For Cade’s chicken gyros, the chicken is marinated in a tangy yogurt sauce loaded with garlic, lemon, fresh herbs and spices. Then it is baked and piled into soft pita bread and topped with veggies, feta and creamy tzatziki sauce!
Alright, so Cade has reentered the kitchen and I’m beyond thrilled because he knocked this one out of the park!! I cannot get enough of the juicy, succulent chicken and I’m just sure we can find more uses for it than just gyros. Scroll down to see some of my ideas.
How to Pronounce Gyros
Let’s start with how NOT to say “gyros”…basically don’t say it how it looks! It is not pronounced jai-rohs. Though I’m sure everyone would know what you were ordering if you did say it that way. The correct way to pronounce “gyros” is yee-rohs.
What is a Greek Gyro?
A gyro is sandwich typically made with either lamb, pork, beef or chicken (or some combination of the those) on pita bread topped with tomato, red onion, lettuce and tzatziki sauce. It’s eaten like a wrap. It makes a great lunch or dinner.
Ingredients for Chicken Gyros
Here is a brief overview of the ingredients you will need for this gyro recipe. The measurements of each can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.
- Chicken Thighs: You want them to be boneless and skinless and chicken breasts also work fine. Chicken thighs just tend to have more flavor.
- Plain Greek Yogurt: adds flavor to the marinade and helps tenderize the meat. It also makes the marinade thick so it sticks to the chicken when you bake it.
- Garlic: the purpose for garlic is always to add flavor and you’ll want a lot of it in this recipe!
- Olive Oil: adds richness to the marinade and also helps it not stick when baking
- White Wine Vinegar: adds tanginess and flavor
- Lemons: fresh is a must and you’ll want the juice and zest for maximum flavor
- Oregano: fresh is definitely preferred here, if you have to use dried then use 1 teaspoon
- Parsley: same story as the oregano 👆
- Herbs de Provence: Italian seasoning also works too, and this is a dried herb blend
- Salt: adds flavor
- Smoked Paprika: adds a delicious smokiness to the chicken
- Black Pepper: adds flavor and a little heat
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: use as much or as little as you want for the heat on the chicken
For the Gyros:
- Small Campari Tomatoes: You could use type of tomato you want but I love the size and flavor of the campari tomatoes!
- Red Onion: slice them super thin, they add so much flavor and beautiful color to the gyros
- Parsley: adds a delicious pop of freshness to the finished gyro
- Pita Flatbreads: you can buy these at the grocery store or make your own, naan bread also works great!
- Tzatziki: we love to make our own, it’s so easy! But you can also buy it at the store. Costco sells a pretty decent one!
- Feta: adds a bold salty flavor to the gyro but is optional if you aren’t a feta fan
- Cucumber: totally optional but it adds a great crunch and freshness to the sandwich
- Lettuce: we like to use green leaf
How to Make This Gyros Recipe
Before you jump into this recipe, you want to make sure you have tzatziki sauce made. So if you haven’t done that, do that first, and then start working on the chicken. Tzatziki sauce tastes better if it has rested for an hour or more to let the flavors meld together. Now for the chicken…
Marinade: Add all the ingredients for the marinade into a ziplock bag and then add the chicken. Squish everything around (the kids love doing this part!) so it mixes together and then place it in the fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours up to overnight.
Cook Chicken: Once the chicken has marinated, bake the chicken in a bread pan. Baking it in a tight dish, keeps the chicken moist. See recipe card below for details.
- PRO TIP: You can also grill the chicken! Cook them as whole pieces and then chop them up for serving, or chop them up ahead of time and grill the pieces on skewers.
Toppings: This is where you can totally customize your own gyro! Typically a gyro is served with lettuce, tomato, red onion and tzatziki sauce. We love to add feta, cucumbers and some fresh parsley.
- Additional toppings: If you want to add more toppings or swap out some of the typical toppings, you could try kalamata olives, banana peppers, red bell peppers, artichoke hearts or avocados.
Tips for the Best Chicken Gyros
Be sure you have prepped the tzatziki sauce ahead of time. It can me made up to a day ahead of time, but if you at least make it before you start with on the chicken, your taste buds will thank you.
