The main ingredients for tzatziki recipes are yogurt, cucumbers and fresh dill. The yogurt can be plain, fat-free, full-fat or Greek. Some tzatziki recipes call for non-Greek yogurt to be drained before it is added, so the extra water does not dilute the finished sauce. Cucumbers can be regular or English and, like plain yogurt, are often drained before being incorporated into the sauce. Chopped fresh dill flavors and garnishes the sauce.
Some recipes call for peeled cucumbers, but other recipes leave them unpeeled. Cucumbers can be shredded or finely diced depending on the desired texture and consistency desired of the finished sauce. Diced or shredded cucumbers can be drained by salting them and allowing them to sit in a towel-lined colander for an hour or by simply squeezing with the palm before adding them to the sauce.
Unflavored yogurt forms the base of the sauce. It gets its taste from seasonings such as salt, pepper and raw garlic. Lemon juice, lemon zest or both are added in many recipes also. Some of the sauce's signature flavor comes from the inclusion of fresh dill that is chopped and added to the sauce or left whole to garnish the sauce when it is served as a dip. Olive oil sometimes serves as a garnish and flavoring also.