Homemade Meat Gyro with Tzatziki Sauce, tomatos and French Fries
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Doner Vs Gyro — What’s The Difference?

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Doner and gyros look very similar at first thanks to how they are served, the meat that is served, and how they are cooked.

However, the two do have some key differences between them — they are definitely not the same thing.

What are the differences between doner kebabs and gyros? The main difference between doner and gyros is where they originated. Doner kebabs originated in Turkey and are served with Turkish flatbread, whereas gyros originated in Greece and are served with Greek pita bread. There are also differences in spices and ingredients used.

So while they might look similar, doner and gyros are not the same — understanding the differences between the two can definitely help next time you want to order one or the other!

The Differences Between Doner And Gyros

When it comes to the differences between doners and gyros, the main distinction for each is where they originate from and the ingredients and spices used to make them.

Read on to find out more about the differences between the two, and what makes them unique.

Origin

To understand what doner and gyros are, it helps to know where they originated from. 

Doner kebabs originate from Turkey, where meat is stacked up on a vertical cone and cooked — once the outer layer is cooked, the meat is sliced down and placed into a Turkish flatbread along with other ingredients.

The Greek version, gyros, does take some of these methods — it just puts more of a Greek spin on it. The meat is cooked much the same, but the meat is then placed into a Greek pita and served with certain ingredients and toppings.

Even though gyros are a spin-off of doner, the meal has taken on much of Greek influence and is now a well-known part of Greek cuisine.

Ingredients

When looking at the differences between two types of food, one of the main factors to look at is the ingredients that are used for either.

Even though they are similar, doner and gyros use quite different ingredients, which then influence how the dish turns out.

To start, doner kebabs are usually made with ground chicken, beef, or lamb.

The meat is spiced with a special Turkish seasoning mix which typically includes garlic powder, cumin, salt, coriander, smoked paprika, and pepper. This gives the meat a spicy, aromatic flavor.

Most doner kebabs are also served with yogurt and garlic sauce, which brings a light, spicy flavor to the meal.

Gyros are usually made with lamb or chicken, but beef and pork can be used as well in some cases. The meat used for gyros is marinated with Mediterranean spices, which usually include thyme, oregano, and rosemary.

Gyros are served with tzatziki which is a light sauce made with yogurt, salt, garlic, olive oil, and cucumber. This helps to balance out the meal perfectly.

Preparation

As gyros were inspired by doner kebabs, the preparation of the meat is very similar. They are both stacked on a vertical cone and cooked on heat, and the outside is sliced on placed onto the bread.

The meat used is prepared differently before cooking. For doner, ground meat is mixed with onion, spices, and some fat, and then it is shaped using a roller and placed onto a vertical cone where it is chilled so it holds its shape well.

When making gyros, thin flat slices of meat are stacked on top of one another to form an inverted cone.

These thin slices of meat are seasoned with a special seasoning mix and form a dense layer once left to sit and once shaped into an inverted cone.

Both doner and gyros are cooked standing up vertically, rotating around a heat source. Once the outer layer is cooked, it is sliced away and placed into the bread with other ingredients.

How They’re Served

Doner and gyros can be served in a very similar way, which is another reason they often get mistaken for each other.

Doner kebabs are usually served inside a Turkish flatbread, along with yogurt dressing and chopped tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion.

However, the sliced meat can also be served on its own as a meal with various sides, or it can be topped with some French fries with a dressing.

Gyros are most often only served as a wrap. Pita bread is used to wrap around the sliced meat and other ingredients such as vegetables and salad items.

Sometimes even fried potatoes are wrapped in the pita with the meat. This is served with a tzatziki dressing.

Texture

There is a slight difference in texture between doner meat and gyro meat.

As doner meat is made with minced meat, whether lamb, beef, or chicken, it does have a different texture. It does not taste completely like a slice of meat, but the mince is compressed enough that it does form a solid slice.

It does have a meaty texture, which can be slightly grainy, but it is still soft and tender. The bread used for doner can be slightly thick, but it is still thin enough to wrap around the meat and other fillings and be easy enough to eat.

Gyros are made with slices of layered meat, so the meat used is more similar to what you would expect sliced meat to taste like, whether it is chicken or lamb.

The pita bread used for gyros is thicker — it is more “bready,” but this helps it do a great job at keeping all the different fillings in.

Doner kebabs are often made with cucumber, onions, and tomatoes, which adds a crunchy texture to the wrap.

Gyros are often made with vegetables, which can have a softer texture, but they can also contain crunchier items such as cucumber and onions.

Flavor

The difference in flavor between doner and gyros comes mostly from the type of meat used, and what the meat was marinated in.

Doner meat is marinated in a Turkish blend of spices, which does give it a slight kick of heat, and more Eastern flavors. The yogurt dressing also has a delicious garlic flavor to it that pairs well with Turkish spices.

Gyros have a fresher flavor thanks to the Mediterranean herbs and spices, but this is balanced out by the thicker pita used. The tzatziki used to dress gyros is also fresh and bright, which rounds it all together well.

Doner Vs Gyros — Which Is Better?

Nobody can pick out which is the better option between doner vs gyros, as it would be a personal preference that you would have to decide for yourself.

However, you can look at the pros and cons of each to decide which one you would like to try more.

The great thing about a doner is that it has spicy Turkish flavors, which are great served with the yogurt garlic sauce.

It is also served in many different ways, so you can find the serving method that you prefer best, whether in a Turkish flatbread or on its own.

Gyros hold great Mediterranean flavor, and the tzatziki is a favorite among many, who enjoy the blend of fresh, light flavors and slices of meat.

Whichever one you choose, you will get great flavor, great ingredients, and a delicious meal that will have you coming back for more!

Final Thoughts

The main difference between doner and gyros is where they both originated from. Doner kebabs originated in Turkey, whereas gyros are traditionally Greek, even though they were inspired by the Turkish doner.

They are made using different types of meat — a doner is made with minced meat shaped to form a cone, and gyros are made by layering slices of meat one on top of each other to form a vertical cone. 

These are both cooked on a vertical stand, rotating around heat, and the meat is sliced off and used to make a wrap, with Turkish flatbread for doner and Greek pita for gyros.

Gyros are made using Meditteranean spices and tzatziki, whereas doner is made using spicy Turkish seasoning and a tasty yogurt garlic sauce!

Related Questions

Now that we’ve learned all about the similarities and differences between doner and gyros, here are some additional questions that we thought you might have.

What is the most common meat for doner?

The most popular type of meat used to make doner kebab is lamb. However, chicken, turkey, beef, and even veal can all be used. These are usually combined with either lamb meat or lamb tail fat to add flavor.

Is shawarma the same as doner?

A shawarma is similar to a doner, as it is made by roasting layered slices of meat on a rotisserie, cooked vertically as it turns. The meat is shaved off and placed into pita pockets and topped with different ingredients.

How do you pronounce gyro?

Gyro is a Greek word, and it is pronounced “yee-row.” If you are looking to say gyros in the plural, it would be “yee-rows.”

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