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The Ultimate Greek-American Gyro Pita

Follow my easy recipe to create the most delicious “Restaurant Quality” gyro pitas at home. This gyro meat can and should be doubled and even tripled because it freezes well. As a matter of fact, your family will beg you for this Greek-American classic once they try it.

 

Watch the Video Tutorial Here:


 

Hands down, gyros are the most popular Greek food in America. What’s not to love about slices of beef and lamb in a warm, soft pita along with creamy tzatziki and some veggies? Delicious! Now you can recreate this classic sandwich in your very own kitchen. And, honestly, I’ve been told that it’s even better than the ones that are sold in restaurants. Like 100 times better! No exaggeration. I promise! 

Not only is the flavor off the charts but, it is so much healthier when you make the meat at home. Many times the gyro meat that is sold at the supermarket and even at your favorite Greek spot is more of a mystery meat than actual meat. It’s loaded with binders and fillers and MSG. I guess it would be ok to eat it once in a while especially since they are so darn tasty. But, when you’re home and craving this sandwich you can make it with good quality, clean, and fresh ingredients at a fraction of the cost.

Here’s the list of ingredients (you may already have them at home):

  • 2 pounds of ground beef or lamb, or a combination of the two
  • 1 onion
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • salt
  • pepper
  • red pepper flakes, optional
  • rosemary
  • oregano
  • ground cumin

The Method:

You basically throw all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined and the mixture turns into a paste. I know that it doesn’t sound or look appetizing. However, you’re just gonna have to trust me when I tell you that the end result is divine! 

If you don’t have a food processor you can use a tabletop mixer like a Kitchen Aid that has been fitted with the paddle attachment. Just go ahead and mix it until everything is well-combined. Or, you can mix it by hand in a large bowl. But, the food processor method produces the best results. You can buy one right here. (affiliate)

Purchase your kitchen essentials using my affiliate links to support my work without costing you anything extra. Thank you!


Now, you will notice that I called this a “Greek-American” gyro and not GREEK gyro. That’s because the gyros that are served in Greece are very different from the American sandwich.  How so? Well, the gyros in Greece are made with either chicken, lamb, or pork and they’re cooked on a spit. No ground meat in the Greek gyros.  If you’re looking for a chicken gyro recipe, you’ve come to the right place because I have that recipe too! Just click right here.

The Greek-American Gyro pitas are still served in a soft pita with tzatziki but, the meat itself is quite different. Its texture is in between a sausage and meatloaf. Makes sense? If you’ve tried it, you will know what I mean. So delicious! Both varieties are pretty darn delicious. 

How to pronounce Gyro:

Ok! Let’s solve this debate once and for all. The Greek pronunciation for Gyro is: Yee-roh. Now, I know what you’re thinking, especially if you grew up in New York as I did. If I didn’t speak Greek I too would think that it was called a Jy-roh. That’s how I said it too when I had to order one from my favorite Gyro spot. 

Some people call it a gee-roh. And, they’re halfway there. If that is you, then just turn that g (like go) sound and turn it into a Y (yellow) and you will be good to go 🙂

Now that this is all settled, let’s move on to how to store the meat.

If you’ve been with me for a while you may have noticed that I love recipes that have make-ahead instructions. I share those tips religiously because many times there’s just no time to cook. Life is busy. I get it! Putting a delicious homemade meal on the table is very important to me. Look, there are 7 of us in this house and eating out too often is expensive. Plus, I love to cook for my family. And for my friends, I love to cook for people in general. So, I always make extra. Ok, I’ll stop with the personal tangents… You’re here for the tips!

The bottom line is, make a double or even triple batch and thank me later 🙂 First of all, the gyro meat will keep fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator all week long! And, you can serve it so many different ways:

  • with eggs in the morning
  • over a salad
  • in a pita pocket
  • as a classic gyro pita sandwich
  • with fries
  • with a side of roasted veggies
  • my son even made gyro hashbrowns the other day
  • on top of a pizza
  • tzatziki

It freezes well up to 3 months! This might just be the best recipe of all time. Wouldnt you agree?

