Recipe: Yogurt-Mint Tzatziki Sauce

If you’ve never had tzatziki sauce then you are missing out on a Greek delicacy. In America, this yogurt sauce studded with cucumbers, garlic, and lemon; is most commonly eaten atop gyros. Gyros are much like the familiar taco, but done Greek-style. The meat is often ground lamb, seasoned to perfection with onion, fresh herbs and lemon. This is placed in a flat pita-type bread and topped with onion, tomato, and tzatziki. The combination is more than the sum of its parts. Some tzatziki is made thin enough to drizzle over kebobs or gyros, while others are made thick for dipping breads and vegetables in. Either way your main ingredient is yogurt and whether it is served thick or thin depends on whether you strain the liquid whey from the yogurt and the water from the cucumber. This tzatziki is a thicker variety. Serve tzatziki sauce with gyros, felafel, pita bread, vegetables, or salads.


  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped finely
  • Sea salt
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 3 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh mint (optional)


  1. Place the yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined strainer over a bowl. Drain whey at least 1 hour, or up to several hours, for a thicker sauce.
  2. At the same time, add chopped cucumber to a small bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt. Allow cucumber to sit, salted, as long as the yogurt is straining.
  3. After several hours place salted cucumber in a clean tea towel and gently squeeze the liquid out.
  4. Add the cucumbers to a medium bowl. Add the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, and mint, and stir well to combine.
  5. Add salt if needed.
  6. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for 1-2 days.

At A Glance

PREP: 3 hours
COOK: 3 hours, 30 minutes
TOTAL: 6 hours, 30 minutes
YIELD: Makes about 2 cups.