This authentic Tzatziki Sauce Recipe is a delicious creamy dip made out of Greek yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, olive oil and fresh herbs.
Indeed it's a refreshing chilled Greek yogurt sauce that makes great recipe for an appetizer spread or mezze. Serve it with grilled meat, veggies or smear it on your bread sandwich or dip your warm pita in it.
About the recipe
You might be thinking what is 'Tzatziki' sauce? Even my little one asked the same question when I made it at home.
Yeah, the name sounds so fancy, isn't it?
Let me tell you, it's just the name that's sounds so tricky to pronounce. In actual it is an easy Greek recipe that you can make with just handful ingredients.
The name and words may daunt you, but it is just a simple strained yogurt dip with grated cucumber, some garlic and fresh dill leaves.
A versatile classic Greek dip that goes beautifully with chips, grilled meats, vegetables sticks, pita bread and so much more.
This sauce tastes just like the ones served in Greek restaurants.
Sometimes, in Middle East you may find that tzatziki is served under different name as yogurt and cucumber sauce or a with slight variation.
With zero cooking time, you can whip it up in minutes and refrigerate it until you plan to serve this.
Traditional Tzatziki sauce is made using sheep or Goat's yogurt. But, as it is hard to find this elsewhere, so regular yogurt does the job well.
If you get access to traditional Greek yogurt easily then that's the best thing to happen.
The elements that goes in this dip are very basic. Let us see what are they.
Yogurt : Traditionally, the Greek yogurt goes in. But, if you can't find it, then go on ahead with regular whole milk yogurt.
Just line the fine mesh sieve with cheesecloth (or muslin) and pour the yogurt into it.
Refrigerate it overnight with the sieve. And you have nice thick and creamy strained yogurt next morning left behind in the cloth.
At times, I even make this using sour cream, it tastes so good!
Cucumber : Well, this dip asks for English cucumbers. And, I my self prefer using it for the best taste.
But, only if can't get the English ones, then use grated fresh cucumber. This also works very well. But, peel it, remove the seeds and then use to make the sauce.
Garlic : Garlic is a must use. Freshly minced garlic gives lovely hint to the tzatziki sauce.
Dill Leaves : Fresh dill leaves adds so refreshing taste and aroma here.
Some people may not like to use loads of fresh dill in here. So, what you can do is, reduce its amount as per your taste.
Or you can even throw in some finely chopped fresh mint leaves or parsley. That's fine! However, addition of dill leaves gives the authentic taste and flavor.
Lemon juice, Salt and pepper for fresh zing and taste.
Step by step instructions
A secret technique I have for you here.
Let me show you how to make the best and authentic tzatziki sauce at home.
To start with, first, mix in together - yogurt, olive oil, grated garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Cover and let the mixture rest in the fridge for at least 4-5 hours. The resting is preferably done overnight.
Yes, this is the secret to make this Greek yogurt cucumber sauce authentic. Resting the yogurt mixture for a while enhances the flavor making the dip more tasty.
Add grated cucumber in clean muslin or cheesecloth.
Squeeze out all the water from it.
You can also do this squeeze it using your hands. But, keep in mind to drain all the water, this is a key step. Because, we do not want runny tzatziki sauce, but thick and creamy!
Add the squeezed cucumber and fresh dill into the prepared yogurt mixture and mix.
Stir to combine. Serve chilled with veggie sticks, pita or chips.
Must follow tips
Using thick yogurt is one prime thing to keep in mind. So, either use Greek yogurt or hung curd.
You can use whole milk or low fat and even fat free yogurt to make this dip.
Let the yogurt mixture rest for at least few hours in fridge, overnight better. This process reduces the sharp hint of garlic and the flavors grow deep making it taste the best.
If you are in rush, then you can use food processor to shred the cucumbers.
Some people peel the cucumber and use and some don't. So, if you are using English cucumber, then you don't need to peel it. But, if your are using regular fresh cucumber, then peel and deseed it before shredding .
Squeeze out all the water from grated cucumber using either your hands or muslin / cheese cloth. Please keep in mind that squeezing the cucumber is important.
If time permits, drain the cucumber using fine mesh sieve overnight in fridge. This step gives great result.
How to serve it?
This super good homemade tzatziki recipe is a perfect to serve as a side dish with some grilled vegetables as well as salads. It is one of the most popular menu of Greek Mezes.
It pairs perfect with fried Eggplant, Chicken Gyros, Baked potatoes, Shawarma, and Lamb chops and what not.
I love to eat it with some warm bread. Tzatziki makes a great spread for pita sandwiches and falafel.
Dipping raw veggies into the sauce and munching on it is just as delicious and healthy choice of snack. Or dunk your favorite chips in to it and enjoy!
You can use it in marinades as well as in salad dressings. You have endless possibilities to serve this Greek sauce with various dishes of your choice.
Storage and make ahead instructions
I have stored tzatziki in clean glass container with airtight lid upto 4 days, it stays very well.
Honestly, I haven't let it stay in my fridge beyond 2 days. Because, we all keep eating it with loads of cucumber, carrots and chips the whole day. 🙂
So, before the next day gets over, it is wiped off. 🙂
If you plan to serve this for your upcoming parties, then you can make this sauce a day ahead and refrigerate.
Avoid freezing tzatziki as it may loose all its flavor and cucumber crunch.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is Tzatziki pronounced?
It commonly pronounced as Tsaht-Zee-ki or Tsah-See-Key.
However, it's origin comes from the Turkish word 'Cacik' (an Ottoman Version).
How to make vegan Tzatziki recipe?
All you need to do is replace Greek yogurt with Cashew sour cream or coconut yogurt. Go for any vegan yogurt to make it dairy free.
Is Tzatziki healthy?
Yes, this creamy dip is low in calories and high in protein. And if you go for fat free yogurt, then calories is reduced further.
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Tzatziki Sauce Recipe
- 2 cups Greek Yogurt
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil extra virgin
- 4-5 cloves Garlic minced
- Salt and Pepper To taste
- 1-2 tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 1 Cucumber (250 grams) grated
- 2 tablespoons Dill chopped
- To start with, first, mix in together - yogurt, olive oil, grated garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Let the mixture rest in the fridge for at least 4-5 hours. The resting is preferably done overnight.
- Add grated cucumber in a clean muslin or cheesecloth and squeeze out all the water from it.
- You can also do this process using your hands. But, keep in mind to drain all the water, this is a key step. Because, we do not want runny tzatziki sauce, but thick and creamy!
- Add shredded cucumber and fresh dill, stir to combine and serve chilled tzatziki sauce with grilled meat, poultry, fish, veggie sticks, pita or chips.