Haydari is a creamy meze dip from Turkish cuisine. It is made with feta cheese, plain yogurt, garlic, dried mint and fresh dill. Ready in 5 minutes! Super simple, super easy but addictively delicious!
Meze is the name of small portion dishes that are similar to Spanish tapas. They are popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. There are several Turkish meze dishes made from yogurt and this haydari sauce is just one of them.
It is one of the staples on a mezze platter served at Turkish meyhane, restaurants where alcoholic drinks are served with small portions of traditional Turkish foods.
What is Haydari?
Haydari, pronounced like high-DAH-ree, is a dipping sauce. It is always in the top 5 list of a traditional mezze platter. In Turkey, this creamy yogurt dip is made with Turkish white cheese called beyaz peynir and tangy strained yogurt called süzme yoğurt. You can find more details about these in the Ingredients section below.
At kebab restaurants, you can eat haydari sauce as a condiment, paired with meat dishes like Adana kebab or lamb shish kebab. It is often accompanied by other side dishes like acılı ezme, which is very similar to spicy tomato salsa, turkish coban salad (shepherd salad), white bean salad called piyaz, sumac onions and roasted onions. And all these are served with newly made lavash bread.
At meyhane restaurants, you can pick the meze dishes you want and have a large meze platter for dinner. Besides haydari dip, you can order stuffed grape leaves, mucver (zucchini fritters), Turkish green beans with tomatoes, stuffed artichoke bottoms and beetroot dip with yogurt.
Why You Should Make This Recipe
Haydari is such a delicious yogurt dip that you will ask for more once you taste it. We promise you will have that feeling. Other reasons you have to make this super easy recipe are as follows:
- It is easy to make with a few simple ingredients. It is literally ready in 5 minutes.
- It is light and refreshing. Yogurt, mint and fresh dill come together and make the most refreshing dip recipe ever.
- It has a great balance of flavors. The salty flavor of feta is balanced with creamy yogurt. Olive oil adds richness to all these flavors.
- It can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. It tastes even better when you make it ahead of time.
- You can serve it as an appetizer with some bread or as a sauce to pair with any main dish you like.
Is Haydari The Same As Cacik or Tzatziki?
Turkish cacik and Greek tzatziki are almost the same dishes. These are made with yogurt and cucumber whereas haydari is made with yogurt and feta cheese, it doesn't contain any cucumber. Also, haydari is much thicker and a bit saltier.
That being said, they all contain dried or fresh herbs like dill and mint. So they are all refreshing and delicious.
About The Ingredients
- Feta cheese: Use a good quality full-fat feta cheese. It is best when you buy it from a market that sells Turkish or Greek food. Look for beyaz peynir if you happen to buy it from a Turkish market. You can even find crumbled feta cheese at some markets. If you can't find these, you can use cream cheese too. But it won't be as tangy.
- Plain Yogurt: Use store-bought Greek yogurt or make your own strained yoghurt. Regular homemade Turkish yogurt is not very thick, so it's better to strain it for a few hours or overnight. We have shared how to make strained yogurt before, so go check it out to learn all the tips you need. If you can find, labneh works fine too, but our first choice would be a thick (Greek or strained) yogurt.
- Garlic: Just 1 clove garlic is enough for this recipe. Use fresh garlic, not garlic powder.
- Dried mint: For this haydari recipe, we prefer dried mint to fresh mint as it is way more aromatic. We use fresh mint leaves only for garnish. If you want, you can substitute fresh mint for dried mint.
- Fresh dill: We don't recommend dried dill. Fresh one is more aromatic and goes really well with yogurt and cheese. Although it is not traditional, you can substitute fresh parsley for fresh dill.
- Olive oil: Use extra virgin olive oil to feel the best taste.
- Salt: Use sea salt or kosher salt. We use ¼ teaspoon. If your cheese is too salty, you might need to use less.
The recipe for this Turkish yogurt dip with cheese here is a classic one. Besides the ingredients above, there are two other variations of haydari meze dip.
Top it with spiced butter sauce: Melt about 1 tablespoon of butter in a saucepan, sprinkle a little dried mint and crushed chili or red pepper flakes (pul biber) into it. Give it a stir and pour it over haydari when serving. Alternatively, you can combine this spiced butter with the other ingredients. Then, leave the olive oil out.
