Chicken Gyros

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! 

Chicken Gyros
For the tzatziki sauce:
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
1 1/4 lbs. chicken pieces (I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts)

To assemble:
Pita bread
Fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
Red onion, sliced thin

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

Source: adapted from Elly Says Opa!

64 Responses

  1. What a ringing endorsement! I’m so happy you liked the gyros. Yours look SO good. I really do need to make homemade pita one of these days.

    • I substituted mayonnaise for the yogurt sauce (my local family LIVES off of mayo) and tortillas fried in oil for pitas and this still came out beautiful. My family holds me in the light of an aspiring culinary master thanks to this great recipe. I’ll probably make this at least twice a week now as well. Mahalo for the recipe and sharing. Aloha, Dave – Oahu

  2. Another “recipe to try” to add to my sidebar — thanks! I bet the sauce would be awesome with my new favorite — Greek yogurt. There is really no liquid to strain off so it would make the sauce even quicker. And it’s so thick and creamy.

  3. Oh yum! These look scrumptious & very simple ingredients–love it!

  4. These look delicious. I think I’m going to attempt to make them tomorrow!

  5. This looks fantastic!

  6. I just loove gyros! And i can’t get enough tzatziki! I throw it on everything now! This chicken looks great with the pita.

  7. another one of those things I don’t make and normally enjoy out. Wonderful detailed recipe. The photo is amazing!

  8. These look awesome! I can’t believe how incredible those pitas look!

  9. omg, I will never forget eating warm gyros from New York’s street vendors, they were so good 🙂
    thanks for the recipe, will try it!

  10. I saw these on Elly’s blog too and have them bookmarked. Yours look delicious. This might be just the push I needed to try homemade pitas!

  11. Gyros are one of my favorites as well! They look great and they would be even better with those homemade pitas!

  12. the perfect summer meal – can’t wait to put these in the rotation!

  13. These look great! I love gyros and I’ll definitely give these a try soon!

  14. I LOVE the enthusiasm of your post! Those look fantastic – a wonderful summer meal!

  15. With that kind of rave review, I’m definitely going to have to try these. They look like a perfect summer meal.

  16. Yum! I’ve been seriously craving gyros… I’ve never had a chicken version – I’ll have to give them a try!

  17. This looks wonderful! I love tzaziki sauce, and I think that chicken would taste great on the grill. I’m going to try this just as soon as I get back to the States and my grill.

  18. I love gyros!! I’ve never thought of making it at home but now I might just have to! Looks to die for.

  19. Going to make this one tonight!!! Cheers.

  20. Made these for dinner the other night and they were a huge hit with the whole family. Also made the pita bread – yum!!

  21. Thanks for posting – we had them tonight and they were super tasty!

  22. I made the chicken and sauce last night for dinner. WOW!! Great recipe. Thank you for posting.

  23. […] Posted on June 19, 2009 by lovestoeat After seeing this recipe from Elly Says Opa on Annie’s Eat’s site, I knew I had to make them. We love gyros and after all the raves this recipe got, I had to […]

  24. After attend our local Greek festival last week I’ve had gyros on the brain and now this pops up in google reader! 🙂

    I have a newbie question… how far in advance can the sauce be prepared?

    • Hi Trish,
      Oh yes, try them, you will love them! The sauce can be prepared at least about 2-3 days in advance, because that is how long I have eaten leftovers. In fact, I think it is best prepared at least several hours in advance so that the flavors really have time to meld. Enjoy!
      🙂 Annie

  25. […] regularly you’ve probably noticed that I love Greek foods and flavors. When I read Annie from Annie’s Eats rave about this being her new favorite recipe I knew I had to try it.  We don’t do a lot of […]

  26. I tried these a few nights ago, and while they were good, the chicken didn’t have as much flavor as I was hoping for. I marinated for an hour as per above, but both my husband and I commented that we wished the chicken had more flavor – especially since the marinade smelled amazing. Could I have done something wrong? The only thing different in my marinade from above was lemon juice from a bottle in place of the juice from an actual lemon.

    I’d love to fix this if I can, because there are no places around here to get gyros at all.

    • Hi Cailet,
      I’m sorry the chicken didn’t turn out as you had hoped. I do think that fresh lemon juice is important, but I can’t imagine it would have been that crucial to the marinade. I have made these several times and the chicken always tastes delicious. I suppose my only advice would be to marinate it for longer next time for a deeper flavor, but don’t do it for too long because the acidity of the lemon juice can “cook” the meat and affect its texture. I hope this helps some!
      🙂 Annie

  27. […] Chicken Gyros (from here) […]

  28. I am making these this weekend, can’t wait!!! What was your previous favorite meal noted as “simple pasta dish”? I need more pasta receipes too ( : Thanks!

    • Hi Dee,
      The pasta dish I referred to has never been posted on the blog because it is barely a recipe. It is basically spaghetti noodles mixed with an olive oil-fresh tomato-garlic mixture and shredded mozzarella cheese, so that all the cheese melts. Sort of like a bruschetta pasta, without the basil.
      🙂 Annie

  29. I don’t usually comment on these blogs, but I must tell you…these were amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing! I actually rarely cook, but I enjoy food blogs, while trying to find foods both my hubby and I can agree on (this is a difficult task!). So I decided to jump in and do it! Seriously they were awesome…but you know that!

