How to Make Tzatziki Sauce

A small bowl of creamy white Tzatziki sauce flecked with cucumber and dill surrounded by grilled pita bread and other ingredients.

Tzatziki Sauce. It’s the classic Greek sauce that goes with everything! Learn how to make it then pair it with your favourite Greek appetizers or enjoy it on a Mediterranean mezze board. Once you make this simple sauce, you’ll never go back to store bought!

During the summer, my go-to hot weather dinner cuisine is GREEK. Whipping up an authentic Horiatiki Salad (or Greek Village Salad) is so easy and flavourful. It goes so well with a platter of grilled Chicken Souvlaki and toasted pita. Pro tip: You can even use it as a salad dressing in a Greek-style Orzo Salad.

A small bowl of creamy white Tzatziki sauce flecked with cucumber and dill surrounded by grilled pita bread and other ingredients.

Homemade Tzatziki Sauce

One taste of this homemade Greek Tzatziki Sauce and you’ll be wondering why you ever bought it from a store! When you make it at home there are no weird ingredients or preservatives, only easy to find healthy ingredients filled with flavour.

This creamy dip is so simple to whip up and it tastes like a trip to the sunny Mediterranean. With a base of full fat Greek yogurt loaded with refreshing cucumber, earthy garlic, and loads of herby goodness from fresh dill you just can’t go wrong.

Once you add that fresh pop of lemon, you’ll be double dipping your pitas, calamari, and souvlaki like no one’s watching.

A toasted triangle of pita bread in a bowl of creamy tzatziki sauce.

What is Tzatziki?

Tzatziki is a sauce or dip made from strained yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, salt, and olive oil. Many versions also include lemon juice and fresh herbs such as dill, parsley, and mint.

There are many ways to pronounce Tzatziki. Though I tend to say zza-zzee-key, it wasn’t always so. When our kids were small, our family cheekily pronounced it zack-zacky in honour of our eldest son.

This creamy yogurt-based sauce is so popular you probably have already tried it as a sauce or dip. However, did you know Tzatziki is sometimes also served as a side dish or soup? This style of serving Tzatziki is fairly common in Southeastern Europe and Middle Eastern cuisines.

Similar sauces include Turkish cacık which (in its most simplistic form) consists of garlic and fresh herbs in an often diluted yogurt base and tarator (Bulgaria and Albania) a thin yogurt sauce with nuts or other added ingredients. There are also variations of Tzatziki in Cyprus, Iran, Iraq, and raita in South East Asia.

Ingredients required to make Greek Tzatziki Sauce.

Ingredients for Tzatziki

Simple is as simple does when it comes to this creamy Greek dip. There are only seven ingredients so it is important to buy them fresh so your dip is the best it can be.

  • Greek Yogurt
  • Cucumber
  • Fresh Dill
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Dried Oregano
  • Salt

For the creamiest dip, it is essential to use full fat plain Greek Yogurt which is made with whole milk. Look for yogurt that is at least 3-4 % milk fat.

When buying cucumbers, feel them for firmness and check for blemishes or puckering. I prefer to use an English cucumber as it contains fewer seeds, is usually ‘burpless’ and less acidic than field cucumbers. If you use a field cucumber, remove the soft central portion along with the seeds before grating.

A wooden spoon serves up creamy white Tzatziki sauce flecked with cucumber and dill from a small bowl surrounded by grilled pita bread and other ingredients.

I have made Tzatziki with dried dill. It works just fine because dried dill retains most of the flavour of fresh dill.

Yes, this is one recipe that requires ONE clove of garlic. Very rare, I know! However, adding more garlic would overpower the sweetness of the yogurt. It’s all about balance.

Not everyone adds lemon to their Tzatziki. I add both finely chopped lemon zest and lemon juice because I like the extra sourness from the citrus. You can skip it or use a bit of vinegar if you prefer.

Note that olive oil is omitted in this Tzatziki sauce recipe even though it is a traditional ingredient. I’ve never made it with olive oil but if you want to try it, use the best olive oil you have and start with a small amount to see how you like it.

A small bowl of creamy white Tzatziki sauce flecked with cucumber and dill surrounded by grilled pita bread and other ingredients.

What is Greek Yogurt?

Greek yogurt differs from regular yogurt because it is strained to remove whey protein. This means that Greek yogurt is thicker, creamier, and contains little to no lactose but has concentrated amounts of gut-friendly probiotics. 

Greek yogurt comes in full fat and low fat varieties. Full fat Greek yogurt is made using full fat milk and therefore contains more saturated fats and calories than its low-fat counterpart. Both varieties are high in protein along with a host of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients including calcium and potassium,

A small bowl of creamy white Tzatziki sauce flecked with cucumber and dill surrounded by grilled pita bread and other ingredients.

How to Make Tzatziki

Traditionally, solid ingredients such as cucumber and garlic are crushed using a mortar and pestle before the yogurt and herbs are added. However, I tend to finely mince the garlic with a knife and grate the cucumber using a box grater.

Start by washing the cucumber well under warm water. There’s no need to peel the cucumber, unless you prefer it that way. Use a fine box grater to grate 2/3 of a long English cucumber. Reserve the remaining 1/3 for chef snacks later!

Next, you need to drain the cucumber to keep the Tzatziki from getting watery. Stack three paper towels together (or use a clean tea towel) and place the finely grated cucumber on top. Gently squeeze the juices out of the cucumber over a sink or bowl. The grated cucumber will be in a dry lump once all the juice is squeezed out.

A hand dips a toasted triangle of pita bread in a bowl of creamy tzatziki sauce.

