Greek Tzatziki sauce
Have you ever tried to make Tzatziki at home but it never tastes like how you’ve had it in Greece? Learn all the secrets on how to make the authentic Greek Tzatziki step by step.
What is Tzatziki?
Tzatziki is a Greek yogurt sauce that was created as the main sauce for the Souvlaki. Over the years, we the Greeks besides using it as a sauce for the Souvlaki, have found plenty of other uses for it on various Greek dishes. Suffice to say that is one of the most popular Greek Sauces and everyone loves tzatziki in Greece.
This authentic recipe for Tzatziki does not include any herbs because not everyone likes them, and Souvlaki is meant to be enjoyed by everyone.
How to make a Greek Tzatziki and what are the basic ingredients
To make a Tzatziki sauce you need 5 basic ingredients: yogurt, cucumber, olive oil, vinegar, and garlic. Besides those 5, you can also include herbs or spices of your choice such as dill, parsley, peppermint, or cumin if you choose to, nevertheless, I do not like to add any herbs in my Tzatziki because they are usually overpowering. The use of the Tzatziki in a Souvlaki is to be subtle enough to let you enjoy the perfectly cooked meat but also give its freshness and clean your mouth from the greasy Gyro.
3 tips for a great homemade Tzatziki
1) If you use Greek yogurt (strained yogurt) then the cucumber must NOT be drained after you grate it; even more, you should add it with all its juices to the yogurt. The Greek yogurt is already strained so those juices are needed to give a better texture and taste to the Tzatziki. Do not worry that it will be watery as a result because it will not. After it is refrigerated it will thicken even more.
2) Plenty of olive oil is a key for a rich, deep flavor. The olive oil needs to be added and incorporated with the yogurt and not just a drizzle on top.
3) You need to go big with the garlic. Tzatziki without plenty of garlic is not tzatziki but rather a yogurt sauce!
What goes with Tzatziki besides souvlaki?
Besides Souvlaki (Gyro, Giro) you can find Tzatziki as a dipping sauce in a lot of Greek dishes. To name a few, Dolmadakia (aka Giaprakia, Sarmadakia, Koupepia), Zucchini fritters, Greek lemon chicken, Steaks, Keftedakia (meatballs), Lamb chops, Lamb roast, Greek lemon potatoes, Gemista, Lahanodolmades orfanoi, Briam, and others.
Tourists in Greece often like to pair Tzatziki with Fried potatoes and a Greek salad for a delicious combo starter (Orektiko) dishes or a light lunch!
Greek Tzatziki sauce
- 500g Greek Yogurt, strained
- 3 cloves of Garlic, crushed
- 4 Tbsp red wine Vinegar
- 1 small Cucumber, grated
- 10 Tbsp Extra virgin Olive Oil
- A pinch of salt
- Peel the cloves of Garlic and remove their stems.
- Add them to your blender or kitchen processor with 4 Tbsp of vinegar, 10 Tbsp of Olive oil, and a pinch of salt.
- Blend until they are all incorporated.
- Wash, grate the cucumber and add it to a bowl with all of its juices* and the Greek yogurt.
- Add the garlic and olive oil mixture to the bowl with the cucumber and mix well with a spoon until you no longer see the olive oil.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 30 min and your Tzatziki is ready!
- For even better results let it stay in your fridge overnight.
- I remove the stems from the garlic because removing them makes them easier to digest. If the stems are transparent or white it is optional. If the stems are off-white or brown they must be removed.
- Small cucumbers are tastier than large ones, which is why I prefer them. If you wash the cucumber well, you do not need to peel it. For this recipe whether you peel it or not it’s up to you.
- * If you use any other type of yogurt except Greek type strained yogurt you should drain the grated cucumber because your Tzatziki will be too runny. Also I should mention that if you use less Olive oil than this of the recipe you might end up with a runny Tzatziki also. This is a very balanced recipe with the ingredients mentioned above. Nevertheless, If you decide to strain the cucumber, this recipe can work with a strained cucumber too.