Cool, Creamy Tzatziki: The Perfect Fresh Condiment

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Cool, creamy, and soothing tzatziki is a rich and delicious condiment that comes to us from the Mediterranean, particularly the areas of Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey.

Rich, cool, and creamy, tzatziki is the must-have yogurt and cucumber dip for grilled food, veggies, bread, and much more. We share the recipe:

A modified version of Indian raita sauce, it found its way to Greece via the Middle East trade routes during the Persian Mughal Empire.

Referred to as cacık in Turkey and North Cyprus, it has become a staple in the cuisines of the area.

Originally used to cool down a spicy Persian rice pilaf known as biryani, today the fresh taste of tzatziki graces many dishes.

One Sauce, Endless Ideas!

As a full-bodied sauce and dip, it’s a natural with pita breads (try your hand at making your own delicious barley pita bread!), baked potatoes, calamari, seafood tacos, and grilled veggies and meats.

It’s a must with souvlaki or kebabs, and makes a tasty spread on sandwiches and wraps, like a grilled chicken gyro.

Fabulous on an appetizer tray with fresh veggies, it’s also divine as a dip with ripple potato chips!

Make a cool and creamy tzatziki sauce to use on just about everything! With cucumber, yogurt, garlic, and fresh herbs and lemon, this condiment will be your new favorite! We share the recipe:

Try a dollop on your corn on the cob instead of butter – you’ll love the flavor combo!

It can also be used as the base for any creamy salad dressing, and can be thinned with some white wine vinegar to give it a pourable consistency. Try it on our classic Greek salad!

And this tangy sauce is also a standard ingredient on a mezze tray. Mezzes are a variety of Mediterranean bite-sized snack foods or appetizers, much like antipasto and tapas.

You can make up your own mezze platter with Mediterranean delights such as hummus, olives, grilled eggplant, marinated artichoke, cubed feta, sun-dried tomatoes, dolmades, falafel, and so on.

They’re always a hit at a party!

Our Zesty Version

Traditionally made from a strained and salted sheep or goat’s milk yogurt, it’s combined with cucumber, garlic, herbs, other seasonings, and either vinegar or lemon juice – we’ve opted for lemon juice in this recipe for its fresh taste.

The Perfect Recipe for Tzatziki |

The combination of the yogurt and lemon juice gives this sauce a sharp, tart flavor. If you’d like to mellow out that sharpness, cut the yogurt in half and replace it with sour cream.

This recipe will benefit greatly from being partially made ahead of time and left to sit – this allow the flavors to blend, and lowers the intensity of the garlic.

To make in advance, blend all of the ingredients as directed, except for the cucumber. Just before serving, remove from the fridge and stir in the drained cucumber.

Make this fresh and creamy condiment now – the recipe is below!

The Recipe

The Best Tzatziki |
The Best Greek Tzatziki
Votes: 6
Rating: 3.67
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Rich, cool, and creamy, tzatziki is the must-have yogurt and cucumber dip for grilled food, veggies, bread, and much more.
Servings Prep Time
2 cups 15 minutes
Passive Time
2 hours, to overnight
Servings Prep Time
2 cups 15 minutes
Passive Time
2 hours, to overnight
The Best Tzatziki |
The Best Greek Tzatziki
Votes: 6
Rating: 3.67
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Rich, cool, and creamy, tzatziki is the must-have yogurt and cucumber dip for grilled food, veggies, bread, and much more.
Servings Prep Time
2 cups 15 minutes
Passive Time
2 hours, to overnight
Servings Prep Time
2 cups 15 minutes
Passive Time
2 hours, to overnight
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small bunch fresh dill
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh mint
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Servings: cups
  1. In a bowl, mix together the grated cucumber and a generous sprinkle of sea salt. Transfer to a sieve or strainer over a bowl, or wrap in a cheesecloth over a bowl.
  2. Allow to drain for at least a few hours, preferably overnight, in the fridge. If in the sieve, stir the cucumber, pushing down to dispel the liquid. If in the cheesecloth, gently squeeze every few hours to strain out the water.
  3. While the cucumber drains, peel, smash, and finely mince the garlic. Mix together in a large bowl with the olive oil. Allow to rest in the fridge while the cucumber continues draining.
  4. After draining for several hours, spread out the grated cucumber on a clean dishtowel and pat dry. Fluff with a fork when finished.
  5. Mince the dill and mint. Mix the herbs and lemon juice with the oil mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add the cucumber to the oil mixture. Stir in the yogurt and blend all ingredients. For the richest flavor, allow to sit in the fridge for another hour or two before serving.
  7. Serve with warm pita, a salad, and grilled kebabs for a fresh, light summer meal.

