Turkish Cacik is such a tasty side dish that pairs well with any dish. It is made with plain yogurt, cucumber, garlic and mint. So easy to make and ready in less than 10 minutes.
This Turkish yogurt sauce recipe is a staple in Turkish cuisine. We pair it with several dishes from kebabs like doner kebab, chicken kebabs and Turkish meatballs to meatless dishes like imam bayildi and menemen.
If you eat at a Turkish restaurant, you will definitely see cacik as the first or second item in the side dish or meze section on their menu. It is one of the side dishes served with kabobs too.
We have an obsession for meze type of dishes and cacik is our all-time favorite. We make it almost everyday to serve with whatever we cook for dinner. You can’t imagine how easy and simple yet so addictive it is.
What is Cacik?
Cacik is one of the oldest dips or sauces. It is originally a Middle Eastern food and probably the most popular side dish in Turkey today. You can pair any food with this Turkish yogurt sauce.
Cacik is basically a combination of plain yogurt, cucumbers, garlic and dried mint. Turkish restaurants, lokanta as we say in Turkish, even have meal deals including cacik.
Some main dishes from these meal deals are kuru fasulye (Turkish bean stew), izmir kofte (meatballs and potatoes in tomato sauce) and karniyarik (Turkish style stuffed eggplants). These are always paired with rice pilaf or bulgur pilaf and cacik.
There are two versions of cacik in Turkey.
One is in the form of a thick dip and called kuru (dry) cacik as it contains very little amount of water or no water at all. This one is made with strained yogurt, which is known as Greek yogurt in Europe or in the US. It is the one served as a meze dip.
The second version is in the form of a cold soup and has a thin and runny texture. It is made either with homemade Turkish yoghurt or strained yogurt. No matter which yogurt you use, you mix it with some water to make it runny like a soup. The amount of water you use depends on how runny or thick you prefer it. This one is like a cold cucumber soup served as a side dish to pair with a main dish.
When made with strained yogurt, it might be confused with yogurt and feta dip called haydari, but cacik contains cucumber and no feta cheese.
How To Pronounce It
Cacik is pronounced ja-jik. The Turkish letter 'c' is always pronounced 'j', so it won't be correct if you say it with 'k' sound as you do when saying 'cat' or with 's' sound as you do when saying 'center'. And the 'i' sound in the second syllable is pronounced like the 'i' sound in the word 'cousin'. If you want to learn how to pronounce it correctly, watch our cacik recipe video.
Are Cacik and Tzatziki The Same?
Although Turkish cacik and Greek tzatziki look and sound the same, they are not completely the same. Let's learn how different they are.
The first difference between these two dishes is about the texture. For one thing, tzatziki is always thick and served as a dip while cacik could be either thick or as runny as a soup.
Also, the cucumbers added are in different forms. In a tzatziki recipe, you grate them first and then strain the grated cucumbers with the help of a cheese cloth or a fine mash strainer to remove the excessive juice. The seeds of cucumbers are often removed as well. On the other hand, in a cacik recipe, you just dice the cucumbers into small pieces and seeds are never removed.
Another difference is about the flavorings. Authentic cacik is flavored with dried mint, which has a more aroma than fresh mint. The dried mint used is mostly known as spearmint. There is a variation with fresh dill too, but not as common. On the other hand, authentic tzatziki doesn't use any spice or herbs. The main aroma of tzatziki comes from garlic. Turkish cacik also has garlic but the amount is not as much as in its Greek cousin.
Also, there is vinegar (or lemon juice) and olive oil in a tzatziki recipe while we don't have these in a cacik recipe.
As for the toppings, cacik is often topped with extra virgin olive oil and some extra spices like dried mint, red pepper flakes (pul biber) and sumac. Fresh mint leaves or chopped fresh dill might also be used for garnish. Similarly, tzatziki is optionally topped with olive oil and fresh dill.
Why You Will Love This
- It is super easy to make and ready in less than 10 minutes. Just mix everything in a bowl and serve in individual portions.
- It calls for a few ingredients that you probably have in your fridge.
- It is a great side dish that goes very well with chicken, meat or vegetarian dishes. You can serve it with literally any dish.
- You can make it ahead and keep it in the fridge until serving. If you are planning to serve it later, it's better to store it without any toppings. Give it a good stir and top with olive oil and spices right before serving.
We can put the ingredients in two categories: Main ingredients and optional ingredients.
Main ingredients to make cacik are as follows:
- Yogurt: You can use any plain yogurt you can find. We recommend whole fat for the best taste. If you like making things from scratch, make your own yogurt or homemade strained yogurt. They both work fine.
- Dried mint: It is the main aromatic ingredient. There are two types of dried mint sold outside Turkey: Spearmint and peppermint. We recommend spearmint for any Turkish recipe calling dried mint including this yogurt dip recipe.
