5 from 3 votes

How to make Tzatziki Sauce (Authentic Greek Recipe)

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Looking for the best recipe for Tzatziki Sauce? Learn how to make Tzatziki sauce authentically with fresh oven roasted garlic, thick strained Greek yogurt and delicious diced cucumber.

How to make Authentic Greek Tzatziki Sauce and served with pita bread

Truly authentic Tzatziki (Tsaht-ZEE-kee) Sauce takes a little time to prep. While you could slap all the ingredients together at once and call it a day, taking the time to freshly make garlic and strain excess moisture out of the Greek Yogurt makes all the difference in a traditional, delicious, and Greek approved sauce. Although if you are here wanting an easy recipe, if you scroll to the bottom, I have that version too. 

As far as restaurants are concerned, one of my favorite recipes that is out in the public eye, I have had at the Greek restaurant Zoe’s Kitchen. I always order extra Tzatzki sauce there, but I also love to make it at home and keep on hand for my own homemade recipes.

Now my step mom is 100% Greek – and asking her to make 5 minute Tzatiki sauce is a sin – so this is the way my family makes it – traditional, delicious, albeit a little slower than quick simple dips, but full of authentic flavors that will take your recipes to next level restaurant chef quality.

I have broken down in this recipe how to use fresh garlic and how to take out the excess moisture in your cucumber and yogurt. You could certainly skip these things if you do not need to do them – like using already prepped garlic and strained thick yogurt, but if you need to do those things, I wanted to offer a way to get to the thick and delicious Greek sauce you are used to.

Ingredients You Need

Combining cucumbers, lemon, fresh dill, olive oil and yogurt is simply Gods work – its one of the most delicious sauces that can be used in dips, sauces, spread on sandwiches, and is basically full of mouthwatering, delicious, and healthy flavors.

Here is what you need to gather or see if you have on hand to make this recipe. All measurements are in the printable recipe version at the bottom of the post: 

  • Greek yogurt
  • English cucumber
  • roasted garlic puree
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • fresh dill weed
  • salt

RELATED DIP RECIPES: Cucumber Dip (this is a highly rated dip here that is made FOR cucumbers- or any veggie), Chicken Enchilada Dip, Mango Avocado Salsa, Spinach Artichoke Dip

SERVE WITH THESE ROASTED VEGETABLES:  Roasted Red Potatoes, Roasted Parmesan Carrots, Roasted Asparagus, Roasted Broccoli

dice up cucumbers really small for sauce

How to Make Roasted Garlic

When making authentic tzatziki sauce, going the extra mile for roasted garlic is a delicious way to really bring out the flavors.

Because this is an extra step from purchasing pre-made garlic, you may want to complete this step, plus the next step on prepping and straining yogurt, the day before you actually need the dip. This breaks the recipe down into two days, with prep able to be done the night before if you want and combination the day of.

already made oven roasted whole garlic clovers in foil

Peeling Garlic Prior to the Oven

Peel 1 bulb of garlic and separate all the cloves.

Cut each end of the clove and remove the peel from the cloves.

If you have trouble peeling the garlic, there is a product on Amazon (affiliate link) that is called a Silicone Garlic Peeler that helps a lot and is good to have on hand for fresh garlic usage.

You can also often purchase whole garlic, already peeled, from many stores.

Oven Bake your Garlic

Place cloves into a small piece of foil and fold the foil over the garlic to close.

The foil will not be tight but will contain all of the garlic.

Toss into the oven on 350 for 30-35 minutes or until garlic is soft.

Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Mash garlic before moving onto the next step.

oven roast garlic by adding to foil, closing, and baking till soft, around 30 minutes on 350

Prep the Cucumbers

Cucumbers are typically a pretty watery vegetable. This means that you must squeeze out extra moisture or your sauce/dip will be a bit creamier than you intend. 

Place fully diced down cucumber into 2 coffee filters. Fold up the coffee filter and gently squeeze the water out of the cucumbers.

If you use gently squeezing over a sink, you should be able to squeeze most of the water out of the vegetable, without ripping the filter.

You can also use cheesecloth to squeeze out the moisture.

Dice down your cucumbers and strain in a cheese cloth or coffee filters

Prep the Yogurt

(this is an IF NECESSARY step)

In some cases, you can find yogurts that are already strained and thick. If this is the case, you can skip this process and use already thick and ready yogurt. But if you grab something that has extra moisture, its important to take the time to strain out the excess and here is how you do that in a home kitchen.

Add cheesecloth or coffee filters to a strainer and add yogurt to the strainer.

Place a bowl or plate under the strainer and refrigerate, covering the top with plastic wrap, for 24 hours.

Drain excess water and scoop out the yogurt into a mixing bowl.

if Greek yogurt has too much moisture, make sure you strain in coffee filters in the fridge overnight to rid of excess water

Combining Tzatziki Sauce

Alright – if you have made it this far, yay!

Cucumber should be diced and prepped, your garlic should be fresh and mashed, and your yogurt should be thick. Woo hoo!

All the great indications of the last step and best sauce.

Add yogurt, cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, oil and dill weed to a mixing bowl and mix well.

Season with salt to taste.

DONE!!

Combine all recipe ingredients in a bowl and use a spatula to combine

What to eat with Tzatziki

Not gonna lie here, I will eat Tzatziki Sauce right off my fingers, but since that is not a societal accepted thing, here are ways to enjoy this sauce without people looking at you funny.

  • Pita Bread – you can use straight up pita bread to enjoy
  • Roasted Veggies – I love mixing mine with Roasted veggies – Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Tomatoes, Zucchini, all great choices
  • Chicken – Make some simple grilled chicken and dial it up
  • Gyros – No matter the meat (lamb, beef, chicken), Tzatziki works as a great alternative to other condiments and is full of flavor
  • Dip in Raw Veggies (carrots, cucumbers, celery, sliced green peppers)
Tzatziki Sauce already made in a bowl with dill sprig and pita bread dipped inside

Is Tzatziki Low Carb or Keto Friendly?

Dietary Information: This recipe is Low Carb and Keto Friendly and given an A by Carb manager, based on 1/4th cup serving! 

Disclaimer: Dietary information provided by Carb Manager. If you are on a KETO or Low Carb diet, always make sure to double check your own information with this or My Fitness Pal based on the brands and weights you use. I am not responsible for the calculations but do try to provide as much information as possible for readers to make informed decisions.

15 minute Tzatziki Sauce Alteration

While I wanted to share the way to create this sauce from scratch, there are times you just want to enjoy the flavors without all the work. You need the same ingredients below and just combine, chill for approximately an hour, and serve. The main difference being that your sauce may be more watery than the longer recipe, but still with the great flavors and ready in a pinch.

  • Greek yogurt – Try to use whole full fat
  • English cucumber – you could substitute kinds of cucumbers, but make sure you really do squeeze out extra moisture
  • roasted garlic puree – skip the roasted garlic in the oven and instead use prepped minced garlic
  • lemon juice 
  • olive oil
  • fresh dill weed – convert to dried if necessary.  May also be substituted for mint.
  • salt
5 from 3 votes

How to make Tzatziki Sauce (Authentic Greek Recipe)


Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Truly authentic Tzatziki (Tsaht-ZEE-kee) Sauce takes a little time to prep. While you could slap all the ingredients together at once and call it a day, taking the time to freshly make garlic and strain excess moisture out of the Greek Yogurt makes all the difference in a traditional, delicious, and Greek approved Tzatziki sauce.

Ingredients
 

  • 16 ounces Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 of an English cucumber diced
  • 2 tablespoons roasted garlic puree
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill weed
  • salt

Instructions

Straining Yogurt

  • In some cases, yogurts that you buy from the store are watery and will in turn make your sauce watery. There is a very simple step to getting out the excess moisture and will help with the thickness and creaminess of your recipe. If you use a already strained and thick Greek Yogurt, you can skip this step.
  • Simply strain yogurt for 24 hours before making. Add cheesecloth or coffee filters to a strainer and add yogurt on top of the strainer.
  • Place a bowl or plate under the strainer and refrigerate, covering the top with plastic wrap, for 24 hours.
  • Drain excess water and scoop out the yogurt into a mixing bowl. 

Oven Roasting Garlic

  • Alternatively, you can use already pre-roasted garlic or minced garlic to skip this step.
  • Peel 1 bulb of garlic and separate all the cloves.
  • Cut each end of the clove and remove the peel from the cloves.
  • Place cloves into a small piece of foil and fold the foil over the garlic to close.
  • The foil will not be tight but will contain all of the garlic.
  • Toss into the oven on 350 for 30-35 minutes or until garlic is soft.
  • Remove from oven and let cool completely. Mash garlic. 

Excess Moisture in Cucumber

  • Cucumber retains a ton of moisture and this is an important step in getting rid of the excess so your sauce doesn't water down.
  • Place cucumber into 2 coffee filters.
  • Fold up the coffee filter and gently squeeze the water out of the cucumbers.
  • If you use gently squeezing over a sink, you should be able to squeeze most of the water out of the vegetable, without ripping the filter.
  • You can also use cheesecloth to drain excess moisture.  

Combining Ingredients

  • Add yogurt, cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, oil and dill weed to a mixing bowl and mix well.
  • Season with salt. 
  • Serve with sliced pita bread. gyros, roasted vegetables, raw vegetables, or even chips!

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 69kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 95mg | Sugar: 2g

Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.

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5 from 3 votes

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5 Comments

  1. great to dip pizza crust in also

    1. Just a friendly tip. Lemon juice is not an ingredient of traditional Greek Tzatziki. You should use white vinegar.
      Also, authentic Greek yogart does not need to be strained, not even a little.
      Strained emitation Greek yogart (aka Greek Style Yogart) does not taste the same nor does it have the same texture, even when strained. If you can still get it, Trader Joe’s used to carry FAGE Total (0%, 5%, 10%, and full fat). FAGE Total is one of the best yogarts you can buy. Olympiana is probably the best but I do not know where you can get it in the US. I lived in Panama City, Panama for while and it was occasionally available in large grocery chains like Rey and Riba Smith. I’ve found both brands in other countries; however, sporaticly.

    2. Trisha Haas says:

      You are correct that many recipes do not include lemon and instead use vinegar. My mom is Greek (and her entire family is full Greek and lives in Greece still) and she approved the lemon additive. The cool thing about recipes is they get passed down in different ways in families and regionally. 🙂

      As far as straining Greek yogurt, I hear you – I do. I appreciate the recommendations for Greek Yogurt. Unfort, I find that US foods and what is available isn’t always quality…sigh. So we def put the tip in there so someone doesn’t lose their entire batch to a watery mess. Ill look for the brands your recommended and hope the tip helps out others.

  2. This is the best tzatziki sauce ever. Made it yesterday and everyone raved about it. It was so delicious..

    1. Trisha Haas says:

      That is wonderful! Thanks for coming back to share your results.

      Trisha

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