These Greek Chicken Gyros are about to be your new favorite summer dish! Marinate the chicken overnight for a fabulous, flavorful dinner that comes together in less than 30 minutes!
When the weather starts warming up in Texas I am all about cooling, satisfying meals that can be made on the grill. This recipe is a personal favorite!
What is a Greek gyro?
Well let's start with how to say it! Gyro is actually pronounced "yee-roh", the the 'g' staying silent.
Traditional Greek gyros are made with meat that has roasted on a spit, typically lamb, chicken or beef. They are served wrapped in a pita topped with a delightful assortment of veggies and tzatziki.
Gyro, but make it grilled!
I don't know about you put I personally do not have a spit roaster at my house.
So while grilling the meat may be a little less traditional, I assure you it is jam packed it flavor!
- Mixing bowl and Whisk (or fork)
- Plastic freezer bag (or other container to marinate the chicken)
- Grill: We love our Charbroil grill and use all the time. It's super easy to work with and is great during the summer when I prefer not to turn on the oven.
- Tongs: I love these Oxo tongs. Honestly I love most things Oxo, I think they make great products.
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Cutting board and sharp knife
- Foil lined pan
- Skillet (optional): For warming the gyro bread.
- Foil or parchment paper (optional, for wrapping the gyro)
For the Greek grilled chicken:
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs: I highly, highly recommend using chicken thighs for this recipe rather than chicken breast (although you can do it). Chicken thighs have a higher fat content thus more flavor and come out much more juicy and, in my opinion, delicious.
- Olive Oil
- Greek Yogurt: As with all dairy products I recommend using full fat. Full fat dairy products tend to be much cleaner and also they just have more flavor.
- Greek Seasoning: I like using Yep!Shake Greek Seasoning for this recipe but there are several other fantastic brands of Greek Seasoning you can use. If you can't find premade Greek seasoning then see my note below on substitutions.
- Salt & Pepper
- Red Wine Vinegar: You can sub white wine vinegar if needed.
- Lemon zest and juice
For gyro assembly:
- Gyro bread: My local Sprouts actually carries a product called 'Gyro bread' and that is what I have been using for my gyros for years. It's almost like a cross between naan and pita bread, which I love. However, in the past I have used both naan (thicker and fluffier) and pita (thinner but easier to wrap) and both have worked great. Pick your favorite!
- Tzatziki: For me the Tzatziki is essential to this dish. It gives great flavor and creaminess. Check out my Tzatziki recipe if you want to make your own or use your favorite store bought brand.
- Arugula or Baby Spinach (optional)
- Fresh veggies and olives OR Greek Cucumber Salad: A combination of sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions and olive work great on a this dish. However, if you really want to take it up a notch I highly recommend making my Greek Cucumber Salad. It's so simple and adds a ton of fresh flavor and textures!
- Crumbled Feta Cheese (optional)
Step by Step Instructions
1. Make the marinade and Tzatziki the night before.
This chicken just gets better and better the longer it marinades. So while it is still delicious if you only have a couple hours beforehand, it's even more flavorful if you can put it to marinate the night before. Plus, the chicken only needs to grill for 10 minutes making this a very quick meal to throw together.
Likewise, if you are going to make homemade Tzatziki doing it the night before saves so much time when you are trying to dinner on the table.
2. Pull the chicken out of the fridge about 10-15 minutes before grilling and preheat your grill until it is nice and hot.
If possible try to let your chicken rest at room temperature for a little bit before grilling, rather than straight out of the cold fridge. This helps achieve a more even cook.
And I can't state enough the important of preheating that grill! There's a lot of flavor in the char you get when grilling on a preheated grill that you won't want to miss out on1
3. Make the cucumber salad while the grill preheats (optional)
This recipe is great with just freshly sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and olives but if you really want to take things up a notch I can't tell you much I love this Greek Cucumber Salad.
4. Grill the chicken thighs.
They key to great grilled chicken thighs is not to overthink it!
Place them on pre heated grill and cook for 4-5 minutes undisturbed with the lid closed. Then flip them and repeat. When they have reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees you'll know they are done.
