Tzatziki Sauce is an easy Greek recipe you can whip up in only 10 minutes! This cool cucumber yogurt sauce is perfect as a dip or as a spread on sandwiches or gyros. This recipe is authentic, simple, and packed with flavor.
Tzatziki sauce is SO easy to make at home, and it’s a much healthier alternative to mayo-based dips and spreads. This version is a delicious, authentic recipe straight from my Greek aunt, who is the family authority on cooking and Greek recipes.
You’re going to fall in love with this cool, creamy sauce!
Greek yogurt is used as a base, with grated cucumber, dill, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and just a little bit of garlic added in. It’s a perfect staple for the Mediterranean diet.
Greek yogurt is easy to find at any grocery store. It’s important to use Greek yogurt to make Tzatziki sauce, since it’s thicker than regular yogurt.
Before Greek yogurt became commonplace, you had to strain plain yogurt in a mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth overnight so the water would drip out of it and the yogurt became thicker. So if you only have regular yogurt available, you can do this in a pinch.
The key to thick, luxurious Tzatziki Sauce is to make sure there’s as little liquid as possible. In addition to using thick Greek yogurt, it’s important to make sure as much liquid as possible is removed from the cucumbers.
Here’s how to prepare the cucumbers.
To do this, you’ll need a bowl, a mesh sieve, a clean towel (paper will do), and a heavy can or jar.
First, peel the cucumbers. Normally, I like eating the peels of a cucumber, but peeling them will guarantee a silky smooth Tzatziki sauce without any interruptions by bitter, crunchy cucumber peels.
Next, cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and discard.
NOW you’re ready to grate! Grate the cucumbers and place them in a mesh sieve. Then, place the sieve over the bowl. Sprinkle just a pinch of salt on the cucumbers and gently toss to combine (salt will help draw out the water). Place the towel on top of the cucumbers, and place the jar on top of the towel.
After about 5 minutes, you’ll see that a lot of the liquid from the cucumbers has accumulated in the bottom of the bowl. One final step- give the cucumbers a little squeeze in a dry, clean towel to get that last remaining moisture out.
Phew! I promise the rest is super easy.
While you’re waiting for the cucumbers to drain, you can mix up the rest of the ingredients.
Greek yogurt, fresh dill, minced garlic, lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and salt. That’s it!
First, let’s talk about the dill.
I just love the flavor of dill with almost anything, and I think it pairs so well with the flavors of the cucumber and the lemon juice. And it also holds up well and retains its color, so it’s great if you plan on making this ahead of time. But some people like to use fresh mint (or dried mint), chives, or a mix of herbs.
You can use whatever you want or whatever you happen to have growing in your garden! I think basil would be a fun twist, too.
Now, about the garlic.
I used only a very small amount of fresh minced garlic, and I highly recommend you don’t go too crazy with the garlic here. Many people add a lot of garlic to their Tzatziki sauce – up to two or three whole cloves.
I only used one very small clove, which equated to about 1/4 of a teaspoon, if that. I don’t like too much fresh garlic, as I think it overpowers the flavors and it also makes my digestion a bit off.
Use a microplane zester to ensure it’s minced very finely.
You do you, though – if you’re a garlic lover, throw more in! That’s the beauty of this sauce. It’s so flexible.
I recommend serving this Tzatziki sauce as an appetizer with crudités and pita chips or pita bread, drizzled with a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil and garnished with more herbs. It’s a healthier alternative to veggies and ranch to serve at your next get-together.
OR, use it as a dip for Greek meatballs (Keftedes).
Here’s the printable recipe! And a special thanks to my Aunt Viki for sharing her recipe!
Authentic Tzatziki Sauce
- Place the grated cucumber in a mesh sieve over a bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and gently toss together. Place a clean towel on top of the cucumbers, with a heavy can (or something similar) on top to weigh it down. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes- the liquid from the cucumber will collect in the bowl below.
- Meanwhile, mix the Greek yogurt (2 cups), kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon), olive oil (2 tablespoons), minced garlic, chopped fresh dill (2 tablespoons), and lemon juice (2 tablespoons) together in a medium bowl.
- Place the grated cucumber in a clean kitchen towel and wring it out. Get it as dry as you can!
- Mix the grated cucumber into the yogurt mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Serve drizzled with more extra-virgin olive oil and garnished with fresh herbs if desired. Enjoy with pita bread, pita chips, and/or crudités, or as a spread on sandwiches or tacos.
- Money Saving Tip: Greek yogurt is often marked up much more than regular yogurt. You can make it yourself- just scoop the yogurt into a mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth and place over a bowl. Leave in your refrigerator for at least a few hours, preferably overnight. Much of the liquid from the yogurt will have strained out, leaving you with authentic, strained Greek yogurt.
- Mint (fresh or dried), chives, or other herbs can be used in addition to or in place of the dill if you prefer.
- This tzatziki sauce can me made up to 24 hours in advance and kept in an airtight container in your refrigerator until you're ready to serve. You may have to stir it together after it sits for a while if it gets a little liquidy.
- The provided nutrition information does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.