How To Make Gyros From Scratch


I feel dirty.

I made gyros with fresh lamb tenderloins instead of processed mechanically separated and formed meat product. They’re probably more like the traditional Greek version, instead of the Americanized fast-food version I’m used to. No, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Problem is, while I was eating them I couldn’t help thinking, “Boy, I’ll bet this would be good if I processed it into that lamb loaf stuff.” If you needed a license to call yourself a foodie, mine would be revoked for admitting that.

No use fighting it. I’m going to have to bust out the meat grinder and do some processing.


1/2 medium onion
1 pound lamb tenderloin
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper


Before I get started I’ll just point out that this is the exact same recipe you’d use to make the processed version. I’ll describe how to do that near the end.

Dice the onion very fine. Check out the pico de gallo recipe for some tips on doing the onions.

Strip the rosemary leaves from the stems and chop them very fine.

Peel the garlic and mince it — that means dice very fine.

Slice the tenderloins across the grain in thin slices and add salt and pepper.

Combine the onion, herbs and garlic.

Add the lamb and mix.

Heat a few tablespoons of oil (I’m using olive pomace oil) over high heat.

Add the lamb mixture and stir or toss until the meat is browned

Serve in a pita pocket with tzatziki sauce, onions, tomato and feta cheese.

And that’s it.

I promised I’d tell you how to do the processed lamb, didn’t I? Okay, after mixing the meat into the onion and herbs, put it all in a food processor. Keep pulsing it until you have a smooth (but not too smooth) paste. Transfer the paste to a loaf pan and bake at 350° until it reaches an internal temperature of 150°.

Then — now this will sound strange, but go with it — wrap a brick with aluminum foil. Put the brick on top of the meat to press it down and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan, allow to rest for 5 minutes, then slice.


  1. Looks absolutely amazing…thanks for the added bonus of processing directions!

  2. Yum. Except we didn’t get the tenderloin as a separate cut on our lambs. And we don’t have any cucumbers. And I’m too lazy to make my own pitas. So I’ll just drool over your pictures. And add this to the list of things you can make for me if you ever visit.

  3. Meg, as soon as we’re ready to deal with tzatziki breath again, I’ll be doing that one.

    Kristin, are you saying you make your own yogurt? No? Then you do go to the store. They have cucumbers there, you know. And, unless it’s too exotic for upstate New York, they’ve probably got pitas, too.

    As far as using the tenderloins, I’m sure you can get away with pretty much any cut as long as you slice thin enough for it to not be tough.

    (And thank you for not pointing out the typo, which I fixed.)

  4. Oh wow, those look awesome. As much as I love the processed lamb loaf, I bet this was better.

  5. Sweet Bird says:

    When you’re doing the processed style I’d recommend using two bricks and doubling your spices. The first time I made gyros, using pretty much the method you explained for processed, it was bland and not nearly compact enough. The second time I put in way more spices than I thought necessary and really weighted it down a lot and it was perfect. But now I wanna try it with lamb tenderloin….

  6. I really wish I could like lamb. It’s such a beautiful meat! But my taste buds have failed to mature where lamb, liver and game meats are concerned! Just can’t do it! But the recipe “sounds” wonderful!

  7. Bob, only one way to know for sure: side-by-side comparison.

    Sweet Bird, thanks for the tip. Although my collection of bricks is actually salvaged cobblestone pavers, so they’re quite a bit larger and heavier than regular bricks.

    Barbara, I don’t believe in “acquired tastes”. As long as there’s anything in the world I haven’t tried yet, why would I waste a meal trying to like something? I’d rather have a bologna sandwich than try one more time to appreciate caviar.

  8. rubybean77 says:

    Sure is a good thing there aren’t any angry Greeks out there to comment on your post this time. LOL! I LOVE your blog and I love lamb. I’m not sure I’d have the patience to make the ‘processed’ stuff. I’m drooling and I already ate dinner.

  9. Heh, this one I’m actually guessing Greeks would be happier with than the usual American version. I’ll annoy them with the next version when I process it.

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  11. Good Lord, where has this blog been hiding?! I love gyros so much, man it would be awesome to make these, thanks!

  12. Been hiding right here, and not planning on going anywhere soon.

  13. Absolutely brilliant recipe! One question: can I substitute ground lamb for the tenderloin?

  14. Mark, the original recipe actually called for ground lamb. So yes, it’ll work just fine.

  15. Non-pocket Pita
    1/2 Lamb and 1/2 Beef (or all lamb)
    Shredded Lettuce
    Chopped Onion
    Sour Cream
    Salt, Pepper, Garlic to taste. (all optional, of course)

    That’s my Gyro, I love the Sour Cream! 😀

  16. Jeff, if you want to tell the real Greeks that you’re not using any tzatziki sauce, go ahead. I’m going to say it’s officially “not optional”. Officially.

  17. Karl Plesz says:

    Drew, you are an evil, evil man. And of course I mean that in the nicest way possible.

    I cannot believe the amazing recipes that are on this blog. Gyros? French onion soup? Pecan pie? Apple crisp? Mac n cheese? Creamy cheesecake?

    You and I like a lot of the same kinds of food and it is presented so well. Keep up the good work Drew. Now excuse me while I wipe up all of this drool.

  18. Karl, make sure you're not leaning over your keyboard when you drool. They're a pain to clean out.

  19. looks really good, I am going to try to make it — but how did you make the bread to put the lamb and everything in.

  20. Jolie, click the link for the pita pockets.

  21. Wow! These instructions couldn’t have been written any better! The pictures look great!
    – Bella from Westchester

  22. Monique says:

    Drew, this is going to help me out so much. You make this so much more simpler than the other websites I’ve been to. Thank you!

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