Authentic Greek Chicken Gyros Recipe is the closet to any Gyros take-outs you’ll ever make. Packed with authentic Gyros flavors, this recipe will reward you with soft juicy chicken strips (shaved just as a gyros joint) completely smothered in a bath of chicken gyro marinade before being baked in the oven. Stuff them into a sandwich, create your own Buddha bowl or eat it inside a Pita pocket with loads of Tzatziki, popularly known as gyros sauce. Whatever way you choose to eat it, this chicken gyro will win your heart every way because it’s much better than any take out & it’s home-made.
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Greek Chicken Gyro Recipe
Have you been to any Gyros joints?
If yes, you must have seen those tall mounds or mountain of meat (4-5 feet tall) dripping with fat/oil, slowly revolving on a pole. Yes, smelling heavenly & looking all brown being shaved off by the seller.
Who than dresses the shaved meat up into bowls, salads, sandwiches or pita pockets with loads of greek Tzatziki sauce.
This is a normal street side scene back in Greece & also some parts of Paris. Maybe somewhere else too but these are the few places where I went & lived much longer & ate the best Mediterranean food.
Todays authentic Greek chicken gyros recipe is super exciting because we’ll be making a small version of that huge gyro meat mountain at home.
We’ll give the chicken thigh fillets a good long bath in a terrific gyros marinade & make a small mound of meat. Than, bake it in the oven & later shave the meat just like any gyro joints 😀
Result? Smokey, flavorful, tender, juicy strips of chicken that look as brown as any gyros stall but taste much better 😉
Unfortunately our chicken mountain won’t revolve & it won’t be as tall as the joints & instead of a pole we’ll stick it into a bamboo skewer 😀 😛
Authentic Greek Chicken Gyros Recipe – FAQs
What is Chicken Gyro made of?
An authentic Greek chicken gyro is made of marinated thin slices of chicken that are mounted on a rotisserie to form a huge mound of meat & than slow cooked over time.
As the whole mound of meat gets cooked slowly, the outer cooked layer is shaved off in thin slices & used to stuff pita, sandwiches & wraps.
What are the Chicken Gyro Ingredients?
Authentic Greek Chicken gyros recipe is made with only 9 ingredients:
- Main: Chicken thighs. Chicken thighs are a must because the long cooking process keeps the meat juicy & tender.
- Spices: Paprika, red chili flakes, whole coriander seeds, dried rosemary, whole pepper corns.
- Oil: Extra Virgin olive oil.
- Acid: Lemon Juice.
How to prep the Chicken Gyro Meat?
For extraordinary flavors, soft & juicy meat you must always choose chicken thighs as your chicken gyro meat. In spite of the long baking process the thigh meat will remain soft & succulent.
The meat goes a little bit of processing before going up on the skewer and the rotisserie.
Here’s how you need to prep the meat before putting it up on the skewer for the home-made rotisserie:
- Tenderize the meat: This step is super important. You can do this easily by placing a chicken thigh inside a zip lock bag and than pounding it with a meat mallet or a rolling pin until 1 cm or 1/2 inch thick and flat. Repeat this step with all the chicken thighs.
- Marinate for 1 day: Yes, a 24 hours marination or at least an overnight marination will make the chicken gyros extremely flavorful. If you are pressed for time marinate the meat for at least 2 hours. We generally leave the meat in the marinade and forget about it for 2 days 😛 😀
Pro Tip: Pounding the meat with a meat mallet helps to tenderize the meat by damaging the connective tissues. It also helps to make the meat flatter & thinner which in turn results in even & faster cooking of the meat.
Secret about the Chicken Gyro Marinade
There’s only one secret for the Chicken Gyro marinade & that is you have to use whole spices (except paprika) and pound them in a mortar & pestle for the best authentic flavors.
Do not use yogurt in the marinade.
It’s the fantastic blend of spices, the extra virgin olive oil & the pounded garlic that will bring in so much depth of flavor & tenderness to the chicken gyro.
The meat will shine through this well balanced marinade, always.
What are the Chicken Gyro Spices?
There are only 5 spices that goes in to make the best Chicken Gyro seasoning or spice mix.
- Whole Coriander seeds: Adds texture & depth to the meat.
- Paprika: Adds smokiness & color.
- Whole pepper corns: That kick comes from the peppercorns.
- Dried Rosemary: Adds flavor & so much aroma.
- Dried red chili flakes: Adds mild heat & flavor.
How to cook gyro meat in the oven?
This is the most fascinating part of today’s authentic Greek chicken gyros recipe. It’s all the way more interesting & fun because we will be making the chicken gyros in the authentic Greek way.
Oh yes, and for that we’ll be creating our own vertical rotisserie at home just as the ones seen in the Gyros joints.
Unfortunately our home-made rotisseries won’t rotate, but I promise you with all the other awesomeness like – taste, texture, juiciness, even-cooking, authentic flavors & all the other Gyro joints deliciousness.
Are you excited? So am I 😀
Believe me folks that the mini mound of chicken meat growing taller and going all the way up the skewer is such a huge satisfaction for any home cook.
So, put on your chef’s hat & let’s get on to Gyro making…..
You’ll need the following:
- A large stump of Onion – It’s work as the base to support the weight of the mound of meat.
- A Bamboo skewer-It’ll work as our support pole.
- Marinated Chicken thighs
We will create our vertical support pole first by sticking the bamboo skewer vertically in the middle of the onion stump just like a spit.
