Tzatziki RecipeTzatziki is a versatile food. Here, it’s used as a topping/sauce over minced smoked salmon—a sophisticated appetizer. Photo by Grenouille Films | IST.





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Main Nibbles

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March 2005
Last Updated January 2018

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Cheese-Butter-Yogurt

Tzatziki Recipe With Greek Yogurt

Famous Yogurt Dishes Are Easy To Make

Page 1: Easy Tzatziki Recipe



Two of the world’s most famous yogurt dishes, tzatziki from Greece and raita from India, are cultures apart; yet remarkably similar. 


Another veery similar recipe from the same region is Turkey’s cacik (JAH-jik). All three are yogurt dips or sides made with yogurt, cucumber and herbs.


Raita is a side dish used as a cool counterpoint to spicy Indian dishes.  It is called a cold yogurt “salad” because it generally includes raw vegetables (cucumbers and tomatoes, for example); but our Western perspective of a salad as a dish with at least some leafy greens would equate it to more of a sauce or condiment. It is a refreshing accompaniment to grilled meats—they don’t have to be spicy.

Greek cuisine thinks of tzatziki more broadly—as a sauce for meat and poultry, but also as a spread and dip.

The Difference Between Tzatziki & Raita

These dishes are cousins—maybe even fraternal twins. What’a the difference?

  • The recipes, incorporating yogurt, cucumber, and garlic, are almost identical but for the different national seasonings: dill and lemon juice from Greece, cumin and cayenne pepper from India. (See our Varietal Peppercorn Glossary for the different types of pepper.)
  • The accompaniments differ by nationality, too. You can serve either as a dip for crudités; for a snack or hors d’oeuvre, try toasted pita wedges with tzatziki and crisp papadums with raita.

Both recipes are made with plain cow’s milk yogurt, which can be whole milk, lowfat or nonfat.  People with lactose intolerance can use soy milk yogurt or try buffalo’s, goat’s or sheep’s milk yogurt, all of which are more digestible than cow’s milk.

The tzatziki recipe follows; the raita recipe is on the next page.


Easy Tzatziki Recipe


  • 1 cup plain yogurt, drained
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, garlic, dill, and lemon juice.
  • Add the chopped cucumbers; mix thoroughly.
  • Chill several hours to let the flavors mix; adjust seasonings as necessary.


Add chopped onion and/or mint leaves to the tzatziki. For a spicy sauce, add crushed red pepper flakes.

Serve with grilled meat, poultry or fish; as a dip with crudités; or as a snack with grilled pita wedges.


Continue To The Raita Recipe