17 Creative Ways To Use Tzatziki In Your Kitchen

Tzatziki with dishes
Tzatziki with dishes - Static Media / Shutterstock / Getty

It seems like every country or region has its favorite condiment or dip. Folks in the United Kingdom have HP brown sauce, Americans have ketchup, and the Greeks, of course, have tzatziki. This white, creamy condiment is a common topping for gyros and dipping sauce for meaty kebabs. The recipe for tzatziki is rather pared down, especially compared to other sauces; it has a base of creamy Greek yogurt (though it was traditionally made with sheep or goat yogurt), lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and fresh herbs like dill. Another key characteristic that sets tzatziki apart from other sauces and dips is that it contains shredded cucumber -- which offers a bit more texture than a solely creamy condiment can provide.

Luckily, you don't have to fly all the way to Greece to get your hands on a solid tzatziki; most grocery stores have pre-made tubs in the deli or refrigerated food section. And, you aren't constrained to using this sauce solely for Mediterranean-inspired entrées, either. Here are some other ways to use up this versatile, delicious dip.

Read more: The 20 Best Olive Oils For Cooking

Balance Out Your Tuna Salad With A Scoop Of Tzatziki

Bowl of tuna salad
Bowl of tuna salad - Chas53/Getty Images

Tuna salad has come a long way. While it was once relegated as one of the most unpleasant and odorous lunches that anyone could eat, it's now seen as an up-and-coming, trendy, and, most of all, tasty way to eat canned fish.

The standard tuna salad sandwich is made with the canned tuna and some sort of binder -- which is often mayonnaise. But you don't have to turn to gloopy, flavorless mayonnaise for your sandwiches any longer. Tzatziki is the new upgrade for your tuna salad sandwich that will not only help the filling stick together, but also infuse the flavor of fresh herbs into the mix. This quality is especially important if you don't consider yourself the biggest fan of the tuna's tinny taste -- or your spice cabinet is looking a little bare. If you like the traditional flavor of a mayo-based tuna salad, you can always add a half-and-half mixture. Or, add a schmear of tzatziki to the bread instead of into the filling.

Make Your Pasta Salad Extra Herby And Creamy With Tzatziki

Bowl of pasta salad
Bowl of pasta salad - Ravsky/Getty Images

No summer barbecue is complete without a scoop of pasta salad on your plate. This cold side is completely customizable; add your favorite whimsical pasta shape, freshly chopped veggies, and a handful of your favorite fresh herbs, and you're ready to go. But, the dressing is often where the entire dish can go awry. Some people, frankly, use way too much mayonnaise on the salad that it becomes soupy. Or, the condiment drowns out the flavor of the other components entirely.

Tzatziki is a far better option for your pasta salad because it has that refreshing, fresh element that mayo doesn't come close to. It's tart, which isn't the case with one-note mayonnaise. Plus, the herbs, which can include dill, thyme, mint, or oregano pack on the freshness and bridge the different salad components together with ease. And if you prefer to use a vinaigrette on pasta salad instead, you can appreciate both the flavor and the mouthfeel that tzatziki can bring as a substitute. You'll only need about a cup of tzatziki for each ½ cup of pasta.

Thin Out Your Tzatziki And Use It As A Salad Dressing

Salad with tzatziki
Salad with tzatziki - Adriana Marteva/Shutterstock

We're always in search of the next up-and-coming salad dressing. Ranch has had its heyday and balsamic vinaigrette is just far too plain. But, tzatziki might just be one dressing that could be used to spice up nearly any salad.

If you've ever plunked a carrot or broccoli floret in a vat of tzatziki, you know that it is really thick and creamy. While this is certainly a desirable quality for a dressing, tzatziki can cross the line of being too thick. This means that the dressing doesn't seamlessly distribute with the other salad components and will more likely be left at the bottom of your bowl than stuck to your lettuce.

To prevent this issue, try diluting your dressing by adding in some extra vinegar or olive oil. Besides greens, you can also use tzatziki as a topping for your roasted veggies, too; the punchy taste of the Greek yogurt will bring out the natural sweetness of root veggies like sweet potatoes, carrots, and more.

