Chicken Gyros are a really fun meal to add to your summer grilling repertoire! Juicy Greek chicken piled on soft pita with veggies and a refreshing yogurt tzatziki. It's a whole meal in a wrap.
Grilled meats are a summertime staple and it's always fun to find new ways to make and eat them! Aside from being really, really delicious, these gyros are what I consider to be an ideal meal since all the components are easy to make ahead, people can customize their own gyros, and the leftovers are so good.
I like to put out all of the components separately (grilled + sliced chicken, veggies, tzatziki, and pita) so everyone can make their own gyro. It is super easy and low-key and makes for a fun, interactive meal.
Side dishes are definitely not needed here, but this orzo salad is perfect if you want one!
Yogurt tenderizes chicken really well in marinades - it's the perfect base for this Greek chicken. And the lemon juice, red wine vinegar, garlic, and dried oregano add so much flavor.
You'll want to marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours, up to overnight. You can use (boneless/skinless) chicken breasts or thighs here - whichever you prefer.
If chicken pieces are on the larger side, I like to butterfly them to optimize the chicken surface area : marinade ratio!
THE TZATZIKI SAUCE
A really simple yogurt sauce that has so much flavor! It's creamy, refreshing, easy to make at home, and you will maybe want to eat it on everything.
Key ingredients of tzatziki include: yogurt, shredded cucumber, fresh lemon juice, and garlic. Seems way too simple for how good it is!
Use a box grater or food processor to shred the cucumber. Since cucumber contains so much water, you'll want to squeeze some of the liquid out after shredding. Ball up the shredded cucumber in paper towels or a tea towel and squeeze. This will prevent your tzatziki from being too watery.
As written, this recipe will make just about the right amount of tzatziki sauce for the gyros. Double or triple it if you want some as an appetizer!
Any leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Red onion, cucumber, tomato, and spinach are perfect for gyros. You can keep them separate for people to pick and choose what they want on their sandwich, OR roughly chop them and toss with olive oil and lemon juice and maybe some fresh parsley for a chunky salad.
Good pita makes such a difference here! My unofficial (though very thorough and heavily tested) research has led me to the conclusion that there are two camps of pita - one being kind of dry and firm and prone to breakage, and the other being soft and pillowy - almost more of a naan. Opt for the latter!
My advice on finding good pita is to skip the bread aisle and go straight to your grocery store's bakery and/or deli. I've found good pita near the naan in the bakery, or it's sometimes by the hummus in the deli (especially if there's a pita chip display nearby!)
Naan is an excellent substitution if you can't find any soft pita.
Chicken Gyros + Yogurt Tzatziki
For the Chicken
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Pitas, tomato, red onion, cucumber, spinach, tzatziki (recipe follows)
For the Tzatziki
- 1/2 a large cucumber
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of black pepper
For the Chicken
- Combine yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper in a plastic freezer bag. Add chicken and turn to coat. Marinate for at least 2 hours - up to 24. Remove chicken from marinade and place on a hot grill. Cook 5-7 minute per side, or until cooked through to 165 degrees. Remove and tent with foil. Rest for 5 minutes, then slice thinly. Serve on pita with tomato, red onion, cucumber, spinach, and tzatziki.
For the Tzatziki
- Halve the cucumber lengthwise. Scrape out and discard the seeds. Grate with a box grater on top of paper towels. Gather up the towels and gently squeeze the shredded cucumber to remove excess liquid. Transfer cucumber to a bowl and combine with remaining ingredients. Adjust seasoning to taste. Chill for at least 15 minutes prior to serving.