Creamy, tangy and with a delightful crunch, this Greek yogurt cucumber tzatziki is a perfect condiment! Dip raw veggies or chips, serve it with grilled chicken or meatballs, or stuff it into a pita with your favorite fillings. It's easy to make and delicious any way you choose to eat it!
Zip, tang, creaminess...and a fresh bit of crunch in every bite.
That's what this cucumber tzatziki is all about!
My recipe is inspired by Trader Joe's Tzatziki (Creamy Garlic Cucumber Dip)...a dip that I used to love to eat when we lived in California years ago and that I really miss being able to get!
So what am I to do when I live in Hong Kong and am craving their tzatziki?
I had to try and figure out how to make it myself!
Preparing the Cucumbers
Let's first talk about what kind of cucumbers to use for this tzatziki. English or Persian cucumbers, I find, work best because the skin is thinner and the seeds smaller...so much so that they seem nonexistent. Western cucumbers have a thicker, tougher skin and the seeds are big enough that they're noticeable when you eat them.
I cut a section of cucumber in half lengthwise before slicing each half into thin slices. You want about 1 cup's worth of thinly sliced cucumber, but you can add more or less depending on what you prefer. More cucumber will obviously make a chunkier tzatziki.
Place the sliced cucumber into a colander over a bowl and mix the slices with a bit of salt. The salt draws out some of the moisture from the cucumber which means less water in your dip. It also helps soften the cucumber a bit, but not so much that it loses all its crunch.
You'll be amazed at how much liquid you can squeeze out from the cucumber after they've had a few minutes with the salt...and that's liquid I prefer not to have in the tzatziki! Rinse the salt off the cucumber, squeeze out any excess liquid, and they are ready to be mixed into the dip!
Making the Tzatziki
Sour cream is the standard base ingredient for tzatziki, but I use Greek yogurt instead because I always have some in the fridge and it is a great substitute for sour cream, right down to the tang. Greek yogurt might be a slightly thinner than sour cream, but it's still good enough.
Then there are the other standard ingredients like garlic, dill, parsley, garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Add some salt and pepper to taste and you've got really simple ingredients that make up the basic dip.
One note about the fresh garlic: it gives a bit of a spicy bite to the tzatziki which you might like or not. You can opt to use just half a garlic clove first and taste before deciding to use the rest.
Whisk the yogurt mixture together really well and then add in the sliced cucumbers you've already prepared.
You can choose to skip the cucumber prep I mentioned above and simply slice or chop the cucumbers and stir them into the tzatziki, but I wanted to get them closer to how I remembered them being in the Trader Joe's version. Also, skipping the salting step may also result in extra liquid from the cucumbers to seep out, causing the tzatziki to separate.
Give everything a quick stir and then place the tzatziki in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to let all the flavors have a chance to meld.
Make some of my Easy Soft Gluten-Free Flatbread to enjoy with the cucumber tzatziki. Mix the tzatziki with some of your favorite fillings to stuff into a pita, like my Shrimp Avocado Tzatziki Pockets. Add a dollop to a burger or sandwich.
Serve it with chicken, pork, fish, or meatballs. Instead of plain sour cream, take your baked potato up a notch and serve it with this tzatziki instead. Add a dollop to Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower Steaks.
Fold in some crumbled feta or blue cheese to add another layer of deliciousness to this dip and serve it with buffalo wings or my Crispy Baked Chicken Wings. Stir in some fresh chopped mint for some added freshness.
Use it as a dressing and drizzle it over a chopped salad. Or simply grab your favorite crackers, chips, or fresh veggies and dip away!
How ever you choose to enjoy this cucumber tzatziki, you are going to love how easy it is to make yourself. And while I'm still tempted to go buy a container of Trader Joe's Tzatziki whenever we're in the US, I know I don't have to since I can make my own version any time I want, no matter where I'm living!
Creamy Greek Yogurt Cucumber Tzatziki
Preparing the cucumber:
- 1 cup thinly sliced English or Persian cucumber
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup plain full-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Lemon zest from half a lemon
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced or grated (optional)
- 3-4 sprigs fresh dill
- 3-4 sprigs fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preparing the cucumbers:
- Place thinly sliced cucumbers in a colander over a bowl. Mix ½ teaspoon salt into the cucumber slices and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Massage cucumber slices slightly with your hand, then rinse under cold running water. Squeeze out any excess liquid.
- In a bowl, combine full-fat Greek yogurt, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest from half a lemon, and finely minced or grated garlic clove (optional).
- Remove parsley leaves and dill needles from their springs and chop finely. Add to the yogurt and mix well.
- Add the prepared cucumber slices to the yogurt and mix well.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.
- Garnish with chopped fresh dill and parsley before serving.
- English or Persian cucumbers have thinner skin and smaller seeds, making them better suited for this tzatziki dip.
- Add more cucumber if you prefer a chunkier tzatziki.
- You can skip the cucumber preparation steps and simply add sliced/chopped cucumber to the yogurt mixture.
- The raw garlic clove adds a bit of spiciness to the tzatziki and can be omitted if desired.
- Substitute fresh parsley with ¼ teaspoon dried parsley. Substitute fresh dill with ¼ teaspoon dried dill. Adjust according to taste.
- Add some chopped fresh mint, or fold in some crumbled feta or blue cheese.
- Refrigerate the tzatziki for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to come together.
- If tzatziki separates while in the fridge, simply stir well before eating.
- Tzatziki is good for 4-5 days in the fridge.
**This recipe was originally published on January 28th, 2018 and republished on January 19th, 2021 with recipe updates, and new photos and writing.