Chef John's Tzatziki Sauce


  • 1 large English cucumber, peeled and grated
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • ½lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 sprig fresh dill for garnish
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper for garnish
  • Directions

  • Step 1

    Sprinkle grated cucumber with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl and let stand 10 to 15 minutes to draw out juice.


  • Step 2

    Place yogurt into a separate bowl. Dump cucumber and its juice onto a sturdy, dry paper or cloth towel and squeeze as much moisture as possible from the cucumber. Mix cucumber into yogurt. Add garlic, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice; mix thoroughly.

  • Step 3

    Stir dill and mint into yogurt-cucumber mixture; season with salt and black pepper. Adjust all seasonings to taste.

  • Step 4

    Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 or 4 hours (or overnight). Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with a sprig of dill and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper for color.

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