This is a better-than-take-out recipe that is sure to become one of your favorites. A classic Greek sandwich of soft, pillowy pita bread stuffed with slices of garlicky, savory meat, fresh tomatoes, crunchy onion, and a cool, creamy Tzatziki sauce. This recipe only looks involved. It’s easier than you think!
Sure, you can buy a kit at your grocery store and make gyros at home using a few fresh ingredients, and who knows what kind of meat is in the kit? But with a little effort, you can make gyros from scratch, customize it to your family’s tastes, and control what goes into it. While this recipe may look difficult and involved, it’s surprisingly easy with a food processor and some time. Trust me, the effort is worth it.
Better Than Takeout Gyros
I love replicating take-out food at home. Sometimes, I crave a take-out meal, and either I’m too lazy to leave the house, or there isn’t a good restaurant to order from nearby.
Gyros would be one of those things that I can’t get where I live. And this gyros recipe is my go-to when I get a gyros or a Greek salad craving. Have you tried gyro meat on a Greek salad? It’s amazing, and this recipe makes plenty for both!
This recipe also includes an easy Tzatziki sauce that will knock your socks off. You’ll want to eat this as a dip with veggies or pita bread, a sandwich spread, or a condiment alongside grilled meat. It’s pretty addictive.
What Are Gyros?
A gyro is a ground meat, usually beef, lamb, and sometimes pork, mixed with spices and roasted. It’s then sliced paper thin and stuffed into a pita bread with sliced tomato, onion, french fries, and slathered with tzatziki sauce.
How Is ‘Gyros‘ Pronounced?
Did you know how this beloved sandwich is pronounced varies differently by region?
The Greeks pronounce it with a silent ‘G’ – ‘yee-row’. It’s also commonly said this way in the Southern United States. However, the Yankees among us will call it a ‘ji-row’.
Another fun fact is that ‘gyros’ is the singular form of the word. It’s also the plural version. So, no matter how many sandwiches you want to order, ‘gyros’ is the word to use!
How Do You Make Gyros Meat?
I know, you’re thinking. Do we need a big rotisserie and a spit to make this recipe? Nope. We don’t. But pull out that food processor for this one, though.
The texture is important for gyro meat. We don’t want something that resembles meatloaf. We want slices that look homogenous and smooth, like the inside of raw sausage.
To achieve this, we will process the meat in the food processor to make something that resembles pate or meat pudding. It isn’t pretty, but it will be delicious. I promise.
Then mix the meat with onions, garlic, and spices and chill it overnight to let all those bold flavors meet and mingle, getting happy and delicious!
Next, you will pack the meat into a rectangle and bake it low and slow. Finally, you slice it and give it a quick pan-fry in butter to get those luscious, crispy edges. Heaven.
What About The Tzatziki Sauce?
Tzatziki is a tangy, creamy, garlicky cucumber dip made from yogurt, sour cream, cucumber, garlic, and dill. It is simple to make and incredible to eat on your Gyros, as a vegetable dip or sauce for fish, chicken, or beef!
This Tzatziki sauce recipe is a take on Ina Garten’s recipe. I love her! It strains the yogurt, sour cream, and cucumbers, making the sauce rich, thick, and flavorful.
Ingredients Needed To Make This Recipe
- Onion – I used a yellow onion.
- Ground beef – I like using an 80%-20% blend. If the meat is too lean, you lose a lot of flavor.
- Ground lamb – You could use all ground beef or substitute ground pork or chicken if you don’t care for or can’t find ground lamb.
- Dried oregano
- Ground cumin
- Dried rosemary – chop up the leaves so you don’t have a big ‘twig’ in your meat.
- Dried thyme – I used leaves, but ground will work as well.
- Ground black pepper
- Ground white pepper – for the sauce. You could use black pepper instead if you don’t mind black flecks in your sauce.
- Kosher salt
- Greek yogurt – I used full fat. Regular yogurt will make the sauce very thin and watery.
- Sour cream – I used full fat for the best texture and flavor.
- English cucumber – also called a hothouse cucumber. This type of cuke eliminates the need to peel and seed the veggie before you shred it.
- White wine vinegar – balances the fattiness of the yogurt and sour cream and brightens the sauce’s flavor.
- Fresh dill
- Fresh parsley
- Pita or naan bread
- Feta cheese – block or crumbled. I used plain feta.
Tips For Making The Best Tzatziki Sauce
- Use full-fat yogurt and sour cream. You want the thickness and creaminess that low-fat or (shudder) fat-free can’t provide.
- Take the time to drain the yogurt. It thickens the yogurt, but it also increases the tangy flavor.
