Learn how to make tzatziki sauce in 10 minutes or less! This authentic tzatziki recipe, made with cucumber, yogurt, and garlic, comes straight from the Greek island of Paros, and a few tips make all the difference. You'll love how easy and versatile this Greek sauce is, you can serve it with some pita chips and fresh veggies or use it over your gyros, kebabs, with fish, or to dip your fries, or to jazz up some mean dinner bowls! So many possibilities!

Tzatziki cucumber yogurt sauce in a bowl with a side of sliced vegetables

Tzatziki recipe that will make yiayia smile!

Of all the Greek recipes on this site, including Greek salad and the ever-so-comforting moussaka, tzatziki sauce is the one I go to most often. And if you have not tried this creamy Greek yogurt sauce before, you are in for a treat!

A few years ago, I came across a real-deal, authentic tzatziki sauce recipe from the Greek island of Paros where Stella Leonetti served it regularly in her restaurant called Rafeletti. My friend Cheryl Sternman Rule featured it in her book Yogurt Culture, and I stayed pretty close to the original recipe, except I've pared it down for a smaller crowd.

Tzatziki sauce with vegetables and pita wedges on a platter

What is tzatziki?

Tzatziki is a creamy cucumber yogurt dip (or sauce) made from simple ingredients including strained yogurt (or Greek yogurt), cucumbers, garlic, and sometimes fresh herbs such as dill or mint. Traditionally, it is made from strained sheep or goat's milk yogurt, but a full-fat Greek yogurt works just fine in this dip.

This recipe takes about 10 minutes or less to make, and it starts with grated cucumbers, which you need to drain very well, and mix with the yogurt, garlic, and herbs, if using. Some might think of this dip as something similar to sour cream, but if you're wondering what tzatziki tastes like, it is slightly tangy, garlicky, and cool due to the use of cucumber and fresh herbs. And once you learn how to make it, you'll be using it in all sorts of ways to elevate your meals or to simply serve as part of a mezze spread!

Close-up of Greek tzatziki sauce with a drizzle of olive oil on top

Tzatziki sauce ingredients and important notes

A few notes on what you need to make this recipe:

  • English cucumber- I like to use English cucumbers here because they are seedless and tend to be sweeter, plus the skin is thin, so you don't have to fully peel them. If you end up using regular cucumbers with the waxy skin, be sure to peel them completely, and you'll want to discard the large seeds which would make the dip too runny.
  • Kosher salt
  • Garlic-4 to 5 garlic cloves, minced. If you want a milder-tasting cucumber yogurt sauce, start with 1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced.
  • Distilled white vinegar- about 1 teaspoon is all you need here. It does enhance the flavor and brightens the dip.
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Plain Greek Yogurt- 2 cups plain full-fat or reduced fat Greek yogurt. Do not use regular plain yogurt as the dip will be too runny. The yogurt you need here must be strained yogurt.
  • Ground white or black pepper (optional)
  • Chopped fresh dill or mint (optional)

How to make tzatziki sauce

Here's the step-by-step tutorial for how to make this tzatziki recipe (print-friendly version & video just below):

  • Grate the cucumbers. You can use a box grater or do as I do and use a food processor for a shortcut. Add a pinch of salt with the sliced cucumbers in the food processor and run the processor until the cucumber is finely chopped.

    grated cucumbers in a food processor with a side of yogurt and kosher salt
  • Drain the grated cucumbers (VERY IMPORTANT). Once grated, transfer the cucumbers to a clean cheesecloth (or a heavy napkin) and squeeze out all the liquid.

    Cucumbers drained in a cloth
  • Mix the sauce. In a large bowl, combine the grated or minced garlic with the white vinegar and a little olive oil and mix. Add the drained cucumber mixture to a large bowl, greek yogurt, kosher salt, a pinch of white black pepper, and chopped dill or mint (if using). Stir to combine.

    tzatziki sauce ingredients in one bowl
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes and up to two hours before serving or serve immediately, if you can't wait, with fresh veggies and pita or chips! Drizzle a little olive oil on top.

