Homemade Chicken Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

published Jun 21, 2022
Chicken Gyro Recipe

This hearty street food favorite is easy and fun to make at home.

Serves4

Prep25 minutes

Cook25 minutes

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a chicken gyro on a plate, with a ramekin of tzatziki sauce and some shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes next to it.
Credit: Laura Rege

These homemade street food-inspired chicken gyros satisfy cravings and are simple enough to whip up for weeknight dinners. Leftovers also make the best work or school lunches. Traditionally, gyro meat is roasted on a spit and sliced off to serve. Because that’s not feasible in most home kitchens, we created a recipe that mimics the flavor in the oven. Marinating the meat with lots of spices is the key to achieving both the chicken gyro flavor and texture. The chicken is roasted and thinly sliced before stuffing it into a pita along with lettuce, tomato, red onion, and a generous dollop of tzatziki.

What Is Chicken Gyro Made Of?

Here, chicken thighs are marinated in lemon, garlic, oregano, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. The meat is roasted then folded into a pita with vegetables and yogurt sauce.

Credit: Laura Rege

What’s the Difference Between Chicken Gyro and Chicken Souvlaki?

Souvlaki is usually pieces of cut-up chicken, skewered and cooked on a grill. Whereas gyros are stacked on a vertical rotisserie/spit and sliced off to serve. 

How to Serve Chicken Gyro 

Serve chicken gyro in a pita with tomato, onion, lettuce, and homemade tzatziki. If you want street-food bonus points, stuff in some cooked french fries as well, which is a popular late-night addition to gyros. Alternatively, turn the meat into a salad, skipping the pita and adding in pitted kalamata olives and feta cheese to the lettuce, tomato, and onion. Dress the salad with lemon juice and olive oil and don’t skip the tzatziki. 

Chicken Gyro Recipe

This hearty street food favorite is easy and fun to make at home.

Prep time 25 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2

    large lemons

  • 3 cloves

    garlic, divided

  • 3 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon

    dried oregano

  • 1 tablespoon

    paprika

  • 2 teaspoons

    ground cumin

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided, plus more as needed

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 6)

  • 2

    medium Persian cucumbers (about 6 ounces total)

  • 2 large sprigs

    fresh dill

  • 1 1/2 cups

    whole milk or reduced fat plain Greek yogurt

  • 1/2

    small red onion (about 4 ounces)

  • 1/4 head

    iceberg lettuce (about 7 ounces)

  • 1/2 cup

    cherry tomatoes (about 4 ounces)

  • 4

    thin, large (8 to 10-inch) pitas

Instructions

  1. Juice 2 large lemons into a small bowl until you have 4 tablespoons.

  2. Finely grate 2 of the garlic cloves into a large bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon sweet paprika, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt,1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Whisk to combine. Add 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs and toss to coat. Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

  3. Meanwhile, trim and grate 2 Persian cucumbers on the large holes of a box grater into a medium bowl. Season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and toss to combine. Let sit 10 minutes until cucumber releases its juices. Meanwhile, pick the fronds from 2 large sprigs fresh dill and finely chop until you have 2 teaspoons.

  4. Scrape the cucumber onto a large clean kitchen towel. Gather up the sides to form a bundle. Holding the bundle over the sink, squeeze out as much excess moisture with your hands as possible. Return the cucumber to the bowl. Finely grate the remaining 1 garlic clove onto the cucumber. Add the dill, remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt, and stir to combine. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

  5. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Transfer the chicken onto onto a large rimmed baking sheet and space them evenly apart; scrape any excess marinade left in the bowl over chicken. Bake until just cooked through, about 25 minutes.

  6. Meanwhile, prepare the following, adding each to the same medium bowl as you complete it: Thinly slice 1/2 small red onion (about 3/4 cup). Finely shred 1/4 medium head iceberg lettuce (about 1 1/2 cups). Thinly slice or coarsely chop 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (about 1/2 cup). Toss to combine.

  7. Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board. Let sit until cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes. Very thinly slice crosswise.

  8. To assemble each pita, arrange a handful of the salad down the center of a pita. Top with a quarter of the chicken and a large spoonful of tzatziki. Fold up two sides to create a wrap. Serve with the remaining salad and tzatziki.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftover tzatziki can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Leftover chicken can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.