Being an American and marrying into a Greek family was more difficult than I could have ever imagined.  I should have been better prepared, especially considering that I had seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  If you have seen that movie then you totally understand what I am getting at.  To put it simply, I was a disappointment to my Greek in-laws. They were holding out hope that their son would marry a Greek girl, who would make Greek babies, and that said Greek girl would then feed everyone.


I certainly am not Greek and, therefore, would not be a Greek baby-making machine (lol).  So, the only option left at getting accepted into my new Greek family was to feed everyone- Greek food of course.  Now, this reality was never spoken, but I understood that the only way to my Greek in-laws’ hearts was going to be through their stomachs.

The first Greek recipe that I learned to make was tzatziki- a traditional sauce made with strained yogurt & cucumber.  My father-in-law called me one morning and let me know that if I wanted to learn to make tzatziki from him, I would need to be at his house at a certain time and he would teach me.  This was a big deal.  This was the first time my father-in-law had ever offered something like this to me.  Needless to say, I was on time for his tzatziki instruction, knowing that if I was even 5 minutes late I would upset him and risk losing out on this rare opportunity.


We sat outside in my in-laws’ backyard, where my father-in-law meticulously exampled to me the methods for making authentic Greek tzatziki.  I still remember every moment as if it was yesterday.  With each step we completed together, I felt our hearts beginning to beat to the same rhythm, I was not Greek, but my father-in-law was teaching me how to be Greek.  All of a sudden my ethnicity no longer mattered, I was family.  From this day forward, my bond with my Greek family only grew stronger and stronger.  With every Greek dish I learned to make, my in-laws realized I cared about their culture as if it was my own.


Today I can say that I am absolutely considered part of my hubby’s Greek family, and my journey to becoming Greek started with this tzatziki recipe right here.  You may or may not ever be faced with the challenge of getting accepted into a culture that is not your own- you may just want to learn how to make Greek food yourself at home.  No matter what your situation, once you taste this authentic Greek tzatziki, you’ll be thankful you know how to make it.


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  • Total Time:
    20 minutes




  • 32oz thick Greek strained yogurt
  • 2 large cucumbers
  • 2 medium cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • generous pinch of fine grain salt


  1. add yogurt to a medium sized bowl
  2. prepare cucumbers by peeling, slicing in 1/2 length wise, and de-seeding with a spoon
  3. shred cucumbers with a box grater
  4. wrap shredded cucumber in a piece of cheesecloth & begin to strain the liquid out of the cucumber by squeezing the liquid into a bowl to catch the cucumber juice
  5. continue to squeeze all of the liquid out of the cucumber until it is mostly dry- reserve strained cucumber in a bowl
  6. peel & chop two medium cloves of garlic & place in a mortar
  7. sprinkle a generous pinch of fine grain salt over the chopped garlic
  8. grind garlic with pestle until you achieve a smooth paste
  9. add olive oil & red wine vinegar to the garlic paste, mix until incorporated
  10. stir finished garlic paste into strained cucumber, once combined, add this mixture to the yogurt
  11. stir until well blended & keep tzatziki covered & refrigerated


don’t waste the cucumber juice- you can drink it! try adding it to juice or a smoothie

  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Colleen June 1, 2015, 10:37 am

    Love the story and am excited to try to make this. Keep the delicious recipes coming!

    • bella June 17, 2015, 1:19 pm

      Thank you so much Colleen! The next recipe goes perfectly with the tzatziki…stay tuned!
      <3 bella

  • Niko May 27, 2017, 10:31 am


  • Niko May 27, 2017, 10:32 am

    THE BEST looking TZATZKI i have EVER seen!!

  • Niko May 27, 2017, 10:33 am

    the yogurt and cucumber sauce looks like they were both strained to PERFECTION!!

  • Niko May 27, 2017, 10:35 am

    if the yogurt and cucumber sauce is NOT strained until all the water is out, then it turns all “mouskima” and sweaty gross like most store brands!!

  • Niko May 27, 2017, 10:37 am

    this definitely looks like THE thickest and richest yogurt and cucumber tzatziki sauce of all time. your father-in-law taught you well and traditional. it was worth all the “fasaria” obviously!!

  • Christina February 6, 2019, 5:36 pm

    Just love this post! I thought you were Greek so there you go!! :) PS I’ll watch my Big Fat Greek Wedding with you anytime! Xxx

    • bella | ful-filled February 6, 2019, 7:35 pm

      Awww…thank you so much Christina! This post is so special to me, and yes, I would love to watch that movie with you, haha! <3

  • Ingbing February 8, 2019, 4:49 pm

    Tried several times and failed to replicate my favourite sauce from my previous trip to Greece, either too garlicky, too much liquid or just wrong texture. Then eventually, I saw this recipe on Instagram with beautiful pictures, touching story and step-by-step instruction video. With such help, I finally got what I was looking for so long just in half an hour. Highly recommend anyone who fails to make authentic tzatziki like me to try this recipe out and get your Greek food craving sorted!

    • bella | ful-filled February 8, 2019, 7:50 pm

      I am SO honored that you made my recipe and that you found it to be truly authentic! Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment! Here’s to many more batches of perfect tzatziki to fulfill all of your future cravings! <3

  • Ola April 21, 2020, 8:54 am

    What would the best substitute be for red wine vinegar (rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar)?

    • bella | ful-filled April 21, 2020, 4:38 pm

      I would say apple cider vinegar, but either would be fine to be honest. The vinegar just adds a touch of acidity!

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