Greek Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce
Up your burger game and be the hero of your next barbecue with Greek lamb burgers and homemade tzatziki!
I season these lamb burgers with some of Greece’s most-loved flavors – like garlic, dried lemon peel, and oregano – before grilling them up and serving them on toasted buns.
I like to set out a little buffet of Greek-inspired toppings near the grill for everyone to help themselves. Some of my favorites are fresh tomatoes, lettuce, feta, red onion, and of course, that tzatziki.
You can make your tzatziki up to three days in advance. I like to pre-salt and drain my cucumbers for a few hours or as long as overnight. If you’re pressed for time, you can salt the cucumber, let it drain for just 10 minutes, and then use a tea towel to press out as much moisture as you can.
If you’re wary of lamb because you find it too gamy and strong-tasting, I recommend trying lamb from New Zealand. It has a clean, grassy flavor and stays nice and juicy after cooking.
And If you’re really unsure about lamb, you try mixing it with some ground beef — up to half of the total weight of the meat in this recipe.
Lamb burgers may not be the most popular burger in the US, but this recipe might very well convince you that it should be!
Greek Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce Recipe
Recipe can be doubled or tripled to serve larger crowds.
Look for dried lemon peel in the spice section of your grocery store, or order it online. Skip it if you can’t easily find it.
You will likely have some leftover tzatziki sauce after making this recipe. It will keep refrigerated for about a week, and it can be used on sandwiches or as a dip with pita chips
For the tzatziki:
- 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 2 cups plain Greek yogurt (full fat is best here)
- 1/3 cup lightly packed chopped fresh herbs (I used a equal amounts of mint, parsley, and dill)
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 3 cloves chopped garlic
For the lamb burgers:
- 1 tablespoon dried onion granules
- 1 tablespoon dried garlic granules or powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried lemon peel, optional
- 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb (or a combination of beef and lamb)
- 4 burger buns
- Sliced tomatoes
- Crumbled feta
- Red onion
- Tzatziki sauce
1 Make the tzatziki (up to 3 days ahead): Salt the cucumber slices with about 1/2 teaspoon salt and place in a sieve over a bowl to drain. Refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 24 hours, occasionally turning cucumbers. (If you need to prepare the tzatziki right away, salt the cucumbers for just 10 minutes, then squeeze out excess moisture with a clean tea towel.)
In a large bowl, mix cucumbers, yogurt, herbs, vinegar, and garlic. Stir to combine. Taste and season with salt if needed.
2 Whisk together all spices for the burgers in a small bowl and set aside.
3 Shape the lamb burgers: Sprinkle the ground lamb with 2 teaspoons of the spice mix and gently work it into the meat with your finger tips or a spatula; try not to over-mix the meat or compact it too much as you work in the spices.
Turn the seasoned meat out on a work surface and form into four (6 ounce) patties. Press a shallow dimple in the center of each patty to help the patties cook evenly and prevent them from forming domes in the middle.
4 Season and rest the burgers: Sprinkle additional seasoning onto both sides of the patties. Rest on counter for 20 to 30 minutes to allow burgers to come to room temperature.
5 Meanwhile, prepare your grill: If you have a gas grill, preheat at high temperature for at least 10 minutes with the lid closed. For charcoal grills, fill a grill chimney with charcoal and light it. When the coals are hot (they should be covered with a layer of fine gray ash) empty the coals into the grill. Set the grate in place and cover the grill. Heat for 5 minutes.
6 Grill the burgers: When your grill is ready, lightly brush the grates with oil. Add the burgers and close the grill. Cook the burgers to your desired doneness, flipping halfway through cooking. (Cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium rare.)
7 Finish and serve: Rest your lamb burgers for 3 minutes while you toast the buns. Then serve immediately with tzatziki sauce and other toppings.