What do you eat with tzatziki?

Creamy cucumber tzatziki is one of the most versatile dips you can make! At the very least, serve it with some carrots, bell peppers, and other fresh veggies of your choice, but you can use it in many more ways with everything from the obvious gyros to pan-seared salmon, lamb rack, all sorts of kebabs including vegetable skewers, or even to top your baked potato! I love adding it to dinner bowls with keftedes (meatballs) and a salad!

Leftovers and storage

best to store it in the fridge in a tightly-covered glass container. Use it within 2 to 4 days.

Similar dip recipes you may like:

Hungry for more? Check out my Greek Recipes Collection

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4.89 from 133 votes

Tzatziki Sauce Recipe

Suzy Karadsheh
Tzatziki sauce with vegetables and pita wedges on a platter
Creamy Greek Tztaziki Sauce recipe with cucumber, yogurt, and garlic. Add a tablespoon or two of fresh dill or mint, if you like. Do not skip draining the cucumbers or your yogurt dip will be too watery. And for best texture, cover and refrigerate anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours before serving. This versatile cucumber yogurt sauce can be used in many ways, be sure to read my post for all the ideas!
Prep – 10 mins
Total – 10 mins
Cuisine:
Greek
Serves – 2 cups
Course:
Dips and Appetizers

Ingredients
  

  • ¾ English cucumber, partially peeled (striped) and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
  • 4 to 5 garlic cloves, peeled, finely grated or minced (you start with 1 to 2 garlic cloves, if you don't want it to be too strong)
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Early Harvest Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • Warm pita bread for serving
  • Sliced vegetables for serving

Instructions
 

  • Use a box grater to manually grate the cucumbers or you can use a small food processor to finely chop the cucumbers as I do in this recipe. Toss the grated cucumbers with ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Spoon the grated cucumber into a cheese cloth or a double thickness napkin and squeeze dry. (There will be a lot of liquid).
  • In one large mixing bowl, place the garlic with remaining ½ teaspoon salt, white vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil. Mix to combine.
  • Add the grated cucumber to the bowl with the garlic mixture. Stir in the yogurt, and a pinch of white or black pepper, and the fresh herbs (if using. I did not use fresh herbs in the video). Stir to combine well.
  • Cover and refrigerate for a bit (anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple hours before serving). This will help thicken the sauce and give it the best texture, while allowing the flavors to meld.
  • When ready to serve, stir the tzatziki sauce to refresh and transfer to serving bowl, drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil, if you like. Serve with your favorite veggies, pita chips or wedges (be sure to read the post for more ideas on how to use this sauce)!

Video

Notes

  • This recipe makes a generous 2 cups of sauce (or up to 32 tablespoons). The serving size is based on 1 tablespoon.
  • This recipe is adapted from Yogurt Culture.  It is my quick version, and it's been cut down to suit a smaller family.
  • This is very garlicy dip, if you prefer, start with a smaller amount of garlic and incorporate more as needed. 
  • To Store: It's best to store tzatziki in the fridge in a tightly-covered glass container.  Use within 4 days.
  • Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils

Nutrition

Calories: 16.3kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 1.5gFat: 0.7gSaturated Fat: 0.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 0.8mgSodium: 78.7mgPotassium: 11.9mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 0.7gVitamin A: 15.6IUVitamin C: 0.3mgCalcium: 18.4mgIron: 0.1mg
Tried this recipe?

 

*This post first appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2016 and has been updated with new information and media for readers' benefit.

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. Would you have any tried and true ideas for a dairy free substitute? The recipe sounds very delicious as is except I can't have dairy. Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi, Claudia. Maybe just a dairy free yogurt? I can't advise on this 100%, having not personally tried it as a substitution here, but if it has a similar texture and taste to Greek yogurt, it may very well work. If you give it a go, please stop by and share your thoughts!

  2. 5 stars
    Hey Suzy, made your tzatziki and it is the best we’ve had! I’ve made it with dill and then also with mint. Both are awesome. Please keep doing what you do!

