Homemade tzatziki is so easy to make and can be used in so many ways. The cool and creamy cucumber-yogurt sauce can be served as a dip, spread, and dressing and takes all of ten minutes to make.
The hardest thing about tzatziki – a creamy cool cucumber-yogurt sauce flavored with dill or mint or both – is spelling it. In preparing this post I’ve checked no less than 1000 times that I’ve spelled it correctly and while it’s not as bad as spelling “Worcestershire” it’s up there on the list. It’s the “z” that pops up twice – I either forget one or put them in the wrong place.
Anyway, tzatziki is one of those things you can buy premade at the store but like pimento cheese and enchilada sauce it’s so easy to make with just a few ingredients that there’s no reason to buy it. I’ve tried a few different tzatziki recipes over the years and this one I’m sharing today is my go-to now.
If you’ve ever had a Greek gyro (a pita sandwich wrap filled with meat) you’ve probably had tzatziki sauce. The cool and creamy sauce was sort of a mystery to me for years and, like a lot of things that are delicious, I was surprised how easy it is to make once I started experimenting with recipes. This version I’m sharing here is lightly adapted from a recipe I found on Bon Appetit. I mostly followed it, but with one big change which I’ll explain.
How to Prep the Cucumber
Cucumber is a main ingredient in tzatziki and, if you’ve ever added cucumber to salads or other dishes, you may have experienced it’s annoying tendency to release water as it sits. The first time I tried this recipe I followed it exactly – finely chop the cucumber and mix it with the other ingredients. Unfortunately, I ended up with very watery tzatziki after a few hours.
So, here’s how you avoid watery tzatziki:
- I used a hothouse English cucumber, which is a long and thin cucumber. The skin is pretty thin so I just leave it on, but you do need to slice the cucumber in half and scoop out the seeds.
- Grate the cucumber using a food processor or a hand grater.
- Wrap the grated cucumber in a clean dish towel and, holding it over the sink, squeeze the cucumber to release the moisture.
I like this grate and squeeze method because it’s faster than sweating the cucumber. Sweating cucumber requires salting the cucumber and leaving it to sit for several hours during which the water will be slowly released.
Other Ingredients You’ll Need
Once you’ve prepped the cucumber it takes less than five minutes to combine the rest of the ingredients:
- Plain Greek yogurt – I recommend using a full-fat yogurt and a good quality one like Fage.
- Olive oil
- And, of course, the grated cucumber
Place it all in a bowl and mix it up. Done and done.
You can adjust the amounts to suit your taste – love garlic? Add an extra clove. Want more than a hint of mint? Chop up a few extra leaves. Keep in mind that the tzatziki needs to sit in the fridge for several hours at which point the flavors will be fully developed.
Homemade tzatziki will keep well in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Different Ways to Serve Tzatziki
- Serve it as a dip with veggies and pita wedges
- Use it to make chicken gyros
- Spoon it over baked or grilled salmon
- Make Greek Burgers
- Thin it with some more olive oil and use it as a salad dressing
- Serve it with roasted vegetables like red bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and mushrooms.
More Easy Cold Dip Recipes to Try
- Onion Dip – I use my slow cooker to caramelize the onions ahead of time for this creamy, savory dip.
- Jalapeno Popper Dip – everything you love about jalapeno poppers but served up as a creamy cold dip instead.
- Roasted Red Pepper Dip – this super simple cream cheese dip is so easy to make.
Tzatziki is a quick and easy spread or dip that takes just minutes to make. It’s a good idea to plan ahead so the sauce has time to chill in the fridge so all of the flavors develop. It’s garlicky and flavored with fresh dill and just a hint of mint. Serve it as a dip with pita and veggies for an easy appetizer or spoon it over baked fish or roasted vegetables.
- 1/2 English hothouse cucumber (approximately 6 ounces), seeded
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 1/4 of a teaspoon fresh mint (see note)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon for drizzling
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- Grate the cucumber using a box grater or food processor. Wrap the grated cucumber in a clean dish towel and squeeze it over the sink to remove the excess moisture.
- Combine the cucumber, garlic, yogurt, dill, mint, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and salt in a bowl. Refridgerate for at least two hours to allow the flavors to develop.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Mixing
- Cuisine: Greek
- Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe
- Calories: 72
- Sugar: 2.4g
- Sodium: 115.2mg
- Fat: 4.8g
- Saturated Fat: 1.5g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 3.4g
- Fiber: 0.2g
- Protein: 4.6g
- Cholesterol: 6.2mg
Keywords: homemade tzatziki, tzatziki dip, tzatziki sauce