Nutritional Information*

Nutrition Facts
The Best Greek Tzatziki
Amount Per Serving
Calories 271 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 23%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 11g
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 281mg 12%
Potassium 430mg 12%
Total Carbohydrates 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 0.4g 2%
Sugars 7g
Protein 23g 46%
Vitamin A 2%
Vitamin C 23%
Calcium 27%
Iron 1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Get Organized


Greek Cucumber Yogurt Sauce |

Read the recipe instructions thoroughly, then gather together all of the kitchen tools and ingredients you will need. Arrange your workstation mise en place.

Step 2 – Prepare the Cucumber

Cucumber Sauce |

Wash the cucumber and place on a sturdy cutting board. Using a sharp knife, trim the ends, then slice lengthways. Scoop out the seeds.

Leave the skin on and grate the cucumber with a box grater.

Step 3 – Drain

The Best Cucumber Yogurt Sauce |

Mix together the grated cucumber with a generous sprinkle of sea salt. The salt helps to draw out the moisture.

Place in a sieve or colander over a bowl. Alternatively, wrap it tightly in a square piece of cheesecloth tied on a wooden spoon and suspended over a bowl.

Drain for several hours in the fridge.

Step 4 – Press or Squeeze

How to Make Tzatziki Sauce |

To expel the excess water while draining, firmly press down the cucumber in the sieve, or occasionally squeeze it in the cheesecloth.

The more water you can remove from the cucumber, the thicker your sauce will be. And there’s a lot of water in a cucumber, so it pays to help it drain!

Step 5 – Mix the Garlic and Oil

Cucumber Garlic Yogurt Dip |

Peel, smash, and mince the garlic. Alternatively, use a garlic press to easily mash the cloves.

Mix with the olive oil and allow to sit covered in the refrigerator for several hours.

Step 6 – The Final Drying

How to Make the Best Recipe for Greek Yogurt Dip |

After the cucumber has drained for a few hours, spread it on a clean, dry dishtowel and pat gently to remove any remaining moisture. When finished, fluff with a fork.

Step 7 – Mince the Herbs

Make Fresh Tzatziki Sauce |

While the cucumber is drying, mince the fresh mint and dill, zest half of the lemon, then squeeze out the juice.

Step 8 – Pulling It All Together

How to Make Fresh Cucumber Yogurt Dip |

Add the cucumber to the oil, mix in the yogurt, and season with salt and pepper. Use freshly ground salt and pepper for the best flavor. Serve!

Serve And Enjoy!

Spoon tzatziki into individual bowls, garnish with some fresh mint or dill, and serve with your favorite Mediterranean food – or whatever’s cooking on the grill!

Make the Best Cool and Creamy Tzatziki Sauce and Dip |

Remember to squeeze the cucumber to remove as much water as possible, and allow the flavors to meld in the fridge before serving.

How about you folks – any questions about making this fresh Greek sauce? Drop us a line in the comments below, or join the conversation on our Facebook page!

Don’t forget to Pin It!

Tzatziki is the richly creamy and slightly tart yogurt and cucumber sauce that a perfect condiment with Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. It’s also an ideal accompaniment with grilled foods, as a veggie dip, to spread on breads, and for salad dressings. Try our fresh and tangy recipe today!

Photos by Lorna Kring, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.

*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Lorna Kring

Recently retired as a costume specialist in the TV and film industry, Lorna now enjoys blogging on contemporary lifestyle themes. A bit daft about the garden, she’s particularly obsessed with organic tomatoes and herbs, and delights in breaking bread with family and friends.

1 thought on “Cool, Creamy Tzatziki: The Perfect Fresh Condiment”

  1. Your tip of letting the garlic sit in the oil for a while is a great idea. Most recipes I’ve seen add them in separately. Unfortunately I don’t always have time to make tzatziki from scratch so I end up using a seasoning mix. What are your thoughts on seasoning mixes for these types of dips? I’ve been using one from Altius spice company.


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