Move to a foil lined pan and loosely cover with foil. Allow them to rest for a minimum of 5 minutes before serving.
5. Toast the gyro bread (optional).
While the chicken rests I highly recommend using those 5-7 minutes to heat your gyro bread. It may seem like a hassle but it takes no time and makes a world of difference!
See notes on toasting the Gyro bread below.
6. Add toppings, wrap and serve!
How to make your own Greek seasoning.
If you can't find Greek seasoning simply substitute with:
- dried oregano - 1 tsp
- garlic powder - ½ tsp
- onion powder - ½ tsp
- dried drill - ½ tsp
- pinch of salt & pepper
How to toast the wrap bread
My preferred way of toasting the gyro bread is to preheat a cast iron skillet or other pan on the stove. During the summer I like to avoid turning the oven on whenever possible!
Preheat the pan on medium high heat then rub both sides of the gyro bread with a little olive oil. Cook on the first side for about a minutes then flip and repeat for 30 seconds to a minute on the other side until soft and pliable.
Wrap in foil to keep warm until serving.
Oven - for Gyro Bread or Naan Bread
If you don't mind turning the oven on this is a great method for toasting the gyro bread.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place gyro bread or naan bread on a baking sheet and sprinkle both sides with a little water. Heat in the oven for 2-3 minutes until soft and pliable.
NOTE. This method works best for gyro bread, naan bread, and thick pita or flat bread. Very thin pita will dry out using this method.
The short answer is yes, although I would ask you to reconsider. Chicken breasts have a lower fat content than chicken thighs but as we all know, fat equals flavors. It also equals moisture. So while you can definitely use chicken breasts, chicken thighs are not only going to pack more flavor but they are also harder to overcook and come out much more juicy and, in my opinion, delicious.
See my note below on how to make your own Greek seasoning for this recipe.
You want to cook your chicken thighs to an international temperature of 165 degrees with at least a 5 minute rest period.
The easiest way to tell if your meat has come to the correct temperature is to use a meat thermometer such as this Instant Read Meat Thermometer from Oxo.
Yep! Not only does this ensure a juicy bite but the chicken also continues to cook while it rests.
Check out more Grilling Recipes from The Jam Jar Kitchen!
Grilled Greek Chicken Gyros
- Grill with tongs or spatula
- Freezer bag or marinating container
- Mixing bowl and whisk (or fork)
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Pan or Skillet (optional)
For the Greek grilled chicken
- 1.5-2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt I recommend full fat
- 1 tbsp Greek seasoning
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
For gyro assembly
- 4 pieces Gyro bread, naan bread, pita bread or other flat bread
- Tzatziki homemade (see recipe link above) or store bought
- Arugula or baby spinach optional
- crumbled feta cheese optional
- Greek Cucumber Salad optional (see recipe link above)
- Sliced veggies, olives and herbs
- Place chicken thighs in a large freezer bag. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine olive oil, Greek yogurt, Greek Seasoning, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, and the zest and juice of 1lemon. Whisk until well combined. Pour the marinade over the chicken thighs and seal the freezer bag. Allow chicken to marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Make Tzatziki and store in the fridge. (optional, see link recipe above)
- Before grilling, take your marinated chicken thighs out of the fridge and allow them to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. Preheat your grill on medium high heat until very hot (5-10 minutes). Place chicken thighs on the grill and cook over medium high heat with the lid closed for 5-6 minutes. Flip chicken to the other side and continue to grill over medium high heat for an additional 5-6 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Remove chicken from the grill and place in a foil lined pan.Loosely cover with foil and allow chicken to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
- OPTIONAL. While the chicken is resting, toast your gyro bread. Heat a pan on the stove over medium high heat until hot. Rub a little olive oil on both sides of the gyro (or naan) bread and cook in the pan for about 1-2 minutes per side until soft and pliable. Wrap in foil to keep warm until you assemble your gyros. (see alternative methods above)
- Assemble the chicken gyros. Slice the grilled chicken thighs. Spread a little tzatziki on the gyro bread and then add chicken thigh slices. Add toppings of your choice and enjoy!