Easy Skillet Gyros

Easy Skillet Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

Easy skillet gyros

A gyro (Greek: γύρος, gyros, literally ‘turn’) is made of meat cooked on a large vertical rotisserie, typically the meat is pork, chicken, beef, veal, lamb or mutton, and usually served wrapped in a flatbread such as pita, with cucumber, tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce.

Middle Eastern shawarma, Mexican tacos al pastor, and Greek gyros are all derived from the Turkish döner kebab, which was invented in Bursa in the 19th century by a cook named Hadji Iskender.

Now, I love gyros (and tacos al pastor, and schwarma, too, come to think of it), but here’s the thing…

vertical gyros rotisserieI don’t know about you, but I don’t happen to have a “large vertical rotisserie” laying around my kitchen (yet), the need to cook meat for 100 people each time I want a sandwich, nor am I ready to shell out seven hundred bucks, just to feed my occasional turning meat jones.

So what’s a cash-poor chef with a big hunk of ground lamb to do? He improvises, baby!

Now, I have grilled many, many thousands of burgers, thick and thin, over the fire, or in the pan, and while I’m the first to admit it’s not exactly the same, but for ease of preparation, flexibility in servings, and simplicity of gear needed…these are pretty freakin’ good.

I skillet-cooked this batch, but I’m very optimistic at the prospect of repeating this recipe over live fire.


Chef Perry

Easy skillet gyros
Easy Skillet Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce  
Serves 4
The Meat:
1/2 med sweet onion, finely chopped
1 lb ground lamb
1 Tbs finely minced garlic
1 Tbs dried marjoram
1 Tbs fresh rosemary, chopped
1 Tbs fine sea salt
2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
Tzatziki Sauce (recipe follows)

The Tzatziki:
8 ounces plain yogurt
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoons red wine vinegar
6 mint leaves, finely minced

The Toppings:
8 thick slices of a large tomato
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
4 whole wheat flat breads, warmed
1 fresh lemon, quartered

Prep your toppings and chill, covered.

Easy skillet gyros
Finely chop your onion, then combine in a bowl with the lamb, garlic, marjoram, rosemary, salt, and pepper and mix by hand until evenly combined. process until it is a fine paste.

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Easy Skillet Gyros
Form into 4 even balls, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place meat in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

Bring a dry skillet to medium high heat. Press each meatball between two layers of butcher paper until 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.

Easy way to make gyros
Fry each lamb patty (I’ve found it’s easiest to leave the top layer of paper on until it’s in the pan, as the heat will make it easier to peel the meat off of it) quickly, 1-2 minutes per side. Again, this step can be done over the direct heat of a hot grill as well, and might taste even better!

Easy Skillet Gyros
Stack the patties as they finish cooking, and keep in a warm over (150F) until done.

Easy Skillet Gyros

Slice and serve on flat bread with tzatziki sauce, chopped onion, tomatoes, feta cheese, and a spritz of lemon juice.

Oh, and while not part of any traditional gyro recipe I could find, I like to sprinkle the tomatoes with a little more black pepper and a little celery salt, before wrappin’ it up.

Easy Skillet Gyros

Easy Tzatziki Sauce
Tzatziki Sauce:

Place the chopped cucumber in a towel and squeeze to remove excess liquid; discard liquid.

In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, cucumber, salt, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and mint. Serve on gyros.

Easy Tzatziki Sauce
Tzatziki will stay good in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to a week.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups