When it comes to Greek dishes, the flavor is the top priority, and there is one thing many of these recipes have in common when it comes to providing fresh, delicious flavor: tzatziki sauce. This creamy and smooth mixture is impossible to avoid in the world of Greek cuisine, as the yummy condiment is found on, around, and inside of dozens of meals and appetizers. But what exactly is this tasty sauce -- and what role does it serve when applied to Greek dishes?

glass bowl of tzatziki sauce on white wooden background

Oleksandra Naumenko/Shutterstock

What Is Tzatziki Sauce?

Tzatziki is a sauce served with grilled meat, pita, vegetables and other Greek dishes. The dip is made from strained Greek yogurt, cucumbers (usually seedless), garlic and olive oil, though the sauce may also be seasoned with dill, salt, mint, vinegar, lemon, thyme, parsley or other herbs. The most important ingredient in this dish is the yogurt, which is the base for the entire mixture and strained to achieve a creamy texture free of whey.

The majority of the ingredients mixed into this thick sauce are for flavor and can easily be adjusted depending on your taste preferences: adding more garlic will give it a kick of spice; lemon juice or vinegar will enhance the tartness; mint or parsley will make the dish even more refreshing; dill will help fight against a heavy garlic aftertaste. Ultimately, there is a ton of flexibility when it comes to combining the ingredients and creating your perfect taste.

What Does Tzatziki Sauce Taste Like?

This creamy sauce is deliciously light and refreshing. Its cool, mild ingredients help diffuse stronger, spicy flavors or add a tart taste to bland food. This sauce is often made from scratch, so the flavor is fresh and tangy. And the taste of tzatziki sauce isn't limited by the normal basic ingredients -- adding various herbs, spices, seasonings, veggies, juices and more mix-ins can make the sauce sour, spicy, or sweet to your liking.

gyro sandwich with chives, tzatziki sauce, tomato and meat with fries on wooden board

Igor Dutina/Shutterstock

What Is Tzatziki Sauce Served With?

Tzatziki sauce is an essential sauce in many Greek dishes, from simple snacks to full-blown meals. Tzatziki sauce is always served cold or chilled, much like other condiments, which helps preserve its yogurt base. This dip is generally prepared fresh in restaurants and is vital to the completion, flavoring and garnishing of numerous dishes and sides.

Gyro

Tzatziki is a delicious accompaniment to pita. The bread can be dipped into the sauce and eaten as a snack or appetizer. The two also go well together in larger dishes such as gyros, a pita sandwich with lamb, onions, feta and sometimes lettuce and tomatoes. Tzatziki sauce is spread over the pita sandwich before being eaten.

Souvlaki

Souvlaki is simple a dish where meats such as lamb, chicken, pork or beef are skewered, grilled and served with tzatziki sauce. The cool tzatziki sauce complements the warm meat in this delicious recipe.

Meatballs With Tzatziki Sauce

This Greek spin on meatballs combines a plethora of spices into the beef, which is served alongside a bowl of refreshing tzatziki. Again, the cool sauce complements the warm, spiced flavors of the meat for a tasty appetizer.

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