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Easy Homemade Gyro Meat Recipe

Gyro Meat is easy to make at home and so much less expen­sive than eat­ing out! Savory, herba­ceous and home­made deli­cious­ness! I can’t wait for you to taste this!

gyro sandwich on a cutting board with sliced gyro meat in the background next to fresh dill and red onion slices
Post may con­tain affil­i­ate links. See my Affil­i­ate Disclosure.

What’s Gyro Meat?

Gyro Meat is most often ground lamb and ground beef with a dis­tinct­ly Mediterranean/ Mid­dle East­ern fla­vor pro­file. Mine is, of course, an Amer­i­can­ized ver­sion of this deli­cious dish, uti­liz­ing ingre­di­ents and sea­son­ings read­i­ly avail­able to me. Tra­di­tion­al gyro meat, espe­cial­ly the cook­ing process, just does­n’t work in my kitchen. 

In the Mediter­ranean and Mid­dle East, the clas­sic gyro meat mix­ture was tra­di­tion­al­ly shaped into a dense­ly packed cone around a ver­ti­cal spit and roast­ed over a wood fire. 

easy homemade gyro meat served on pita flat bread

My Version

My easy Gyro Meat is a pound of ground lamb and a pound of ground beef. (It’s even pos­si­ble to sub in some ground pork.)

Like oth­er gyro meat recipes, mine con­tains onion and gar­lic as the begin­ning of the savory fla­vor base. Then I add herbs and spices that give this gyro meat some­thing that mim­ics the fla­vors of tra­di­tion­al gyro meat, with my own per­son­al flair. 

loaf of homemade gyro meat on a cutting board - gyro recipe

Traditional Gyro Meat Cooking Methods

If you’ve ever eat­en a gyro at a sum­mer fair, you may have seen a mod­ern ver­ti­cal rotis­serie spin­ning and roast­ing gyro meat. The ver­ti­cal spit allows a crispy carameliza­tion to form on the out­side of the cone of meat. The meat is shaved off the cone in very thin slices to make sand­wich­es and the rotis­serie con­tin­ues to spin and add a new lay­er of caramelization.

I def­i­nite­ly don’t own a ver­ti­cal rotis­serie or an out­door spit over an open fire. So, while the tra­di­tion­al gyro meat recipe isn’t pos­si­ble for me, I believe I’ve cre­at­ed a scrump­tious copy­cat recipe. And I bake it right in my own home oven.

homemade gyro meat sandwich on a cutting board with sliced gyro meat in the background next to fresh dill and red onion slices

What Else Can I Make with Gyro Meat?

Rework­ing the Easy Home­made Gyro Meat recipe from my orig­i­nal Busy-at-Home blog, back in 2014, remind­ed me how much I love a tasty gyro sandwich.

Gyro sand­wich­es are usu­al­ly assem­bled on pita bread with toma­to wedges, sliv­ers of onion, and creamy tzatzi­ki sauce. In our fam­i­ly, we like to add let­tuce, too. We have used pita flat breads and also pock­et pitas with equal suc­cess when using this gyro meat recipe.

But, this gyro meat recipe is great in more than just gyro’s. We use it:

Gyro Quesadilla - with homemade gyro meat, sliced tomatoes, slivered onions, kale and cheddar cheese on a flour tortilla
Gyro Que­sadil­la

And if you’re look­ing for oth­er unique and absolute­ly scrump­tious sand­wich recipes, check out Sher­ry’s deli­cious Egg Drop Sand­wich over at From Michi­gan to the Table, or my soul-sat­is­fy­ing open-faced Hot Beef Sand­wich. You’ll love my Crunch­wrap Supreme Recipe made with chick­en, too!

The Ingredients

Gyro Meat ingre­di­ents are pret­ty straight­for­ward. Most will be things already in your fridge and pantry.

Ground Beef: I like to use fair­ly lean beef to avoid lots of grease. Use all lamb if that’s your pref­er­ence. You could even use part ground pork.

Ground Lamb: Again, if you want to use all beef, you can. You could even use part ground pork.

The Aro­mat­ics: Onion and Garlic

Herbs: oregano, thyme, cumin, rose­mary, corian­der, sage, smoked papri­ka and sumac. See my note about seasonings.

Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper

Is Lamb Critical to Flavor in Gyro Meat Recipes?

I like the slight gamey earth­i­ness of lamb com­bined with beef. But, if lamb isn’t some­thing avail­able to you, you can still make real­ly superb gyros with all beef.

