Chicken Gyros
Yield: 5-6 filled pitas
Authentic Greek gyros with all the classic add-ons and a shortcut tzatziki are easy to recreate in your kitchen. A light but satisfying meal that can also be made with beef, shrimp, salmon, or pork.

For the chicken:

  • 1½ – 1¾ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts* (about 4 pieces; you can also make this recipe with boneless pork chops, steak tips, shrimp, salmon, shaved steak, etc.)
  • ½ a medium or large red onion
  • 2 tablespoons (28ml) olive oil
  • 1¼ teaspoons ground cumin
  • ¾ each dried oregano, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon allspice (optional for warm, almost garam masala-like flavor undertone)

For the speedy tzatziki:

  • ½ cup (120g) full-fat Greek yogurt (could sub sour cream)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated or pressed (I have substituted ¼ teaspoon garlic powder when in a hurry)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and ⅛ freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon water

For the salad:

  • 1 lightly rounded cup (6oz) cherry tomatoes, quartered (or 1 large/2 smaller vine ripened tomatoes, cored, seeded, and diced)
  • ½ a large or 3 mini cucumbers (If English, quarter lengthwise and then cut into ½-inch pieces; if regular, peel, and then cut. Halve minis lengthwise and then slice)
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons (28ml) olive oil
  • ⅛ teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup (2oz/56g) crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ cup (3oz/90g) pitted Kalamata olives, sliced or quartered

For assembling:

  • 4-6 Greek pocketless pitas (I use the Kontos brand which is available in Wegman’s)
  • Tin foil/wax paper for folding like a cone
  • Optional: the chicken, salad, and tzatziki may be served over rice or greens (arugula or chopped hearts of romaine are nice) instead of wrapped in the pita

Instructions with make-ahead tips:

  1. Marinate the chicken: Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces (approximately 1 inch cubes) and thinly slice the onion (about ¼-inch thick). In a large bowl, toss the chicken and onions with the olive oil, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and allspice to evenly coat with the oil and spices. Set aside to marinate while you prepare the salad, tzatziki, and pitas. Make ahead tip: This step may be done a few hours or up to a day in advance.
  2. Make the tzatziki: Finely grate or press the garlic clove and place in a small bowl. Add the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Whisk together and add the 1 tablespoon of water to thin the sauce slightly. Set aside. (Make ahead tip: The tzatziki can be made several hours/up to a day in advance. Cover and store in the refrigerator.)
  3. Make the salad: In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes and cucumber with the red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the feta and olives and give it one last good mix. Set aside until ready to assemble gyros. (Make-ahead tip: The salad may be prepared up to an hour ahead and left at room temperature.)
  4. Toast the pitas: Using a pastry brush or the back of a spoon, brush pitas on both sides with olive oil – a little less than ½ teaspoon per side (I have also toasted them dry). Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add one pita to the skillet, and toast until warmed through and you see it turn golden in spots. Repeat with the remaining pitas. Wrap the pitas in foil to keep warm until ready to assemble the gyros, or place them on a sheet pan in a warm oven. An alternative is to place the pita on a baking sheet and lay under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, watching closely to prevent burning.
  5. Cook the chicken and onions: Heat a 12- to 14-inch skillet (you can use the same pan you used to heat the pitas). There’s no need to oil the pan as the oil in the marinade is sufficient. When hot, add the chicken and onion mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and onions to a plate and immediately sprinkle with a couple of pinches of extra salt and oregano.  
  6. Assemble the gyros: Lay a square piece of wax or parchment paper over a square of tin foil and lay a toasted pita flat on top. Each person can top the pita with the chicken/onion mixture and add as much salad and tzatziki as they please. For reference, about ⅓ cup of salad and chicken mixture fits nicely. Use the foil and paper to fold the pita into a cone shape tighter at one end and push the fillings up towards the other end. Enjoy as a hand-held meal. Tip: Spreading about 1 tablespoon tzatziki over the pita before topping it helps keep the filling in place.


Want to save time? Some local meat markets (Shenk’s at Central Market, for example) will cut the chicken into bite sized pieces so you don’t have to do it at home.

No red wine vinegar? While this variety delivers classic flavor, you could use white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar instead.

Serving for a crowd? The recipe can easily be doubled. The chicken and onion mixture will simply need to be cooked in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan.

More recipes at