Tzatziki sauce is well known on the Mediterranean coast. A mix of greek yogurt, garlic, lemon, and some dill goes a long way in completing any meal. Once you’ve tried it, you’d wonder what you ever did without it.
Authentic Greek tzatziki sauce is a crowd pleaser and is relatively easy to whip up in no time. However, sometimes you might’ve made a little too much, and now you have leftovers to last you for days. Or maybe you’ve made your best batch yet, and you want to savor it for as long as possible.
So how can you properly preserve it? Can you freeze tzatziki sauce? Yes, you can freeze tzatziki sauce! If stored and frozen correctly, it will last up to 3 months.
You need to know a few tips and tricks about how to freeze and defrost tzatziki sauce, and I’ll be sharing all of them with you today in this article.
How Long Does Tzatziki Last?
Sadly, tzatziki tastes best when it is eaten on the day it is made. However you can store it for later, but how long does tzatziki really last?
As it contains greek yogurt and grated cucumber, tzatziki will not last as long as other dairy products. Ultimately, how long tzatziki lasts will depend on the type of tzatziki (homemade or store-bought) and where you have stored it (in the fridge or freezer).
Difference Between Store-bought vs. Homemade Tzatziki Sauce
You can usually find store-bought Tzatziki sauce in the refrigerated section near the prepared dips or cheeses.
What makes store-bought tzatziki different from homemade tzatziki is that store-bought tzatziki usually contains added preservatives or stabilizers. These added chemicals aid the sauce in lasting much longer while retaining its thick and creamy consistency and texture. Arguably, store-bought may be slightly better for freezing as it is more likely to remain stable when defrosting.
Homemade tzatziki sauce can last up to 3 days in the fridge or up to a week, depending on how well you’ve stored them. If stored in the freezer, homemade tzatziki can also last up to 2 months at its best quality.
Store-bought tzatziki can last up to a week in the fridge or up to 2 weeks if it is unopened and stored correctly. When frozen, it can last up to 3 months. Anything in the freezer can last indefinitely. However, over time the quality of the tzatziki will degrade over time.
|Type||In the Fridge||In the Freezer|
|Homemade Tzatziki Sauce||Up to 3 days||Up to 2 months|
|Store-bought Tzatziki Sauce||Up to a week||Up to 3 months|
What Happens When You Freeze Tzatziki Sauce?
A traditional and authentic tzatziki dip usually contains greek or regular yogurt, lemon juice, fresh cucumber, garlic, fresh dill, and salt and pepper. The majority of the ingredients will freeze differently and have different after-effects.
When cucumbers are frozen and defrosted, they can become mushy and water. So it’s essential to take note that previously frozen cucumber may no longer hold its crunchiness.
While freezing usually does not affect the nutritional content of greek yogurt, it may affect the texture and consistency of the yogurt depending on its fat content.
The yogurt may become grainy, and the water content may begin to separate. This is commonly found in low-fat Greek yogurt. However, there are some quick fixes that you can do to avoid it. To remove any water or use full-fat Greek yogurt and more tips, I’ll share below.
How to Freeze Tzatziki Sauce
Freezing tzatziki sauce is relatively simple and does require much equipment. All you need is some freezer-safe containers and a resealable bag, and you’re good to go.
If your tzatziki dip is store-bought, in a plastic container and unopened, you’re probably good to freeze it as it is. The plastic container would be safe to freeze, and it will allow the yogurt to expand if needed.
Ensure there is no leftover food in your tzatziki. If you’re freezing your leftover tzatziki sauce, there might be bits of food inside. Be sure to remove them as you do not want to eat them again when they’re defrosted.
Transfer tzatziki into an air-tight freezer-safe container. Place your tzatziki sauce into an airtight container or resealable bag and tightly seal.
Wrap in plastic (optional). For extra protection, you can wrap your container in a few rounds of plastic just in case there are any spills and prevent any air from entering.
Double bag your container. Place your bag or container of tzatziki sauce into a second container for the second layer of protection.
Lastly, label with the contents and date. Remember to label your container with the date and content to know how long your tzatziki dip has been in the freezer.
5 Top Tips To Freeze Tzatziki
Before diving straight into freezing your whole batch of tzatziki sauce, start by freezing a small portion to test it out.
If everything goes well and you like the results of frozen tzatziki, you can go ahead and freeze your whole batch of tzatziki. It’s always better to do a trial run when freezing things for the first time.