Lamb usu­al­ly has a stronger fla­vor than beef. Some refer to it as gamey. It can stand up to some tru­ly deli­cious bold sea­son­ings. If you have tast­ed 100% grass fed and fin­ished beef, you might find it is some­what sim­i­lar, but lamb is still stronger. Hon­est­ly, it prob­a­bly most close­ly com­pares to goat. lol I know, prob­a­bly unfa­mil­iar to you, too.

Lamb isn’t crit­i­cal, but it rounds out the fla­vor in gyro meat recipes. It’s deli­cious! If you can get it, I high­ly rec­om­mend using it in equal parts with beef.

My Homemade signature seasoning blend in a decanter jar with a Tablespoon of seasoning heaped up and spilling over onto a black table.

How to Season Gyro Meat

Choosing a Spice Blend

I am so intrigued by the tra­di­tions of oth­er cul­tures that sur­round the blend­ing of spices they use in their cook­ing. Many spice blend recipes are close­ly guard­ed fam­i­ly secrets. The for­mu­las are often passed from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion. That’s why even though you are eat­ing a tra­di­tion­al food from a spe­cif­ic region, the fla­vor pro­file or recipe can be com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent than one being made just 10 or 20 miles down the road.

I LOVE that! Putting your own flair on any recipe and mak­ing it your own will be what sets your dish­es apart and makes them the ones your fam­i­ly loves above all others. 

I have actu­al­ly been work­ing on a fam­i­ly spice blend that has been heav­i­ly influ­enced by Mediter­ranean and Mid­dle East­ern fla­vors. It’s espe­cial­ly fan­tas­tic on lamb and pork. I haven’t shared it, because I’m still in the test­ing and tweak­ing stage of the recipe. But, many of the spices I use in this gyro meat recipe are tak­en from that sig­na­ture blend.

My per­son­al blend con­tains only one ingre­di­ent I think might be unfa­mil­iar in an Amer­i­can pantry. But, I LOVE it! It’s sumac.

What is Sumac?

Sumac is a deli­cious spice that is com­mon in Mid­dle East­ern cook­ing. It is the dried and ground fruit of the sumac shrub. It adds a cit­rus-like tang to dish­es. And, it’s great on meats, in sal­ad dress­ings, in soups, stews or on veg­eta­bles. It’s not easy to find in my small-town mar­ket, so I usu­al­ly order from Ama­zon [affil­i­ate link].

There Has to Be Tzatziki

Tzatzi­ki sauce is almost as impor­tant to the gyro, as the meat. The recipe for this cool cucum­ber-yogurt sauce is super sim­ple. I’ll include it in the Notes sec­tion of this recipe card, but if you want to see the details of how to make it, vis­it my Tzatzi­ki sauce recipe page.

tzatziki sauce

How to Make Homemade Gyro Meat

  1. Place all the ingre­di­ents into your food proces­sor. Pulse until things start com­ing togeth­er and then you can switch to high.
gyro meat mixture in food processor
  1. Press the meat mix­ture tight­ly into an *10“x5” loaf pan[affil­i­ate link].  I used to bake this in an 8“x4” pan, [affil­i­ate link] but I like that the slices in the larg­er pan came out short­er. The thin­ner strips from the larg­er pan remind me more of the shaved meat from a rotis­serie at the fair. Both pans work great. Use the size you have on hand.
  2. Bake at 350° for 45 to 60 min­utes. When the inter­nal tem­per­a­ture hits 155°, I pull it out and allow it to rest in the pan for at least 15 to 20 min­utes to fin­ish com­ing up to the USDA rec­om­mend­ed tem­per­a­ture of 160°.
raw gyro meat mixture pressed into loaf pan for baking
  1. Cool the baked loaf on a cool­ing rack until it reach­es room tem­per­a­ture. Wrap in plas­tic wrap and foil or seal in an air­tight con­tain­er until you are ready to slice and the home­made gyro meat.
baked homemade gyro meat loaf on a cooling rack

Slicing Your Homemade Gyro Loaf

About slic­ing the gyro loaf.  One of the most notable things about gyro meat is that the slices are super thin. Chefs and pur­vey­ors of gyros shave the meat off the spit-cooked cone with large knives.We’ve baked our meat as a loaf, so the process is a lot less complicated.

Cool the meat before slic­ing for the best results.  If you want to serve it right away, then you can def­i­nite­ly slice it warm.  How­ev­er, you may have some prob­lems with crumbling.

I find it’s eas­i­est once the loaf has been refrig­er­at­ed for a cou­ple hours. Slice it very thin.  You’re shoot­ing for 1/8″ or thinner.

