This tzatziki recipe is made with creamy Greek yogurt, cucumber, tangy lemon juice and zest, garlic and bright pops of fresh herbs.
I went on a date my first summer home from college and the guy took me to a hole-in-the-wall Greek restaurant with the most delicious fried potatoes and tzatziki (pronounced Tsaht-ZEE-kee). It was perfectly crunchy, fried and indulgent with this light and refreshing sauce. I have been sold ever since!
I have said many times how much of a sauce/dip lover I am, and this one is my latest obsession. We use it on homemade gyros, of course, but I also love it as a dip for fresh veggies or pita bread. It’s also great as a spread on sandwiches or as a dressing for salad.
Tzatziki Sauce Ingredients
The ingredients are so simple, but the combination of them all makes such a refreshing and tasty sauce. Here is what you will need:
- Plain Greek Yogurt: you can use full fat, low fat or fat free, but the fat free doesn’t hold up quite as well and definitely stick with Greek yogurt
- Lemon Zest and Juice: you’ll definitely want fresh lemon juice for this recipe and you can’t beat the flavor you get from the zest
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: a good quality olive oil is recommended
- Garlic: grab a whole head of garlic and either press the clove or finely grate it so that texturally you don’t know it’s there but you still get that unmistakable flavor
- Cucumber: always use English cucumbers because they are less seedy and a little sweeter
- PRO TIP: I tried grated and minced and I much prefer grated.
- Sea Salt: adds flavor
- Dill: fresh and chopped…I don’t recommend dried, just not the same
- Mint: fresh and finely chopped
How to Make This Tzatziki Recipe
- Prepare the cucumber: grate it and then squeeze as much of the liquid out of it as possible using paper towels, cheesecloth or a thin dish towel
- Prep the other ingredients: zest and juice the lemon, mince the herbs and garlic
- Create the sauce: whisk all the ingredients together
- Let is rest: cover the sauce and let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour so all the flavor can meld together
Tips for Success
We have tried different combinations and tried to cut some corners here and there, but we have found that fresh ingredients are critical! Fresh lemon and fresh herbs!
Use English cucumbers instead of regular cucumbers. You don’t need to peel them and the seeds are so tiny that you don’t even notice them.
Squeeze the living daylights out of that cucumber! You want the fresh flavor of the cucumber but you don’t any of the liquid or it will cause your tzatziki sauce to be watery and separate.
After you’ve mixed everything together, let it rest in the refrigerator so all the flavors can combine. It really does make a huge difference! You could even make it a day ahead of time if you want.
Make this yogurt spread all summer long! The kids love it and you can dip all your fresh garden produce in it!
How to Use Tzatziki Sauce
We typically think of tzatziki sauce being on gyros, which I highly recommend! We are working on our chicken gyro post now, so stay tuned! But don’t stop there! This creamy cucumber yogurt dip can be used on salads, sandwiches or as a dip for veggies (fresh or grilled) or for crackers and pita wedges. We also love it on the top of baked potatoes or even roasted chicken!
Why is My Tzatziki Sauce Watery?
A watery tzatziki sauce is mostly due to the cucumbers. Cucumbers hold so much water that you really have to wring those babies out when you grate them. If you leave too much water in them, they will thin out your sauce and even cause separation in the sauce.
Store tzatziki in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It may separate a little as it sits, but just give it a good stir and it will be fine. Tzatziki sauce doesn’t freeze well unfortunately.
This tzatziki recipe is perfect for hot summer days and can be used in so many different ways. We are going to be making it all summer long! It’s healthy, cool and creamy, just what you want in a summer yogurt dip!
Try Our Other Yummy Sauces:
- 1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt , thick whole milk
- 1 Pinch Lemon Zest
- 1/2-1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice, to taste
- 1/2 Tablespoon Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Clove Garlic, finely grated
- 3/4 Cup Cucumber , finely grated or minced
- Sea Salt, to taste
- 1 Tablespoon Dill, fresh and chopped (I don't recommend dried)
- 1 teaspoon Mint , finely chopped
- Squeeze as much water out of the cucumber using paper towels as you can so it doesn't break the sauce.3/4 Cup Cucumber
- Mix everything together and set aside in the fridge for one hour or until ready to serve.1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt, 1 Pinch Lemon Zest, 1/2-1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice, 1/2 Tablespoon Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, 1 Clove Garlic, Sea Salt, 1 Tablespoon Dill, 1 teaspoon Mint