Tzatziki Sauce – such a flavorful condiment that pairs amazingly well with so many dishes, or it makes a delicious dip with fresh vegetables or pita!
This recipe is quick and easy thanks to some foolproof shortcuts.
What is tzatziki sauce?
Tzatziki sauce is a healthy herb seasoned, strained yogurt and fresh cucumber based dip or sauce originating from Greece.
There are a few ways you’ll hear tzatziki pronounced but the proper way in Greek it is said tsah-see-key (with the “ts” making the same sound as the “zz” in pizza and mozzarella).
How to Simplify a Tzatziki Recipe
Often you’ll notice in recipes that the cucumber needs to be hand shredded or diced but here we just mince it up small in the food processor (great shortcut but also yields a better non-stringy texture too).
Then shortcut number two, instead of a 30+ minute straining in a sieve here you just press out the excess liquid in paper towels or just use a thick Greek yogurt and skip the step altogether.
I’m all about simplifying recipes when there’s a way. Sometimes paper towels just work. I even use them to strain ricotta in a rush.
It’s a Favorite Sauce
I’ve been making this tzatziki sauce for many years. I love that it has a perfectly fresh and inviting flavor, and also that’s it’s a lighter alternative as compared to something like ranch.
And of course homemade is way better than what you get in at the store!
Keep reading below for some ideas on what to serve with it. Endless possibilities!
Tzatziki Sauce Ingredients
- Greek yogurt: I prefer whole for a richer flavor but you can use low fat if preferred. The brands I usually use are Fage or Chobani, the second does need more liquid dried off with paper towels whereas the first mentioned doesn’t it’s super thick.
- English cucumber: It’s not critical to peel but keep in mind it does tint the sauce a faint yellow-greenish color if you don’t.
- Fresh dill: I like mine with a pretty pronounced dill flavor but you can cut back a little if preferred. Mint is another option here.
- Garlic: As always a little goes a long way especially when raw so you’ll only need 1 clove here.
- Extra virgin olive oil: not to be confused with standard refined olive oil, extra virgin olive oil is the most raw and unprocessed and has a bolder flavor.
- Lemon: This really brightens up the dip, don’t skip it.
- Salt: You can use sea salt, table salt or kosher salt.
Scroll down below to recipe box for measurements.
How to Make Tzatziki Sauce
- Peel and seed cucumber: Peel cucumber if desired (it adds a faint texture and will lightly tint the dip, but this is optional to peel). Slice cucumber in half through the length and use a spoon to remove seeds.
- Mince in food processor: Chop cucumber into chunks, then add to a food processor.**** Pulse until cucumber is almost finely chopped.
- Drain off liquid in food processor: Remove blade from food processor, then press cucumber against the sides of the processor bowl to remove some of the excess liquid, reserve liquid.
- Strain if needed: If using a Greek yogurt that’s not very thick then spread minced cucumber over a few layers of paper towels. Wrap and press out some of the excess liquid.
- Add all tzatziki ingredients to a mixing bowl: Add yogurt, cucumber, dill, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice to a medium mixing bowl. Season with salt, and pepper if using, to taste.
- Mix: Stir mixture until well blended. If you find it’s a little thick for your liking you can pour in some of the reserved cucumber juice from the food processor.
Can it be made with dried herbs?
Yes, but it’s best with fresh. I have done it with dried dill but it’s not quite as flavorful. If you opt to go that route then use 1 1/2 tsp dried.
Also if you want to add more herbs I also like this with some fresh parsley in addition to the dill.
As far as the mint goes, this really comes down to personal preference. Use one or the other based on what you like or maybe what you are pairing with it. I don’t recommend blending the two.
I personally like the dill option best but both are good.
Is it keto?
Yes traditional tzatziki like this is keto friendly.
How to Store It
Shortly after preparing tzatziki should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge, because of the dairy it contains it’s not safe to rest at room temperature more than 2 hours.
How long does it last?
It should keep well in the refrigerator for 3 days. Stir before using.
What to Eat with Tzatziki
- Serve with pita bread (fresh or toasted) or store-bought pita chips.
- Use as a dip for fresh vegetables (like carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, peas).
- Pair with roasted potatoes or baked potatoes.
- Serve over fish (my favorite is salmon as pictured below), chicken, steak or lamb (grilled, roasted or pan seared).
- Spread or dip in kebabs or souvlaki.
- Make it an appetizer to go with whole grain crackers.
- Spread over turkey burgers or veggie burgers (lettuce wrap style if preferred).
- Use it as a dressing on a salad.
- Serve sandwiched atop a gyro.
- Make a greek pasta salad.
Tips for the Best Tzatziki Sauce
- Mince the cucumber up small in the food processor, this will give the tzatziki a better texture.
- Press liquid from cucumber for a thicker dip.
- Use freshest ingredients for optimal flavor.
- If serving over warm food then let dip rest at room temperature for about 30 – 60 minutes before using. A cold dip over warm food doesn’t pair well together.
More Delicious Greek Inspired Recipes to Try
- Greek Lemon Chicken
- Greek Orzo Salad
- Greek Salad
- Greek Shrimp
- Salmon with Avocado Greek Salsa
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- Peel cucumber if desired (it adds a faint texture and a will lightly tint the dip, but this is optional to peel). Slice cucumber in half throught the length and use a spoon to remove seeds.
- Chop cucumber into chunks, then add to a food processor.**** Pulse until cucumber is almost finely chopped.
- Remove blade from food processor, then press cucumber against the sides of the processor bowl to remove some of the excess liquid, reserve liquid (proceed to step 1 in notes if you aren't using a very thick Greek yogurt).
- Add yogurt, cucumber, dill, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice to a medium mixing bowl. Season with salt, and pepper if using, to taste.
- Stir mixture until well blended. If you find it's a little thick for your liking you can pour in some of the reserved cucumber juice from the food processor.
- If serving over warm food (like salmon, chicken, steak, gyro or cooked veggies) let rest at room temperature about 30 minutes. Store in refrigerator.
- *If you are using another brand of Greek yogurt that isn't as thick as Fage then you will need to squeeze excess moisture from the cucumbers after finely chopping, to do so spread over paper towels and press out excess moisture or wrapping in cheesecloth and squeeze.
- **10 oz. is about 3/4 of 1 medium English cucumber.
- ***Mint may be substituted for dill if preferred.
- ****If you don't own a food processor you can finely mince up the cucumber by hand.