Slicing easy homemade gyro meat  into 18" or less slices.  - gyro recipe

How to Rewarm Homemade Gyro Meat

Method 1: Air Fryer

  • (This Is my pre­ferred method, now that I have an air fry­er oven.) Pre­heat to 400°.
  • Spray air fry­er bas­ket light­ly with cook­ing spray.
  • Air fry for 3 to 4 min­utes. The goal is to bare­ly caramelize just one side, like it would be if rotat­ing on a spit. I don’t let it go long enough to get crispy, but it gets beau­ti­ful color.

Method 2: Microwave

  • (This method works real­ly well when heat­ing up left­over slices for just one or two people.
  • Lay the slices in a sin­gle lay­er on a plate.
  • Microwave on high pow­er for 30 sec­onds to 1 minute. Cook just until heat­ed through. Microwaves are all dif­fer­ent. I rec­om­mend check­ing every 30 seconds.
  • The goal here is to warm the meat. It will not caramelize.

Method 3: Oven

  • (This method is good when heat­ing for a large num­ber of sand­wich­es.) Heat the broil­er in your oven.
  • Line a bak­ing sheet with parch­ment paper or foil.
  • Place slices of meat in a sin­gle lay­er on the bak­ing sheet.
  • Brush the slices with melt­ed but­ter or avo­ca­do oil.
  • Broil for 1 — 2 min­utes until you achieve the lev­el of carameliza­tion you’re look­ing for. (Don’t walk away from the broil­er. The meat can burn in a blink, so keep a close eye on it.)

Method 4: Skillet

  • (Again this works best when reheat­ing enough for only 1 or 2 sand­wich­es.) Heat a cast iron skil­let over medi­um heat.
  • Add 1 or 2 tea­spoons of but­ter or avo­ca­do oil to the skillet.
  • Place the gyro meat into the skil­let in a sin­gle lay­er and heat them through. It will only take 30 sec­onds or so to warm them and a few sec­onds longer if you want to achieve some caramelization.

Assembling the Sandwiches

Assem­ble the restau­rant style sand­wich­es:  Arrange warm meat slices, sliv­ered raw onion, sliced toma­toes, let­tuce and tzatzi­ki sauce on warm pita bread.  Fold in half (like a taco) and enjoy.  I have also suc­cess­ful­ly made gyros inside pock­et pita bread.  Use the one you can eas­i­ly find in your area.

homemade gyro meat sandwich on a cutting board with sliced gyro meat in the background next to fresh dill and red onion slices

The Recipe

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gyro sandwich with homemade gyro meat tomatoes onions lettuce and tzatziki in a whole grain pita

Easy Homemade Gyro Meat


  • Author: Glen­da Embree
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6-8 serv­ings 1x

Description

These are just as won­der­ful as the gyros you’ve eat­en at street fairs and in restau­rants.   And I believe the fla­vor is even bet­ter than restau­rant gyro meat.   You can eas­i­ly make these deli­cious sand­wich­es at home, now! 


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 (med.) red onion, peeled and quartered
  • 3 Table­spoons avo­ca­do oil
  • 2 Table­spoons minced garlic
  • 4 tea­spoons dried oregano
  • 1 Table­spoon dried thyme
  • 1 Table­spoon kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 tea­spoons ground cumin
  • 2 tea­spoons ground black pepper
  • 1 tea­spoon coriander
  • 1 tea­spoon dried rosemary
  • 1 tea­spoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tea­spoon ground sage
  • option­al, 1 tea­spoon ground sumac (see notes)

