Souvlaki vs Gyro

Souvlaki and gyros are probably familiar to anyone who enjoys Greek food. These two dishes are frequently compared to one another because of their similarities, yet they also have clear distinctions that separate them. We’ll examine the distinctions between souvlaki and gyro, their preparation, and which one you might prefer in this article.

tasty greek gyros with fries with feta cheese and tzattziki sauce

Small chunks of meat, usually lamb, chicken, or hog, are marinated and grilled on skewers to make souvlaki, a traditional Greek dish.

On a platter, the meat is frequently accompanied by veggies, pita bread, and a side of tzatziki sauce.

A vertical rotisserie is used to cook the meat for a gyro, which is then created by shaving off the cooked meat just before serving.

Typically, it comes with tzatziki sauce, vegetables, and a pita.

Both recipes contain comparable ingredients, but what distinguishes them is how they are prepared and served.

Understanding Souvlaki

Souvlaki is a terrific choice if you’re seeking for a delicious Greek cuisine to try.

Fried souvlaki, greek salad and tzatziki on wooden table

This meal is created with grilled skewers of marinated meat, usually lamb, chicken, or pork. In Greece, souvlaki is a frequent restaurant dish as well as a popular street meal.

The method of cooking the meat in souvlaki and gyros is one of their main distinctions.

Gyros are cooked on a rotating spit, whereas souvlaki is served on skewers.

Normally, the meat for souvlaki is cut into bite-sized pieces, but the meat for gyros is thinly sliced.

In addition to pita bread, tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki sauce, souvlaki is frequently offered.

Tzatziki is a yogurt-based sauce with dill, cucumber, and garlic flavors. It is a cool addition to grilled meat.

A dish as adaptable as souvlaki can be made to your preferences. You can add various veggies or sauces along with various meats, such as beef or shrimp.

It’s a fantastic choice for a quick and simple lunch or a tasty appetizer to enjoy with friends.

In conclusion, souvlaki is a tasty and filling dish that is sure to please. If you’ve never had Greek food before or are an experienced fan, souvlaki is a must-try.

Understanding Gyro

You’ve probably seen or eaten a gyro if you’ve ever visited a Greek restaurant or food truck. However, just what is a gyro?

Greek gyros wrapped in pita breads on a wooden background

A gyro is a traditional Greek dish made with meat that has been cooked on a vertical rotisserie and then sliced into thin pieces.

The meat used is commonly lamb, chicken, or beef. Tzatziki, a creamy yogurt-based sauce, tomatoes, onions, and meat are typically served on warm pita bread.

The Middle Eastern shawarma and the Mexican al pastor, both of which are prepared on spinning spits, are comparable to gyros.

The word “gyro” is derived from the Greek word for “turn” or “revolution,” which alludes to the manner in which the meat is prepared.

Before being skewered and cooked, the meat used in a gyro is often marinated in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and various herbs and spices.

The meat’s exterior crisps up and caramelizes as it spins on the spit, but the interior remains moist and tender.

Greek street food favorites gyros have spread over the world and are now a mainstay of the cuisine.

They are a tasty and practical lunch that can be consumed while sitting down or while on the go.

Comparing Souvlaki and Gyro

Souvlaki and gyros are two Greek foods that are sometimes confused with one another.

meat skewer with herbs, lime and pita bread

Although they have certain similarities and are both tasty, the two dishes are not the same.

We shall contrast the similarities and differences between souvlaki and gyros in this part.


The method of preparation for souvlaki and gyros is one of their key contrasts.

Meat that has been marinated and skewered for grilling is known as souvlaki.

In contrast, the same meats are used to make gyros, but they are stacked on a vertical rotisserie and cooked more slowly.

The meat is then removed from the rotisserie and put on the plate.

Serving Style

Their presentation is another contrast between souvlaki and gyros. Small slices of meat called souvlaki are typically served on skewers with veggies or pita bread.

The meat for a gyro, on the other hand, is shaved from a rotisserie and served in a pita bread with vegetables and sauces.


Gyros and souvlaki both use comparable meats in their preparation, but they have significantly different flavor profiles.

To give souvlaki a tangy and fresh flavor, it is frequently marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs.

Contrarily, gyros are frequently spiced with a mixture that includes oregano, thyme, and rosemary to give them a more savory and earthy flavor.

Nutritional Value

Both souvlaki and gyros can be nutritious choices if made properly in terms of preparation.

Because souvlaki is served in smaller servings and isn’t cooked in oil, it often has fewer calories and fat than gyros.

However, using thinner meat cuts and including a lot of veggies can make gyros a healthier protein source.

Overall, despite certain similarities, souvlaki and gyros are separate foods with different preparation techniques, serving ways, and flavor characteristics.

Both dishes are delectable and well worth trying, whether you favor the acidic and fresh flavor of souvlaki or the savory and earthy flavor of gyro.

Choosing Between Souvlaki and Gyro

Your particular taste preferences and dietary constraints will ultimately determine which dish you prefer, souvlaki or gyro.

greek lamb meat gyros with tzatziki sauce, feta cheese and french fries

But there are some significant distinctions between the two recipes that could influence your choice.


