Yogurt and Cucumber Dip Cacik is such a tasty dip that makes your mouth water even when making it. It is our favorite go to dip in summer.
This Yogurt and Cucumber Dip Cacik post was originally published in 2009 and we’re now updating it with some additions in the text and with new pictures.
With the refreshing ingredients in it, this yogurt cucumber dip is a staple side dish in Turkish cuisine. Although there might be slight differences, it is mainly the same as Greek tzatziki. You can’t imagine how easy and simple yet so addictive it is. We pair it with almost anything from beans and rice, kebabs, Turkish meatballs and chicken dishes to simple Menemen, which is one of our favorite summer dishes made with fresh tomatoes, peppers and eggs.
In Turkish “cacik” means very green and fresh. As the name suggests, with the combination of cucumber and yogurt, this cucumber dip is super refreshing. Another ingredient that helps its refreshing feeling is mint. I find dried mint more flavorful than the fresh one, so I always add dried mint in this dip even when I use minced fresh mint or dill in the recipe. Fresh dill is an alternative herb that can be used in cacik and I do love it but still I add a little dried mint too.
Garlic in this addictive yogurt and cucumber dip is optional, but I recommend not to leave it out to please your taste buds. You can decrease the amount though. I don’t like it too garlicky, so I mostly prefer using just one clove of garlic, finely mashed or pureed. As the recipe is quite versatile, you can test and taste to find your favorite version.
Besides being a mouthwatering side dish, this Turkish style yogurt and cucumber dip can be eaten on its own as an appetizer or a mezze accompanying other snacks to serve with beer or raki. Believe it or not, it is the first snack to disappear on such a board. I think everyone has a weakness for it. You are missing a lot if you haven’t given it a try yet.
The consistency of this yogurt and cucumber dip might vary. I remember mom would make it quite runny, in the form of a soup served cold just like a gazpacho. This could be the old way of serving cacik as I don’t see it that way these days. Personally, I find it better when it’s thicker and made with strained yogurt, but it’s okay to make it with homemade yogurt too.
As for the topping, although it’s optional, a drizzle of olive oil takes dip to the next level. I can have it every single day with every single meal this way. It is an out of this world mezze that I can never resist. If I have to make a decision between a chocolate dessert and a dip, I’d definitely pick a thick, refreshing yogurt and cucumber dip topped with olive oil with a subtle garlic flavor.
How to Prepare Cacik, Turkish Style Yogurt Cucumber Dip
- Personally I prefer strained yogurt for a thicker dip, but it’s okay to use plain regular yogurt. You need a little water if you use strained yogurt, but don’t add any water if it is regular yogurt unless you want a runny, soup-like cacik.
- There are two ways of adding cucumbers in this dip. 1) Chop them finely 2)Shred it. I prefer chopping it because I discovered that it quickly gets juicy when shredded.
- Unlike Greek tzatziki, we never remove the seeds of cucumber when making Turkish cacik. It might be because of the types of cucumbers in Turkey, their seeds are already super tiny and you don’t even feel them in the dip. If the cucumbers you are using are big and if you don’t want the seeds, just remove them before chopping or shredding the cucumbers.
- Mix the chopped cucumber with yogurt. Add in salt and dried mint and/or fresh dill. To give it a slightly tangy flavor, a splash of lemon juice would be fine too.
- Drizzle a little olive oil over the dip and optionally sprinkle a little hot red pepper flakes right before serving. Red pepper flakes is not a very traditional way of serving cacik, but it perfectly complements the dip.
Note: As mothers are very creative with the ingredients in their kitchen, there are some different versions of cacik in Turkish cuisine. If you don’t have cucumber on hand and if you don’t feel like going out to buy some, you may use lettuce or purslane instead.
Below is the image in the first version of the post.
A super refreshing yogurt dip with cucumber and dried mint. Perfect to serve with summer meals.
5 minPrep Time
5 minTotal Time
- 1 and 1/2 cups strained yogurt (or 2 cups regular yogurt)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic,mashed
- 2 cucumbers, finely diced
- Salt to taste
- 2 teaspoons dried mint or fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, to drizzle over the dip
- In a large bowl whisk together yogurt, water and lemon juice.
- Add in mashed garlic, diced cucumber, salt and dried mint. Stir until everything is combined.
- Share it to small bowls and drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over each.
You can play with the amount of water and yogurt depending on your taste. Thickness of cacik is originally like soup. But if you want it thicker, use strained yogurt and don't add any water if you use regular yogurt. That’s what I’d do.