How to Make Classic Greek Tzatziki

How to make greek tzatziki

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Let’s learn how to make this easy recipe with ingredients you will easily find in every corner of the world. It takes no time and will be the perfect garnish for any meat dish you serve. Read on to discover how to make Greek tzatziki!


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How to Make Greek Tzatziki

How to make tzatziki

I don’t know about you, but tzatziki is one of those things I never want to be missing in my refrigerator. 

This ancient Middle Eastern recipe, which has become a staple in Greek cuisine, is a perfect dip that you can pair well with an immense variety of dishes, ranging from grilled meats and fried calamari to vegetables cooked in ay form, pita bread, and more!

Essential Things to Know about Tzatziki

greek tzatziki

There are several legends surrounding the origins of tzatziki. Creamy, garlicky, packed with flavors, fresh, uniquely distinctive… that’s Greek tzatziki.

The roots of tzatziki can be traced all the way back to India. When the Persians ruled the country, they enjoyed the flavor of local dishes but often found them too spicy for their taste.

The Persians balanced out spiciness with a yogurt-based sauce known as raita, made with freshness, a great solution to the spicy traits of Indian food.

Like many other culinary traditions, the sauce made its way to the Ottoman Empire and the rest of the Middle East since Persians and Ottomans held solid commercial relations.

greek tzatziki

Among the different peoples living under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, the Greeks embraced the taste of the dish, experimenting and recreating the original recipe until all Indian traces were almost gone. Those were the early days of our beloved tzatziki.

In fact, the word tzatziki comes from the Turkish word cacık, a local variation of tzatziki.

Other Variations of Classic Greek Tzatziki

greek tzatziki
Cacık.

As we just mentioned, the Turkish have their own dip version. Cacık is a similar sauce that also incorporates sumac and fresh mint. It has a more liquid consistency because it also has water in it, and it is served as a soup.

Moving to the rest of the Balkans, you probably heard about tarator, a sauce similar to tzatziki, including walnuts and chopped onions. In Croatia and Albania, it is a favorite sauce to have with grilled squid.

Want to read more about the origins and history of tzatziki? Check these details!

Great Tzatziki Pairings

greek tzatziki

What are some of the best dishes that tzatziki pairs with…?

  • Pita bread, rustic bread, bruschetta, toasted bread, Cretan paximadia…
  • Boiled meat, grilled meat, baked meat, fried meat, meat sandwiches, pulled pork, chicken dishes, pork dishes, beef dishes…
  • Baked potatoes, fried potatoes, grilled vegetables, mixed salad, xorta… 
  • Gyro wrap, souvlakia, kalamakia… and the list goes on and on… Because tzatziki can be paired with almost everything!

Tzatziki is one of those Greek dips that I love to have in my fridge all the time; it is perfect to put on the table when you want to add an extra twist to almost any dish! 

greek tzatziki

REMEMBER: The best way to keep tzatziki is inside a glass or ceramic bowl with a hermetic lid. Remember it has garlic inside, so smells tend to be strong and transfer to other things you might be storing in the refrigerator. It doesn’t last more than a week.

A bowl of tzatziki dip is a no-brainer if you want to bring some Greek magic to your table! So, without any further ado, let’s jump into it.

Classic Greek Tzatziki Recipe

Classic Greek Tzatziki

How to make greek tzatziki

Tzatziki is one of the most popular dips in Greek cuisine!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 3 minutes
Total Time 3 minutes

Ingredients

  • 250-300 gr. of strained yogurt or Greek thick yogurt (10% fat)
  • 1 cucumber peeled, grated, and strained.
  • 1 clove of garlic (or more, if you like it)
  • finely chopped dill or parsley (optional)
  • 3 tbsp. of lemon or vinegar (replace with white wine for a more refined take on the sauce)
  • 2-3 tbsp. of Extra virgin Cretan olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
  • black olives to decorate

Instructions

  • You can use the cucumber as is or peel it for a more delicate flavor. Once you've done so, grate and add some salt.
  • Put the cucumber in a fine strainer, even better with some clean cloth on it, and leave it aside to loose as much liquid as possible. Add a pinch of salt and a bit of vinegar for better results.
  • Carry with the yogurt mixt; put your yogurt in an ample bowl to combine the ingredients better. Add the small garlic clove that you have already chopped, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar, and the olive oil. 
  • Mix well until everything is combined.
  • Go back to your cucumber, squeeze it, and make it lose all the remaining juices. Get rid of the liquid and add it to the yogurt mix.
  • Add salt and pepper to season and, if you like, some finely chopped dill, parsley, or even mint if you want.
  • Keep it in the fridge until it's time to dive into it. Serve in a nice bowl with some parsley leaves or a couple of ob lack olives on top.

Notes

Remember that the secret to a good, dense, tasty tzatziki is to drain the soul out of that cucumber!

Pin this Greek Recipe! How to Make Greek Tzatziki!

greek tzatziki

About my blog:

Gabi Ancarola | The Tiny Book

Gabi Ancarola

I moved to Crete in 2016. During these years, I learned much about the island.
In Crete, I juggle being a solo mom, hosting culinary tours, and writing for several travel media.
I’ve written for Greek Reporter, published travel guides about Greece, co-authored DK Eyewitness Top 10 Crete, and had more glasses of frappe than any regular person could ever handle.

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