- Garlic: We don't like the dip too garlicky, so we prefer using just one clove of garlic, finely mashed or pureed. It is up to you to decrease the amount of it. If you are not a big fan of garlic, just leave it out.
- Cucumbers: Baby cucumbers, Persian cucumbers and English cucumbers all work fine. Use whichever you can find.
- Cold water: It is to dilute yogurt. The amount depends on the type of yogurt you use. It is better to add it gradually so that you can decide on the creamy consistency of your cacik.
Optional ingredients for topping:
- Olive oil: It adds richness to this creamy yogurt dip. Use extra virgin olive oil if you can find.
- Dried mint: It is great for extra refreshing flavor. You can use fresh mint instead if you want, but just for the topping.
- Red pepper flakes: It is called pul biber in Turkish. If you want a nice spicy kick on this yogurt dip, use it. Your taste buds will thank you!
- Sumac: This is a spice with a sour or tangy flavor, so it complements the flavor of creamy yogurt.
How To Make It
Turkish Cacik is ready in 4 super easy steps:
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk yogurt, salt and dried mint well.
- Pour cold water in the bowl gradually and mix well. Decide on the amount of the water by checking the consistency of your dip. If you want it thicker, use less water than we give in the recipe. For a thinner consistency, add more water.
- Add in mashed garlic and mix well.
- Add in diced cucumbers and give it a good stir. At this point, taste it and adjust the amount of salt if needed.
Although it's not a must to have toppings on cacık, you can take this simple yogurt cucumber dip to a whole new level with a few extra additions. So after sharing it into small bowls, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle dried mint, red pepper flakes and sumac on it. Serve immediately.
- You can use strained yogurt for a thicker dip and plain regular yogurt for a thinner dip. You will need a little more water to dilute strained yogurt if you want a soup like consistency. No need for water if you are happy with a thick result. The consistency really depends on your preference.
- There is no need to peel cucumbers or to remove the seeds inside. They are not bothering at all.
- If you want to make it vegan, use your favorite plat-based yogurt. Just make sure it is not flavored.
- You can always taste and adjust the amount of salt or garlic. Make sure you mix it well if you make any additions.
- Keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. Give it a good stir before serving. you can add more yogurt and/or cucumbers if needed.
If you make it in the form of a thick yogurt cucumber dip, serve it as a meze with breads like pide bread, lavash bread or Turkish flat bread. You can also pair it with other meze dishes like eggplant salad, baba ganoush and acili ezme. All these are served together at local Adana kebab restaurants.
If you make it in the form of a cold soup, serve it in small individual bowls and spoons. It is traditional to serve delicious dishes like beef stew, stuffed peppers (biber dolma) or Turkish style green beans with a bowl of fresh cacık.
It is known as suzme yogurt, which means strained yogurt. And it is way thicker than the ones sold under the name 'Greek style yogurt' in the US or Europe.
It lasts 2-3 days, but it won't be as tasty as when it is freshly made. It is better to make it in small batches so that you won't have any leftovers.
We don't recommend that. Cucumbers in the yogurt become mushy and watery when thawed. So it tastes much better when fresh.
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!
Cacik (Turkish Yogurt Sauce)
A super refreshing yogurt dip with cucumber and dried mint called cacik. Perfect to serve with meat dishes and vegetarian dishes.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Mixing
- Cuisine: Turkish
- Diet: Low Calorie
- 1 cup strained yogurt (or 1 and ½ cups homemade yogurt)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- ¼ cup cold water
- 1 clove garlic,mashed
- ½ cup cucumbers
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- In a large bowl whisk together yogurt, salt and dried mint.
- Pour cold water into it and mix well.
- Add in mashed garlic, mix well.
- Add in chopped cucumbers and give it a good stir until everything is combined.
- Share it into small bowls.
For the optional topping:
- Drizzle olive oil.
- Sprinkle dried mint, sumac and red pepper flakes.
- Serve cold.
You can use strained yogurt for a thicker dip and plain regular yogurt for a thinner dip. You will need a little more water to dilute strained yogurt if you want a soup like consistency. No need for water if you are happy with a thick result. The consistency really depends on your preference.
There is no need to peel cucumbers or to remove the seeds inside. They are not bothering at all.
If you want to make it vegan, use your favorite plat-based yogurt. Just make sure it is not flavored.
You can always taste and adjust the amount of salt or garlic. Make sure you mix it well if you make any additions.
Keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. Give it a good stir before serving. you can add more yogurt and/or cucumbers if needed.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 102
- Sugar: 3.1 g
- Sodium: 316.6 mg
- Fat: 7.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 3.6 g
- Protein: 6.5 g
- Cholesterol: 9.3 mg
Keywords: cacik, Turkish cacik, cacik recipe, Turkish cucumber dip, Turkish yogurt dip