Add in crumbled walnuts: If you want to add more texture and a nutty flavor to your meze, add in 1 or 2 tablespoons of walnuts when combining all the ingredients.
How To Make It
- Put the feta cheese in a bowl and mash it with a fork. The smaller the cheese crumbles, the better. It should look like a fine paste. Store the remaining feta cheese in brine for later use.
- Add in yogurt, mashed garlic, dried mint, finely chopped fresh dill, salt and olive oil.
- Stir well to combine. Transfer it on a plate or in a bowl. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, chopped fresh dill and fresh mint leaves.
You can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. It might get thicker as it sits in the refrigerator, so bring it to room temperature before serving. Also, you can drizzle extra olive oil when serving too.
Freezing is not recommended.
If you find it hard to mash the feta cheese, you can add some yogurt in the bowl and mash them together. Or just put feta cheese and yogurt in a food processor and pulse until it has a creamy texture. Transfer into a bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients.
If you make it ahead of time and store in the refrigerator, let it sit on the counter for 15-20 minutes before serving.
You can serve haydari in several ways.
As an appetizer: You can serve this haydari meze dip with breads like crusty simit, lavash bread or stuffed flatbread gozleme. You can definitely serve them with chips or raw vegetables like celery, carrot and cucumber if you want.
As a part of meze dinner: You can make your own meze platter and enjoy it as a dinner on its own. Some of our meze suggestions are: Turkish hummus (with a spiced oil topping), roasted eggplant salad, grilled halloumi and bulgur salad called kisir.
As a spread: You can just spread some haydari sauce on your toast or in sandwiches. Or put some on Turkish style jacket potatoes called kumpir as a topping.
Frequently Asked Questions
They are same indeed. Greek yogurt is the name used for plain yogurt in Europe and US markets. The only difference could be their thickness. Greek yogurt is more like what Turkish people call strained yogurt. So Greek yogurt is thicker than Turkish yogurt.
Yes you can if it is not too runny. If you think it is not thick enough to make a dip, strain it overnight putting it in a muslin and letting it sit in a strainer that fits onto a bowl.
It tastes salty, tangy from feta cheese and yogurt, refreshing and spicy from dried mint, fresh dill and garlic, creamy from extra virgin olive oil and full-fat feta cheese.
As always: If you make this recipe, let us know what you think by rating it and leaving a comment below. And post a pic on Instagram too—tag @give_recipe so we can see!
A creamy and tasty yogurt dip with feta cheese, dried mint and fresh dill. It is super easy to make. Ready in 5 minutes. Serve it with some crusty bread, chips or raw vegetables.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Mixing
- Cuisine: Turkish
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 3 oz (85 g) feta cheese
- 1 cup Greek yogurt (strained yogurt)
- 1 clove garlic, mashed
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon salt (less if your cheese is very salty)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (plus more for serving)
- Fresh mint leaves for garnish, optional
- In a large bowl, mash the feta cheese with a fork until you get tiny crumbles.
- Add in yogurt, mashed garlic, dried mint, chopped fresh dill, salt and olive oil. Stir well to combine.
- Transfer into a clean bowl or plate and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh mint leaves.
- If you find it hard to mash the feta cheese, you can add some yogurt in the bowl and mash them together. Or just put feta cheese and yogurt in a food processor and pulse until it has a creamy texture. Transfer into a bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients.
- You can use plain yogurt, natural yogurt, Greek yogurt, organic yogurt, full-fat yogurt, low-fat yogurt. Make sure it is unflavored.
- If the yogurt you have is not thick enough, strain it at home. Put the yogurt in a muslin, place it in a strainer that fits onto a bowl. Let it sit overnight or at least for 5-6 hours.
- If you make it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator, let it sit on the counter for 15-20 minutes before serving.
- You can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. It might get thicker as it sits in the refrigerator, so bring it to room temperature before serving. Also, you can drizzle extra olive oil when serving too.
- Freezing is not recommended.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 157
- Sugar: 3.7 g
- Sodium: 365.5 mg
- Fat: 11.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 4 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Protein: 9.5 g
- Cholesterol: 28.2 mg
Keywords: haydari, haydari recipe