Freeze Smaller Portions
You might be craving tzatziki and some pita bread one day, and you just need one serving of tzatziki. To save you time defrosting and to avoid refreezing, freeze smaller portions of tzatziki. So, in that case, you do not need to defrost a whole batch of tzatziki.
Use Different Cucumber
As I’ve mentioned, frozen cucumber may become a mushy and watery mess after defrosting. One way to avoid that is to use drier cucumber. Some suggest using Persian cucumbers. They are small and thin cucumbers that are thought to be less watery and extra crisp than regular cucumbers.
If you can’t find any Persian cucumbers, don’t fret. Instead, using your regular cucumbers, you can try slightly dehydrating them by sprinkling some salt over your cucumber pieces. Allow them to sit for 30 minutes, then squeeze as much water out, and you can add it in.
Remove Cucumber, Add Later
Suppose you’re making your tzatziki at home to save you the trouble of mushy cucumbers. Why not try omitting the cucumbers when freezing? And when your tzatziki has defrosted, and you’re ready to serve, you can add the shredded cucumber back into the sauce.
Use Full Fat Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt comes in different variations of fat content. The more fat content it has, the less water it’ll contain. So to prevent more water and separation when freezing your tzatziki, opt for a full-fat Greek yogurt.
An alternative way to avoid water buildup is straining your yogurt with a cheesecloth. However, I find that it can be rather messy and time-consuming. Instead you can simply remove the water once it has thawed.
How to Defrost Tzatziki Sauce
When you’re ready to use your tzatziki sauce, it’s best to start defrosting it a day before.
Remove your tzatziki sauce, preferably a day before needed, and place it in the fridge. Be sure to leave a plate underneath it to collect any water from the condensation.
Let it defrost for a few hours or overnight. Allow your tzatziki to defrost slowly in the fridge overnight or until it’s soft.
Remove excess water and mix. Natural instinct tells you to stir the contents of your tzatziki well once defrosted. But, before you do, removing excess water may save you from the watery sauce. After you’ve removed the water, give it a good stir, and you’re ready to eat!
Add heavy cream (optional). There are usually no fixes for grainy tzatziki sauce. If you have to, adding heavy cream may help in restoring the smoothness of your sauce. It may become slightly runnier and less flavor, but just add more ingredients to bring it alive again.
How to Use Tzatziki Sauce
Once you’ve defrosted your tzatziki sauce, what can you do with it? Well, tzatziki is enjoyed on the side of almost every Greek meal. Here are some ideas you can try out:
- In gyros. Just as you see yogurt in Turkish doner kebabs, tzatziki is great in Greek gyros – a perfect blend of cool yogurt, warm gyro meat, and soft bread.
- As a dip. You can use it for a veggie platter with some olives, cucumber, and carrot sticks. Or keep it simple with some pita chips, my favorite way.
- With cooked or grilled meat. The cool and fresh consistency of tzatziki complements cooked meats such as pork, beef, and chicken perfectly. If you’re not a meat eater, it also works really well with falafel.
How to Tell if Tzatziki Has Gone Bad
Even though tzatziki is delicious and can be frozen, unfortunately, it will eventually go bad like all other foods. And trust me, I had to find out the hard way. So if you’re not sure if your tzatziki has gone bad, here are some signs you can look out for next time:
The most straightforward tell-tale sign that tzatziki has gone bad is if it smells gone off. Spoiled tzatziki usually gives off a moldy, foul, or rotten smell. If your tzatziki no longer smells fresh and citrusy or just different, be sure to throw it away immediately as it has definitely gone bad.
Next, the texture is another easy way to find out if tzatziki has gone bad. Fresh tzatziki has a thick and creamy consistency. A general rule of thumb is if your tzatziki has curdled and become super watery or even shows signs of mold, it has definitely gone bad.
You can tell your tzatziki has gone bad before even opening the container. If your container or lid is bulging, or gas comes out when it is opened, it might have gone bad too. Bacteria in the yogurt might have produced gases and gone bad. To stay safe, I would avoid eating it.
Sometimes when the greek yogurt in tzatziki has just started to go bad, it may not look or smell like it. Unfortunately, if you’ve had a taste of your tzatziki and it tastes sour or gone bad, you should throw it away.
Whip yourself up a fresh batch of tzatziki instead!