Beef Gyros

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Beef Gyros start with charred pita bread and are topped with succulent and tender shredded beef. The beef is topped with veggies and the best tzatziki sauce.

Try some of our other Gyro recipes next — these Chicken Gyros or Steak Gyros are both very popular!

Beef Gyros can pass as a complete meal, but if you want even more veggies, try this Greek Salad on the side or this Orzo Pasta Salad would also be great.

 

Overhead view of Beef Gyro on a pita bread.

Beef Gyros

It’s taken a bit of testing to get these Beef Gyros right, but it has been worth it. These gyros are downright delicious!

While there is a bit of prep required, the slow cooker does most of the work, leaving you with the most tender and flavorful beef. It’s the perfect thing to load into a charred pita and top with fresh veggies and our favorite tzatziki sauce. 

Below I’ll break down all the components for this meal, including tips and tricks. I also share some great ways to re-purpose leftover beef!

Process shots: seasoning the beef roast; searing it in a pan with oil.

Beef Gyros: The Beef

  • While not absolutely necessary, searing the beef before adding it to the slow cooker adds layers of flavor. To get a good sear, heat a cast iron skillet to high heat and add the beef. Don’t touch or move it until it releases easily from the pan, about 4-5 minutes per side. Once the roast is nicely seared with a good crust, it’s ready to go in the slow cooker.
  • Season generously. Before searing the beef, pat it dry with paper towels and then generously season all the sides with salt and pepper. You don’t need to trim the fat before searing the beef or adding it to the slow cooker; it will add flavor to the meat and render nicely once the roast is cooked. If your beef has a fat cap, place that cap facing up so the fat can drip down and flavor the meat as it cooks.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes with herbs: These are my current fave sun-dried tomatoes. They’re sliced (julienne cut) and packed with herbs and olive oil. They add a lot to the beef in these gyros, while keeping the ingredient list shorter. Plus, you don’t need to chop them since they’re already cut. To infuse the meat with even more flavor, we use the oil surrounding these sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Good tomatoes make a big difference in these Beef Gyros.
    • I highly recommend San Marzano® or Muir Glen® fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
    • Why fire-roasted tomatoes? When tomatoes are charred over a flame before being crushed (or diced) and canned, the contact with that flame brings out the tomato’s sweetness and gives a distinct smoky flavor. It’s a great way to get more flavor without any extra work.
  • Finish with some acid. Once the beef is cooked and shredded, taste and adjust the beef’s seasoning adding any additional salt or pepper as needed. We also like finishing it off with some freshly squeezed lemon juice– which I highly recommend.

QUICK TIP

What are Herbes de Provence? They are a mixture of dried herbs which can be found with other dried herbs and seasoning blends in your grocery store (usually by Italian seasoning). This blend of spices often contains savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and oregano.

Process shots: prep onion and garlic; saute; add everything to the slow cooker; mix to combine; add seared beef; top with onions and garlic.

Beef Gyro Salad Topping

We top these gyros with a simple Israeli salad, which might sound like a lot of additional prep, but the salad is so simple with just four main ingredients (cucumber, tomato, red onion, and parsley) and then an equally simple four-ingredient dressing.

This salad adds some much-needed freshness, crunchiness, and lightness to complement the richness of the beef.

Below are a few quick tips:

  • If you don’t like the bite of raw red onions, soak the diced onions in some cold water with a pinch of salt. Drain thoroughly and then add to the salad for toned-down onions. If you don’t like red onions at all, feel free to leave them out.
  • Regular cucumbers don’t work as well. They don’t have enough flavor and are too watery. Stick to an English cucumber or Persian cucumbers (Persian cucumbers are sometimes labeled as mini/salad cucumbers).
  • Make sure to get flat-leaf Italian parsley, as opposed to curly for this recipe. Flat-leaf parsley has a more robust flavor and curly parsley is used more commonly as a garnish.

Process shots: mix shredded beef in with the liquids; add beef mixture to the charred pitas; make the veggie salad; spoon salad over beef; add tzatziki sauce.

Pita Bread

I can’t recommend enough the warming/charring of the pita bread before serving these Beef Gyros! Not only do they become more pliable, they’re also far more flavorful after being charred.

To char pita bread: Spray both sides of the pita bread with olive oil cooking spray and “grill” the bread on the stovetop over the open flame (medium-low heat) until slightly charred, flipping with tongs as needed, about 10-15 seconds per side. Alternatively, warm (covered with a damp paper towel) in the microwave.

We’ve used whole wheat and white pita bread in this recipe and honestly love both. 

Overhead of the fully loaded Beef Gyro, ready to fold and eat.

Tzatziki Sauce

The sauce on these Beef Gyros is our all-time favorite! I like making it in advance (when preparing the meat to go in the slow cooker) because it becomes more flavorful as it sits in the fridge, plus, it makes dinner assembly that much quicker.

A few quick tips:

  • Make sure to use good full-fat, plain Greek yogurt.  If it’s vanilla flavored, the sauce won’t taste too good. We want a full-fat yogurt to avoid a watery sauce. We love Greek God’s® plain Greek yogurt in the sauce.
  • Squeeze liquid out of the cucumber. Cucumber has a very high water content and will water down the sauce or make it bland. Wring out excess liquid a few times with paper towels or cheesecloth before adding to the sauce.
  • Real lemon: Bottled lemon juice won’t quite cut it here, because the sauce relies on the zest of the lemon. When zesting the lemon, avoid the white pith of the lemon — this is very bitter. Using a microplane (like this one), zest only the very outside yellow part of the lemon.

View of the folded Beef Gyro, showing the tzatziki sauce, salad and meat.

Leftover Beef

And one of the best things about this recipe is the yield on the beef — you’ll have plenty to last for a couple of meals. While you can certainly use all the beef in making Beef Gyros, we like having one meal of gyros and then re-purposing the leftover beef for unique meals throughout the week. Here are a few ideas:

  • Mediterranean loaded sweet potatoes: Top baked sweet potatoes with leftover beef and more tzatziki sauce.
  • Beef street tacos: Char some corn tortillas, load them up with leftover beef, and top them with sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese. (Or give these a try!)
  • Mediterranean beef pasta: Prepare pappardelle pasta noodles and toss with leftover beef (emulsify the pasta with reserved pasta water and leftover beef; for more in-depth directions, check out this Beef Ragu post.)

More slow cooker recipes:

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Beef Gyros

5 from 1 vote
Beef Gyros start with charred pita bread, and get topped with succulent and tender shredded beef. The beef is topped with veggies and the best tzatziki sauce.
Print Recipe

Beef Gyros

5 from 1 vote
Beef Gyros start with charred pita bread, and get topped with succulent and tender shredded beef. The beef is topped with veggies and the best tzatziki sauce.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Greek, Mediterranean
Keyword beef gyros
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 9 hours
Servings 6 -8 gyros (See Note 2)
Calories 650kcal
Cost $16.21

Equipment

  • 6 quart slow cooker

Ingredients

Beef

  • 1/3 cup (56g) sundried tomatoes packed in oil (See Note 1)
  • 2.5 pounds beef chuck roast
  • Fine sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (124g) diced yellow onion
  • 10 garlic cloves coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Herbs de Provence
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon EACH: dried oregano, dried parsley, beef bouillion powder
  • 1 can (6 oz. 170g) tomato paste
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.; 411g) fire-roasted crushed tomatoes (we love Muir Glen)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf

Sauce (See Note 2)

  • 1/2 cup (58g) grated Persian or English cucumber
  • 1/2 cup (107g) full-fat plain Greek yogurt (we love Greek Gods)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 large lemon (1/2 teaspoon zest and 1 tablespoon juice)
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Salad (See Note 2)

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (211g) Persian cucumbers (~2 cucumbers)
  • 1 cup (157g) cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup (15g) parsley
  • 3 tablespoon (27g) diced red onion
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

