These chicken gyros are a traditional Greek sandwich of pita stuffed with chicken marinated with herbs, red onion, pepperoncini, romaine, tomato, and an easy make-ahead tzatziki sauce. Healthy as can be although you’d never guess it from just how indulgent it tastes.
Marinate the chicken ahead of time for quicker dinner prep. You can do the same with the tzatziki. I’m not a natural planner, it makes me feel like I’ve lost all spontaneity in my life. But dinner works only when I plan ahead. And when I do, it feels like it practically makes itself. When possible, find ways to make the everyday work for you, not against you.–Melissa Coleman
For the chicken
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts*
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 4 cloves garlic smashed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
- Nonstick cooking spray
For the tzatziki
- 1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
- 1/4 cup diced English cucumber
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 small clove garlic minced
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
To assemble the gyros
- Four (6-inch) pitas or naan
- 4 cups thinly chopped romaine (from 1 head)
- 2 ripe tomatoes thinly sliced
- 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup sliced pepperoncini
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta
Marinate the chicken
- Place the chicken in a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag and pound out to about 3/4-inch (2-cm) thickness.
- Add the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt, oregano, and lemon pepper to the bag. Squeeze out any air and massage everything together.
- Toss the bag in the fridge for at least 1 1/2 hours and up to 8 hours, turning it occasionally.
Make the tzatziki
- In a small bowl, stir together all the ingredients. Cover and tuck it in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.
Assemble the gyros
- Heat a 10-inch (25-cm) cast-iron skillet on medium for 5 minutes.
- Lightly spray the skillet with cooking spray and add the chicken. Cook, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes per side.
- Move the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes.
- Place the pita or naan directly over a gas flame or heat it in a large dry skillet to char the edges. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil.
- Thinly slice the chicken. Stuff each pita with the lettuce, chicken, tomatoes, red onion, and pepperoncini. Drizzle liberally with the tzatziki sauce and sprinkle with the feta.
*How can I use seasoned chicken?If the thought of soft and fluffy pita bread doesn’t bring you to your knees, then what else can you do? Turn this meal into a salad, serving warmed naan wedges on the side–more veggies and possibly less carbs. The author also suggests using this same chicken marinade when she makes chicken fajitas. In this case, there’s no need to reinvent the recipe since they share similar flavor profiles. Make the chicken in the same way but swap out pitas for tortillas and use all your favorite Tex-Mex fixings.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
The whole family really liked these tasty chicken gyros. It’s nice that they can be built to suit your preferences and the warm bread is the perfect vehicle to stuff it all into. Yum!
I marinated the chicken for 3 hours. This gave it great flavor. I definitely recommend making the tzatziki at least an hour ahead. I tasted right after making it and then again when serving 1.5 hours later and it had definitely improved.
It fed 2 adults and 2 kids with a little leftover to make salads for lunch the next day.
I have my own go-to chicken souvlaki recipe that I have been using for years and was pretty excited to see how this one compares. And with a few minor differences, it was nearly the same—heavy on the garlic and lemon and yielding delicious, moist chicken. I was particularly pleased with the tzatziki in this recipe. After a few hours in the fridge, I had a smooth, tangy condiment full of fresh flavors.
I used fluffy white Greek-style pitas, heating them the way the author recommended. They were soft with a crisp edge and so good, even just dipped in the tzatziki. The recipe made enough for 4 pitas with a lot of filling in each. I didn’t change anything and found it to be just as good as the recipe I have always used. I will likely continue to make this one again—especially the tzatziki.
I served the gyros with saffron rice and a small greek salad.
Warm pita filled with tender marinated chicken, fresh vegetables, creamy tzatziki, and hot pickled peppers. This hits all the right flavors, is simple to prepare, and absolutely delicious to eat. I marinated the chicken and mixed up the tzatziki earlier in the day which made it super easy come dinner time.
I prepared and set out all the individual ingredients at the table so everyone could assemble their own gyro and make it exactly as they liked. A huge hit with everyone, including teenage boys and adults. I would double the recipe next time so there were leftovers to make for lunches the following day. Yum!
This chicken gyro meal was a weeknight hit and scored a solid 9 from 3 out of 4 family members. The chicken was unbelievably tasty after a short marinating time of 1 1/2 hours. All of the flavors came through, in particular the lemon and oregano, which was perfect to take this dish from regular ole grilled chicken to dynamite gyro chicken.
I think this chicken would work well to have on hand in the freezer, simply add the chicken to marinade as directed, freeze, and unthaw when ready to grill. It’s perfect in both pita and salad form.
