CHICKEN GYROS is surprisingly easy to make at home! Made with yogurt-marinated chicken tenders that boast huge flavors, all wrapped up in pita bread along with a creamy tangy garlicky Tzatziki Sauce and all the fixings you love. Every bit of this classic dish is messy good!
As you probably know by now, my family is a huge fan of chicken. Just ask my son and he’ll tell you the truth. Exploring other chicken recipes around the world is like getting to travel without leaving home while eating like a local.
So for today’s chicken recipe, we’re taking you to the beautiful and romantic Greece. Every bit of this messy and loaded pita gyro screams nothing but sunny and vibrant days. Tender pieces of yogurt-marinated chicken on soft pita bread with creamy thick sauce, and fresh crisp veggies – OH-LA-LA, what more could you ask for? And you don’t even have to fire up the grill!
What is a Gyro?
A gyro or gyros (pronounced as ji-ros) which in Greek means “circle or turn” is made with a meat dish, oftentimes using pork or chicken, beef, and lamb in other countries, cooked on a vertical rotisserie style.
The meat is then sliced and served wrapped or stuffed in pita (a kind of flatbread) along with a Greek Tzatziki sauce and easy fixings like tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers.
Gyro sandwich or wrap makes a light meal for lunch or dinner. No fancy equipment needed!
Chicken Gyro Marinade
You may agree with me or not, but the actual star in this dish is the Greek chicken marinade. This paste-like marinade transforms the chicken tenders from NAH to WOAH! It has a nice dose of fresh minced garlic, lemon juice and zest, fresh herbs (such as rosemary, and thyme), and of course, Greek yogurt. Combine all of that and you’ll have one explosive marinade.
Why add yogurt, you ask? Well, the acid found in yogurt breaks down the fibers in our chicken. So not only does it soften up the meat, but it allows the flavors to really infuse it. And it’s quite thick compared to other marinades which kinda sticks to the meat even while you cook it.
I highly recommend that you marinate the chicken preferably overnight, but if you’re pressed with time, simply marinate it for at least 30 minutes and you’d be fine.
What Goes on a Gyro?
This dish is actually perfect for entertaining as you can leave everything on the table and let everyone assemble and roll up their own gyros. No way you’d roll up gyros for everyone, would you?
So here’s what goes into our homemade chicken gyros.
- Chicken Tenders – You may use boneless skinless chicken thighs, but that would also mean that it needs more cooking time.
- Pita – A yeast-leavened flatbread that is common in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean homes. You can actually use this flatbread recipe or even tortillas if that’s what you have.
- Tzatziki Sauce – A creamy thick sauce that’s tangy, lemony and garlicky with cucumber and dill or parsley. (Homemade Recipe HERE.)
- Fixings – You can go as simple as chopped lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers. Or add other stuff like feta cheese, bell peppers, chilies, and olives.
What to Serve with Chicken Gyros?
This Chicken Gyro recipe is already a complete meal on its own. But if you want to boost your dose of fresh wholesome produce, you may serve it along with this Cucumber Tomato Salad or this Greek Salad. Any grilled veggies are actually fine, too.
For sides that are loaded with carb, you can whip up some French fries or this Fingerling Potatoes HERE.
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How to Make Chicken Gyro
In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, thyme, oregano, rosemary, parsley, and nutmeg. Lightly salt the chicken, then place in a bowl and coat with the marinade. Add yogurt and continue to marinate. Wrap with plastic or place in an airtight container and marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Chicken is good for up to 48 hours.
Preheat a grill pan on medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade. Grill chicken for about 5 minutes or more on each side or until fully cooked through, if using chicken thighs, it must be cooked a little longer. Slice the cooked Greek chicken. Then get a plate (or a parchment paper or aluminum foil) and place the pita bread or flatbread (preferably warmed). Spread it with Tzatziki sauce, followed by chopped lettuce, and cucumber. Place the sliced chicken and top it off with tomatoes, onion, and feta cheese. Wrap the pita up and serve!
- 1-pound chicken tenders
Greek Chicken Marinade
- 2 tablespoons (28ml) olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon (6g) lemon zest
- ½ tablespoon (1.37g) fresh thyme , chopped
- 1 tablespoon (3g) oregano , chopped
- 1 tablespoon (3.35g) rosemary , chopped
- 1 tablespoon (4g) parsley , chopped
- pinch of nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup (122.5g) Greek yogurt
- In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, thyme, oregano, rosemary, parsley, and nutmeg.
- Lightly salt the chicken, then place in a bowl and coat with the marinade. Add yogurt and continue to marinate.
- Wrap with plastic or place in an airtight container and marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Chicken is good for up to 48 hours.
- Preheat a grill pan on medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade. Grill chicken for about 5 minutes or more on each side or until fully cooked through, if using chicken thighs, it must be cooked a little longer.
- Slice the cooked Greek chicken.
- Wrap the pita up and serve!
Tips & Notes:
- To bake chicken tenders, heat the oven to 375 F. Shake any excess marinade and arrange the chicken on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the chicken for about 20 minutes or until cooked through.
- For any leftover chicken, transfer it in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Pre-assembled gyros won't keep well in the fridge as the pita or flatbread gets soggy. Simply reheat the chicken when ready to assemble.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.