Thick, creamy tzatziki sauce feels like summer on a plate. Tangy Greek yogurt, fresh cucumber, zesty lemon and a hit of garlic makes this super easy dip irresistibly delicious. It’s quick, easy, uses minimal ingredients and you need no special equipment.
Tzatziki, when done right, instantly transports me Greece, swooping freshly baked pita through a big bowl of it, looking out to the sea.
It feels fresh, light and when it’s properly thick and creamy, is utterly divine. It’s also INCREDIBLY easy, uses minimal ingredients and no fancy equipment. If you’ve never made your own dip before, tzatziki is the perfect place to start.
Serve it with a selection of dips, sourdough crackers, crudites and pita chips, use it as a base for grilled meat (like these Greek chicken meatballs or lamb koftas), toss through salads for a quick dressing, dollop onto flatbreads or pizza, or serve as a dipping sauce with crispy fries or potato wedges. There are seriously so many ways to serve tzatziki.
Three tricks to get the BEST thick and creamy tzatziki
- Grate your cucumber. Some recipes call for chopping it, but I much prefer grating here. Not only is this quicker, it means you get so much more of the cucumber flavour in your tzatziki and it’s MUCH easier to get the water out (the second key step). To make things even quicker and easier, use a small food chopper to blitz the cucumber.
- It’s KEY to squeeze as much water out of your cucumber as possible. I know this is kind of an annoying extra step, but I PROMISE it’s worth it. Cucumbers are more than 90% water, and as they sit, that water will release into your tzatziki, making it runny and thin.
- Use a thick, proper Greek or Greek-style yogurt as your base. Fat-free is fine, but make sure it’s THICK and not plain, natural yogurt, which tends to be a lot runnier.
All you need are a handful of basic ingredients to make this lovely sauce.
- Cucumber. You should only need half a large cucumber here, but if yours is small (less than 15cm/6″), use the whole thing.
- Greek yogurt. Use a proper thick, Greek or Greek style yogurt for the best creamy result. Fat-free is fine, but try to stay away from plain, natural yogurt. This tends to be too thin and watery to produce a lovely creamy tzatziki. For an extra luxurious version, use labneh (strained yogurt) as your base.
- Garlic. I am a garlic field so am using three fat cloves here, but you can reduce the amount (or increase it!) if you like.
- Lemon. We’ll use lemon zest and juice here, so ideally you want to go for a fresh lemon. If you can’t find one, just use bottled lemon juice, but you might need to add a little more since you won’t have the zest.
How to make it
Use a box grater to grate your cucumber (no need to peel it or de-seed it), then place the grated cucumber into a sieve or colander set over a bowl, lined with layers of kitchen towel, or a piece of cheesecloth. Mix in a little salt, then let it sit for a few minutes.
Squeeze as much water as you can from the cucumber, then transfer it to a small bowl along with the other ingredients.
PRO TIP: If you don’t have any kitchen towel or cheesecloth, just pop the grated cucumber straight into a fine sieve, and use your hands to squeeze and press the cucumber together to wring out the water.
Mix the tzatziki together, then give it a little taste and add a touch more salt, pepper and lemon juice if you like. Spoon out onto a serving plate and serve with your favourite crackers (I can never go past pita chips).
Got a question?
Traditionally, tzatziki is made with thick, strained yogurt, not sour cream.
You can add fresh herbs like mint, dill or flat-leaf parsley if you like.
It will keep well at least 1 week, stored in a covered container in the fridge. Give it a little mix before you go to use it, any remaining water from the cucumber tends to settle at the bottom of the container, but is easily mixed back in with the sauce.
Five ways to serve tzatziki
- Serve as part of a dips and antipasti selection, alongside crudites, pita chips, sourdough crackers, marinated olives and marinated feta.
- Dollop onto loaded flatbreads or pizza.
- Toss through salads or pasta salad for a quick cheat’s dressing.
- Use as a dipping sauce with crispy oven fries, loaded wedges, roasted potatoes or sweet potato wedges.
- Pile grilled meat like Greek chicken meatballs, lamb koftas or harissa honey grilled chicken on top, along with a chopped salad and rice to make loaded tzatziki bowls.
Like this recipe? You might like to try these other quick dips
If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave me a comment below.Print