I strongly recommend sticking with the pita version, all the goodness in one bite and as delicious as any sold at an authentic gyro vendor. The tzatziki sauce is delicious and easy to whip up while the chicken marinates. Don’t skip the suggested fillings— romaine, tomato, red onion, pepperoncinis, feta—as the combination of all of them add the right crunch and kick to each bite.
I also love any “build your own” meal that satisfies all ages and taste buds. My 7-year-old appreciated being able to make a cheese-only gyro with chicken on the side and my 11-year-old made his an all-chicken gyro with the veggies and fixings on the side. It will definitely be added to my weeknight meal rotation.
I marinated the chicken for 1 hour and 30 minutes. It seemed like the perfect amount of time to absorb the flavors and tenderize the meat.
I went into this recipe knowing I was going to make some modifications as I planned to have it for lunches this week. I doubled the tzatziki recipe and tripled the marinated chicken. I don’t eat bread so I wanted to make sure I had enough protein and accoutrements to get me through the workweek.
Instead of pounding the breasts down (I don’t like the texture this creates), I butterflied the thicker portions and laid them flat. The chicken marinated for 2 hours in the refrigerator, flipped once. I used a griddle pan and cooked the chicken on medium-high heat. Once finished, I placed them in a casserole dish, covered with foil, and let them continue cooking with the residual heat. I waited 20 minutes before slicing the meat.
The marinade created an incredibly flavorful, tender chicken. Balanced with the tzatziki, quartered Campari tomatoes, feta, Kalamata olives, and finely chopped red onion, I didn’t miss the bread! This will definitely become part of my regular lunch rotation.
I’ve never made tzatziki before. Looking at the ingredients, I was excited to give it a try. We sure enjoy the ingredients listed and grow many of them in our summer garden.
I opted to make this recipe into a dinner salad. I had fresh naan bread (Trader Joe’s) but it looked too thin to stuff the chicken and dressing into it. I used the romaine, tomatoes, red onion, feta (don’t particularly enjoy pepperoncinis so none of those), put on extra cucumber, and tossed them in 2 large bowls for 2 large servings.
We grilled the chicken after it was marinated for 8 hours. I chopped the chicken and divided it into our salads. There were only about 2 tablespoons of dressing leftover.
This whole recipe served 2 hungry people adequately. We enjoyed the meal. I’ll make this again when my garden is in full swing when the majority of ingredients will be home-grown. Can’t wait!
Put your thumb and index finger together and your other 3 fingers up in the air to make an “A-OK” sign, or this can be interrupted as “Ooh yeah, this is damn good” and you’ll see what my husband did as he was chewing the first bite of the naan bread holding all of the goodness within. I was in total agreement. We actually didn’t speak too much as we happily ate what was on our plates. This is an easy dish to make, and a small amount of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, in this case only 2, weighing about 1 pound, can feed 4 to 6 people. How many recipes can be stretched to do that? Not many.
We loved every part of this recipe. The flavor that the marinade imparts on the chicken, the caramelization achieved on my cast iron grill pan, the really nice tzatziki, the additional ingredients used to place inside the bread to complement the other flavors, and even the suggestion to cook the bread directly on the burner. (I’d never tried that before but will definitely do it again!)
I seriously want to eat these again, ASAP. This will be next week, as we have 2 more boneless, skinless breasts in the freezer. Can’t wait.
This gyros recipe worked great and was easy to follow. The finished result was delicious and tasted just like Greek cooking. The tzatziki sauce was easy to make and added a wonderful flavor to the pita pockets.
The recipe would probably easily serve 4 people but there wasn’t really enough chicken to serve 6.
Easy and flavorful, this Greek-inspired recipe was a cinch to pull together with a bit of planning. I marinated my chicken for 2 hours and after a quick turn in a cast-iron skillet, we had a delicious meal. The flavors of the marinade reminded me of my local Greek take-out spot. Next time I’d consider marinating for a bit longer.
I had actually never used the lemon pepper that was sitting in my spice rack. It gave a really nice flavor to the chicken and although I don’t think that most home cooks stock it, it’s a great addition to this marinade.
The chicken took a bit of time to get an appealing golden color but once that happened it was off the skillet and on to a simple salad for this crowd. Topped with tzatziki, it was a very satisfying meal. The leftover tzatziki became watery after being in the fridge but draining the water and giving it a good stir alleviated that.
I thought the dish was very Greek and the flavors were unusual for me. I’d make the dish again.
To make the tzatziki, I’d normally remove the seeds from the cucumber, grate the flesh, and squeeze out any remaining water. I’d probably also grate the garlic and would want the dill to be very finely chopped.
Originally published June 04, 2019