Chicken Gyros

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I am in love with gyros (yee-ros, and roll that R!).  I am not so much in love with JY-rohs. Sorry, I had to. 😉

Tender, flavorful lamb, garlicky tzatziki sauce, warm pita, tomatoes and (sometimes) onions…what more could you ask for?  Chicago is a mecca of the gyro and yet, I find I don’t get to eat them all that often. It’s a shame, really.  When I do find a place with a great gyro, though, you’d be hardpressed to keep me away. I used to eat them quite a bit at my family’s restaurants (yes, that’s plural; everyone in my family works in a restaurant. We fit the stereotype.),  but I find that now I tend to gravitate toward the chicken gyro, at least occasionally, as a lighter option when I go back to Michigan.

I was fortunate enough to find a new market (well, it’s new to me, not new to others) relatively nearby that has a lot of Greek food items I can’t find anywhere  but Greektown. Greektown is a major pain in my arse to get to, but this place (HarvesTime, for all you Chicagoans), thankfully, isn’t.  I was so happy to procure some Greek pitas there that I was inspired to make some chicken gyros at home. Traditional Greek pitas are pocketless and pliable, not like most of the stuff that has a pocket and is tiresome to chew that you normally pick up at the grocery store.

This is pretty similar to my shish kabob recipe but I use some plain yogurt in place of some of the oil in order to keep it moist and light.  If you can’t grill, a broiler is a great substitution. I use mine ALL the time.

Chicken Gyros

  • 90 minutes (includes marinating time)
  • 10 minutes
  • 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1.25 lbs. chicken pieces (I used breast this time, but I also love using thighs, or a combo)
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 heaping Tbsp. plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup tzatziki
  • sliced tomatoes
  • sliced onions (I use red as they are the only kind I like raw)
  • 4 (pocketless) pitas

Directions

  1. Whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, yogurt, and oregano in a bowl. Add the chicken and rub the marinade in. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.
  2. Preheat the broiler (or grill, or pan on the stove). Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, and then broil until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side, depending what size/type chicken you are using. Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before slicing into strips.
  3. Meanwhile, heat your pitas. I have a gas stove, so I just spray them with a little bit of oil and stick them right on the burner for a few seconds per side. Top the pita with the chicken, tzatziki, tomatoes, onions. Roll up and eat!
Elly Says Opa!

87 thoughts on “Chicken Gyros

  1. This post makes me miss Chicago! We used to go to this dive called Sammy’s by UofC for lunch and their gyros were so good. I can’t find anything like it in Boston. But, now I can make them at home if I have a craving – great recipe!

  2. YUM YUM YUM!!!

    I love gyros! In college there was the ‘gyro guy’ who had a cart and he would be outside the campus bars from 11pm – 3am on the weekends. You could swing by and grab a gyro on your stumble home and they were DELIGHTFUL. Maybe it was because we were half-cocked, but I like to think they were the best regardless!

    You’ve inspired me 🙂

  3. These are fantastic. But although the recipe say to refrigerate the tzatziki for 30 minutes or more, it really needs to be made the day before- I did a rush job on it and had it the same day, and it was good, but I had some leftover the next day, and it was soooo much better- much more flavour.

    Also, 1 tbsp of oregano is a lot of oregano. It may just be my taste, but next time I make these- and I will make them again, because they are that good- I will put less oregano(maybe 1/2 tbsp or less) in with the chicken, and make the tzatziki the day before.

    I really hope the author doesn’t see this as a negative critisim- it really is not, because these have the potential, for me, to be much better than anything you could buy at the take-out.

    1. Of course I don’t take your comment negatively! I do agree that tzatziki is better left overnight and I do that as often as possible (whether I am making it for gyros or something else). As for the oregano, everyone has their own tastes! My husband and I love oregano & garlic so I tend to use a lot more of both than a “normal” person would. 🙂 Glad you liked them & will make them again.

  4. Hi Elly!
    Just wanted to say that I made these for dinner last night and they were FABULOUS! Everyone fell in love…I used a mixture of chicken breast and thigh meat, which made for the perfect mix! The marinade resulted in beautifully moist and flavorful chicken, which I grilled. I ended up marinating the chicken for 3+ hours, which gave the tzatziki time to get happy in the fridge too! I served it with a grilled summer squash, onion & tomato couscous. Absolutely superb! Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. I’m so glad you liked them, Tiffany! I also love using a mix of white and dark meat. Dark meat is so much more flavorful and moist!

  5. That marinade is out of this WORLD!

    I did add some shredded mint to the tzatziki, but that’s because that’s how I’ve always made it. I didn’t bother with the cheesecloth and the draining, but I’m cool with a runnier consistency.

    We put some homemade hummus on the bread first, too.

    Phenomenal recipe – pleased my husband, and two young guests who are notoriously picky eaters.

    Yay – thanks for posting it.

  6. I tried your recipe and it was fantastic it was a real hit with my daughter. Simple to make and worth the time to make the sauce. The marinade smelled so good you could smell the aroma all over the house.
    Chicken Gyros Source: Elly Says Opa.

  7. I just blogged these. I can’t tell you how much I love them. In fact, I’m totally craving them after writing that blog post. 🙂 Thanks for the awesome recipe, Elly!

  8. My friend made these this past Saturday and boy were they good! She sent me the recipe and I am going to make them this weekend!

  9. Oh, I can’t *wait* to try these! I’m definitely doing them on the grill as soon as we get it set up for the season. The meat looks so juicy! I also love marinating chicken in yogurt-it makes perfect chicken, every time.

  10. I found these on Annie’s Eats and I had to come over here to tell you how much we enjoyed these! They came together quickly & tasted great. Thank you so much!!!

  11. As you can see, I’ve been cooking from your blog this week. This was another excellent recipe; and quick and easy too. A definite repeater.

  12. I had someone here at work make these a while back, we had seen it on Made in Melissa Kitchen. I tried these last night and they were delicious. The only thing that I did not prepare was the Tzatiziki sauce, I bought a cucumber feta dip at the store.
    Thanks for sharing, will be making these again 🙂

  13. I made this recipe the other night and it was fantastic! Made it with chicken thighs so they were delicious and moist and even the boy loved them! Definitely rivaled some of the best Greek food I’ve had (and I eat a lot of Greek food in Queens, NY!!) Thanks for the great recipe!!

  14. Pingback: Chicken Tzatziki
  15. Dear Elly: Where does one get tzatziki or how does one make it ? We live in wichita kansas where there are no greek restaurants but we went to calgary canada to visit her sister there and we stopped at a greek restaurant called opa’s at the mall and the gyro was delicious. Sincerely, Rocky Harris

  16. I’m late to the party here as I just discovered your blog last week (I’m making the Red Chile Chicken and Rice tonight!), but I just wanted to say how much I miss HarvesTime Market. I moved away from Chicago 2 years ago but used to live right around the corner from the one on Lawrence, and it was the best store ever. Even my mom loved it when she came to visit… so much that she went there every day!

    1. Hah, I love it too! Cheap and good feta, plus random Greek and Middle Eastern staples. I’ll take it. 🙂 I’ll miss it when we move, too.

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  18. Dear Elly,

    Just wanted to let you know I made these the other night and they are killer. We live in out in the suburbs and are lucky enough to have a few good gyro places around us, but even better we have Valli Produce out here. They have such a wide variety of selections from almost any ethnicity imaginable (and super cheap produce) and the great part is they sell their own homemade gyro meat and tzatiki sauce. So we are pretty spoiled. Though one taste of these chicken gyros had us thinking we might be making these instead!

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