Tzatziki is a well-known Greek condiment that is easy to make and yet adds so much flavor to other dishes.
Have you ever wondered if you can freeze some leftover tzatziki or make more in advance? Tzatziki sauce has less water content than other dairy-based dips, which makes it better suited for freezing. You can expect some changes in the texture of the sauce, but it won’t affect the quality of the taste as long as you defrost it properly.
Continue reading to learn more about this delicious yogurt sauce and how you should freeze and defrost it properly.
What Is Tzatziki?
While there are multiple variations of the tzatziki sauce, it is widely known as a Greek condiment. It is a classic sauce made from yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, garlic, herbs, and spices.
While these are the main components of classic tzatziki, the taste may vary depending on what herbs and spice you choose to use.
I personally recommend using this spice packet on Amazon when making tzatziki.
The consistency of the tzatziki sauce may also vary depending on what kind of yogurt is used, diluted or strained. Tzatziki made with diluted yogurt is naturally quite watery. The classic Greek tzatziki is made with Greek yogurt, which has a thicker consistency.
This sauce has a mellow taste. It is very fresh and smooth and that is why tzatziki is often paired with spicy food to balance things out.
Tzatziki may be served as a side dish, appetizer or meze. There are so many things you can do with this simple yet effective condiment. It can be used as a salad dressing for a quick lunch.
You can make Italian-style light and flavorful bruschetta by mixing tzatziki with a few fresh ingredients such as feta cheese or tomatoes.
If you are a street food lover, you may have noticed a fresh sauce in your gyros wrap. Well, chances are high that it was tzatziki!
The tzatziki sauce is also served with kebabs and Greek chicken souvlaki.
How to Make Tzatziki
Making tzatziki is an easy task. You just need to chop some things and mix everything up with some yogurt and the most refreshing sauce is ready to complete your table.
Tzatziki is made with plain Greek yogurt that you can find in any supermarket. If there is a Greek market near where you live, it will be a good idea to purchase real Greek yogurt. It always tastes richer than locally made Greek yogurt does.
Any plain Greek yogurt will work but pay attention to the keyword Greek. Greek yogurt, as opposed to any regular yogurt, is strained. The latter means that excess water is removed from the yogurt. Thus, Greek yogurt is much thicker than regular plain yogurts.
To make classic Greek tzatziki sauce you will need:
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 grated or finely sliced cucumber (do not remove the seeds or peel)
- 3 tablespoons of fresh finely chopped dill (mint, parsley, thyme)
- 3 finely chopped or grated garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- Salt, black pepper
To make a tzatziki sauce, prepare these ingredients and stir them all together. Serve with a little olive oil drizzled on top.
For a great recipe tutorial on YouTube, watch this video by Food Wishes.
Can You Freeze Tzatziki?
The fridge life of tzatziki sauce is around 4 days. If you think you cannot finish it within a few days, then freezing the sauce is a good idea.
Freezing tzatziki sauce is free of any health risks. However, do not expect it to have the same consistency as freshly-made tzatziki.
You can keep the tzatziki sauce in the freezer for around 3 months. Keep in mind that the longer you freeze it the more the texture will be affected.
What Happens When You Freeze Tzatziki?
As there is the water content in the sauce due to yogurt, cucumbers, and lemon, when thawed, tzatziki may get grainy and become separated.
The lemon juicy in the tzatziki sauce causes it to curdle. The cucumbers change their texture too. However, the acidity of the yogurt helps them retain the initial crunch.
As for the Greek yogurt itself, it exudes water while sitting in the fridge or freezer. Thus, the texture and taste undergo slight changes. Yogurt develops a looser consistency and becomes less smooth. The taste becomes more acidic.
There is a lot of good bacteria in yogurt. However, as you freeze it, some of it gets destroyed. After all, frozen Greek yogurt and tzatziki made of it is still healthy to consume.
How to Freeze and Defrost Tzatziki
If you want to succeed in freezing the tzatziki sauce, you should pay attention to how you store it in the freezer and how you defrost it later on.
How to Freeze the Tzatziki Sauce
To store the tzatziki sauce in the freezer you need to put it in a container with a well-fitting tight lid. Wrap the container with a few layers of plastic wrap.
To eliminate as much air as possible, put the wrapped container into a freezer bag and squeeze all of the air out. Seal the bag well so that no air can penetrate.
Double-wrapping the container is the best way to keep tzatziki tasting fresh once it is defrosted.
Don’t forget to put a date on the bag so that you won’t be eating an expired sauce a few months later.
How to Defrost Tzatziki
Taking tzatziki out of the fridge and leaving it on the countertop to thaw is not a good decision. The change in texture is inevitable when it comes to freezing yogurt. However, there are some steps you can take for the best results.
Put the tzatziki sauce in the fridge for the ‘initial’ stage of defrosting. And only when it has thawed a bit, take it out to completely defrost the sauce.
Once the condiment has thawed, you will see that it has exuded some water. Instead of trying to mix it in with the sauce again, just pour it out. Eliminating as much water as possible will help to reach a better consistency and make tzatziki less watery.
You can serve the defrosted tzatziki sauce as a dip for vegetables, chips or crackers. It can also be used as a dressing for pasta or potato salads.
Tzatziki also goes perfectly with fried vegetables, such as zucchini and eggplant.
Tips for Freezing Tzatziki Sauce
If you are making tzatziki with the intention of putting it in the cold storage later on, here are some tips to make your sauce better suited for being frozen.
The whole idea behind these tips is to make the condiment less watery. We all know by now that after thawing every food becomes watery. So, it is important to try and eliminate as much water as possible while making the sauce.
Greek yogurt is less watery than regular yogurt. However, what is even thicker, is full-fat Greek yogurt.
Not only will using full-fat yogurt make the defrosted tzatziki sauce less watery but also make thee sauce more delicious and creamy.
If you don’t have full-fat Greek yogurt at hand, you can strain the plain Greek yogurt to make it thicker and more flavorful.
Try to find Persian cucumbers for your tzatziki sauce. They are crispy and contain less water.
If you can’t find them, there is a way to ‘extract’ as much water as possible from the cucumbers. You can, of course, remove the seeds, but you will lose the texture the cucumber provides and also waste your product.
Instead of removing all the good parts of the cucumber, slice it and sprinkle salt on the cut pieces. Salt will extract the water from the cucumbers and you will have less liquid in your tzatziki sauce.
Another tip for making the cucumbers less watery is grating them half an hour before making the sauce. Put the grated cucumber in a strainer and season with some salt. This is another great way of making the vegetables leach out excess water.
Once it has set in the strainer for 20 to 30 minutes, give the grated cucumber a good squeeze to make sure you have eliminated as much water as possible.
This is a great way to prepare cucumbers for the tzatziki sauce if you are planning on making a lot to last for a week or freeze it for future use.
Once frozen and thawed, tzatziki sauce can get grainy. To prevent the heavy separation of the sauce you can add some heavy cream to it and stir well before putting tzatziki in the freezer.
Of course, the taste of the sauce may change. However, if you are not using high-fat Greek yogurt, adding fat content through heavy cream may help better preserve the texture of the sauce.
Like almost any other food you freeze, tzatziki also changes its texture. Some people enjoy it as much as fresh tzatziki, while others do not find it as delicious.
The biggest tip is freezing a small amount of tzatziki sauce, then defrosting it and seeing how you like the taste and texture.