How to Freeze Gyro Meat:

Prepare the gyro according to the recipe and bake it. Allow it to cool completely then, slice it. I like thin slices. So, in order to slice it thin without the whole thing falling apart it should be chilled for a few hours. 

SLice the gyro and then place it in freezer-safe bags. Store it in the freezer until ready to use. Pan-fry the slices in a lightly greased pan and serve!

I f you’re looking for an amazing pita recipe then, click here.

These pita pockets are so easy to make, soft, and make for the perfect bread to serve the gyro with. They can be made with white or whole wheat flour. Easy peasy!

Can I make the Gyros with chicken?

Yes! If you’re looking for the same texture but in chicken form, then, just use ground chicken thighs. You can do half ground chicken breast and half thighs too. The thigh meat is more juicy and will create a better texture so try to add some in the mixture if you can. 

I’ve made this recipe many times. My favorite combination is half beef and half lamb. But, sometimes ground lamb is not available at the stores so, I go with all beef. Delicious both ways!

In the video, I made a larger batch and baked it in an 8-inch square baking pan.  The original recipe fits into a loaf pan. Use whatever you already have. If you are making larger batches, fit the mixture into any baking dish that holds it nice and compact. 

 

I hope that you enjoy this recipe. If you make it for yourself or for your loved ones I would love to hear your thoughts. Comment down below and share pics with me on Facebook and Instagram. I always love seeing your recreations 🙂

I will end this post with one of my favorite quotes:

“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.”

-Cesar Chavez

 

 

Print Recipe

The Ultimate Greek-American Gyro Pita

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By Dimitra Khan Serves: 6

Follow my easy recipe to create the most delicious "Restaurant Quality" gyro pitas at home. This gyro meat can and should be doubled and even tripled because it freezes well. As a matter of fact, your family will beg you for this Greek-American classic once they try it.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1-pound ground lamb
  • 1-pound ground beef
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 heaping teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Equipment: 9 x 5-inch loaf pan
  • For the Sandwiches:
  • Pita bread
  • Onion slices
  • Tomato slices
  • Tzatziki Sauce
  • Lettuce
  • Crumbled feta cheese

Instructions

1

INSTRUCTIONS

2

Preheat oven to 325 °F, 160 °C.

3

Place the garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse until very finely chopped.

4

Add onion and puree until smooth.

5

Add ground beef with all of the spices. Pulse until the mixture becomes like a paste. Scrape down the sides of the bowl in between pulses.

6

Place the mixture in a loaf pan. Compact it as much as possible.

7

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the internal temperature registers 165 °F.

8

Allow the pan to cool at room temperature completely. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before removing from the pan.

9

Remove from pan onto a cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, slice it thinly. Pour all of the pan juices over the slices along with any of the fat that has gelatinized. It adds so much flavor when heating it up for the sandwiches.

10

At this point, the gyro slices can be placed in a freezer-safe bag and frozen for future use.

11

To make the Gyro sandwiches, place a cast iron pan over medium heat and cook the gyro slices until they are browned on both sides.

12

Warm the pita bread slightly. Place some chopped lettuce, onion and tomato slices over the pita, the warm gyro slices and tzatziki sauce with crumbled feta. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Notes

Freezer Instructions: Place the cooked gyro slices in a freezer bag or an airtight (freezer-safe) container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to use thaw and pan-fry until golden.

 

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Silvia Boselli
    April 27, 2020 at 9:52 pm

    Hi Dimitra,
    I have tried many of your recipes and they come out just delicious. My concern about this recipe is that once the meat is cooked in the oven, I wonder if it will be dry. Should I add maybe some bread soaked in milk ? Thank you!

    • Reply
      dimitra
      May 1, 2020 at 1:40 pm

      Hi! No breadcrumbs are needed as this is not a meatloaf recipe even though it sure does look like one 🙂 The end result is juicy and very flavorful. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    David Lewis
    May 4, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    Hi Dimitra: Just made your Gyro Meat recipe. Result: wonderful!! I have also made your lamb shank recipe. Delicious! I have tried other recipes of yours and always perfect.

  • Reply
    Nick @ GreekBoston.com
    May 18, 2020 at 5:38 pm

    Gyros are a Greek classic, but it can be hard to get it right. The type of pita used makes all the difference!

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