  30. […] chicken gyros, tomato/cucumber […]

  31. It took me a while to try these but they were as good as I hoped. No, better. I used a soft wrap bread recipe from King Arthur Flour and the combination with the gyros was amazing. And can I just say the tzatziki sauce is to die for?

    I’ll be posting about them on my blog soon. Thanks for the recipe!

  32. Made these for dinner tonight. Hubby and I both agreed that they were delicious and a keeper. The pitas were soooo good. And although they took time to make, they are so worth it. I can’t wait to have leftovers tomorrow.

  33. These are absolutely delicious!! I used Greek Yogurt instead, no need to drain and since I had some fresh dill on hand I added to the Tzatziki sauce.
    So good and easy to put together.

    I am new to this “food blog world”, have been home recovering from
    achilles tendon surgery and it has really helped me pass the time as I lay on bed rest. By far your blog is the best I have read and I look forward to trying more recipes soon. Thank you!

  34. YUM! I just made these for dinner, homeade pita’s and all! They were so super delicious. Fantastic recipe!

  35. Another great recipe! :o) I made these last night, I used greek yogurt for the sauce, yum! I don’t even like cucumber, but with this, I enjoyed it! My mother would fall off her chair! :o) The chicken was quite good (I used tenders) and grilled them on the indoor grill. Juicy and tender. The pairing of tomato and red onion with this is delicious! Thanks again!

  36. great great website

  37. I can’t wait to try these! About how many does this recipe make?

    • Hi Brietta,
      If you make it with two chicken breasts, you will probably get about 5-6 gyros out of that, but will have plenty of tzatziki sauce leftover. If you are feeding more people, you can increase the amount of chicken and marinade but you won’t need more sauce. Hope that helps!

  38. Hello, I just came across your blog in the last week or so and had to write to tell you that I made these gyros last night. They were so VERY delicious…that tzatziki sauce could be eaten alone it was so divine. It was a big hit here so thank you!

  39. I just “Stumbled Upon” your blog today, and this recipe looked so delicious that I had to make them for dinner tonight. The gyros were delicious, and I think I could eat the tzatziki sauce with a spoon. Thanks for such an amazing recipe! I will be adding this to the regular rotation. 🙂

  40. This recipe looks delicious and I think my husband will be thanking you (gyros are his all-time fave)!

    Just as a heads up, I watched the Barefoot Contessa make tzatziki and she strained both the yogurt and the cucumbers to get rid of the extra moisture. Though you might find that interesting 🙂

  41. I have been a silent reader for a couple of months now but I wanted to let you know how much I love your blog 🙂 I really want to make this recipe but could I substitute anything for the red wine vinegar?

    p.s. my family loved your classic lasagna, thanks so much for the great posts 😀

  42. This looks wonderful. I’ve been on a middle eastern kick lately, and this looks just right.

    For those who found the marinade lacking, I suggest adding the zest of the lemon to it as well. It adds so much brightness to everything, and it just might be the thing to bring the zing that you’re looking for.

  43. These are delicious and its worth the time to make your own pitas. Its clean and fresh and quite unlike your local greasy gyro. I substituted lime for lemon since I didn’t have any but the chicken and the sauce are REALLY good. I must admit my favourite part was seeing all the liquid that came out of the yogurt! Thanks for a great recipe!

  44. So delicious. I’m thrilled to have found this recipe, only wish I tried it sooner! I will definitely be making this again soon. I will have to try the pita recipe next. Any suggestions for making a healthier version of the pita?

  45. Annie,
    Super easy to make, I was in the grocery trying to decide what to make and remembered this entry on your blog. Bought what I guessed I might need and had everything. It turned out wonderful although I used store bought pita. I love, love, love loved it!!! I enjoy being able to make a recipe on your blog and just know it will be wonderful. I have used the recipies on here for several parties at the house!!! You are amazing:-)

  46. I love gyros and when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it. It gave me the opportunity to try out my new pizza stone for the homemade pita bread. These gyros were amazing! Can’t wait to make them again.

  47. Hi Annie,

    My husband really likes to get gyros at restaurants, but I don’t like the grease. When I saw this recipe, I knew we had to try it. These are fabulous; lookig forward to trying with homemade pita! Such a great and light supper!

    Thanks for sharing!

  48. Just made these today and they are so addictingly amazing!!!

  49. Annie I just started reading your blog and I have such a long list of recipes to try! This was first on the list, including the homemade pita, and it was one of the best things I’ve ever made (my husband agrees!). Thanks so much for a great recipe – can’t wait to try out more!

  50. I made these this weekend with shrimp – they were delicous!

  51. I’ll bet these would be to die for made with some grilled lamb. I am making these this weekend. My grandaughter hooked me up to this blog. I am so glad she did.

  52. Hey Annie,
    These look great, can’t wait to make them and the salad :]. But I have little question…If you buy Greek yogurt do you have to strain it?

    • No you don’t need to strain Greek yogurt. It’s just much cheaper to buy the same quantity of plain and strain it yourself.

  53. I made these and we LOVED them! Plus, they are healthy!!! EASY TOO! I did use fat- free yogurt as it was what I had on hand and it was excellent! My husband asked for seconds and said I could make these any day. I will also make them for company as much of it is make ahead…just heat the pitas. Thanks for the inspiration.


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