Substitute Tzatziki For Sour Cream On Your Baked Potato

Baked potatoes with chives
Baked potatoes with chives - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Baked potatoes win the award for being one of the easiest sides to dress up. While no one will say no to a pat of butter or a tantalizingly large scoop of sour cream, there are just toppings that are a much better fit for your spud -- like tzatziki.

Tzatziki is a slam dunk for several reasons. It has the tartness and sourness that you need to help balance out the starchiness of the potatoes. Plus, those heavenly little chunks of cucumber help add an element of freshness and help break up the monotony of a creamy topping and a dense potato. We'd also be remiss not to mention the fresh herbs speckled throughout this Greek condiment; they'll easily add an extra boost of freshness to an otherwise monotonous side. If you're making a bowl of classic tzatziki sauce at home, you may even consider adding some chopped chives and a ton of extra garlic.

Use It As A Sauce For Your Meatballs

Greek meatballs with dipping sauce
Greek meatballs with dipping sauce - Lauri Patterson/Getty Images

Meatballs are synonymous with gloopy tomato sauce and copious amounts of melted cheese. But, there are a wide variety of different sauces you can pair with meatballs that will actually do the protein a service, rather than a disservice. Tzatziki is one sauce that is especially light and flavorful, which can't be said about classic marinara.

Beef meatballs are always an option for pairing with tzatziki, but there are proteins that are, frankly, just better pairings for this punchy dip. Just think about how a schmear of punchy tzatziki on top of a spiced lamb meatball, tucked into a pita pocket, would taste. Or, you can pair tzatziki with a veggie-based meatball brimming with Mediterranean ingredients like cumin, coriander, za'atar, and sumac. These spices are the perfect segue between the meat and the sauce, which will make for a well-rounded lunch, dinner, snack, or something in-between.

Swap Our Traditional Pizza Sauce For Tzatziki

Pizza with tzatziki
Pizza with tzatziki - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

A slice of pizza, dripping with grease, cheese, and that perfectly-sweet-yet-acidic tomato sauce, is perfect. But, like all food in the kitchen, it truly has its time and place. Instead of making your own homemade pizza with this same formula every time, try playing with different sauces and spreads to make this pie uniquely your own.

Tzatziki is just one of many sauces that you can use as a substitute for classic tomato sauce. While pepperoni may not be the best topping to adorn your tzatziki pizza with, there are an array of other veggies, like heirloom tomatoes, peppers, and caramelized onions, and cheeses (namely feta or goat cheese) ready to take on the role. Since tzatziki is made of Greek yogurt, which doesn't do well in the heat, it's best to apply this sauce after your pie is baked. You can also stick to a classic pizza sauce base and add a swirl of tzatziki to it post-bake -- or save your crusts for dipping in it.

Add A Scoop Of Tzatziki To Your Coleslaw

Coleslaw in white bowl
Coleslaw in white bowl - Maliflower73/Getty Images

Coleslaw is an extremely divisive side dish. Some people really like the cruciferous taste of the cabbage, intertwined with a bright complement of an acidic dressing and the copious amounts of salt. Although we are in the "no thanks" camp, we might reconsider if that mayonnaise dressing was replaced with something with a bit more pizazz -- like tzatziki.

You should consider adding this Mediterranean condiment to your coleslaw the next time you make a batch for your barbecue or special event. Besides the tangy flavor, the herbs really enhance the flavor and texture of this salad. Plus, the Greek yogurt and the splash of lemon juice in this spread really turns "just a bowl of cabbage" into a true coleslaw.

There are numerous ways you can customize your coleslaw to make it all your own. For example, if you're a big fan of the cucumber part, try adding some spiraled cucumbers or zucchini into your bowl for a similar texture.

Use Tzatziki As A Binder For Your Egg Salad

Egg salad in white bowl
Egg salad in white bowl - Irina Taskova/Getty Images

Egg salad deserves a little bit more respect than the hodgepodge of mustard, mayonnaise, improperly sliced vegetables, and overcooked eggs that comes in a tin at the supermarket deli counter. The eggs themselves are neutral canvas for flavors, fresh herbs, and ways to make this classic sandwich a bit more appetizing.

You should try adding tzatziki to your egg salad as a flavorful substitute for the mayonnaise. The condiment is already creamy enough, thanks to the Greek yogurt, but it has the textural twist of the chopped cucumbers and the zingy flavor from the garlic and lemon juice. Like mayonnaise, it can be very easy to add too much tzatziki to your egg salad. Try sticking to about a ½ cup of the spread for every six eggs, or swap for a 1-to-1 ratio with the classic mayo for the perfect consistency.

Add A Schmear Of Tzatziki To Your Burgers

Tzatziki on burger
Tzatziki on burger - JeniFoto/Shutterstock

No summer barbecue is complete without the smell of hamburgers wafting from the grill. And part of the sensory experience for eating that burger is watching the ooey condiments slosh around the top of your patty and then inevitably drop into your lap when you try to grab a bite. The holy trinity -- ketchup, mustard, and mayo -- have done their service over the years, but it's about time that a new challenger entered the pit: tzatziki.

There are all different types of burger that will taste better when you add tzatziki to the mix. Homemade tzatziki will make your tuna burgers shine because the creaminess will offset the fishy, briny flavor of the patties. The tzatziki makes a great substitute for tartar sauce or mayo on a fishy burger and will add an extra boost of fresh herbs to counteract the greasiness of the patty. You can also use this sauce for a plant-based burger patty or a lamb-based one for the same effect.

Make Tzatziki Into A Bagel Topping

Hunk of bagel with tzatziki
Hunk of bagel with tzatziki - Radu Sebastian/Shutterstock

Relax, no one is trying to take away your precious cream cheese and bagel combo. Rather, we're just trying to encourage you to step outside of the box when it comes to this classic breakfast sandwich. Tzatziki makes for a flavorful, creamy swap that bypasses the stodgy, thick mouthfeel of classic cream cheese. Plus, the herbaceous bite of the dill and the garlic will make the heaviness of the bagel less apparent.

You don't just have to stick to a plain bagel and cream cheese combo; tzatziki is also a great topping for your bagel with lox, because the dill is a welcomed pairing for the smoked salmon. You'll get the slightly crunchy, yet refreshing bite of the cucumber pieces that will help break up the texture of the sandwich a bit more. Pair this with some extra red onion, capers, and a sprinkle of scallions.

Dip Your Chicken Wings Into It

Chicken wings on plate
Chicken wings on plate - Bhofack2/Getty Images

Blue cheese or ranch? It's a timeless question that has plagued wing lovers everywhere. But, may we suggest that tzatziki deserves a spot at the table, too? It's perfectly creamy and refreshing, which means that it will balance out the spiciness of your favorite wing sauce quite well. Besides just the texture, you'll also get that refreshing boost from the cucumber and the dill.

Granted, there are some varieties of wings that work better for dipping into tzatziki than others. When in doubt, try to pair familiar flavors together, like meshing a garlic Parmesan wing with a tzatziki, since the garlic will carry over between the two. Lemon pepper might be another combination that you think could work, but the lemon pepper tends to deface any dipping sauce its paired with. You're better off sticking to coatings where the tzatziki can offer a cooling relief rather than a flavor enhancer, like on Buffalo wings.

Dollop Tzatziki Onto Your Grilled Fish

Grilled salmon with tzatziki sauce
Grilled salmon with tzatziki sauce - Anastasia Izofatova/Shutterstock

Grilled fish and tzatziki is the definition of a dynamic duo. Beautiful blackened filets of salmon smothered in a creamy, fresh dressing are what summer dinner dreams are made of. Plus, a spoonful of tzatziki means that you don't have to go all-out with making a marinade or finding an elaborate dressing for your fish. Scoop your tzatziki on your trout, cod, or whitefish.

While grilled proteins are excellent pairings for this sauce (since the blackened parts of the fish are contrasted by the creaminess of the tzatziki), you can just as easily use this sauce for other fishy recipes. One example where tzatziki could really shine is as a replacement for tartar sauce. Serve it with your crab or salmon cakes for a delicious, refreshing side -- without the sharpness of the Tabasco or the brininess of the capers getting in the way. It's a little bit more of a balanced sauce that truly allows the fish to shine.

Marinate Your Meat In Tzatziki

Marinating meat in metal bowl
Marinating meat in metal bowl - Wirestock/Getty Images

To marinate or not to marinate, that is the question. Marinades are a great way to not only soften up the protein you're working with, but also to add an extra layer of flavor prior to when it hits the pan or the grill. Rather than opting for a store-bought marinade, grab the container of tzatziki from your fridge.

First, you may be wondering how exactly tzatziki works as a marinade -- especially when it's often reserved for dipping or when food is fully cooked. The Greek yogurt in the condiment helps break down the proteins in the meat -- whether you're working with poultry, lamb, pork, or beef -- and ensure that every bite comes out tender. The garlic, lemon juice, and herbs are just an added bonus.

The exact time that you need to marinade your meat will really depend on the cut and the toughness. Chicken, for example, can be marinated overnight in the fridge, or on your countertop for just a few hours.

Spread Tzatziki On Your Canned Dolmas

Canned dolmas wrapped together
Canned dolmas wrapped together - CaptainMCity/Shutterstock

Canned dolmas are one food that you forget about until you see it on a store shelf. These grape leaves can be stuffed with any array of rice, proteins, and more and can be used as an easy supplement to a Mediterranean-inspired meal. While eating them out of the can is perfectly acceptable, the better way to enjoy them is with tzatziki. The sauce makes for an easy, flavorful appetizer that will leave you asking why you hadn't tried it before.

Tzatziki, besides sharing the same regionality as canned dolmas, offers a subtle bite from the cucumber and acidic tang from the Greek yogurt and the lemon juice. You can also elevate your tzatziki with an extra element of spice or a dribble of chili oil to enhance the flavor of the dolmas. Or, add extra fresh herbs on top for a summery bite.

Swap Mayo For Tzatziki In Your Next Potato Salad

Potato salad with herbs
Potato salad with herbs - Alleko/Getty Images

Potato salad is a beloved side, and for good reason. Although the spuds themselves are the star of the dish, some people are turned off to eating classic potato salad because of the mayonnaise. It's creamy and helps carries the body of the salad, but the lack of bright, popping flavors really can make this side dish a two-bite-wonder.

Swapping tzatziki for mayonnaise is an easy way to give your potato salad robust Greek flavors and make it a bit more pleasant to eat. Tzatziki can be a bit thick, so you can always make this sauce a bit more loose by adding in a drizzle of olive oil. Moreover, you can also keep the traditional potato salad flavors by substituting part of the mayo out, or going all-tzatziki and adding in other common elements of Greek cuisine, like chopped Kalamata olives, feta, and red onions.

Dip Your Fries Into Tzatziki

Greek platter with tzatziki
Greek platter with tzatziki - Fermate/Getty Images

Greek fries are a late-night indulgence we just can't get enough of. The thing that sets Greek fries apart from your traditional spuds is the delectable coating of spices, which can include oregano, thyme, garlic powder, and onion powder. Think about them as the curly fry's classier cousin.

Tzatziki is the topping that your Greek fries crave because the creamy yogurt will tone down the saltiness of the side dish, while still preserving its Mediterranean flavor. Plus, you'll get a refreshing herbaceous flavor from the dill, which can help this fried food seem a little bit more bearable to eat. You can easily transfer your sauce to a squeeze bottle for this; just make sure it has a wide-enough hole to ensure that no pieces of cucumber get lodged inside of it. Although Greek fries seem like a natural accompaniment for this sauce, you can also use it on regular fries just as easily -- or even tater tots.

Make Your Mashed Potatoes Extra Creamy With A Scoop Of Tzatziki

Mashed potatoes in bowl
Mashed potatoes in bowl - Drong/Getty Images

Tzatziki may not be replacing gravy at your Thanksgiving table anytime soon, but the sauce is still one way to give your mashed potatoes a deliciously creamy bite. When you think of the yogurt-based condiment as a substitute for sour cream, which some people add to their spuds anyway, it might make a bit more sense.

The best thing about adding tzatziki to your mashed potatoes is that the two mushy, soft ingredients mesh together in unmistakeable harmony. Plus, you'll get a bright burst of lemon flavor, along with the punchy allium notes of the garlic, which will help your mashed potatoes taste a little less dense and stodgy. You can either stir in a hefty scoop of the condiment with your other classic additions, like butter, salt, and pepper, or reserve it for serving at the table. If you like to make the green of the dill pop, try adding in some extra sprigs on top.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.