What kind of mint for tzatziki | should you substitute mint with dill

What kind of mint for tzatziki
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Tzatziki, a staple in Middle Eastern and Southeast European cuisine, is a type of dip, soup, or sauce. It often goes by another name: tarator or cacık.

Making Tzatziki is rather easy as the ingredients include salted strained yogurt that is mixed with olive oil, garlic, salt, cucumber, and herbs including parsley, dill, mint, and thyme.

Some even add vinegar or lemon juice. It is a creamy sauce that is delicious, light, and refreshing. The question is, what kind of mint do you use?

There are different types of mint. But, the ideal type of mint to use in Tzatziki sauce is either dried mint or fresh mint leaves. The fresh/dried mint infuses the Tzatziki sauce with a very specific flavor profile that enhances the overall taste of the sauce, depending on whether you prefer fresh or dry mint.

Is mint included in the original Tzatziki

Tzatziki (pronounced zat-zee-key) is a Greek dipping sauce that is traditionally made with fresh yogurt and cucumber. It is common in Middle Eastern Cuisine. This sauce is extremely versatile and very adaptable to whichever herbs you may have on hand to add to the sauce. For example, you could add oregano, parsley, dill, or even mint to the sauce.

This sauce is native to countries such as Turkey, Iraq, Cyprus, and Greece.

Traditionally, Tzatziki is served cold with a variety of other dishes or one main dish. It can either be served as a dipping sauce or it can be an appetizer. In traditional Tzatziki sauce, goat or sheep milk yogurt is used, but essentially, any type of non-flavored yogurt can be used to make this sauce.

While the standard recipe does call for yogurt, cucumber, garlic, salt, and some herbs, it does not always come accompanied by mint. However, mint can be used and even substituted for other herbs in the sauce.

Best mint for Tzatziki

Traditionally, this creamy Mediterranean sauce is made with either dill or mint. And, this has caused a great divergence of opinion as some tend to lean towards dill while others prefer the fresh, light, and aromatic taste of mint. But, there seems to be a new trend that involves adding fresh mint to the sauce to evaluate the taste of it.

You could, of course, add both herbs as the sauce will acclimate to both flavors quite well. The dill is added for astringency, while the mint is added to diversify the flavor profile of the sauce.

So the big question is: which type of mint works best in Tzatziki sauce?

That will depend on who you ask. Some prefer the taste of fresh mint as it resembles store-bought Tzatziki, while others lean more toward dried mint as it creates more depth in flavor.

Can I use any other mint type for Tzatziki

There is one type of mint that you may be able to substitute for fresh or dried mint that has a very similar flavor profile and that is basil mint.

Another fact to remain cognizant of is that while westerners also love Tzatziki sauce, they tend to use dried or fresh mint when making it. In Greece, however, the more popular mint choice when cooking is spearmint.

You could substitute the dried or fresh mint for spearmint. But, this will have a dramatic effect on the overall taste of the sauce. That is because spearmint has a much stronger flavor profile than fresh or dried mint. The sauce may have a “cooler” taste to it as opposed to that of fresh herbs.

Can you use dried mint in Tzatziki

Yes, you can absolutely use dried mint in Tzatziki. In fact, some chefs prefer to use dried mint in this sauce as opposed to using fresh or other types of mint.

Is mint necessary in Tzatziki? Could I substitute it?

There are a plethora of different recipes for how to make Tzatziki sauce. Most cooks ask themselfs should I put mint or dill in tzatziki?

Traditional Tzatiki sauce is not made with mint. However, adding mint adds another depth of flavor to the dish. And, mint can in fact be used as a substitute for other herbs such as oregano or dill.

Therefore, it is possible to make Tzatziki without mint.

How to make the perfect tzatziki

tzatziki recipe

For this recipe, we have decided to add mint and some other flavorful herbs to the dish to make the perfect Tzatziki sauce that is reminiscent of the Mediterranean.


  • 500g of strained Greek yogurt (18 oz)
  • 1 x Cucumber
  • 1/4 of a cup extra virgin olive oil
  • a pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 x Cloves of garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 to 3 tbsp chopped fresh mint


  • This Cypriot Talatouri can be prepared by removing the seeds and skin from the cucumber. After the seeds and skin have been removed, the cucumber should be grated into a large mixing bowl. Then, add the pinch of salt and pinch of pepper and set aside for ten to fifteen minutes.
  • The next step is to remove the excess water from the grated cucumber. Place the grated cucumber in a towel, wrap the towel around the cucumber, and squeeze tightly, until all the excess water is removed.
  • Now, you can assemble the sauce for the Talarouri. Place the strained cucumber in a bowl, add the minced garlic, yogurt, olive oil, the juice of one lemon, another pinch of salt, and the mint, and blend the ingredients until they are completely combined.
  • Alternatively, you could blend the garlic and olive oil in a blender until the ingredients are combined before spooning in the other ingredients. This method allows the ingredients to better combine and the garlic won’t taste as chunky.
  • Place the bowl in the refrigerator to cool down. It is best to serve this sauce cool or cold.
  • You can prepare this delicious traditional Talatouri sauce for your family and friends. Serve the sauce with warm pita bread, or add it as a condiment to gyros. However you choose to serve it, your family and friends will surely be impressed by your culinary skills.



I am a kind of person that would sneak a taste out of grandma’s pot when I was barely tall enough to reach it. I grew up in kitchens full of love and liveliness and have spent my whole live learning, experimenting and succeeding in the art of cooking. At Pro Family Chef, every day is an opportunity for a new meal and a brand new flavor. I created this website to connect people that love to cook, with the products designed to make their cooking easier, hassle-free and rewarding every time.

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