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- Dish type
- Side dish
This Greek yoghurt sauce made with cucumbers and fresh mint is a classic. You need to make this in advance but it still tastes really fresh.
342 people made this
- 1 (500g) tub low fat Greek yoghurt
- 1 large cucumber - peeled, seeded and grated
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 20 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
MethodPrep:6hr ›Ready in:6hr
- Line a colander or sieve with muslin or kitchen roll and place over a bowl. Empty yoghurt into the prepared colander and strain for at least 4 hours, until most of the water has drained.
- Press excess liquid out of the grated cucumber. In a medium bowl, stir together the cucumber and strained yoghurt. Mix in the garlic, salt, pepper and mint. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Chill the mixture for 1 to 2 hours.
For a richer tzatziki, add 2 to 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the mixture.
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(257)
Reviews in English (173)
Took shortcuts.I added half of a fresh squeezed lemon and a pinch of sugar. This is a wonderful recipe. Also I skinned and chopped my cucumber and left it in a strainer with a little salt sprinkled on it. This way my cucumbers "sweat" out there juices rather than having a runny dip. and you dont need to spend precious time cleaning out the seeds.-15 Sep 2008
Actually, being half Greek I know that tzatziki is not made with mint. Plus, you'll need to add olive oil and vinegar if you want the real thing.Other than that it is still a nice sauce.-26 Jul 2010
by N. Twedell
I have always thought I made a great tzatziki, but after I made this recipe, I threw mine away. I don't know if it's the mint because no one else had it in the other recipes or the yoghurt. This is the best I have ever tasted, including restaurants. I have made it so many times I have the recipe in my head. Thanks-15 Sep 2008
Greek tzatziki sauce
Diet based on cereals, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits and other animal foods such as honey and eggs. Excludes meat, fish, mollusks.
Gluten Free Diet
Excludes foods containing gluten, such as wheat, barley, rye and their by-products.
Egg Free Diet
It is usually followed when someone is allergic to this food.
Nuts Free Diet
It is usually followed when someone is allergic to nuts.
Low in Sugars Diet
Limits all sources of added sugars and encourages the reduction of high-carbohydrate (high glycemic index) foods. A claim that a food can be classified as LS can be made when it contains less than 5 gr of sugars per 100 gr of solid food or 2.5 gr of sugars per 100 ml of liquid food.
- 300 g strained yogurt
- 1 cucumber
- 1/3 clove(s) of garlic
- 3 tablespoon(s) vinegar, of white wine
- 1/4 bunch dill, finely chopped (optional)
- 2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
- 1 pinch salt
While it’s easy to make this recipe, it always helps to watch a quick video. Give it a watch below!
Tzatziki is a refreshing cucumber and yogurt sauce that has made its way through Mediterranean cuisines. While it’s strongly linked to Greece, places like Turkey, Cyprus and the Balkans all have their own twist on it. The common base is strained yogurt, cucumber, and dill, along with additional herbs such as parsley, cilantro, or mint.
It’s fresh and bright flavors make it perfect for pairing with grilled meats and gyros. Which is how it’s typically served. But I’d say it dresses up grilled veggies pretty nicely too. And of course, serving it as a dip on a mezze platter is a no brainer.
How To Make Tzatziki
Begin by seeding the cucumber. Simply cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, and then use a small spoon to scrape the seeds out. Next, shred the cucumber on a box grater or in a food processor.
Cucumbers are filled with water, which will dilute the tzatziki if you don’t wring it all out. I first use my hands to squeeze out as much liquid as possible, then I wrap the shredded cucumber in a dish towel and wring again.
Combine the yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and mint in a mixing bowl.
Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. That’s all there is to it!
How long does homemade tzatziki last in the fridge?
Homemade tzatziki sauce is best consumed fresh. You can freeze it, if you have some leftover, but don’t expect the result to be perfect. The cucumbers will become a bit mushy and the sauce a bit more watery.
