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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.

What makes a gyro balanced?

  • 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!
Ingredients for tzatziki

Step 1: start with the sauce

What is tzatziki?

Tzatziki is a yogurt-based sauce made from cucumbers, herbs, and garlic. It should be fresh and bright and is great on a sandwich or even as a dip.

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.
  • 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 & Mint
  • Garlic– Either micro-planed or minced.
  • Lemon Juice – Fresh
  • 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.

grilled chicken gyro

Step 2: get the meat

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 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 the 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 & Parsley
  • Dried Oregano
  • Lemon Juice & Zest
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
grilled chicken gyro with greek fries

Step 3: where are those 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?

When you are ready to assemble, warm up the pita bread over the stove, oven, or even toaster oven for a few minutes until soft and pliable. Spread a generous layer of tzatziki, and add a chopped chicken thigh. Top it off with some fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onions. Enjoy!

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Tzatziki

Print 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 mins

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!

Notes

  • If you are looking for a less chunky texture throw everything in the food processor.

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Yogurt Dill Grilled Chicken Thighs

Print Recipe
Greek inspired chicken thighs marinated in a yogurt dill marinade, and grilled till just slightly charred.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Greek
Keyword Chicken
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
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.

Notes

  • If opting for bone in chicken thighs x the cook time by 2-3.

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