Traditionally, souvlaki is made from marinated meat that is cooked on skewers and is usually hog, chicken, or lamb.

However, the same meats are used to make gyros, which are gently cooked after being placed on a vertical rotisserie.

After that, the meat is removed and put into pita bread.

Serving Style

Individual meat skewers called souvlaki are typically served with Greek salad, pita bread, and tzatziki sauce as sides.

The meat, onions, tomatoes, and tzatziki sauce from a gyro, on the other hand, are typically served as a sandwich inside of pita bread.

Flavor Profile

Because of the direct heat from the skewers, souvlaki frequently tastes more like it has been grilled.

The meat gains a depth of flavor from the marinade as well. The meat in gyros, on the other hand, is roasted slowly on a rotisserie, giving it a more delicate flavor.

The meat’s seasoning and spices also add to the overall flavor profile.

Nutritional Information

Both souvlaki and gyros are high in protein, however the amount of protein in each dish depends on the type of meat used and the portion size.

Compared to chicken, which is a leaner alternative, pork and lamb are often heavier in fat and calories.

A dish of souvlaki skewers may be smaller than a gyro sandwich in terms of size.

Overall, gyro and souvlaki are both delectable Greek foods with distinctive flavors and textures.

Either the slow-cooked tenderness of gyro or the flavor of souvlaki from direct grilling are worth tasting.

Souvlaki and gyros are two fantastic options if you want to prepare a delicious Greek dinner at home.

souvlaki or souvlakia greek traditional meat food preperation on the grill

You might try the following dishes that are popular:

Souvlaki Recipes

  1. Chicken Souvlaki: This classic recipe features marinated chicken skewers that are grilled to perfection. Serve with pita bread and tzatziki sauce for a delicious meal. [1]
  2. Pork Souvlaki: Another traditional souvlaki recipe, this one uses marinated pork instead of chicken. Serve with a side of Greek salad for a complete meal. [2]
  3. Shrimp Souvlaki: For a seafood twist on souvlaki, try this recipe featuring marinated shrimp skewers. Serve with a side of rice pilaf for a tasty and filling meal. [1]

Gyro Recipes

  1. Chicken Gyro: This recipe features marinated chicken that is cooked on a rotisserie and then thinly sliced. Serve with pita bread, tzatziki sauce, and sliced tomatoes for a classic gyro sandwich. [3]
  2. Lamb Gyro: Another classic gyro recipe, this one uses marinated lamb that is cooked on a rotisserie and then thinly sliced. Serve with pita bread, tzatziki sauce, and sliced onions for a delicious meal. [4]
  3. Vegetarian Gyro: For a vegetarian twist on gyro, try this recipe featuring grilled vegetables and feta cheese. Serve with pita bread and tzatziki sauce for a tasty meal. [3]

These dishes will definitely sate your need for delectable Greek food, whether you love souvlaki or gyros.

Try them out to choose which one you like most.

Frequently Asked Questions

Gyros souvlaki wrapped in a pita bread on a wooden background

What is souvlaki?

Souvlaki is a popular Greek dish consisting of marinated meat (usually pork, chicken, or lamb) skewered and grilled over an open flame. The meat is often served with pita bread, tzatziki sauce, and a variety of vegetables.

What is gyro?

Gyro is another popular Greek dish that consists of meat (usually lamb, beef, or chicken) cooked on a vertical rotisserie and shaved off the spit as it cooks. The meat is typically served in a pita with tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki sauce.

What is the difference between souvlaki and gyro?

The main difference between souvlaki and gyro is the way the meat is cooked. Souvlaki is cooked on a skewer over an open flame, while gyro is cooked on a vertical rotisserie. Additionally, souvlaki is typically served in a pita with vegetables and tzatziki sauce, while gyro is served in a pita with tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki sauce.

Can you make souvlaki and gyro at home?

Yes, you can make both souvlaki and gyro at home. There are many recipes available online that show you how to make both dishes from scratch. However, it’s important to note that making gyro at home can be challenging as it requires a special rotisserie machine to cook the meat.

Which is healthier: souvlaki or gyro?

Both souvlaki and gyro can be part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation. However, gyro tends to be higher in fat and calories due to the way the meat is cooked. If you’re looking for a healthier option, consider ordering souvlaki with grilled vegetables instead of a pita and fries.

Which is more popular: souvlaki or gyro?

Both souvlaki and gyro are popular Greek dishes, but their popularity can vary depending on the region. In Greece, souvlaki is often considered a fast food staple, while gyro is more commonly found in restaurants. In other parts of the world, gyro tends to be more well-known than souvlaki.

Greek chicken souvlaki with tzatziki sauce and fresh vegetables, grilled kebabs

Key Takeaways

  • Souvlaki is made with marinated and grilled meat on skewers, while gyro is made with meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie and shaved off.
  • Souvlaki is typically served on a plate with vegetables and pita bread, while gyro is served in a pita with vegetables and tzatziki sauce.
  • The choice between souvlaki and gyro ultimately comes down to personal preference.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.