You can store your homemade tzatziki sauce in the fridge in an airtight container. It will last for about 3 days before it starts going bad. If it has gone bad you can tell by the smell. If it smells sour, like yogurt or milk gone bad, then it is time to get rid of it.
Tzatziki (τζατζίκι), a traditional mezze, similar to Turkish cacık (dʒaˈdʒɯk) and Bulgarian tarator (таратор). It is a dip, sauce, and even soup that’s found in Southeast European cuisines and from the Middle East. It’s mainly made from goat or sheep yogurt mixed with cucumber, garlic, and herbs such as dill and / or mint.
How to prepare tzatziki
Tzatziki is made from Greek sheep or goat milk yogurt, mixed with cucumber, chopped garlic, salt, extra virgin olive oil, and dill, mint or parsley. Some variations add lemon juice or vinegar and purslane.
Purslane is a fleshy leaved plant that grows wild throughout Greece. It’s used in horiatiki salad, a famous Greek salad, or eaten alone with olive oil and vinegar.
Purslane is called glistrida in Greek and, when making purslane tzatziki, it is also called glistrida me yiaourti, literally meaning “purslane and yogurt salad”.
There are two popular recipes for purslane tzatziki. The first calls for purslane, olive oil, red wine vinegar and dill. The second for purslane, fresh mint, cilantro, parsley and ground coriander seeds. Both recipes use the standard base of yogurt and cucumber with garlic.
What is the origin of tzatziki?
Tzatziki has its origins in Turkey, and has evolved from cacık (pronounced tzatzik or jah-jehk). This in turn comes from the old Persian zhazh, or “jazz” (the name given to dishes made from several herbs).
The Iranian version of tzatziki, mast-o-khiar (ماست و خيار) is made from yogurt (mast) and cucumber (khiar).
Tzatziki, while similar to cacık, is more diluted in consistency, similar to that of a cold soup.
There are many Greek dishes that have their origins in Turkish culture, and vice versa. Having similar tastes and geographic proximity, the two nations have influenced each other enormously in many areas over the centuries. Tzatziki is the Hellenic spelling of cacık.
Looking more closely at the ingredients of tzatziki or cacık, the three main ingredients still have Turkish and Greek origins.
- Yogurt is of Turkish origin.
- The first cultivation of cucumber is said to have been made in the region of Thrace, an area of the Balkan Peninsula shared today between Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.
- Garlic is believed to have originated from the plains east of the Caspian Sea from where it would have reached Asia via Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan.
By looking at the origin of these three ingredients, it is likely that tzatziki is of Ottoman and Anatolian origin, as opposed to originating solely with either of them.
Variations of tzatziki
Similar recipes for mixing cucumbers or other vegetables and dairy products are widely used around the world. Some are as follows:
Cacık is prepared by mixing water and yogurt with garlic and different combinations of fresh and sometimes grilled vegetables and herbs. The amount of water used depends on the thickness desired by the cook as sometimes it is served as a cold soup, but it can also be thickened according to taste.
Labneh can sometimes replace yogurt or part of the yogurt. Garlic is crushed in a mortar and pestle with salt, and the cucumbers are deseeded, then chopped or grated. It is often garnished with Aleppo pepper, paprika, sumac and / or dry or fresh mint.
When grated carrots are added to cucumber, it is called havuçlu cacık. In Turkey, a recipe similar to Bulgarian tarator is called Balkan cacığı and is made with green onions and fresh mint.
Other varieties of cacık can include grated radish or chopped red pepper and fresh flat-leaf parsley. Some recipes add fresh basil, vinegar, ground nuts, and hazelnuts.
All cacık is made of yogurt. However, not all versions are made with grated cucumber, and one even includes boiled wheat kernels and dill. Bulgurlu madımak cacığı is prepared with cracked wheat and cucumber.
In Turkey, cacıklı arap köftesi is a kofta dish made from a mixture of bulgur and ground beef served over cacık. This version is made with chard or spinach, rather than cucumber.