- Use English cucumbers and squeeze as much moisture out of them as possible. I mean, you went to the trouble of draining the yogurt. Do you want to water down this sauce with the cukes? No, you do not!
- Chill the sauce for at least 30 minutes – more if you can. This will allow the flavors to blend together and the garlic to lose any sharp taste.
How To Store Gyros
This recipe is great as a make-ahead meal. Once the meat is cooked, refrigerate the loaf in one piece. When ready to eat, slice the gyros loaf and pan-fry it.
Store any leftover meat in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Be sure to wrap it well in plastic and store it in an airtight container.
Can I Freeze Gyros Meat?
Yes! Wrap the leftover meat in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer-safe bag or container. Place in your freezer for 2-3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator before using it.
How To Reheat Gyros Meat
To reheat the sliced gyros, lightly coat a medium skillet with oil. Place over medium heat and pan-fry the slices until hot.
So, you’ve taken your tastebuds on a Greek vacation, continue your flavor tour by trying a few of these regional delicacies:
- Go to South Africa with this Grilled Piri Piri Chicken recipe.
- Be sure to hit Spain and enjoy this Chicken, Chorizo, and Shrimp Paella recipe.
- Come back closer to home and share a steaming bowl of my recipe for Florida Gumbo.
If you’ve made this recipe, please don’t forget to pin it!
A better than takeout recipe for the classic Greek sandwich of soft, pillowy pita bread stuffed with slices of garlicky, savory meat, fresh tomatoes, crunch onion, and cool, creamy Tzatziki sauce. This better-than-take-out recipe is sure to become a family favorite.
For the gyros meat:
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut into chunks
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
For the Tzatziki sauce:
- 2 cups plain Greek Yogurt
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 large English cucumber
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 large garlic cloves, very finely minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
- Pinch white pepper
For the sandwich:
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 pita or naan bread
- 8 slices fresh tomato
- 2 slices yellow onion, separated into rings
- Crumbled feta cheese as garnish
- Chopped fresh parsley as garnish
Make the gyros meat.
Pulse the onion in a food processor until finely chopped but not pureed.
Spoon the onions into the center of a towel or several layers of cheesecloth, gather up the sides to make a pouch, and squeeze as much of the onion liquid out as possible.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the onion, lamb, beef, garlic, cumin, oregano, rosemary, thyme, pepper, and salt until well mixed.
Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Meanwhile, start the Tzatziki sauce.
Line a fine mesh sieve with several layers of paper towel and set it over another bowl.
Spoon the Greek yogurt and sour cream into the paper towel-lined sieve.
Place the sieve and the bowl under it into the refrigerator to drain for 3-4 hours.
Grate the cucumber and toss it with one tablespoon of salt.
Place the salted cucumber shreds into another paper towel-lined sieve over a bowl.
Place this in the refrigerator as well for 3-4 hours.
Make the gyros meat.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
Remove the meat from the refrigerator.
Working in batches, place the meat into the bowl of a food processor.
Pulse it until it is very finely minced and resembles a paste.
Spoon the mixture into a bowl. Repeat until all of the meat has been processed.
Pack the meat mixture into a large rectangular loaf pan using your hands. Pack the meat in tightly to ensure that there are no air pockets.
Place the pan onto the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 45-60 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Allow the meat to rest in the pan for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
Finish the Tzatziki sauce.
Transfer the yogurt and sour cream mixture into a large mixing bowl. Discard any liquid that has accumulated in the ‘catch’ bowl.
Next, remove the shredded cucumbers from the refrigerator and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
Add them to the yogurt.
Mix in the vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, dill, and pepper.
Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.
Cover and chill the sauce for 30 minutes.
Assemble the sandwiches.
Remove the meat from the loaf pan and slice it into ¼-inch slices.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Place half of the slices of meat into the hot skillet.
Cook until the edges brown and get crispy – about 4 minutes.
Turn the slices and cook the other side for another minute.
Remove the hot slices and place on a plate.
Repeat the process with the remaining butter and meat slices.
Wrap the pita bread in a moist paper towel. Warm on the microwave on high until warm – about 15 seconds.
Line the warm pita with tomato.
Nestle the wam meat over the tomato.
Top with onion slices and sauce.
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Chilling time: 3-4 hours
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Main Dish – Beef
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Greek
- Serving Size: 1
Keywords: better than takeout gyros and tzatziki sauce, gyros recipe, Greek food, beef recipes, lamb recipes
Wonder where gyros originated? Me too. I found a great article here. Check it out. Yep, I’m officially a food geek.