Than, we will skewer the marinated chicken pieces one by one rotating them 90 degrees. After skewering all the chicken thigh pieces we’ll end up with an extraordinary vertical mound of meat ready to go in the oven.
We’ll simply bake it at 375 F or 190 C for 1 hour depending on the oven. When the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165 F or 75 C it’s time to turn off the oven & enjoy the authentic Greek chicken gyros recipe.
How to serve Chicken Gyros?
You can serve the chicken gyro in various ways. But whatever way you choose to serve this authentic Greek chicken gyros recipe don’t forget the Tzatziki Sauce.
- Make Pita Pockets: We did just that, stuff the gyro meat inside a pita pocket made from pita bread, add few slices of tomatoes, onions & lots of Tzatziki. We also added a few spring greens but that’s totally optional.
- Pita Wrap: Instead of making a pita pocket you can simply lay the gyro meat, sliced tomatoes, onion & tzatziki sauce on a Pita bread & roll it up to make a complete meal.
- Make a Sandwich of your choice.
- Serve the chicken gyro with lots of salad.
- You can also create a Buddhha Bowl with chicken gyro meat.
How long can you store chicken gyro in the fridge?
Fridge Option: The authentic Greek chicken gyros recipe stays good for 7 days in the fridge when you store it in an air tight container.
Freezer Option: This authentic Greek chicken gyros recipe is a wonderful freezer candidate too. Store them in portion size freezer safe bags or containers and they will keep good for 1 month.
Thaw them overnight in the fridge. Reheat on a skillet or in the micro wave oven and serve.
How is Chicken Gyro made – Step by Step
Prepping the Chicken & the gyro Marinade
Tenderize the chicken thighs by pounding with a meat mallet & make it flat up to 1/2″ or 1 cm thick.
Gather the marinade ingredients & grind the dry stuffs first (excluding the garlic, olive oil & lemon juice).
Than, add the garlic pound it well (it should look like step no. 7). Add the olive oil & lemon juice and mix well (like step no. 10).
Coat the chicken thighs very well with the marinade & marinate either overnight or for 1 days.
Making the vertical rotisserie for the chicken gyro
For the vertical home-made rotisserie you’ll need a stump of onion as the base or support & a bamboo skewer as the pole (step 13).
Create your own home-made vertical rotisserie by sticking the bamboo skewer in the middle of the onion stump (step 14). The support pole for the chicken gyro is ready.
Skewer the marinated chicken thighs one by one (step 17). Stack them one upon the other until you are all done with the marinated chicken thighs.
Your fantastic tall mound of chicken gyro meat is ready to go in the oven at 375 F. Bake for 1 hr (depending on your oven). When the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165 F, turn of the oven. Allow it to cool and shave off the chicken gyro meat to create your own favorite meal. We stuffed a Pita pocket with lots of my home-made Greek Tzatziki sauce as seen below 🙂
Try these easy recipes by Meghna for Foodies Terminal.
Authentic Greek Chicken Gyros Recipe with Tzatziki Sauce
- 1.32 pounds Boneless Chicken Thighs (or 600 gms)
For the Chicken Gyro Marinade
For the Vertical home-made rotisserie
- 1/2 large Onion
- 1 Bamboo Skewer
How to Tenderize the meat & marinate it:
- Begin by pounding each chicken thigh with the help of a meat mallet until 1/2″ or 1 cm thick. You can put each chicken thigh inside a ziplock and pound it with the mallet. Repeat this step with all the chicken thighs. Set aside.
How to prepare the Marinade & marinate the gyro meat
- Add the paprika, coriander seeds, peppercorns, dried rosemary, dried red chili flakes & the coarse sea salt in a mortar & pestle. Grind it to a semi-coarse powder.
- Next add the chopped garlic to the semi-coarse powder & grind it until the garlic blends well with the rest of the spice blend.
- Now add the extra virgin olive oil & the lemon juice to the spice mix and mix everything with the help of a spoon. The marinade for the chicken gyro meat is ready.
- Add the marinade to the tenderized chicken thighs and mix very well until all the chicken thighs are well coated with the marinade.
- Wrap the container with a cling film and allow the chicken to sit in the marinade in the fridge for overnight or 1 day for best results. And if you are pressed for time leave the marinade for at least 2 hrs.
How to make the home-made vertical rotisserie
- Take a large stump of an onion ( half onion) & stick a bamboo skewer in the middle of the stump to form a vertical pole. The vertical home-made rotisserie is ready. The base of the onion will act as the support & the bamboo skewer as the pole.
How to skewer the meat & bake the chicken gyro
- Take each marinated chicken thigh and skewer them individually in the home-made vertical rotisserie. Repeat this step until all the chicken thighs are skewered and stacked on top of each other to form a small mound of meat.
- Pre-heat the oven at 375 F and bake the chicken gyro meat by placing the vertical rotisserie over a cookie tray for 1 hour. The baking time hugely depends on the oven used. So it’s wise to check the internal temperature of the meat. When it reaches 165 F turn off the oven.
- Allow it to cool for 15 mins. Than, shave the chicken gyro meat & serve it with loads of Tzatziki sauce.
- Using a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat is vital. Because every oven is different and the 1 hour baking time that worked for me but it might not work for you.
- When the internal temperature reaches 165 F turn off the oven.
- Shave the chicken gyro meat only when it cools down. It’s very hot when out from the oven.
- For best flavors leave the chicken to marinate in the fridge for at least overnight or 24 hrs.
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