Slow Cooker Recipe: Greek Gyros

June 9, 2014

Slow Cooker Recipe: Greek Gyros   |   Design Mom  #crockpot

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Lindsey of Café Johnsonia.

Greek food! Our family loves Greek food. None of our kids have ever actually visited Greece, but somehow they still feel connected, knowing that Ben Blair and I have spent time there. Or maybe it has nothing to do with that, and they just love the food! Which would make sense, because it’s so dang good. When I’m thinking of Greek food, I imagine lemon and oregano, strong feta cheese, light, summery, cucumbers and tomatoes and yogurt. Then I imagine all those foods combined. It’s magic, I tell you.

I think it’s safe to say that gyros are the most famous of Greek meals — a classic sandwich, with meat cut from a spit, wrapped in a pita, and topped with tzatziki (yogurt sauce). Happily, gyros are easy to make at home. True, they will not be as authentic as the kind you’d get from a sandwich cart in Athens, but they sure hit the spot when I have a craving!

Slow Cooker Recipe: Greek Gyros   |   Design Mom  #crockpot

It’s nice to be able to toss everything into a pot, forget it, and let it cook slowly for a few hours until it’s time to eat. While the chicken is delicious on its own inside a soft pita bread, adding tzatziki makes it that much better. We like to serve our gyros with a simple Greek salad on the side. We use mixed baby greens and add some sliced cucumber, tomatoes, kalamata olives, crumbled feta, and a basic balsamic vinaigrette. For an additional side, roasted potato wedges cooked with lemon and oregano, or even potato chips, are great. If you’re serving a large group, you could also add a chickpea salad, fresh veggies and fruit.

And that’s it. A super easy summer meal that you can take with you to a park or eat it out on the patio.

Ready to get cooking?

Slow Cooker Recipe: Greek Gyros   |   Design Mom  #crockpot

Slow Cooker Chicken Gyros with Tzatziki

2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1-inch pieces
Juice of 2 large lemons
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1-2 teaspoons dried oregano
1-2 teaspoons dried dill
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 pitas
Lettuce, tomato, and lemon wedges, for serving

1. Combine the onions, chicken, lemon juice, olive oil, herbs, salt, and pepper in a slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours, or LOW for 4-6.
2. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed, before serving. It may need a little more salt and pepper.
3. Serve with tzatziki on pitas with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Add lettuce and tomatoes, if desired, or serve with a Greek salad on the side.

Makes 6-8 servings

Note: chicken breasts or thighs will work here. The thighs will be more tender after a longer cooking time. Chicken breasts will dry out more quickly, so a shorter time is better.


Tzatziki — see the Olive Us how-to video here.

1 large English cucumber
8 ounces Greek yogurt
8 ounces sour cream
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced

1. Peel and grate cucumber. Squeeze the cucumber with your hands to release the liquid. Discard the liquid. Don’t skip this step or the tzatziki will be watery.
2. Combine yogurt, sour cream, olive oil, and garlic in a bowl. Stir in the cucumber and serve.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kellee | FreeTime, Ltd. June 9, 2014 at 1:29 pm

This recipe is the most perfect timing – I will be making these tonight! I had a very long and horrid travel day yesterday with my 3-year-old (delayed flight resulting in missing our connecting flight and getting stuck in Salt Lake City for an extra few hours while we worked on getting booked on a different flight… all with an exhausted preschooler in tow). During our extra, extra long layover I was trying to get dinner taken care of at the airport and the ONLY thing my son wanted was gyros. I had to bribe him to settle for McDonald’s (the only time in my life I’ve actually *wanted* my kid to want McDonald’s) by promising to get him some Greek food when we made it back to Seattle. So, here we are, and you’ve so conveniently provided the recipe. Serendipity!


2 Design Mom June 9, 2014 at 8:06 pm

Oh goody! Makes me so happy to help you out in even a small way. Happy gyros!


3 Grace @ Sense and Simplicity June 9, 2014 at 1:51 pm

I made the pulled pork last week (thanks -very yummy) so I guess this week is Greek. Thanks for the inspiration.


4 Design Mom June 9, 2014 at 8:07 pm

I hope you like both recipes!


5 Sally from Little Hiccups June 9, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Yum! I’ll definitely be making this.

Greek food is really popular in Australia (much more so than it is here in the Bay Area) because there is a large Greek population. In fact, I think that Melbourne has the second largest population of Greek people in one city! Athens is number one of course.

The name varies a lot in Australia. In South Australia where I’m from it’s called a yiros. In Sydney where there are more Lebanese people it’s a doner kebab. No matter what it’s called though a gyro/yiros/doner kebab is always the best late night food on the way home from the pub!

Oh, and on the topic of the name… for years my husband and I were perplexed by a particular Seinfeld episode where they all want a gyro from a particular subway station. We couldn’t work out what a gyro was and figured it must’ve been some New York specific snack. It was only when we moved to the US and went into our local Greek take out place that we discovered what it was!

I wonder what the “real” name is in Greece…


6 Sally from Little Hiccups June 9, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Oh, and tabouleh is a must on a yiros too :)


7 Design Mom June 9, 2014 at 8:09 pm

I always think, “Oh yeah!” when someone reminds me of the Greece-Australia connection. When we lived in Greece, it seemed like everybody had a sibling or cousin or uncle who lived in Sydney. Hah!


