This is a wonderful make-ahead dish as it tastes even better after sitting overnight in the fridge. Use as a dip, salad, or condiment on your favorite Greek and Middle Eastern dishes.

Yield: 6-8 as a side, 10-12 as an appetizer


  • 1 small to medium cucumber, unpeeled* (about 8 to 10 ounces)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided use
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) plain whole milk Greek yogurt**
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar (may substitute freshly squeezed lemon juice)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh dill (sometimes I use use half dill, half mint)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Optional: olive oil for drizzling; crumbled feta cheese


  1. Grate the cucumber (I use the thicker grate of a box grater), place in a fine mesh sieve, and sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Toss to distribute the salt, and allow to sit for 10 to 20 minutes. Squeeze the excess liquid from the grated cucumber with a clean tea towel. The cucumber will release A LOT of moisture, and removing this will prevent your sauce from becoming watery as it sits. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
  2. Mince the garlic and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt over top. With the side of a chef’s knife or other wide knife, mash the garlic and salt into a paste. If the mixture isn’t totally smooth, that’s okay.
  3. To the drained cucumber, add the yogurt, garlic paste, oil, vinegar, dill, and pepper. Stir to combine, and then cover and refrigerate. If possible, allow the tzatziki to rest for several hours or even overnight. (The flavors meld and improve, although it’s still tasty when served immediately.)
  4. For a salty kick, you may stir in a 1/2 cup or so of crumbled feta or, when serving as a dip, sprinkle some crumbled feta overtop. A drizzle of olive oil also adds a nice finishing touch when serving as a dip.
  5. Serve the tzatziki


  • *Thin-skinned, seedless English cucumbers (a.k.a. hot house cucumbers) work well in tzatziki, but any variety may be used. If your cucumber is waxed, you may wish to peel it.
  • **As an option, you may start with regular (non-Greek) whole milk yogurt and strain it through a fine-mesh sieve for several hours or overnight before mixing with the remaining ingredients. In this case, you’ll want to start with nearly double the amount of yogurt to account for the whey that is released. (The whey is not used; either discard or use in place of buttermilk in baked goods.) When starting with thicker Greek yogurt, you can create an extra thick tzatziki yet by straining it as well. Greek yogurt has already had some of the whey removed, but more will be released when strained. Again, you’ll want to start with extra yogurt so that you have 1 1/2 cups to make the tzatziki.

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