Tzatziki (Τζατζίκι)

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Greek Tzatziki

The classic Greek yogourt dip flavoured with garlic, cucumber and herbs.

When we were young, we didn’t have all of the gadgets and gizmos that kids today have to keep us amused.  We made our own fun, often out of nothing.  One of our favourite games was dubbed “Try to make the other person laugh”; one of us would be seated, and the rest of us would take turns, using a variety of tactics, trying to make that person laugh, without touching them.  The person who could hold out the longest without laughing was declared, The Winner!  We especially liked playing this game when our family was visiting from Ontario, as their visits usually prompted a larger get-together, with more aunts, uncles and cousins.  With so many kids, this meant hours of silly fun. It also meant that there was, of course, plenty of food.  Along with the pitas, keftedes, salads and grilled meats, there was always tzatziki.  Aside from being delicious, this garlicky dip provided more amusement. Invariably, a few of us would sneak a generous helping before the meal was served. We would then get really close to our cousins and siblings, preferably backing them into a wall, and breathe into their faces.  Oh, how we laughed and laughed, as they practically choked on the noxious garlic breath they were forced to inhale.  Good times.

Let’s face it, tzatziki-breath is a thing. So, when you eat this popular Greek dip (or spread…is it a dip or a spread??), it is always great if those around you eat some too; one tzatziki-breath seems to cancel out another.  Luckily, few people can resist the delicious flavour of a great tzatziki, particularly since it can be enjoyed in so many ways.  You can eat it with bread, use it to top grilled meats, dip your keftedes and dolmades into it; scoop it up with zucchini chips; there is really nothing which does not taste better with tzatziki…except maybe baklava…that might be gross.

Greek Tzatziki

Helpful hints

Tzatziki is essentially flavoured yogourt, and therefore the type of yogourt you use will greatly influence the quality of your tzatziki.  Traditionally, yogourt made of goat or sheep milk is used, however it is totally acceptable (we think) to use yogourt made from cow milk, which is often more readily available. The key is to buy a good quality, thick-set (or Greek-style) yogourt, and to allow any liquid to drain out of it.  There are a couple of ways you can do this.  You can wrap your yogourt in cheesecloth, which you then suspend over a bowl by hanging it from something like a wooden spoon (which lays across the rim of your bowl). Alternatively, if you don’t have cheesecloth, you can line a fine sieve with a coffee filter, set that over a bowl, and drain your yogourt.  Both methods work equally well; regardless of which you choose, it is important to allow your yogourt to drain in the refrigerator, for several hours, or preferably, overnight.

How to strain greek yogourt using a coffee filter
How to strain greek yogourt using a coffee filter

The recipe below calls for 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) of drained yogourt.  This means that you should start off with at least 2 cups (500 ml) or even 2 1/2 cups (625 ml) of undrained yogourt.  You will be surprised at how much liquid drains out of even very thick yogourt.

Although this might seem obvious, remember that the yogourt you use must be plain, or natural (unflavoured).  We heard a story about some woman (it doesn’t matter who) that once accidentally made tzatziki with vanilla flavoured yogourt, and brought it to a potluck.  Even the politest guest could not eat it. The tzatziki-maker, the only Greek in the room, was pretty horrified, especially since she had been talking about how delicious her tzatziki was and how easy it was to make.  Read your yogourt labels carefully.

While your yogourt is draining, it is also a good idea to allow your grated cucumber to drain.  Again, you can use either the cheesecloth or coffee filter method.  Sprinkling your grated cucumber with salt will help to draw out any excess water.  Giving your cucumber a good squeeze before combining it with the rest of the ingredients, is the final, important step.  The recipe below calls for 1 cup (250 ml) grated cucumber.  This is the pre-drained quantity.

How to make Greek Tzatziki
How to make Greek Tzatziki

Tzatziki-breath is caused by the garlic, which is an essential, albeit stinky,  ingredient in tzatziki.  The amount of garlic people enjoy in their tzatziki will vary.  For this reason, our recipe allows for a range of garlic to accommodate different tastes.  We suggest that you start with the smaller quantity and work your way up.  Within our family, there are those of us who like their tzatziki relatively mild (leaning towards 1 tablespoon of minced garlic), and some who like it stronger (closer to the 1 1/2 tablespoons of minced garlic).  Then, there are some of us who like it very strong, and will add 2 tablespoons of finely minced garlic to the recipe below; caution…this is a lot of garlic, and some people claim that tzatziki this strong makes their mouths feel as though they are on fire. Wimps.

Greek Tzatziki

Tzatziki’s flavours will become stronger the next day.  If you will be enjoying your tzatziki over the course of a few days, keep this in mind.

Looking for some more dips? We think you’d love these!


Melitzanosalata (Eggplant dip)

Tyrokafteri (Spicy feta dip)

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Greek Tzatziki

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Greek Tzatziki
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5 from 1 vote


The classic Greek yogourt dip flavoured with garlic, cucumber and herbs.
Prep Time15 mins
Draining time12 hrs
Course: Appetizer, meze
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: dip, garlic,
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Mia Kouppa


  • Cheesecloth


  • 1 ½ cups (375 mL) drained yogourt, plain or unflavoured (you should start off with 2- 2½ cups (500-625 mL) of undrained yogourt)
  • 1 cup grated cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 – 1½ tbsp finely minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) Greek olive oil
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped dill See notes


  • Drain your yogourt for at least 12 hours or overnight. To do this, you can wrap your yogourt in cheesecloth, which you then suspend over a bowl by hanging it from something like a wooden spoon (which lays across the rim of your bowl). Alternatively, if you don’t have cheesecloth, you can line a fine sieve with a coffee filter, set that over a bowl, and drain your yogourt. Keep yogourt in the refrigerator while it drains.
    1 ½ cups (375 mL) drained yogourt, plain or unflavoured
  • Sprinkle salt over your grated cucumber and drain it for several hours or overnight, using the same method as the yogourt.  Keep cucumber in the refrigerator while it drains.
    1 teaspoon salt, 1 cup grated cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • Place 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) of drained yogourt into a large mixing bowl. Squeeze out any excess water from your cucumber and add that to the yogourt.  Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.  Serve with anything and everything.
    1 – 1½ tbsp finely minced garlic, 1 tbsp (15 mL) Greek olive oil, 2 tbsp (30 mL) white wine vinegar, 1 tbsp finely chopped dill
  • Enjoy!


To dill, or not to dill.  It’s a hot debate with tzatziki lovers.  We happily enjoy both versions, but we love it with dill a little bit more.  If you’d rather leave out the dill, please go ahead. 🙂

25 responses to “Tzatziki (Τζατζίκι)”

  1. a little Swiss, a little Canadian Avatar

    Love Tzatziki! Thanks for sharing the recipe😚

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      You’re welcome 🙂 Hope you enjoy it!

  2. koolkosherkitchen Avatar

    We love tzatziki, but I also put crushed walnuts in it. Have you seen it made with walnuts?

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      We’ve never had walnuts in tzatziki…but that sounds interestingly delicious! Our sister in law’s mom however does make a garlic and walnut spread. We are hoping to get her recipe…and will share if we do! Thanks for your interest in Mia Kouppa!

  3. […] Remember that these are usually eaten by hand as mezedes. They are also often dipped into tzatziki (yum!) so…  loosely packed dolmades run the risk of opening under all this action, and […]

  4. […] you will be grilling meats or fish, making a side of tzatziki is a very good […]

  5. […] wrapping your meat with a pita bread.  You can add lettuce, fresh onions, tomatoes and of course, tzatziki.  If you are feeling especially fancy, you can even add a couple of french fries to your pita. […]

  6. lisasalsworld Avatar

    Dill! I knew it was dill! I always squeezed the liquid out of my cucumber too but I think that I forgot to put that step in my recipe. Better check. Thanks for your recipes!

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      🙂 Yes….it is dill! Actually, we sometimes don’t add the dill (a Mia Kouppa husband does not like it) 🙂 You can definitely experiment with and without to see which you prefer 🙂

      1. lisasalsworld Avatar

        I always loved the dill! I can’t eat anymore because my ALS has progressed but I’m sharing my recipes with everyone. I’ll let them know to play!

  7. […] pasta salad or the traditional Greek maroulosalata.  Add some french fries to your table, a bit of tzatziki, and a nice hunk of fresh bread, and raise a glass to good health, good times and good food. […]

  8. […] chips are delicious when served with tzatziki.  Like, really, really, […]

  9. Cat Avatar

    This looks delicious! Never thought to make it myself. Will have to give this a go ☺️

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Thank you 🙂 If you try it once, you will be hooked. It is so easy, and so delicious! Would love to hear how you like it 🙂

  10. […] Eggplant chips are delicious when served with feta or tzatziki. […]

  11. […] often plays second and third fiddle to some of the other, more popular Greek dips like tzatziki and taramosalata.  This is a shame, and every time we do have melitzanosalata, we vow to make it […]

  12. […] out was simple and could be prepared ahead; perfect if the get together was during the week. Some tzatziki and taramosalata, dolmades, spanakopita, olives and maybe a baklava were standard fare.  Add some […]

  13. […] even by our non-Greek friends.  They would ask for ketchup (they were usually given tzatziki instead) and they ate, […]

  14. […] and formal meal.  Common on the meze table are spanakopita, tyropita, meatballs (keftedes) and dips or spreads.  Less common would be something like these dates, stuffed with feta enhanced with […]

  15. […] fritters are great served with tzatziki, but they are also lovely with eggplant dip, or served alongside a fresh […]

  16. […] opinion, nothing beats pita bread.  Pita is what you use to wrap around a souvlaki, to dip into tzatziki and to scoop up eggplant dip (melitzanosalata).  Greek pita is the original pita pocket; split a […]

  17. […] like tzatziki, this feta dip can be modified to be as hot as you like it.  We used 1/2 teaspoon of dried red […]

  18. […] We believe that there are three types of cranberry sauce people in the world. The first are those who like to open up a can and plop the contents onto a dish to be sliced and served.  We are not those people, although we 100% respect and adore that many canned cranberry sauce friends tell us that the sight of the unmolded can of sauce, complete with rings from the can, reminds them of home and their childhoods.  You know, we are all for that! The second class of cranberry sauce people are those who realize that making fresh cranberry sauce may be the easiest culinary feat possible, and so they do.  We have become those people, but the truth is, for most of our lives, we fell into category three.  This last group of sad, deprived folks are those who never knew of cranberry sauce growing up, because holiday turkey was lamb and it was served with tzatziki. […]

  19. Ioanna Avatar

    I just made this tzatziki. Thank you! When I ask my mom for recipes she says “mono ligo, min valeis poly. Tha ksereis poso”. This is much easier! I love your IG, thanks again!

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Oh yeah!!! Thanks for letting us know Ioanna! And we understand about the vague measurements!! That is why we started our website…we NEED recipes! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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