Place the yogurt in a medium bowl. Break up the cucumber and add it to the yogurt. To the yogurt and cucumber, add chopped fresh dill, oregano, finely chopped lemon zest, and lemon juice (half only). Finally, stir the ingredients together, then season with salt (and pepper if you want).

What to Eat with Tzatziki

Tzatziki goes great with any grilled meat. I love it with chicken or pork souvlaki and even lamb. Though it is tasty on fresh grilled pita bread, it is especially wonderful on a burger, gyro, or in a wrap.

We love to use it as a dip for Greek appetizers such as fried calamari, dolmades, and spanakopita. However, it makes a fabulous dip for raw vegetables too.

Additionally, Tzatziki is usually found on a Mediterranean mezze platter along with marinated olives, grilled pita bread, halloumi or feta, dolmades, hummus or other dips.

More recently, I used a large amount of Tzatziki in place of creamy salad dressing for a Greek style orzo pasta salad.

A hand dips a toasted triangle of pita bread in a bowl of creamy tzatziki sauce.

Make Ahead and Storing Tzatziki

Ideally, this sauce is best made ahead of time so that the flavours have time to marry. However, the sauce may separate slightly in the fridge overnight. I like to make mine in the morning and let it sit for a few hours before dinner.

You can keep this creamy sauce in the fridge for 4-5 days. If it separates, just give it a good stir before using.

Pinterest image featuring a bowl of creamy white tzatziki sauce with dill surrounded by grilled pita bread.

If you make this Tzatziki Sauce recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for my latest recipes. Also, if you do make this recipe, please tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see what you guys are making! Thank you so much for reading my blog.

Yield: 2 cups

How to Make Tzatziki Sauce

A small bowl of creamy white Tzatziki sauce flecked with cucumber and dill surrounded by grilled pita bread and other ingredients.

Tzatziki Sauce. It's the classic Greek sauce that goes with everything! Learn how to make it then pair it with your favourite Greek appetizers or enjoy it on a Mediterranean mezze board. Once you make this simple sauce, you'll never go back to store bought!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups full fat plain Greek Yogurt
  • 2/3 English Cucumber
  • 1 clove Garlic; finely minced
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Dill; chopped
  • 1 Lemon; zested and juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Wash the cucumber well under warm water. Peel, or leave whole.
  2. Grate the 2/3 cucumber using a fine box grater. Reserve the remaining 1/3 for snacks later.
  3. Stack three sheets of paper towel together (or use a clean tea towel) and place the finely grated cucumber on top.
  4. Gently squeeze the juices out of the cucumber over a sink or bowl. The grated cucumber will be in a dry lump once all the juice is squeezed out.
  5. Place yogurt in a small bowl. Break up the cucumber and add it to the yogurt.
  6. Next, add the fresh dill, oregano, finely chopped lemon zest, and lemon juice (half only).
  7. Stir ingredients together, then season with salt.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 74Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 571mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 12g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

Did you make this recipe?

Share your dish pic on Instagram or Facebook and tag @dishnthekitchen (or #dishnthekitchen) in your post or story! Rate this recipe and leave a review to share your experience with others!

25 comments

  1. Moop Brown

    Tzatziki sauce is so versatile and goes with a variety of different things. I’m thinking of incorporating this sauce into a falafel recipe I might try.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      That would be a great place to use this sauce!

  2. Moop Brown

    Tzatziki sauce is so versatile and goes with a variety of different things. Seems super easy to make as well.

    Reply

  3. Ksenia

    I ate SO MUCH tzatziki when I was in Greece last month, and this recipe took me right back there! A joy to eat on pita and with grilled chicken.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I bet! That is a bucket list destination for me. So glad you got to go.

  4. Dennis

    Such an easy and delicious Tzatziki sauce! It went so well with our chicken kabobs last night!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      That sounds like perfection to me!

  5. Nancy

    What a lovely dip. The lemon added really brightened this tzatziki recipe. Now I will never buy from stores.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I’m a huge believer in the power of lemon. It brightens up so many dishes.

  6. Amy Liu Dong

    I have never tried to make a tzatziki sauce, but it looks delicious and easy!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      It is very easy and worth making for yourself. No preservatives or additives!

  7. Mikayla

    We liked this so much, I do believe it will become a regular sauce for many occasions.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      That’s so great to hear Mikayla! I’m really glad you enjoyed this Tzatziki.

  8. Kristen

    I loved the lemon added to this recipe, it gives it such a light and refreshing flavour. Our kids love it and that’s a win for us!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      That IS a win, especially if they dip their vegetables in it.

  9. Shelby

    This is the BEST warm weather dip! I love the lemon zest added, it gave it such a yummy, refreshing flavor!

    Reply

  10. Ann

    I have never heard of this sauce before, but it sounds delicious! Sounds like a very versatile sauce. Excited to give it a try!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      You should! It works great as a veggie dip or condiment for burgers.

  11. Tracy

    This was so so much better than anything store-bought! Plus it was so easy to make, our family loved it! I can’t wait to use it in tons of ways!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      So great to hear Tracy! Once you start making your own you can’t go back to store bought.

  12. Kathryn

    This was the best tzatziki sauce and it was SO easy to make! I won’t be buying store bought stuff anymore because this is way better!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Excellent! It’s so easy to make, there’s just no need to buy it.

  13. Gloria

    So much better than the pre-made stuff in the grocery store. Fresh and easy to make. The perfect topping for so many delicious things.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      For sure! I make a batch of Tzatziki almost weekly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to Recipe