Learn how to make traditional lamb gyro meat easily at home that tastes better than any Greek restaurant. The meat is perfectly seasoned and always juicy.
Coming from a half-European background, this homemade gyro recipe was a staple in my household.
My mom used to do one better and make her own with her special seasoning mix. She’s shared this recipe with me now and let me say- it tastes BETTER than anything you can buy!
Table of Contents
- What is gyro meat?
- Ingredients needed
- How to make gyro meat
- Tips to make the best recipe
- Storage instructions
- Frequently Asked Questions
- More delicious ways to use lamb
- Gyro Meat
What is gyro meat?
Gyro meat is seasoned ground lamb traditionally cooked on a long, vertical rotisserie for several hours on very low heat. The gyro slices are stuffed into fresh pita, and it is one of the most popular takeout options worldwide.
Now, while authentic Greek gyros usually require a rotisserie skewer to make it, our version skips that process and cooks it in the oven. Don’t fret though: a secret ingredient keeps it super juicy and flavorful and tastes better than any Greek restaurant.
Here are some reasons why you’ll love this recipe:
- Quick and easy. This recipe may look difficult to make, but it is easy and requires very little hands-on time. Oh, and you don’t need a rotisserie, either.
- Healthier. Sure, gyros you get from a restaurant or food stand is delicious, but you never know what goes into it. This homemade version uses healthier and cleaner ingredients and tastes even better!
- Versatile. Don’t just use it to make gyros sandwiches; it works well in salads, wraps, and more.
No hard-to-find or specialty ingredients are needed. You’ll find everything at your local grocery store (or in your spice rack!). Here is what you’ll need:
- Ground lamb. While some versions call for ground beef, ground lamb is more authentic. It’s also naturally juicier and flavorful.
- Onion and garlic. Must have ingredients for traditional gyro meat.
- Seasonings. My mom’s secret spice mix features oregano, marjoram, rosemary, and thyme. Please do not swap things out or change these up; you need these four!
- Kosher salt and black pepper. To taste.
- Gyros sandwich must-haves. Warm pita bread, tomatoes, Tzatziki sauce(or a garlic yogurt sauce), and a sprinkling of feta cheese.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
How to make gyro meat
What I love about this recipe is just how hands-off it is! Once you prep the meat, the oven takes care of all the hard work.
Step 1- Make the meat mix: Add all the ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, mix everything together.
Step 2- Process the mixture: Add the meat mixture to a food processor for about one minute.
Step 3- Shape: Transfer to a parchment paper-lined pan and press gently to remove any trapped air. Form 1-2 loaf shapes, around 4-inches high.
Step 4- Bake and slice: Bake the gyros for 35-40 minutes or until no longer pink. Cool, slice, and serve.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Choose good quality spices for the seasonings instead of generic grocery brands. Trust me, it makes all the difference in flavor.
- Avoid over-processing the meat mixture, as this can dry out the meat and also make it rubbery once cooked. Just mix everything until just combined.
- Never use lean or extra lean meat for gyros. The fattier cuts are essential for juicy and flavorful meat. My mom’s rule of thumb is that it the bread you serve this in should be soggy by the end (in a good way!).
- Avoid overbaking the meat by using an instant-read thermometer to check its doneness. It is ready to be enjoyed once the internal temperature of the meat is 165F.
- While serving this in a pita is the more common way to enjoy it, my family loves to make gyro bowls by serving it over some rice or bulgar and fresh vegetables.
To store: Keep in an airtight container and store in the fridge for 2-3 days.
To freeze: Place the cooked and cooled gyros in a shallow container and store it in the freezer for 2-3 months.
Reheating: Thaw in the refrigerator a night before reheating. Use a fry pan or oven to reheat before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you choose to mince your own lamb, lamb legs and lamb shoulder are the best cuts to use. They have a good ratio of fat and protein and will yield juicy gyros.
While lamb is preferred, you can sub half of it with beef or use a mix of chicken and pork. Do not use straight beef or chicken, as they are both prone to drying out.
More delicious ways to use lamb
- Lamb meatballs– A flavorful and delicious alternative to ground beef.
- Lamb burgers– Perfectly juicy and work with a grill pan or charcoal grill.
- Lamb lollipop– These make the perfect meaty appetizer.
- Lamb ribs– Fall-off-the-bone and seriously addictive.
Prevent your screen from going dark
Preheat the oven to 165C/325F. Grease a square pan and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and mix until combined.
Place the lamb mix into a food processor and pulse several times until fully incorporated. Do not over-process.
Shape the meat mix into two small or one large log and place them in the greased pan.
Bake the gyro for 35-40 minutes, or until the internal temperature registers at least 165F.
Remove the gyro from the oven and mop up excess oil. Slice and serve.
Serving: 1servingCalories: 265kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 20gFat: 14gSodium: 161mgPotassium: 22mgFiber: 0.2gVitamin A: 5IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 16mgIron: 2mgNET CARBS: 1g
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