Djajik and ovdukh
A dish similar to tzatziki, called djajik, exists in Iraq and Armenia, and another variation, called ovdukh, is found in the Caucasus, where kefir replaces yogurt. This can be a refreshing drink in the summer, or poured over a mixture of vegetables, eggs and ham, making a variation of the Russian soup, okroška.
Tarator is a refreshing cold Bulgarian soup made with yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, walnuts, dill, oil, and water. It is served cold and sometimes even with ice.
In Albania, tarator is a very popular dish in summer. It is usually served cold, and is made with yogurt, garlic, parsley, cucumber, salt, and olive oil.
In Cyprus, the dish is known as talattouri (ταλαττούρι), although it is a dip, not a soup. It’s made with Greek yogurt, sliced cucumber, minced garlic, and olive oil, and is sprinkled with dried mint or oregano.
Tarator is found in many Balkan countries. Some local variations replace yogurt with water and vinegar, remove nuts or dill, and add bread instead.
Cucumbers can sometimes be replaced with lettuce and / or carrots. in Serbia and Bulgaria, a thicker variant is sometimes known as “dry tarator”, or “Snezhanka salad” (cнежанка салата) or “Snow White salad”. This is served as a starter or side dish.
During preparation, the yogurt is suspended for several hours in cheesecloth to remove half of its water. Cucumbers, garlic, chopped walnuts, roasted peppers, salt and oil olive are then added.
The Iraqi version of tarator is jajeek, and is often served as a meze. It can accompany alcoholic drinks, in particular arak, a brandy resembling Greek ouzo, made from dates.
In Syria and Lebanon, it is called taratoor (طرطور) and is made from tahini (sesame puree). It is often garnished with cilantro or flat leaf parsley, and usually accompanies falafels in a pita.
Raita is the Indian version, which usually accompanies biryani, pulav (pilaf), dal, or seekh kabab. It can also be enjoyed with naan, hot paratha, and a variety of other Indian dishes.
In South India, for example Bangalore, there are variations of raita with diced carrots. It is also typical of Pakistani cuisine, where it is possible to find variations with potato or tomato.
Easy Keto Tzatziki Sauce Recipe
I think sauces are one of the easiest ways to add flavor to any dish. This recipe is a perfect example!
No time to marinate chicken breast? Just throw it on the grill and drizzle on the sauce once it&rsquos done!
Want a quick dipper for your veggies? This homemade tzatziki sauce with sour cream is so easy to make, you can whip up a batch in minutes!
The options are truly endless. There&rsquos no bad way to enjoy this cool and refreshing Mediterranean-inspired sauce.
Easy Tzatziki Sauce
Posted By Savita
Flavorful and easy Tzatziki Sauce, a Greek yogurt and cucumber sauce with traditional tzatziki seasonings - garlic, cumin, black pepper, lemon, and fresh herbs. If you have never tried Tzatziki? then this yogurt sauce is a must try. It needs 15 minutes to make a big batch! Tzatziki is also a healthy, gluten free, carb-free, low-fat, and very refreshing side.
Tzatziki sauce is a versatile dip. Serve it on the side of the grilled meats, or kabobs like I served it with Chicken Souvlaki, or serve it with veggies chips or pita as you see in pictures. All dippers go great with garlicky creamy tzatziki!
In-fact, I have often use Tzatziki as a spread in Greek-Style sandwiches. So next time you make a sandwich for lunch, reach for healthy Tzatziki instead of mayo or mustards. Honestly, with low-fat yogurt, and flavor bong of garlic, herbs, and spices.. I consider Tzatziki Sauce the official healthy summer dip of the year.
Let's not wait and make some Tzatziki [tsä'tseke]!
Greek Falafel platter is my favorite menu item in Greek restaurants but I'm never so happy with a tablespoon serving-size portion of tzatziki. A plate of 4-6 falafels and 1 tablespoon tzatziki! Really? Why do restaurants cut-cost on sauces, the quintessential flavor makers!?
