Haydari is a popular Turkish yogurt sauce or dip made from plain yogurt mixed with fresh herbs, salt and feta cheese. Taking less than 10 minutes to make, it is a cooling and refreshing sauce to serve as part of a Turkish meze, or alongside grilled meats and vegetables.
What is Haydari?
Haydari is a well known and much loved Turkish mezze dish. This yogurt dip is traditionally made with a strained yogurt called süzme. Eaten as a meze with pita bread, it is also delicious served with kababs and grilled meats.
Haydari vs Tzatziki
Tzatziki is made with salted grated cucumber, and lemon juice which are added to the yogurt base. Haydari does not contain cucumber and is thicker and saltier than tzatziki. If you wanted a more tzatziki like dip then I would suggest making the Turkish version of tzatziki, known as ‘cacik’ (or try this delicious Persian yogurt cucumber dip).
Why we love this recipe
- So quick and easy to make – you can whip it up in less than 10 minutes.
- A simple recipe – mash the feta, chop the herbs, and mix togther!
- This yogurt sauce recipe is so versatile – you can use it as a dip or sauce, with meat, fish and vegetables.
Ingredient notes and substitutions
- Plain Greek yogurt – traditionally, haydari is made with a very thick Turkish yogurt called süzme. You can use labneh if you are able to buy or make it, or you can strain plain yogurt, but I find thick Greek yogurt works really well in this recipe.
- Fresh dill – fresh dill adds a slightly aniseed taste. If you don’t have dill you can leave it out.
- Fresh mint – fresh mint brings a freshness to the Turkish dip, but you can use a small pinch of dried mint if you don’t have fresh mint.
- Feta cheese – traditionally made with Turkish white cheese, feta cheese is a good substitute. Greek feta, made with sheeps milk and sometimes a little goats milk, is the best type of feta to use in this recipe.
- Garlic – fresh garlic. I use a small clove as we are not massive raw garlic fans, but you can use a large clove if you love garlic.
- EVOO – use a good olive oil.
- Salt – use sea salt or kosher salt.
How to make haydari sauce from scratch
(These images are to guide you, for full detailed recipe, please see recipe card below.)
- Mash the feta cheese with a fork.
- Add the crushed garlic and salt and mix.
- Add the olive oil.
- Spoon in the Greek yogurt.
- Add the chopped fresh dill and fresh mint.
- Stir well to combine.
Haydari is thick, salty and creamy from feta and yogurt, but with a freshness from the fresh mint, aniseedy dill, and a hit of spice from raw garlic.
You want to use a thick yogurt to replicate the thick Turkish yogurt called süzme, which is traditionally used. To achieve this thick texture you will have to strain plain yogurt overnight, or use thick Greek yogurt.
My recipe tips
- Be generous with salt, this transforms the dip as it brings out the savoury notes from the yogurt. The feta adds some saltiness to the dip, but some extra salt is needed.
- The dip is best made with strained yogurt, but you can use thick Greek yogurt.
Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, fresh herbs or olive oil (or a combination), or serve the haydari with chopped walnuts.
- Serve as part of a Turkish meze, with ezme (Turkish pepper salad), kisir (Turkish bulgar salad), Turkish onions, flatbreads, olives and feta cheese.
- Fridge: Haydari will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days
- Freezer: I do not recommend freezing this yogurt dip.
Ideas for leftover yogurt sauce
- This feta yogurt sauce is delicious on grilled or poached salmon.
- Use as a Turkish sauce on kababs, or grilled meats or fish.
- Dollop a spoonful on to hot jacket potatoes.
- Stir through cold cooked potatoes to make delicious potato salad.
Why not try…
You may also like these other family friendly mezze recipes:
- 15g (½ oz) feta cheese
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 250g (1 c) Plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh mint finely chopped (approx 5 leaves)
- 3 teaspoons fresh dill finely chopped (1 large stalk)
- In a medium bowl mash the feta cheese with a fork.
- Add the crushed garlic and mash into the feta.
- Mix in the yogurt, salt, olive oil, fresh dill and mint and mix to combine.
- Chill until needed.
- To serve, drizzle with a little more olive oil and a few sprigs of dill and some mint leaves.
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