Category Archives: Greek

Tzatziki

Tzatziki (t-ZA-zee-kee) is a Greek sauce, usually served with grilled meat. If you enjoyed gyros, you’ll find this cool, crisp flavour to be a perfect accompaniment. It complements grilled lamb nicely as well.

The sauce is based on yogurt, with cucumber and spices. Americans often add dill or mint (either of which I enjoy) while Greeks and purists would more likely stick with the basic recipe. I’ll show you the basic recipe and a few add-ons.

Most American supermarkets have Greek-style plain yogurt available these days. If you can’t find Greek style yogurt, buy plain yogurt and thicken it as shown in the picture, and the next paragraph.coffee filter in funnel, on bottle

The secret to unsoupy tzatziki is to drain the watery ingredients. Set up a funnel, lined with a coffee filter. The funnel should be in a jar such as a mason jar, to catch the draining liquid. This draining funnel will be used to extract excess whey from the yogurt and excess water from the cucumbers. A picture is worth a thousand words…

This dish is most easily made in a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor or just hate to clean it after using it, you can finely mince the garlic and cucumbers and simply mix them in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients.


  • 16 oz plain Greek yogurt (or plain plain yogurt, drained as described above)
  • two cucumbers, peeled and seeded
  • two tablespoon of lemon juice, preferably fresh-squeezed
  • two tablespoons olive oil
  • two teaspoons of minced garlic (or four cloves, smashed in a garlic press)
  • salt and pepper to taste (usually 1/2 tsp of each or less)
    • optional:
      • 1 TB fresh dill, chopped
        • or
      • 1 TB fresh mint, chopped
  1.    If you have Greek style plain yogurt, skip this step. If you have the standard plain yogurt (I know, I keep harping on plain, but I wake up sweating with the thought of somebody making tzatziki with strawberry yogurt), drain the yogurt for at least two hours to firm it up.
  2.    After the yogurt has drained, remove it to your mixing bowl and put a new coffee filter in the funnel.
  3.    Add the peeled, seeded cucumbers food processor.  Pulse until the cucumbers are quite finely diced but not mushy; the pieces should be between the size of a grain of rice and of a kernel of corn when you’re done.
  4.    Drain the cucumbers for fifteen minutes.
  5.    In a medium-sized bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well.
  6.    Chill for at least one hour, and serve with veggies, pita bread, and/or grilled meat. If you’re using dill or mint, a sprinkle of the spice across the surface of the dish is attractive and warns tzatziki purists of the flavour before they sample the sauce.