical in Greece and popular in neighboring countries. It is a yogurt base dip, paste, or sauce. Tzatziki is usually served as a cold appetizer or side dish. Authentic Greek tzatziki is most often made with sheep or goat yogurt, but my tzatziki recipe calls for whole cow’s milk full-fat Greek yogurt. It’s easier to find and still has the creamy, thick consistency you want in tzatziki sauce.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE TZATZIKI SAUCE RECIPE
This tzatziki yogurt sauce recipe requires a few simple ingredients.
- Cucumber – Use a type of cucumber with thin skin and small seeds. That way, you can grate the entire cucumber without having to remove the seeds or skin. Personally, I like to peel the cucumber as I don’t like the bitter taste of cucumber skin!
- Plain Greek Yogurt – Greek yogurt is thicker than other types of yogurt and will give you a rich, creamy tzatziki sauce that makes the extra fat worth it.
- Lemon Juice – Use freshly squeezed lemon juice. You can substitute for white vinegar if you don’t have a lemon.
- Garlic – I love to add garlic to yogurt dips. Use the freshest garlic possible.
- Salt + Black Pepper – Season as per the recipe, then taste and adjust to your liking at the end.
- Fresh Dill – I love fresh dill. It’s an herb I grew up with. We add it to pretty much everything. If you don’t like the flavor of dill, use an equal amount of mint or parsley, or omit it altogether.
HOW TO MAKE TZATZIKI – YOGURT SAUCE
- Start by grating the cucumber. I use the largest holes on the grater to give lots of green bits the final texture of the tzatziki sauce.
- Then drain the water from the grated cucumber. This step is essential for creamy tzatziki – if you skip it, the cucumber water will cause the sauce to separate and be very watery.
- In a bowl, mix the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Fold in the cucumber and dill. Serve it immediately, or for even the best result, cover it with plastic and let it rest in the fridge for a few hours before serving.
HOW TO MAKE GREEK YOGURT AT HOME TO USE IN TZATZIKI
You can make your own Greek yogurt using plain yogurt. To do this, simply place a few layers of cheesecloth (or a few layers of paper towels) in a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl. Then add the plain yogurt, cover with the ends of the cheesecloth, and place in the fridge. Let strain for at least 1 hour or overnight. Note that the longer you allow the yogurt to strain, the thicker it will become.
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST TZATZIKI SAUCE
- Make sure the grated cucumber is well drained. If you have time, you can drain it on a cheesecloth or a fine-mesh sieve overnight. If you’re in a hurry, use your hands to squeeze the liquid out of the cucumber.
- For best results, combine all ingredients except cucumber and dill. Let it sit overnight in the fridge while the cucumber is draining.
- Add the dill just before serving so as not to overwhelm the rest of the flavors.
TZATZIKI YOGURT SAUCE VARIATIONS
Want to change things up and make it your own? Well, a homemade tzatziki sauce recipe can be made in many ways. Here are some ideas you can try:
- Herbs: If you’re not a fan of dill, simply omit the herbs altogether or substitute for parsley, thyme, or mint.
- No Garlic: Raw garlic can taste too strong for some. Feel free to reduce garlic the amount of garlic or omit it.
- Low-fat: You can make tzatziki sauce using low-fat or non-fat yogurt, although the sauce will be less thick and creamy. Make sure to strain the yogurt for a thicker consistency.
HOW TO USE THE TZATZIKI SAUCE
Once you’ve made tzatziki sauce, there are countless ways you can use it. However, I like to use this yogurt dip with a wrap sandwich, grilled vegetables, vegetable sticks, and pita bread chips.
You can use this tzatziki as well with the bellow recipe:
- Tzatziki as a Sauce: Simply drizzle over the top of gyros, falafel, zucchini fritters, or grilled meats
- Tzatziki as a salad dressing: Dilute with a few tablespoons of water and toss with your favorite greens or try something different and drizzling tzatziki sauce over quinoa salad. Use it as a dressing in cucumber radish salad.
HOW TO STORE TZATZIKI SAUCE
Homemade tzatziki lasts up to 3 days stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I know that seems like a short time, but I promise tzatziki is so good that you’ll finish it in less than three days. And if one serving is too much, you can always halve the recipe.
I do not recommend freezing tzatziki sauce as it loses its creamy consistency.
Tzatziki – Creamy Yogurt Sauce
- Medium bowl
- 1 cucumber peeled
- 1 ½ cups Greek yogurt, plain, full-fat
- 2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tsp of salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ⅓ cup fresh dill, or other herbs (optional)
- Start by grating the cucumber. I use the largest holes on the grater. Transfer to a sieve and strain any juices by pressing it with a spatula. Set it aside.
- In a bowl, mix the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, salt and black pepper.
- Using a spatula, fold in the cucumber and dill.
- Serve it or cover it with plastic and let it rest in the fridge for a few hours before serving.