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! I even use it for drizzling onto Greek Meatloaf wrapped In Grape Leaves!

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

Visit Our Shop to browse my favorite ingredients for Mediterranean cooking

4.90 from 276 votes

Tzatziki Sauce Recipe

The Mediterranean Dish
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 minutes
Total – 10 minutes
Cuisine:
Greek
Serves – 2 cups
Course:
Dips and Appetizers

Ingredients
  

  • ¾ English cucumber, partially peeled (striped)
  • 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
  • Handful of chopped fresh dill or mint (optional)
  • 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. Laura says:

    5 stars
    This is so delicious! I only had dried dill, but it was still amazing! My husband is Greek and very particular about authentic Greek food. He couldn’t get enough! Thank you!

    1. TMD Team says:

      We love hearing this! Thanks, Laura!

  2. Mary says:

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe

  3. Teresa says:

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe! We had this sauce tonight with marinated chicken thighs braised with carrots, garlic, and onions, roasted potatoes, and pita. It was the perfect complement to the meal. I'll be making this again for sure.

  4. Gisele says:

    Very good, well balanced flavour with the herbs. The white vinegar brought a sharpness. The mint added sweetness, lemon juice not needed.

  5. Carol Burkhardt says:

    4 stars
    Hi Suzy.made this dip today and I had to add some garlic powder because it was so bland.also I put in more salt. Good recipe.

  6. Frank johnson says:

    I so enjoy your recipes and your presentation

  7. Maryann says:

    5 stars
    I would like to know if I can freeze the Tatziki Sauce if my husband and I can’t eat is within 4 days?

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Maryann! We don't recommend freezing this one because it can tend to separate given that it's basically dairy and water from the cucumbers.

  8. Kirsten says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious. I use it on my gyros!

    1. TMD Team says:

      Perfect! Thanks, Kirsten!

  9. Monica Martin says:

    4 stars
    This was pretty good but I'm confused by the vinegar instead of lemon juice. Most recipes say lemon juice. Vinegar is too bitter I guess is the word and it was tasting too much like pickles lol. So, I added a little lemon juice and so much better. I also suggest using a little mint in addition to dill. If you want to make it pop add a smidge of cayenne. Very good.

  10. Katie Jenkins says:

    5 stars
    Made this to go with the your chicken souvlaki recipe and made my own pitas again your recipe all were fantastic, easy to follow recipes and it was a flavor bomb of amazing! I think I’ll tone down the garlic when I first tested it the flavor was perfect but I let it sit in fridge for a few hours and then the garlic was intense. So I added more yogurt it was better but next time I’ll just add less to start. Everything was excellent thanks for sharing. Can’t wait to try more of your recipes. Lastly, my store didn’t have fresh dill but I found freeze dried dill in spice aisle and the dill flavor was great. Husband loved it said he could drink it alone.

    1. TMD Team says:

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and review, Katie!

  11. Christian says:

    4 stars
    Instead of vinegar use lemon juice. Best with full fat yogurt. No good with fat free.

  12. janet b says:

    5 stars
    This sounds good. I am planning on making it and wondered if I could use dried mint or dill or maybe both. If so how much would I need to use please?

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Janet. We've never tested this recipe with dried mint or dill, but some of our other readers have with success, so it sounds like it's worth a try!

  13. Linda says:

    5 stars
    Oops, sorry, I forgot to rate the recipe.

    1. TMD Team says:

      Thanks so much!

  14. Linda says:

    Awesome dip! I was searching for a dip for Mediterranean chicken wraps and came across this post. Planning on checking out other recipes too on Suzy’s website. Thanks!

    1. TMD Team says:

      Welcome to The Mediterranean Dish, Linda!!