Honestly, I prefer to make a batch at home! Specially, when I make Mediterranean food at home, I never miss the opportunity to mix few cups of tzatziki sauce. Every one loves this sauce, hands down! I never have leftovers! If any, those work great as salad dressing, even as sauce in morning breakfast wraps.
Disclaimer: Tzatziki is called sauce but really, it has the consistency of a creamy dip that you can enjoy with chips. Thank you for understanding my frequent switch between sauce and dip. :)
Once, one of our neighbor brought homemade tzatziki sauce in a community party. It was so delicious and herbaceous that I ate it with spoon. She told me that original tzatziki recipe often has more herbs, and may or may not have lemon juice. Restaurants mostly add dill leaves because that is most common flavor contributor after yogurt, garlic, and cucumber. Since then, I often add some fresh mint (whenever available), dill leaves, and even some chopped parsley in tzatziki.
To make tzatziki sauce, I grate hothouse cucumber on coarse grater (you can also small dice), salt it and leave aside. This helps cucumber loose water which helps keep yogurt dip fresh longer. Once cucumber loose water, then wrap it in muslin cloth and squeeze out as much water as possible. This step is important otherwise tzatziki will get watery very quickly. (Do check my notes if you plan to make Tzatziki ahead of time.)
I then mix Greek thick yogurt with tzatziki seasonings - garlic, lemon juice, salt and black pepper. then fold cucumber and fresh herbs in it. I also add hint of cumin powder for more depth of flavor.
Note: I skip lemon juice or add less if yogurt is very tart.
Tzatziki sauce should always be served chilled which makes it a perfect healthy summer dip. Chilling in refrigerator also brings out flavor of dill and garlic with yogurt. If serving next day, I highly recommend adding salt 15-20 minutes before serving.
HOW TO MAKE GREEK-STYLE YOGURT AT HOME?
In-case you don't have Greek yogurt in hand and still want to make Tzatziki? Try this simple trick to make Greek-style yogurt at home. In-fact, at home you can make Greek Yogurt without thickeners but it does need extra time.
To make Greek yogurt, take regular plain yogurt (not a watery yogurt drink but regular plain yogurt). Add 2 cups of yogurt into a double fold of muslin cloth. Gently grab four corners of the cloth and loosely tie a knot or close with a rubber-band. Leave aside on kitchen sink, in a colander.
If you live in a hot-humid place, place yogurt with colander and a draining bowl in refrigerator.
Leave aside for 2 hours-up-to overnight. In this time, most water from yogurt drains. Left behind is thick cream yogurt. A clean thickener-free Greek-style yogurt it is!
Once seasoned (mainly salted), the yogurt as well as cucumber loose water as sit longer. So if you planning to make Tzatziki ahead of time. I recommend following tips to avoid ending up with a watery dip.
- Don't add salt in the Tzatziki until ready to serve.
- If using regular cucumber with seeds. Discard the seeds before grating. Seeds will not taste very appealing in Tzatziki and also it will dilute the dip as it sits longer.
- Grated cucumber yields more water than diced. So, add small diced cucumber in Tzatziki instead of grated.
- Cure the Cucumber - Salt-cure the cucumber. Grate the cucumber, add salt and leave aside for 15-20 minutes. This will make cucumber sweat most water. Squeeze water out then add to yogurt.
- For best tasting, long lasting Tzatziki Sauce, follow above tips and always use thick Greek yogurt (without water). Always drain any whey/water sitting on top of yogurt.
When I shared Chicken Souvlaki yesterday.. I wanted to add recipe for tzatziki too but decided to share a separate post. Two reasons: first because chicken souvlaki is dairy free. So I wanted to keep recipe dairy free. Second, tzatziki is not just a side, it is a complete robust sauce of it's own. It can be great option for vegetarian dinner with side of rice and grilled veggie kabobs. So tzatziki recipe gets it's own spot on CDH. :) It is also gluten free when served with gluten free sides/main course.