Instructions

  1. Pre­heat the oven to 350°.
  2. Place all ingre­di­ents into food proces­sor.
  3. Pulse until things start com­ing togeth­er and then you can switch to high.  High speed breaks down the pro­teins in the meat and incor­po­rates all the ingre­di­ents, thor­ough­ly. I know it seems counter-intu­itive, but the meat looks more like paste, rather than ground meat.  You’ll know, then, that you have it right.
  4. Press the meat mix­ture tight­ly into an *10“x5” loaf pan [affil­i­ate link].  I used to bake this in an 8“x4” pan, [affil­i­ate link] but I like that the slices in the larg­er pan came out short­er. The thin­ner strips from the larg­er pan remind me more of the shaved meat from a rotis­serie at the fair. Both pans work great. Use the size you have on hand.  Real­ly press the meat into the pan, tight­ly.  You want to cre­ate a dense fin­ished prod­uct with­out many air pockets.
  5. Bake at 350° for 45 — 60 min­utes.  Start test­ing at the 45 minute mark.  Pull it out when a meat ther­mome­ter insert­ed into the cen­ter hits 160°.  Set the pan on a cool­ing rack and allow it to rest for 15 or 20 minutes.
  6. There will be a lot of drip­pings in the pan.  I usu­al­ly dis­card them, but some peo­ple save them to add to the meat when they warm the thin slices.
  7. About slic­ing the gyro meat.  One of the most notable things about gyro meat is that it is sliced very thin­ly.  This is much more eas­i­ly accom­plished once the meat is cool.  If you want to serve it right away, then you can def­i­nite­ly slice it warm.  How­ev­er, the process is sim­pler after the meat has cooled.  If cool­ing the meat first, remove the loaf of gyro meat from the pan and set it on the cool­ing rack to come to room tem­per­a­ture. Slice it at that point or wrap the loaf whole and refrig­er­ate and slice it when you are ready to serve it.  Make the slices very thin.  You’re shoot­ing for 1/8″ or thinner.
  8. To use the thin­ly sliced gyro meat for gyro sand­wich­es, you will need to reheat them.  There are four meth­ods to choose from and each works well, so it is a mat­ter of pref­er­ence and the tools avail­able to you.
  9. How to Warm Homemade Gyro Meat

    Method 1: Air Fryer

    • (This Is my pre­ferred method, now that I have an air fry­er.) Pre­heat to 400°.
    • Spray air fry­er bas­ket light­ly with cook­ing spray.
    • Air fry for 3 to 4 min­utes. The goal is to bare­ly caramelize just one side, like it would be if rotat­ing on a spit. I don’t let it go long enough to get crispy, but it gets beau­ti­ful color.

    Method 2: Microwave

    • (This method works real­ly well when heat­ing up left­over slices for just one or two people.
    • Lay the slices in a sin­gle lay­er on a plate.
    • Microwave on high pow­er for 30 sec­onds to 1 minute. Cook just until heat­ed through. Microwaves are all dif­fer­ent. I rec­om­mend check­ing every 30 seconds.
    • The goal here is to warm the meat. It will not caramelize.

    Method 3: Oven

    • (This method is good when heat­ing for a large num­ber of sand­wich­es.) Heat the broil­er in your oven.
    • Line a bak­ing sheet with parch­ment paper or foil.
    • Place slices of meat in a sin­gle lay­er on the bak­ing sheet.
    • Brush the slices with melt­ed but­ter or avo­ca­do oil.
    • Broil for 1 — 2 min­utes until you achieve the lev­el of carameliza­tion you’re look­ing for. (Don’t walk away from the broil­er. The meat can burn in a blink, so keep a close eye on it.)

    Method 4: Skillet

    • (Again this works best when reheat­ing enough for only 1 or 2 sand­wich­es.) Heat a cast iron skil­let over medi­um heat.
    • Add 1 or 2 tea­spoons of but­ter or avo­ca­do oil to the skillet.
    • Place the gyro meat into the skil­let in a sin­gle lay­er and heat them through. It will only take 30 sec­onds or so to warm them and a few sec­onds longer if you want to achieve some caramelization.
  10. Assem­ble the sand­wich­es:  Arrange warm meat slices, sliv­ered raw onion, sliced toma­toes, let­tuce and tzatzi­ki sauce on warm pita bread (We pre­fer the flat­bread style but pock­ets work as well.)  Fold in half (like a taco) and enjoy. 

Notes

**Sumac is a deli­cious Mediterranean/Middle East­ern herb.  It is earthy, but has a cit­rus aro­ma and zing.  It can real­ly bright­en a heavy or savory dish.  I love it, a lot.  If you can get your hands on it, it’s excel­lent in this recipe.

Home­made Tzatzi­ki Sauce Recipe

  • 1/2 cup cucum­ber, minced fine
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (For dairy-free try coconut yogurt.  It just needs to be thick.)
  • 2 tea­spoons lemon juice
  • 1 Table­spoon dried dill weed
  • 1 tea­spoon minced gar­lic or 1/2 tea­spoon gar­lic powder
  • Salt and pep­per to taste

  1. Mix all the ingre­di­ents in a small mix­ing bowl.  Taste as you go and adjust salt and pep­per or oth­er sea­son­ings, as needed.
  2. Cov­er and chill the tzatzi­ki in the fridge until ready to serve.
  3. Gar­nish with more minced cucum­ber and dill before serv­ing, if desired.
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 50 min
  • Cat­e­go­ry: Meat, Beef, Lamb, Main Dish
  • Method: bak­ing
  • Cui­sine: Mediter­ranean American

If You Enjoyed the Gyro Meat Recipe, You Might Like to Try:

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