How to Make Gyros at Home

This step-by-step guide explains how to make gyros at home. No rotisserie needed!

You’ve probably seen the huge rotisseries of spinning meat at Greek restaurants or food carts. In fact, you probably smelled them long before you saw them! Each gyro cone spinning around a slow flame sends out a savory aroma that is sure to guide you right to the source.

But what if there’s not a spit-roasted gyro restaurant nearby? It seems pretty daunting to learn how to make gyros from scratch, and most of us don’t happen to have a spit in the backyard. But it’s doable with our step-by-step guide to how to make gyros at home.

The best part? It will fill your house with the same delicious aroma, which will have the whole family come running for dinner.

How Are Gyros Made?

Gyros are traditionally made from lamb, a combo of lamb and beef, or chicken. The meat is layered around the base of a skewer to form a tall, wide cone of tightly packed layers. It’s then slow-roasted while spinning around a low flame.

The gyro meat can be eaten as part of a gyro salad, but it’s most popular sliced directly from the spit and served in a sandwich that’s so big it’s hard to hold in one hand!

But to make a gyro at home, it’s more like making a meatloaf. You process the ground lamb and beef in a food processor to create a sort of paste, which will then be baked, weighed down, sliced and seared. By searing it, you’ll achieve a crispy outer layer like a rotisserie gyro.

How to Make Gyros, Step by Step

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 pound ground beef, 15% fat or more
  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

To serve:

  • Tzatziki sauce
  • Lettuce
  • Sliced onion
  • Sliced tomato
  • Pita bread

Directions

Step 1: Process ingredients

how to make gyros Process ingredientsJamie Thrower for Taste of Home

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Pulse the onion in a food processor for 10 to 15 seconds until finely chopped, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl once. (Here are the Taste of Home Test Kitchen’s picks for the best food processors.) Put the onions in a kitchen towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Add onions back to the food processor along with the meat, garlic, spices and salt.

Pulse a few times until the mixture starts to come together, then allow to run for 1 minute so the meat is very sticky.

Step 2: Form and bake

how to make gyros Form and bakeJamie Thrower for Taste of Home

Press the meat mixture into a loaf pan, using a rubber spatula to smooth it out and make sure it’s evenly pressed down as much as possible.

Then, prepare a water bath by filling a baking dish with 1 inch of water. Make sure the baking dish is bigger than the loaf pan, and that the sides are tall enough so the water won’t overflow.

Place the loaf pan in the water bath, put in the oven and cook for around 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the gyro meat reaches 165°. It helps to have an instant-read meat thermometer for this.

Remove from the oven and place the loaf pan on a cooling rack. Weigh down the meat evenly—you can use another loaf pan with something heavy in it or a brick wrapped in aluminum foil. Let the weight sit for 20 to 30 minutes.

Step 3: Slice and sear

Remove the weight and pour off any fat. Be sure to dispose of grease the right way.

how to make gyros Slice and searJamie Thrower for Taste of Home

The next step is to slice and sear the meat. It’s much easier to slice thinly when it’s been in the fridge overnight, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. However, the fridge time can be skipped!

how to make gyros Slice and searJamie Thrower for Taste of Home

When you’re ready to prepare the gyros, use a long, sharp knife to thinly slice the meat. In a saute pan over medium-high heat, add a splash of olive oil. Sear the slices of meat on both sides until they’re golden.

Step 4: Build the gyros

how to make gyros Build the gyrosJamie Thrower for Taste of Home

Toast your pita bread in the oven or on a stovetop griddle. Build each gyro in a warm pita with tzatziki, seared meat, sliced onion and tomatoes and fresh lettuce.

What Goes Well with Gyros?

A gyro isn’t a gyro without a big spoonful of tzatziki sauce!

Tzatziki is a yogurt sauce that goes so well with gyros because it cuts any heaviness of the meat with cooling, sour yogurt. You can find it at the grocery store, but it’s a quick process to make your own. For my tzatziki sauce, I usually eyeball amounts, and you can personalize it to your taste.

Tzatziki Sauce Recipe

In a small bowl, combine about a cup of yogurt with a half cup small diced cucumbers (seeds removed), two grated cloves of garlic, a pinch of fresh chopped dill and mint, lemon zest and juice, some olive oil, salt and pepper. Let sit for a few minutes so the flavors can combine.

Gyros also pair well with most Mediterranean foods. Round out your meal with a Greek salad, some roasted potatoes with feta cheese, and of course, baklava for dessert! You could also top this Greek pita spread with several slices of seared gyro meat and it would make a delicious meal.

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Risa Lichtman
Risa Lichtman is a chef and writer living in Portland, Oregon. She is the owner/chef of Lepage Food & Drinks, a small food company featuring Jewish seasonal foods, providing takeaway all around Portland. She has previously published poems in Poetica Magazine, the anthology The Art of Bicycling, Maggid: A Journal of Jewish Literature, and The Dos Passos Review. She lives with her wife Jamie, their dog Isaac, and their cat Sylvia. Follow her at @risaexpizza, or find her delicious food offerings on @lepagefoodanddrinks.