German gyros or doner kebab recipe, probably the most popular street food in Germany. You will love this easy homemade version.
German-Style Gyros Recipe
OK, so probably the currywurst is the only street food here more popular than the German gyros, but otherwise, I can’t think of anything else.
Flatbread filled with spicy meat strips, either pork, lamb, turkey or chicken, lots of onions, cabbage, and tzatziki sauce. So good!
You will be able to buy at every street corner in Germany, so to say. For instance, there is nothing around here where I live, just some small villages and two supermarkets, but there are two places selling gyros or doner. They have exactly the same menu, everything tastes, looks and costs the same, but obviously they both have enough customers that have been keeping them in business for years.
And considering that the gyros is street food or fast food, it is rather healthy actually. When made with chicken or turkey breast, it has less fat and calories than most other fast foods.
Gyros or Doner?
I’ve always wanted to know what was the difference between a gyros and a döner. You can eat one in the Greek restaurants and the other in the Turkish ones. Both taste great, but are quite similar, so I wondered.
I read a little and found out that both are actually quite the same thing, that is pieces of meat placed on a vertical rotisserie, which turns slowly in front of an electric broiler.
So, can you actually make a gyros or a doner at home? Definitely! Just cut your meat in fine slices, marinate them for a while and cook them in a pan. Wonderful!
What kind of meat do you need?
- For a German gyros (the Greek style) you can use any meat you like, including pork.
- For a German döner (the Turkish style) you will forget the pork and use lamb, turkey, or chicken. I’ve never had a beef gyro or döner, I am not even sure if beef is an option. The most common döner you will find around here is made with turkey. Because too many German people don’t eat lamb, turkey is fine for everyone.
- I used two kinds of meat to make today’s German gyros: pork and turkey, so pork for the gyros and turkey for the döner one could say :). Take what you like best, both versions taste great and there is no difference in preparing them.
- We stuffed the meat into thick Turkish flatbread wedges, which are available anywhere around here.
- They are very large and I could get four bread pockets out of one bread.
- Alternatively, you can use the thinner flatbread sold in Oriental shops.
- Pita breads are also a good option.
The German gyros spice mix and marinade is very flavorful and easy to put together. You will need:
- Sweet paprika powder
- Ground cumin
- Ground coriander
- Cayenne pepper (to taste)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Dried herbs like oregano, thyme, marjoram, rosemary
- Lemon juice
- Olive oil
- Finely shredded red cabbage
- Tomato slices
- Onion slices
- Homemade tzatziki
How to make?
- Thinly slice the meat. (1)
- Place it in a bowl, add all the spices, grated garlic, and the onions half rings. Pour in the lemon juice and olive oil. (2)
- Mix everything very well, massage the meat well using your hands. Leave to marinate for several hours in the fridge. Give it at least 1 hour, preferably 3-4. (3)
- Once ready to serve, stir fry the meat in a large cast-iron skillet or non-stick pan until brown. Do that in several batches, if necessary, you should not overcrowd the pan. (4 and 5)
- Add salt to taste. (6)
- While the meat marinates, you can prepare the sauce.
- Roughly grate the cucumber, place it in a colander, sprinkle with a tablespoon of salt, and leave to drain for about 30 minutes.
- Place them in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze as much water out of it as you can. (1,2,3,4)
- Place in a bowl, add the yogurt, lemon juice, grated garlic cloves, dill, salt, and pepper. (5)
- Mix well. (6)
- While the meat cooks heat the bread wedges or the flatbread in the oven, a few minutes will be enough.
- Split the wedges to obtain bread pockets.
- Finely shred the cabbage and slice the onions and tomatoes.
Assemble the gyros:
- Toast the bread in the oven and cut it into wedges. (1)
- Smear with tzatziki. (2)
- Fill with meat. (3)
- Add tomatoes and onions. (4)
- Add red cabbage. (5)
- Add more sauce. (6)
- And if you like things hot, do sprinkle some red hot chili flakes inside your gyros as well.
More street food?
German Gyros (or Döner Kebab)
- 1 lb turkey breast See note
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika powder
- 3 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
- ½ dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon coriander
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 medium onion
- juice of ½ lemon
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- fine sea salt
- 1 cucumber
- 1 lb Greek yogurt
- juice of ½ lemon
- 4-5 garlic cloves
- a bunch of dill
- salt and pepper
- ½ red cabbage finely shredded
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- a pinch of fine sea salt
- black pepper
- 1 flatbread
- 2 tomatoes sliced
- 1 onion sliced
Marinate the meat:
- Slice the meat into very thin slices, about 4-5 cm/ 1.5-2 inches long, and place them in a large, non-reactive bowl.
- Marinate: Add all the spices. Grate the garlic cloves and slice the onion into thin half-rings. Add them to the meat together with the lemon juice and olive oil. Do not add any salt at this stage, salt the meat after cooking it. Mix well and place the bowl in the fridge. Leave the meat to marinate for at least 1 hour, but preferably for several hours.
- Roughly grate the cucumber (large side of the box grater). Place in a colander, sprinkle with a tablespoon of salt and leave to drain for about 30 minutes. Place in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze as much water out of it as you can.Mix the cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice, grated garlic cloves and finely chopped dill in a bowl. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cook meat: Heat a large cast-iron skillet or non-stick pan and cook the meat on high heat until browned and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes, but check. Salt the meat to taste. Don't overcrowd the pan, if it is too small, it is preferable to fry the meat in two batches.
- Heat bread: In the meantime, place the flatbread in the hot oven and heat for about 2-3 minutes until heated through and lightly crisp on top. Take it out and quarter it. Cut each piece horizontally (don't cut through) to obtain a pocket.
- Cabbage: Finely slice the red cabbage and place it in a bowl. Add some salt and knead the cabbage for a minute or so to soften it. Add the olive oil, some pepper, and more salt, if necessary. Mix well.
- Slice the onions and tomatoes.Smear the inside of the bread with some tzatziki, add some onion and tomato slices, some shredded red cabbage, and the meat. Serve with more tzatziki and vegetables on the side.