Greek Tzatziki Sauce is a bright, delicious combination of creamy Greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and a few other traditional flavors that are incredible with meat, fish, veggies, or bread. It is so easy and takes all of 5 minutes to make your own batch that is superior to anything you can pick up at the market!

If you love Greek food, some of our other popular Greek-inspired recipes are Baked Greek Feta Meatballs, Greek Marinade, Greek Baklava, and Greek Feta Fries.

Greek Tzatziki Saucein a bowl surrounded by bread and ingredients

One of my favorite things about traveling is the food. You can get Greek food - even really good Greek food - at Greek restaurants here in the States, but there is something about eating a gyro in Santorini that makes it take root in your soul.

Right after graduating law school and taking the bar exam, Paul and I got to take a 6-week backpacking adventure through parts of the Mediterranean, including parts of Greece like Thessaloniki, Athens, and the islands of Santorini and Rhodes. There was a little cafe in Santorini that we ate at more than once because of their amazing gyros that were dripping with cool, tangy Tzatziki sauce on top of seasoned meat, tomatoes, onions, and Greek fries.

Tzatziki sauce is most well-known for being a food from Greece, but it is also eaten in neighboring countries and parts of the Middle East.

amy in Santorini in 2009
paul and amy in meteora

This easy homemade tzatziki sauce has the best flavor and reminds me of that trip every time I make it and tastes every bit as authentic as the kind we get from our favorite Greek restaurant.

Why this Recipe Works

  • Salting the cucumber first removes excess moisture so your tzatziki isn't runny.
  • Using English or Persian cucumbers means you don't need to worry about peeling thick or bitter skin off the cucumbers or removing seeds first.
  • It's good for you! The ingredients are wholesome, healthy, and fresh.

Ingredient Notes

This is a quick overview of some of the important ingredients you'll need for this best tzatziki recipe. Specific measurements and full recipe instructions are in the printable recipe card below.

  • Cucumber: Any fresh cucumber will work, although English cucumber or Persian cucumbers work best. You don't even need to de-seed or peel them since the skin isn't as tough or bitter as other varieties of cucumbers.
  • Greek yogurt: For this recipe you want full fat plain yogurt. Don't use a flavored variety. You could use a lower fat yogurt too, but the full-fat Greek yogurt gives much better results. Sour cream is also an acceptable, although not traditional, alternative.
  • Dill: We prefer using fresh dill in this tzatziki recipe, but dried dill can be substituted if that's all you have on hand.
  • Fresh garlic: Because the fresh flavors of this Greek yogurt sauce are so simple, I recommend mincing your own garlic instead of using the store bought kind that comes minced in jars.
Ingredients for homemade tzatziki sauce.

How to Make Tzatziki Sauce

Since watery tzatziki sauce is definitely not the goal of this homemade tzatziki recipe, you are going to want to finely dice your cucumber first and place it in a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl, then sprinkle it generously with salt. The salt will draw out the excess liquid from the cucumber, so let it sit for about 30 minutes. As the excess water leeches out, the cucumber will sweat off most of the salt on its own.

If you prefer a less chunky tzatziki sauce, use grated cucumber instead of diced cucumber instead. Either way, you don't want too much water so you will need to remove some of it with the leeching method mentioned above.

Diced zucchini in a colander with salt.

Meanwhile, mix the thick yogurt in a large bowl with garlic, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Add the fresh dill and cucumber once it has released most of its water.

Greek Tzatziki Sauce ingredients in a glass bowl next to half a lemon and a spoon

Stir everything together, then chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to meld before serving over grilled meats or as a sauce for dipping bread, pita chips, or veggies. You could even thin it out with a little milk and use it as a salad dressing.

Recipe FAQ's

What is tzatziki?

Tzatziki is a yogurt based Greek sauce made with cucumber, garlic, dill, olive oil, and lemon juice. A lot of recipes call for the cucumber to be grated, but my preference is to do a small dice instead because I love the little bites of cucumber in the tzatziki.

Can you freeze tzatziki sauce?

No, I do not recommend freezing tzatziki sauce. The texture of the cucumbers once it thaws isn't very good and the sauce will be runny.

Do I need to peel the cucumber first?

No, if you are using an English or Persian cucumber, there is no need to peel them before making the tzatziki sauce because their skins are thin and not bitter. However, if you are using another variety of garden-grown cucumber, you may want to peel and deseed them first before proceeding with the recipe.

Does the cucumber need to be rinsed after being salted?

I usually find that the water that comes off the cucumber once it has been salted is usually enough to wash off most of the salt so we don't need to rinse it. However, you can rinse the cucumber under cold water to remove excess salt and pat it dry with paper towels before using if needed.

Recipe Tips

  • Storage: Store the cucumber sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. If it gets watery on top, just give it a good stir before using.
  • Serve with: Tzatziki sauce is great on gyros made with Greek Meatballs (Keftedes), over grilled or fried fish, steak, or marinated chicken, with warm, soft pita bread for dipping, or on fries. Or, you know, just eat it straight out of the bowl with a spoon. It's that good.
  • Use fresh herbs: While dried dill works in a pinch, you will get much more flavor from fresh dill when it is available.
  • Variation: If you aren't a fan of dill, then go ahead and just leave it out, but I love, love, love the flavor it gives so it's always in my version.
A bowl of tzatziki sauce next to a plate of pita bread cut into triangles.

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Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.

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Greek Tzatziki Sauce

5 from 3 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Spreads & Sauces
Cuisine European
Servings 4 people
Greek tzatziki sauce is a bright, delicious combination of Greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and a few other traditional flavors that are incredible with meat, fish, veggies, or bread.  It is so easy and takes all of 5 minutes to make your own batch that is vastly superior to anything you can pick up at the market!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 english cucumber diced small (about 1 cup)
  • 1 Tablespoon salt for leeching water from the cucumber
  • 1 ½ cups greek yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Freshly ground pepper
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh dill chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried dill)

Instructions
 

  • Sprinkle 1 tablespoon salt over the cucumber and allow water to drain in a colander over a bowl for 30 minutes. If needed, you can rinse and dry the cucumber to get rid of some of the salt, but most of it will rinse off from the water that comes out of the cucumber anyway.
  • In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except cucumber and dill. Stir together, then stir in cucumber and dill and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.

Video

Notes

  • Storage: Tzatziki sauce will keep in the fridge for about 4 days. If it gets watery on top, just give it a good stir before using.
  • Serve with: Tzatziki sauce is great on gyros made with Greek Meatballs (Keftedes), over grilled or fried fish, steak, or marinated chicken, with warm, soft pita bread for dipping, or on fries. Or, you know, just eat it straight out of the bowl with a spoon. It's that good.
Adapted from Recipe Runner and Gimme Some Oven.

Nutrition

Calories: 90kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 2064mg | Potassium: 231mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 91IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

This post was originally published in September, 2016. The photos and content were updated in March, 2022.

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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