Alright everyone, get ready for a monumental news flash – I now have a new favorite dinner.  It is these chicken gyros.  While this title was previously held by a simple cheesy pasta dish, the gyros now reign supreme.  To prove it, I will say this – I made these twice in the last week.  I almost made them again this week (and I probably will make them again next week)…and I almost never repeat recipes within the same month, because I just have too many that I still want to try.  The first night I made them, I made them with store-bought pitas and they were fabulous.  Then I made them again a few days later with homemade pitas and they were truly sublime.  I love the cool garlicky, cucumbery sauce, the flavorful chicken, and the soft pita.  It all combines into a phenomenal culinary experience, and the leftovers make a lunch you will definitely look forward to the next day.

Not only are these a treat to eat, but they are fun to make as well.  I get a kick out of straining the yogurt and seeing how much liquid is drained off.  (Elly mentions in her recipe not to use nonfat yogurt.  One of the times I made this, I accidentally bought nonfat and didn’t have time to run to the store for more, so I just used it and strained it anyway.  It actually still tasted fabulous, I just drained off a lot more liquid than normal.)  I used my food processor to shred the cucumbers, since I didn’t think I would be very successful using a cheese grater and doing it by hand.  Definitely the most fun part of making these is squeezing the water out of the cucumbers.  I am sure there are lots of good ways to do this, but I found just wrapping them in a few layers of paper towels and squeezing works great.  Also, a quick note on the pitas – since posting the recipe originally, I have found that I really have to add a significant amount of flour to the dough to make it even remotely workable as opposed to a gigantic sticky mess, so I have edited the old version to reflect more closely what I think I do now.

Now, run to the kitchen and make these.  You will be glad you did!

  • Yield about 4-6 servings


For the tzatziki:

  • 16 oz. plain yogurt (not nonfat, if possible)
  • 1/2 hothouse cucumber or 1 regular cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press (or finely minced)
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • Extra virgin olive oil

For the chicken:

  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 heaping tbsp. plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1¼ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

To assemble:

  • Pita bread
  • Fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • Red onion, sliced thin


  • 01

    To make the tzatziki sauce, strain the yogurt using cheesecloth over a bowl. Let strain for several hours or overnight, if possible, to remove as much moisture as possible.

  • 02

    Shred the cucumber. Wrap in a towel a squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Mix together the strained yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and lemon juice. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

  • 03

    To prepare the chicken, combine the garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, yogurt, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Whisk together until mixed well. Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and mix well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

  • 04

    Cook the chicken as desired, either in the skillet or with the broiler. (I butterflied the chicken breasts and then cooked them under the broiler.) Once the chicken is completely cooked through, transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into strips.

  • 05

    Heat pitas (I sprayed with some spray oil and then popped them in the toaster oven for a few minutes). Top with chicken, tzatziki sauce, diced tomatoes and sliced onions. Serve immediately.