Being from metro Detroit, I grew up around a lot of Greek restaurants, which we call “coneys”. I’ve been living in Chicago for over 8 years now, but the hankering for coney is real: Greek salads, chicken finger pitas, coney dogs, and of course, gyros. But the sad fact about gyros, whether or not you get them in Detroit coneys or elsewhere, is that there is never enough tzatziki! Which is a shame, because it’s one of the best parts.

The cool, mildly tangy cucumber yogurt sauce extends beyond the gyro. I put a dollop on simply prepared fish, eat it with chicken kebabs, spread it on sandwiches, and dip raw vegetables in it for a healthy snack. Its versatility knows no bounds, and its deliciousness transcends traditional Greek food.

Thanks to the ever lovely Ina Garten, we can make this sauce easily at home. With her preparation, you can make 3 cups of tzatziki in just 10 minutes! Traditional preparation calls for salted cucumber and yogurt to be drained overnight. But with this recipe, we use Greek yogurt, which is already strained. And you just have to get your hands a little dirty by squeezing the liquid out of the grated cucumber. Don’t let that put you off though—it’s the best your hands will smell all day. Plus, you can impress guests at your next dinner party by reserving the cucumber liquid, freezing it in an ice cube tray, and adding the cucumber ice cubes to a water karaf.

Refrigerate the tzatziki in a tightly sealed container for up to one week, and get creative with additional ways to eat it! 


  • 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled and seeded (full disclosure: I could only find a regular cucumber, and it was fine)
  • 2 7-oz container Greek yogurt (I used Fage 2% regular flavor)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic (2-3 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Cut cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a spoon
  2. Grate the cucumber halves on a box grater over a wide bowl
  3. Squeeze the cucumber with your hands to remove most of the liquid. Discard liquid (or reserve for ice cubes)
  4. Place cucumber in a medium bowl and add in remaining ingredients; stir well


Source: Make It Ahead, A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook