The gyro (YEE-row) is a classic Greek dish, with the meat traditionally cooked on a vertical spit and shaved off in individual servings. While this delicious method for preparing meat is often used in Greek restaurants, it's not easy to accomplish at home. This Greek-American take on the dish uses ground lamb or beef and is quick and easy to make in a home kitchen.
Gyros are a delicious sandwich for lunch or dinner, with spiced, grilled meat topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, and a flavorful tzatziki sauce. You can find tzatziki in the refrigerated condiment section of the grocery store or make your own using Greek yogurt, sour cream, cucumber, and fresh dill.
For best results, let the uncooked meat mixture marinate for an hour before grilling or pan-frying. This will let the flavors marry for a better tasting sandwich. A charcoal or gas grill will add nice smokey flavor, but a hot grill pan or a skillet will work just fine.
Click Play to See This Classic Greek Homemade Gyro Recipe Come Together
- For the Meat Mixture:
- 1 pound ground lamb (or beef)
- 1/4 cup red onion (minced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 teaspoon lemon juice (fresh)
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Oil (for grilling or frying, as needed)
- For the Sandwich:
- 4 rounds flatbread (or pita)
- 4 leaves lettuce
- 1 tomato (sliced or diced)
- 1/2 onion (thinly sliced)
- Tzatziki sauce
Gather the ingredients.
To make the meat mixture, thoroughly combine the ground lamb, red onion, garlic, lemon juice, salt, cumin, pepper, oregano, and nutmeg in a mixing bowl.
Divide into four equal portions and shape into oblong patties about 3-inch wide by 6-inch long by 1/2-inch thick. Notice that the patty is shaped more like a sausage (long and thin) rather than a hamburger patty. This is intentional, to ensure the patty fits in the flatbread.
Refrigerate for one hour.
Preheat a grill or grill pan over high heat. Alternatively, heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat.
If grilling, brush the grill or grill pan with oil. If pan-frying, add a dollop of oil to the pan. Grill or pan-fry the patties for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until cooked through with crispy edges.
To assemble the sandwiches, spread tzatziki sauce down the center of a flatbread round or in the pocket of the pita.
Add a lettuce leaf, some sliced tomato, and a few thin onion slices.
Add the patty and fold the bread over the lamb. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches.
- Ground pork can also be used instead of lamb or beef.
- Add a sprinkle of crumbled feta cheese for extra richness.
- Gyros are messy to eat. You can help curb the mess by wrapping each gyro in foil.
- If you're worried about the meat sticking to the grill, brush the patties with oil before cooking.