On a side note, it's good to learn one new word in one day. Like yesterday, we learnt [soov-lah-ki].. Today, [tsä'tseke]. :)
I'm sure you will have some yogurt and cucumber in refrigerator. Grab seasonings from pantry and try refreshing Cucumber Yogurt Tzatziki.
Tzatziki Recipe | 1-Minute Video
Well at least now if you see an IPA pronunciation listed in the dictionary, you’ll know what that means. Just imagine decoding a 400-page textbook of foreign aria lyrics over the course of a semester… At least those skills can still come in handy every now and then in the kitchen too.
Like when it comes to making and saying tzatziki.
I assume most everyone is familiar with the delicious Greek yogurt sauce that’s famous on gyros, burgers, falafel, salads, and in the dip aisle at Trader Joe’s. And in a new taco recipe coming on the blog tomorrow. Everyone loves tzatziki! But what I think everyone doesn’t necessarily know is how ridiculously easy it is to whip up a batch homemade.
All you need are the ingredients above.
Basically all you do to make tzatziki is combine all of the ingredients in a bit bowl, and then stir to combine.
You can either spoon it onto whatever entree you may be making. Or tzatziki sauce also stands well on its own as a tasty dip. I like to drizzle mine with olive oil, crack a little fresh pepper on top, and poke a sprig of dill in the middle to make it look extra pretty. Then just serve it up with whatever dippers you’d like — soft pita, crunchy pita chips, fresh veggie sticks, etc. — and you’re good to go.
What makes this an authentic tzatziki recipe?
I am not the type of person who takes the word "authentic" lightly. If I'm going to make an authentic version of a recipe, I typically do some research to find out exactly what should and shouldn't be included.
This being said, chefs and home cooks often change and adapt recipes, suiting them to their individual tastes, to make them allergy-friendly, and/or to take advantage of locally sourced ingredients. This is why you'll sometimes find "Americanized" versions of ethnic recipes.
There are a few "requirements" for it to be a "real deal" Greek recipe, and these items are why this is an authentic tzatziki recipe.
- Make tzatziki with mint, not dill.
Sure, cucumbers and dill are a delicious combination, but you will rarely, if ever, find fresh dill in an authentic version of the cucumber sauce.
- The recipe calls for vinegar, not lemon juice.
It can be plain distilled white vinegar or wine vinegar, but skip the lemon.
- Use full fat, plain Greek yogurt, not sour cream.
An authentic tzatziki recipe will never include sour cream, mostly because sour cream isn't found in most Greek grocery stores.
If you love cucumbers, make some mast o khiar it's a delicious Persian cucumber yogurt salad! Or use fresh summer cucumbers for a chopped veggie salad with creamy lemon vinaigrette.
- Heavy on the garlic.
There should be a strong garlic flavor. Use at least 2 cloves of garlic, and more if you want to! Also, be sure to finely grate or mince the garlic cloves don't chop them. You want the flavor but not the texture.
- It should have an ultra thick, creamy consistency.
The goal is to make tzatziki sauce so thick that it needs to be spread on with a knife rather than poured like a dressing. It should also be very creamy, with finely grated cucumbers rather than diced or sliced pieces.
The way to create the thickest consistency is to use full-fat Greek yogurt, and be sure to strain it in a fine mesh colander for several minutes to remove any excess water.
Cucumber plants contain a bitter compound called cucurbitacin, which is more likely to be present if the growing conditions aren't ideal or if the plant isn't watered thoroughly. The compound is usually more concentrated in the stem end of the cucumbers.
To lessen the bitterness of cucumbers, trim off both ends of the fruit. Then, rub the exposed fruit with a tiny bit of salt, or rub the exposed flesh of the trimmed end against the exposed flesh of the cucumber.
After a couple of minutes, a white substance will form, which is the bitter compound, cucurbitacin. At that point, simply rinse the fruit under tap water to wash away the compound.
Tzatziki sauce is best when it's fresh and very cold. For the best flavor and consistency, use it within 2-3 days after making it. After that, it will start to become watery and lose its flavor.