August 29, 2021

Greek Grilled Chicken Gyro

gy·ro | ˈyērō | (noun)
A classic Greek sandwich with seasoned sliced meat, topped with tzatziki, wrapped in a pita.

Who doesn’t love a sandwich, and a Greek one for that matter. Yes, there might be some debate on whether a gyro is actually a sandwich or not, but the purpose of this post it is a sandwich. This grilled chicken gyro is fresh, flavorful, and relatively quick to make, making it a perfect weeknight dinner idea. Want more Greek food? Check out my Greek Lamb Meatballs.

While there is a recipe written below for a creamy cucumber tzatziki, and yogurt marinated grilled chicken thighs I am more selling you on the idea of a gyro and not a hard recipe. What’s more important is not what’s in the gyro, but the balance of flavors and how it is assembled. If you take anything away from this post it’s that you can swap out any of the below, but as long as the gyro is balanced in flavor and texture you got a good tasting sandwich. So what makes a good gyro?

  • Seasoned sliced meat – traditionally cut off of a spit. Lamb and chicken are traditional.
  • Creamy sauce such as tzatziki.
  • A fresh crunch element – cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, onions.
  • Soft pita – no pita pocket here!

Throughout this post you will walk through the key elements that make for a great gyro, the sauce, the meat, and finally the toppings. Keep reading on to learn more.

grilled chicken gyro

WHAT IS TZATZIKI?

Difficult word to spell isn’t it? But man is it delicious. Tzatziki is a yogurt-based sauce made from cucumbers, herbs, and garlic. Can you buy tzatziki in the supermarket? Sure, but making your own means that you can make it how you like it. A good tzatziki is fresh and bright, and complements, not takes away from a gyro. Plus it can be used for more than just this gyro recipe, this versatile sauce can also be treated as a dip and paired with pita or vegetables.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED FOR TZATZIKI

  • Greek Yogurt – You need thick unflavored Greek yogurt. DO NOT try this with regular yogurt. Full fat, 2%, or fat free all work here. Fage is a good brand to get for this, their yogurt has a great tang as well as it is one of the thicker yogurts out there.
  • Cucumbers – I like to use either a Kirby or English cucumber. Cut it, scoop out the seeds, grate it, and drain it using a kitchen towel, cheese cloth, or a heavy-duty paper towel to drain the excess water.
  • Dill – Fresh only!
  • Mint – Fresh only!
  • Garlic– Either micro-planed or minced. Micro-planing will give you a more intense garlic flavor vs the latter.
  • Lemon Juice – Fresh only!
  • Olive Oil – Extra virgin is best for this, but regular olive oil works as well.
  • Salt & Pepper

Tzatziki is incredibly easy to make and can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Why only a week? After a while the cucumbers aren’t as crisp or fresh muddying the tzatziki. No food processor? No problem! I actually prefer to make this by hand. See recipe below.

Ingredients for tzatziki

Alright you have the sauce, now let’s tackle the meat. Let’s be honest, an average person doesn’t have a spit in their kitchen, so grilling is the next best thing here. 9/10 times I choose chicken thighs over breasts. They are juicier, fattier, and because of that they are forgiving if you over cook them. These Greek grilled chicken thighs are marinated in an herby yogurt similar to the tzatziki, grilled until slightly charred, and then roughly cut for the gyro.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED FOR GREEK GRILLED CHICKEN

  • Chicken Thighs – Boneless skinless. If you cant find boneless skinless or the price is absurd (because they tend to be more expensive) buy bone skinned chicken thighs and rip off the skin before marinating. Just keep in mind these take 2-3x longer on the grill.
  • Yogurt – Thick Greek, unflavored. Use the same yogurt you used for the tzatziki.
  • Dill – Fresh only!
  • Parsley -Fresh only!
  • Dried Oregano – Fresh oregano is great but not the easiest one to find. Dried works great here.
  • Lemon – Fresh only!
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper

THE TOPPINGS

Okay, you just made a bomb tzatziki, you have your juicy grilled chicken thighs, now it is time to add the fresh element. I like to add some cherry tomatoes for brightness, some Persian cucumbers for crunch, and some raw red onions for a bite. Wait did I mention that I also add fries on top? Below are some other great toppings.

  • Feta Cheese
  • Lettuce – Romaine, bib or iceberg.
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Chickpeas
  • Bell Peppers
  • Fresh Herbs – Dill, mint, or parsley.
grilled chicken gyro with greek fries

HOW TO MAKE GREEK GRILLED CHICKEN GYROS

Make the Tzatziki – Prep the cucumber by slicing lengthwise and scooping out the seeds with a spoon. Discard this. Using a medium size grater, grate the cucumber. Now this part is important. Using a cheese cloth, kitchen towel, or a heavy duty paper towel squeeze as much of the excess cucumber water out. If you leave moisture in the sauce will get super watery, especially the longer it sits. Place in the fridge until ready to use.

Marinate the Chicken – Combine the yogurt, dill, parsley, dried oregano, lemon juice, lemon zest , olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and pepper in a bowl. Before marinating, salt the chicken thighs generously (approximately 2-3 tsp). Add the chicken and toss to coat. Let the chicken sit in the yogurt marinade for a minimum 30 minutes.

Prep the Toppings – Whether it’s tomatoes or cucumbers, red onion or feta, prep all the ingredients beforehand that way you can enjoy the chicken hot when it comes off the grill.

Cook + Pull it Together – Preheat the grill to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. You need the grill to be wildly hot for this or the yogurt marinade with cause the chicken to stick. Grill the thighs for approximately 8-10 minutes each side or until done. When ready to pull together heat up a soft pita, slather some tzatziki, chopped chicken and toppings. If some of those toppings are greek fries even better.

STORING / REHEATING

This is a perfect recipe to meal prep on Sunday for the week. As stated above the tzatziki can be stored in the fridge for 5-7 days in an airtight container. Likewise the grilled chicken can be stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days. When ready to heat either pop the chicken in the oven (350 degrees) or toaster oven until warmed throughout. The microwave works too.

August 29, 2021

Yogurt Dill Grilled Chicken Thighs

Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Greek inspired chicken thighs marinated in a yogurt dill marinade, and grilled till just slightly charred.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Greek
Keyword Chicken, Gyro
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 5 people

Ingredients

  • 5-6 chicken thighs boneless skinless
  • 1 cup yogurt Greek, unflavored
  • 1 tsp dill finely minced
  • 1 tsp parsley finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper freshly cracked

Instructions

  • Combine the yogurt, dill, parsley, dried oregano, lemon juice, lemon zest , olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  • Before marinating, salt the chicken thighs generously (approximately 2-3 tsp).
  • Mix the chicken in with the marinade and let it sit for 30 min but preferably overnight. This is a great dish to prep the night before.
  • When ready to cook, let the grill preheat. Grill the thighs for approximately 8-10 minutes each side or until done.

.HOW

August 29, 2021

Tzatziki

Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Creamy and fresh tzatziki that can be used as a spread or a dip.
Course Sauce
Cuisine Greek
Keyword Dip, Fresh
Prep Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt plain
  • 1 cup cucumber finely grated
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp dill finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp mint finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt kosher
  • 1/4 tsp pepper freshly cracked

Instructions

  • Prep the cucumber by slicing lengthwise and scooping out the seeds with a spoon. Discard the seeds. Using a medium size grater, grate the cucumber. Using a cheese cloth, kitchen towel, or a heavy duty paper towel squeeze as much of the excess cucumber water out.
  • In a bowl combine all ingredients including the cucumber. Mix and enjoy!

.

RATE + REVIEW What did you think of this recipe?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating