Homemade Gyros and Tzatziki

If you’ve ever had a good gyro at a Greek restaurant, you know what a treat they are.  They are basically Greek sandwiches made of lamb that has been roasted on a vertical spit.  The meat is sliced directly off the spit into thin shavings for each sandwich.  It’s piled high on warm pita bread and covered in a layer of cool tzatziki (ta-zee-kee) sauce and sometimes includes vegetables or french fries in it as well.  The end is wrapped in foil for easy eating.  It’s the ultimate Greek street food, and it’s absolutely divine.

Obviously I am not going to suggest you roast a leg of lamb on a vertical spit in your kitchen.  That would be just crazy.  This gyro recipe I came up with however can be easily made at home.  It wouldn’t say it’s a quick meal, it’s probably one you are going to reserve for a Sunday afternoon, or for a really impressive dinner for guests, but it is doable and worth the time put in.

First, I would suggest making the tzatziki sauce.  This is a common Greek condiment served over meats of all kinds and is an essential component of the Gyro.  It’s super easy.

Start with some good quality, plain Greek yogurt, a fresh cucumber, and four cloves of fresh garlic.


Mince the garlic or whir it up in your food processor.


Dice the cucumber, add the garlic to it, and sprinkle in about 1/4 tsp pepper and 1/2 tsp salt.  Top with the yogurt.


Mix it up, give it a taste, and add more salt if needed.  Store in the fridge.  This doesn’t keep long, so make it the same day you will use it.  If it’s a bit watery after it sits, just give it a quick stir.


Now for the gyros!

You are going to make a Greek style meatball for your sandwiches.  To be authentic you would use ground lamb, but I didn’t have time to go to four different stores to find it, so I just used ground turkey.  You are going to mix two pounds ground turkey, one egg, 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs that have been soaked for a minute in 1/4 cup milk, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1 tsp Greek seasoning, and two table spoons of chopped fresh oregano in big bowl, just like you would a meatloaf.


Use the tips of your fingers to mix it so you don’t over do it and form tight meatballs.  Roll these babies up into 1 and a half inch  balls and place them on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with olive oil cooking spray.


Bake the balls at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until they are cooked through.  Just cut one on half to check.

Then, grab some pita bread.   You can buy it in the deli section of the grocery store.  Heat it up by either scorching it on the flame of your gas range, or by throwing it in the oven for a few minutes.  You don’t want it overly crisp because you aren’t making chips, you need it to be pliable.


Take the pita, top it with three of the meatballs, slather on a good layer of that tzatziki sauce, and fold it over into a taco shape.  Wrap it with a piece of foil on one end.  If you want to add a piquant punch to your sandwiches, add on some pickled red onions.  See my quick recipe here.

Pile the sandwiches onto a tray with some extra tzatziki and onions.


Did you just lick your screen?  Well, here’s a closer look for ya.


I hope you enjoy every last bite of these….


I know I did.

You know, anyone can make a pot roast for dinner or have company over for burgers on the grill, but now you know how to knock their socks off with an authentic and casual meal from Greece.  Mmm hmm, you can thank me later.

Homemade Gyros and Tzatziki

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Serving Size: Six


  • For the tzatziki:
  • 2 cups Greek Yogurt
  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • For the Gyros:
  • 6 pitas
  • 2 lbs ground turkey or lamb
  • 1/4 cup of dried bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp Greek Seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbs fresh oregano chopped
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • Pickled onions from previous post (optional)


  1. For the Tzatziki:
  2. Mince the garlic. Dice the cucumber. Mix them together with the salt and pepper, and the yogurt. Cover and let sit in the fridge until the gyros are ready.
  3. For the Gyros:
  4. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Soak the bread crumbs in the milk while you gather up the other ingredients. Place the meat, breadcrumbs, seasonings, herbs, and the egg into a bowl. Gently mix and form the meat into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place them on a baking sheet prepared with cooking spray. Bake them for 20 minutes or until the balls are cooked through. Heat the pitas over the burner on your range using tongs or heat them up in the oven for a few minutes. Place three meatballs on each pita right in the middle. Slather on some tzatziki and top with pickled onions if desired. Wrap one end of the sandwich in foil and serve on a platter with extra sauce and onions.



  1. chad havey says:

    These gyros are the best

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