  3. 5 stars
    Just made this and love it! And, it hasn’t even marinated yet. Didn’t have quite enough (low fat) yogurt but it didn’t matter. So flavorful! Wonder if this can be made and frozen?

    1. So glad you enjoyed it! I typically don't freeze tzatziki because it can tend to separate given that it's basically dairy and water from the cucumbers.

  4. How much is 3/4 of an English cucumber in cups or grams please? I’m halving the recipe and don’t have access to English cucumbers so I’m not really sure how large they are.

  5. 5 stars
    This was good. I've made other recipes using lemon juice. I liked the vinegar better and added a splash more. I like garlic, so I used the full amount. I think I'd taper that back a little. With time, it got a bit strong. My wife thought this was the best I've made, so the recipe has gone into my file. Thanks for making me look good in the kitchen!

  6. 5 stars
    This was delicious, even better after sitting in fridge for a while. I used full fat yogurt and 2 tsp vinegar. Definitely add the dill-yum!

  7. I can’t wait to make this! Can I use Lebneh instead of Greek Yogurt? I just love Lebneh. Thanks

      1. 5 stars
        I’m excited to dig into this delicious creaminess. It’s emulsifying in the fridge. 🤤

  8. 5 stars
    I made this recipe but it was so thick I wouldn’t call it a sauce. I followed the directions as written. I used 5% Fage plain yogurt, which was also very thick. How could I create a thinner sauce?
    PS This is a fantastic blog/site. I have cooked many of the recipes and they have all been super!

    1. Thank you so much, Elizabeth! I think maybe just try using a thinner yogurt if you prefer this sauce to be less thick. Maybe something that is reduced fat?

  9. 5 stars
    Just whipped this up ito have on homemade gyros tonight. Oh man am I excited it tastes great now and should be a flavor explosion at dinner. Suzy you always have great recipes.

  10. 2 stars
    White pepper is overpowering. A couple dashes would be plenty. Needs dill as well. Also, champagne vinegar is smoother than distilled white vinegar. Not terrible, but not great.

    1. Hi, Viviana. I always find salt is a touchy subject, as some prefer more than others. This amount is great for us, but feel free to reduce if it is too much for your taste. Always an easy fix :).

    1. This! I always use fresh lemon juice in mine rather than vinegar. It brightens it up nicely and brings out the other flavors.

  11. I'm confused. The recipe reads 3/4 English Cucumber. Is this a typo and should be 3 - 4 cucumbers? I don't want to use the wrong amount & waste all my ingredients. Thanks - I can't wait to try this!

  12. 5 stars
    Outstanding! Full fat Fage, and 2ives of garlic for 1/2 recipe. Definitely a lot of garlic, but this was excellent on gyros. Best version I’ve ever made.

  13. 5 stars
    Love this sauce. You are right, about the low vs full fat. I tried both and I found that the low fat for me was better. It seems that the full fat took away from the flavors. Thanks for sharing!

  14. 5 stars
    My husband and I just got back from Greece two weeks ago, so as we returned home we had a massive Greek food withdrawal. When we were in Greece, we always ordered tzatziki in local tavernas and restaurants that have them, just so that we can rate which restaurant had the best one! This recipe was the first one I searched immediately and how I found your website. Excellent advice on the garlic, I started off with 3 large cloves and they pack a good punch. We love garlic in the household so this is perfect. I'll reduce it to two if I were to bring some for friends and family. Making them was a delight and sure enough, we cleared it all. We ate them with fish gyros (your recipe too), pita chips, carrots... anything we can dip it with!

  15. 5 stars
    Sounds deluxe! Planning to make for dipping your Greek style chicken wings. Bought whole milk Greek yogurt. Do I need to drain it in advance? Thanks for your advice and all your delicious recipes.

  16. Mmm-good. I do agree with BROOKLYN-I’m used to the full fat version but I have a-lot of weight to lose so a gal’s gotta do (and so on). Made it with Fage 0% and used fresh zucchini which I had on hand-seemed to work. So glad to finally know how to make this. Yum and thank you!!!!