8 Kat June 9, 2014 at 2:35 pm

This looks DELICIOUS! Question – where to you buy good pitas? I have yet to find one that is good. Or do you have a recipe to share for those? ;) Thanks a lot!


9 Design Mom June 9, 2014 at 8:10 pm

So far, we have not found anything fabulous on the pita front. In fact, sometimes we opt for a good baguette instead because we don’t have a good pita source. : )


10 Emily June 9, 2014 at 3:07 pm

My parents are from Greece and the tastiest street vendors put the potatoes (or french fries) in the pita and wrap it up along with tomatoes, lettuce, tzatiki, feta and red onions. We had an engagement party for my brother and served 45 people with an assembly line and one person wrapping them. It made for a fun summer gathering.


11 Design Mom June 9, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Greek street food is easily my favorite street food in Europe. Yum!


12 Christy@SweetandSavoring June 9, 2014 at 5:22 pm

I love Greek food, too! We have a great place near us in Kingston NY that serves Greek style fries- tossed in oregano, lemon juice, and feta cheese. I think I’m craving them all of a sudden!


13 Design Mom June 9, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Oh man. I’ve never heard of Greek-style fries, but I can already taste them. Genius!


14 Kelleyn June 9, 2014 at 7:44 pm

Yum! Panera bread has a great Greek Sandwich right now and this slow cooker meal is speaking to me! Thanks for sharing!


15 Design Mom June 9, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Good old Panera. My kids like their soups!


16 Nina June 9, 2014 at 10:58 pm

This is a fantastic idea! I love gyros and I think my boys will too. I just bought a slow cooker last week and I’ve already used it 4 times. I love it!! I’m so excited to try more recipes. I’ll try this one this week! Thank you!


17 Chara June 9, 2014 at 11:37 pm

Hello everyone,
Being Greek I’m glad to hear that people love gyros all over the world.
I think the right spelling is gyros and not giros because it comes from the greek word “γύρος” that means something that goes round and round.
And that’s how this meat (wich is not chicken) is baked.
I’d like also to say that we don’t add lettuce and feta in the pita, just the meat, fried potatoes, tzatziki, tomatoes, onions, origan, salt and pepper.
The pita is also marinated in a sauce (sorry but I don’t know what it is exactly) for a few seconds and toasted for a while.
Mmm yummie! I’m gonna have one tonight!. Jealous? Come to Greece and I’m gonna offer you one or two or ……


18 Karen June 9, 2014 at 11:53 pm

Gaby- you must go to Simply Greek on Piedmont! I miss that place, it is delicious!


19 Jenny June 10, 2014 at 9:59 am

This looks amazing. We love Greek food but always forget I could easily make it at home. I’m adding this to next weeks’s menu.


20 Kay Wilson June 10, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Wow, I must be hungry, every dish I looked out looked wonderful, great photos and can hardly wait to make my own Greek food! Thaks so much for sharing.


21 Jessica from EverydayShine June 12, 2014 at 11:20 am

Thanks for this! I made it yesterday for my sister-in-law who was visiting from out of town. She is a huge Greek food lover and also a picky eater so I was pretty happy to find this recipe on here – perfect timing :) Its also just the perfect thing to put together for a yummy and satisfying meal that requires little preparation and almost no cooking at dinnertime itself – a total find considering the house had 4 kids running around it yesterday ;)


22 Beth June 12, 2014 at 2:11 pm

I’m a huge fan of anything that doesn’t require real time to make and these look DELISH!


23 Wendy June 13, 2014 at 6:55 am

I made these last night for my family & they LOVED them! I work late on Thursdays so I had them in the slow cooker for my husband to serve when he got home from work & he was texting me that all 3 of our girls were devouring them (ages 14, 5 & 2) so much so that he apologized that there would be none left for me! I’ll take it! Thank you!


24 Heather August 14, 2014 at 9:16 am

I have yet to find a chicken recipe that does well in the slow cooker – until now! This was a hit. I am so happy to find a simple, delicious chicken gyro style recipe for the slow cooker. The tzatziki recipe was a hit with me & my 4 year old, too! Thank you! xo


25 Amalia October 12, 2014 at 11:32 am

Hi my lovely people! Traditional gyros is not with chicken but with pork and a classic combo is: pita, meat, tomatoes,onions, tzatziki. Some prefer only tomatoes and onion, some only tomatoes tzatziki (like me!), some only tomatoes. Fried potatoes and lettuce are new additions. The whole “philosophy” is to combine carbs (pita), proteins( meat) with the freshness of the tomatoes and the yogurt of tzatziki. Each bite is perfectly balanced in the mouth! We do not add sour cream in the tzatziki .Your recipe is right except the sour cream, my mother used to use the coarse onion side of the grater for the cucumber and she added a dash of vinegar. The key is to to squeeze vigorously the cucumber! Big hugs from Greece! Sorry for my English!


26 Meghan Beutler May 4, 2015 at 11:57 pm

I’ve made these a couple times now and my whole family loves them! I love that the recipe is super easy but feels like I put some effort into it. Thank you!


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