This easy and flavorful healthy chicken gyro recipe starts with a simple 5-ingredient yogurt lemon marinated chicken that can be pan-fried, baked, or grilled, and is topped with a simple cucumber and dill tzatziki sauce. It’s as easy as that.
Easy Chicken Gyros
I’d have to say I’m just like 97.99% of the rest of the home cooks out there. We’re busy. Our days are full. And that makes our nights even fuller. It’s the reason why one of my most often heard of requests is for more meals that are easy to make, don’t take a whole lot of time or a laundry list of ingredients, but still have that from-scratch, seasonal-eats quality.
Well here is one recipe 97.99% of you and more are going to love. It’s simple. And fast. It’s practical with just a few simple ingredients. And it’s totally flavorful thanks to its Mediterranean roots.
The inspiration for these Greek chicken gyro sandwiches came from my talented friend Philia Kelnhover of the food blog Sweet Phi, and her cookbook Fast & Easy Five-Ingredient Recipes: A Cookbook for Busy People by Philia Kelnhofer.
When I first heard of Phi’s 5-ingredient recipe series on her blog where she created recipes that were sweet, savory and everything in between with just 5 simple ingredients, I thought it was stunningly brilliant. Sweet Phi’s popular blog series is now a cookbook. A cookbook with 105 5-ingredient recipes that put seasonal, fresh ingredients at the forefront. You will find a whole lot of variety, surprisingly so considering each recipe has only 5 ingredients. What you won’t find is a lot of pre-packaged short cut foods as found on the web and elsewhere.
Creating This Chicken Gyro Recipe
I finally settled on Phi’s recipe for Marinated Yogurt Lemon Chicken. Like many in her cookbook, her recipes are complete on their own, or like her yogurt chicken tenders recipe, can become the starting block for easy to make meals.
The notion of marinating chicken in yogurt and Mediterranean spiced sea salt led my mind to Greek food, and straight to one of my favorite sandwiches that work for lunch or dinner: chicken gyros with an addition of one of my favorite sauces, creamy yogurt tzatziki.
What’s in a Gyro?
The marinade for these chicken tenders is very easy and calls for Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and Mediterranean-spiced sea salt. I fudged the sea salt and made my own with just a pinch of oregano and a bit of garlic powder, but you could certainly use a store-bought brand or even Italian seasoning sprinkled into kosher salt.
Like buttermilk, the yogurt sauce tenderizes the chicken for a juicier bite after cooking.
While it does take us out of the 5-ingredient category, the tzatziki sauce is another simple recipe to prepare. It’s a simple cucumber sauce made with fresh dill, red wine vinegar, Greek yogurt, and garlic. The amount of garlic in this recipe is our family’s favorite, but vary the amount of garlic to your liking.
I use the Greek style of pita bread for this recipe. It’s soft, puffy, and lays flat and doesn’t have that hollow inside for stuffing. So instead it’s rolled. I found this video helpful in knowing how to roll the pita with the parchment wrapper.
Plus, I found the pita available in whole wheat, which gives this recipe another healthy high five.
How to Make Chicken Gyros
Mix together the lemon juice, yogurt, and sea salt in a large bowl, and place chicken in marinade. Marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes before cooking in an oiled pan over medium-high heat.
To make the easy tzatziki sauce, grate the cucumber and then press between paper towels to wring out the excess moisture. Add the cucumber to a bowl and stir in the rest of the ingredients.
Warm the pita in the microwave or toaster oven and slather with the cucumber sauce for the gyros. Top with a few slices of chicken, tomato, and red onion, then roll up and dig in!
Can the Chicken Marinate Overnight?
Phi recommends marinating the chicken for 20 minutes up to an hour, but I let mine go overnight and it was just fine. The chicken wasn’t tough and was packed with flavor!
read more: The Best Greek Chicken Marinade
Can I Use Chicken Breasts or Thighs?
Yes, you can use another cut of chicken if that’s what you have on hand. Just note that chicken breasts and thighs will take longer to cook than chicken tenders, so you’ll need to adjust your cook time.
Can I Prep These Gyro Sandwiches in Advance?
If you want to make this chicken gyro recipe ahead of time, I recommend prepping the individual ingredients and assembling the gyro sandwiches when you’re ready to eat them. The homemade tzatziki sauce will last for up to three days in the fridge.
Tips for Making Pita Gyros
Chicken tenders usually come pretty well trimmed of any excess fat, however, here always seems to be a small tendon left dangling. To remove, simply snip with kitchen shears.
I cooked my chicken in a hot, non-stick pan with a little olive oil. If you’d like, grill or bake them at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through. I also thought about dredging them in panko bread crumbs for a crunchy outside that would be perfectly dippable.
Also note to shake off most of the yogurt marinade before cooking the chicken so it doesn’t burn in the pan.
More Easy Greek Recipes You’ll Love
- Greek Pasta Salad with Cucumbers and Artichoke Hearts
- Greek Salad Dressing
- Easy Greek Chicken Kebabs
- Greek Chicken Gyro Salad
- Greek Salad with Chicken
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Easy Chicken Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce
For the Greek Chicken
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1 1/4 teaspoons Mediterranean-spiced sea salt sea salt mixed with dried oregano
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup tzatziki sauce recipe below
- 4 slices flat Greek pita bread
- 4 cocktail tomatoes halved and then quartered
- 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
For the Tzatziki Sauce
- ½ cucumber halved with skin and seeds removed
- ¾ cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 2 cloves garlic pressed or minced
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill minced
- Pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine the lemon juice, yogurt, and sea salt in a large bowl and add the chicken tenders, tossing to coat well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add half of the chicken tenders to the pan, shaking off the excess yogurt mixture before adding to the pan. Cook the chicken tenders for about 5 minutes, undisturbed, until browned, then flip and cook for another few minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Transfer to a platter, add the additional tablespoon of olive oil and cook the remaining chicken tenders.*
Prepare the tzatziki sauce by grating the cucumber. Gather the cucumber together and place in a paper towel and press the water out of the shredded cucumber and place in a medium size bowl. Add the yogurt, garlic, red wine vinegar, fresh dill, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 3 days.
Warm the pita bread in a toaster oven or in the microwave for 30 seconds.
Spread some of the tzatzhiki sauce onto the warm pita bread with tomatoes, sliced red onion and 2 or 3 slices of chicken tenders. Fold the pitas and wrap in parchment paper or serve immediately.
*The chicken tenders could also be grilled or baked for about 20 minutes at 375 degrees F, or until cooked through.
See more recipes on Sweet Phi here, and purchase her cookbook Fast & Easy Five-Ingredient Recipes: A Cookbook for Busy People here.
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