An easy recipe for tzatziki sauce made with Greek yogurt. It takes just 15 minutes to make, and then you chill it for one hour.
In the summer, I add enough water to turn this thick sauce into a deliciously refreshing chilled soup.
It's difficult to believe that such simple ingredients - yogurt, olive oil, grated cucumbers, garlic, and dill - combine to create such a wonderful sauce.
But indeed, sometimes the simplest flavor combinations are the best. Tzatziki sauce is so creamy and flavorful, truly a breeze to make, and it pairs beautifully with meats and seafood.
You can make a big batch and refrigerate it. It keeps well in the fridge for several days.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this creamy tzatziki sauce. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Greek yogurt: Plain whole milk yogurt is best. I don't recommend using a reduced-fat yogurt in this recipe and certainly not nonfat yogurt.
Extra virgin olive oil: This is one recipe where I insist on using the best, highest-quality, extra-virgin olive oil. It's delicious, and it will make a big difference.
Fresh lemon juice: When I don't have fresh lemon juice, I sometimes use half the amount of mild vinegar such as white wine vinegar. But don't use distilled white vinegar - it's too acidic.
Kosher salt and white pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the dish could end up too salty. And if you don't have white pepper, it's fine to use black - just realize that the black dots will be visible on the white sauce.
Minced garlic: It's better to mince it by yourself rather than use jarred minced garlic.
Grated cucumber: I grate it by hand - it's easy! You can leave it unpeeled.
Chopped fresh dill: If you don't like dill, you can simply omit it. But if you do like it, please use it - it adds great flavor.
Making tzatziki sauce is easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
You start by whisking together the yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Next, stir in the garlic, grated cucumber, and dill.
Refrigerate to allow the flavors to meld. That's it!
This simple recipe relies on the quality of the ingredients used to make it. So make sure you use full-fat yogurt and high-quality extra-virgin olive oil. This is NOT the recipe where you'd want to use nonfat yogurt and cheap olive oil.
Frequently asked questions
Yes. I use white pepper to avoid the appearance of black dots in the white sauce. But if you don't have white pepper, it's OK to use a small amount of black pepper.
Please don't. It's true that low-fat or nonfat Greek yogurt can taste pretty good. But it does not taste as good as whole milk yogurt.
And in this recipe, where the yogurt is the star of the show, the quality of the yogurt is very important.
You can, but it's best to let it sit in the fridge for 1-2 hours. This allows the flavors to meld and develop.
I've been making this wonderful sauce for several years now. While it's often served as a sauce that accompanies meats (such as these lamb meatballs), it can also serve as a chilled soup.
That's how I like it the most - wonderfully tasty and refreshing chilled soup for summertime.
To achieve a soup-like consistency, simply add a little water, starting with ¼ cup. Add just as much as it takes to turn it from a thick sauce into a delightful, super-refreshing chilled soup.
This creamy sauce is excellent as a dip for fresh-cut veggies or as a topping to lamb burgers or lamb meatballs. It's also good with poached salmon and with grilled eggplant.
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Give the sauce another stir before serving.
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Easy Tzatziki Sauce Recipe
- 2 cups Greek yogurt plain, full-fat
- 1 tablespoon olive oil extra-virgin
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice or vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper (black is OK but will be visible on the white sauce)
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
- 1 large cucumber peeled, coarsely grated
- ¼ cup fresh dill chopped
- In a large bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, kosher salt, and white pepper.
- Mix in the garlic, cucumber and dill.
- Cover and chill for one hour to allow the flavors to meld and develop. Mix the sauce one more time before serving.
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