Don’t overcook the chicken! Chicken can get a bad wrap for always being dry, so let it marinade for at least 2 hours and don’t let it bake too long in the oven (or on the grill).
Use fresh ingredients in the yogurt marinade, in the tzatziki sauce and for the toppings.
Let each person customize their own gyro. I like to put all the toppings in separate little bowls and let the fam assembly line their own gyro creations!
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Easy: the marinating and baking the chicken makes this recipe so easy! Then it’s just a matter of chopping up the toppings and assembling the gyros.
- Meal prep: this chicken recipe is great for meal prep because it tastes great hot or cold and it stores very well. I like to make a double or triple batch and then prep lunch for the week and then freeze the rest for future gyros.
- Healthy: almost all the ingredients for the yogurt marinade for the chicken and for the gyros themselves are fresh. This makes for great flavor and nutrition!
- PRO TIP: If you want to cut carbs, skip the pita and just make it a bowl or add everything on top of a bed of lettuce.
- Multipurpose: Let’s not stop the love with just gyros! This chicken is delicious in all kinds of ways. I love it in salads, wraps, over rice or just plain for lunch.
What to Serve with Gyros
With the chicken, the pita and all the fresh veggies that go on the gyros, this recipe is a meal by itself. It really checks all the boxes.
If you want to add a couple of sides to go with them, we love having a pile a hot salty fries to dip into the tzatziki sauce. Our Greek salad go great with them as well!
Storing, Freezing and Reheating
I mentioned above that the chicken stores and freezes extremely well. Store it separately in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to 5 days. NOTE: All the ingredients for gyros should be stored separately and not as an assembled gyro. The pita will get soggy and it won’t hold up well.
When you’re ready to assemble your gyro the next day for lunch, the chicken will reheat great in the microwave and then add all the toppings with the chicken to your warmed pita bread. If you have multiple servings of chicken to warm up, put it in a baking dish will a little water or chicken stock and cover it will foil and warm it up in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 or so minutes.
If you have chicken you want to freeze, let it cool completely and then add it to a freezer ziploc bag. Lay it flat so it stores well. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Cade has had this recipe in the back of his mind for years and we are all thankful he has made it a reality! Homemade chicken gyros are taking their spot in our regular dinner menu rotation and they are here to stay! So flavorful! So fresh and healthy!
Cade’s Chicken Gyros
For the Chicken:
- 2 lbs Chicken Thighs, boneless, skinless or chicken breasts are fine
- 1/3 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
- 5 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
- 2 Lemons, zested and juiced
- 1 Tablespoon Oregano, fresh, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Parsley , minced
- 2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence, or Italian seasoning, dried
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
For the Gyros:
- Small Campari Tomatoes , chopped
- 1 Red Onion, small, sliced thin
- Fresh Parsley , for garnish
- Pita Flatbreads , or naan, warmed
- Cucumber, sliced and chopped
- Lettuce, green leaf or romaine
For the Chicken:
- Cade saw a trick for cooking chicken and keeping it moist, so you're going to need a bread pan.
- In a large ziplock, add all of the marinade ingredients then add the chicken. Toss around to coat everything well and place in your fridge for a minimum of 2 hours, Or we did overnight, flipping the bag occasionally.1/3 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt, 5 Cloves Garlic, 1/4 Cup Olive Oil, 1 Tablespoon White Wine Vinegar, 2 Lemons, 1 Tablespoon Oregano, 1 Tablespoon Parsley, 2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence, 1 teaspoon Salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika, 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper, 1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, 2 lbs Chicken Thighs
- Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9×5” bread pan with parchment paper to keep the bottom of the chicken from sticking.
- Layer the chicken pieces in the pan and then press them firmly down. Bake for 1 hour or until the internal temperature reads 160° F.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let it rest for ten minutes to redistribute juices.
- Carefully lift out the chicken to a cutting board and discard the juices. Slice thin and proceed.
- To fill a gyro, spread a little tzatziki on the pita or naan, then add the meat followed by the rest of the toppings. Fold like a taco to eat!Small Campari Tomatoes, 1 Red Onion, Fresh Parsley, Pita Flatbreads, Tzatziki, Feta, Cucumber