Serving

  • 6-8 Pita bread
  • Optional: Fresh parsley and lemon wedges

Instructions

  • CHUCK ROAST PREP: Pat roast all over with paper towel to dry. No need to remove any fat from the roast. Generously season on all sides with salt and pepper (I use 2 teaspoons fine sea salt and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pepper for a 2.5-pound roast.). Spray a 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick spray.
  • SLOW COOKER: While searing the roast (see next step), add everything to the prepared slow cooker: 2 tablespoons Herbs de Provence, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano, 1/2 tablespoon dried parsley, 1/2 tablespoon beef bouillon powder, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, and 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (use a fork to pull them from the jar and measure). Stir everything together in the slow cooker and press into one even layer before adding in the roast.
  • SEAR ROAST: Warm 2 tablespoons of the oil surrounding the sun-dried tomatoes (or regular olive oil) in a large Dutch oven (or oven-safe heavy-bottomed skillet/pot) over medium-high heat. Once you can feel the heat when you hold your hand 6 inches above the pot, place the seasoned chuck roast in the pan. Brown the beef about 4-5 minutes per side. (To get a good sear, let the beef cook without being turned; it will release easily once it's seared). Don't skip this step--we are adding layers of flavor here. Once the roast is nicely seared with a good crust, remove it from the skillet and place it in your slow cooker on top of the tomato and seasoning mixture (if there is a fat cap, place the cap facing up so fat can drip down and flavor the roast). Add in the bay leaf.
  • ONIONS AND GARLIC: Allow the skillet used for the beef to cool for about 5 minutes after removing the beef from it. Then return it to medium high heat and add another 2 tablespoons of the oil surrounding the tomatoes (or regular olive oil). Add in the diced onion and minced garlic. Stir and cook until tender, scraping up any bits left from the meat off the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes. Pour this mixture, scraping every bit from the pan, over the roast in the slow cooker. Gently spoon the cooking liquid over the beef. Cover, and cook on low for 7-9 hours (8 hours is perfect in my slow cooker). Once the beef is cooked through (and shreds easily), remove the beef to a plate. Scrape off any fat cap if there is one and use two forks to shred the beef and then return it to the slow cooker. Stir the liquid left in the slow cooker. Return the shredded beef into the sauce in the slow cooker and gently stir. Turn the slow cooker to warm. Season beef to taste with salt and pepper. Add freshly squeezed lemon if desired-- we like 1-3 tablespoons (taste and add to personal preference).
  • TZATZIKI: I like to prepare this sauce when starting the beef so it has a chance to get more flavorful before serving! Grate a cucumber with the large holes of a cheese grater. Line a small bowl with a few paper towels (or a clean kitchen towel) and place the grated cucumber on top. Squeeze out as much extra moisture as you can from the cucumber (to keep the sauce from being watery). Once it's drained, add to a medium-sized bowl. Add in the 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 and 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste (I add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper). Cover the bowl and place in the fridge until ready to serve.
  • SALAD: In a medium-sized bowl, combine the cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley, and red onion. In a small bowl, stir together the lemon juice, oil, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste (I add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper). Whisk with a fork. Drizzle dressing over vegetables and stir to coat.
  • CHAR PITA BREAD: Spray both sides of the pita bread with olive oil cooking spray and "grill" the bread on the stovetop over an open flame (on medium heat) until slightly charred, about 10-15 seconds per side (flip with tongs). Immediately fold in half after being charred and cover with a clean towel until ready to serve. Alternatively, warm (covered with a damp paper towel) in the microwave.
  • ASSEMBLY: Set everything out: grilled/warmed pita, sauce, and veggies. Use tongs to grab meat from the slow cooker and top the charred/warmed pita bread with. Top with veggies and drizzle tzatziki sauce on top. Enjoy immediately, garnished with additional parsley if desired. Serve with lemon wedges and drizzle lemon on before enjoying!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: These are the sun-dried tomatoes used in this recipe. They’re sliced (julienne cut) and packed with herbs and olive oil. They add a lot of flavor to the beef and you don't need to chop them since they're already cut. To infuse the meat with even more flavor, we use the oil surrounding these sun-dried tomatoes. If you aren't able to find oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, use regular olive oil instead.
Note 2: There is a higher yield of shredded beef to sauce and veggies. If you plan to use all the beef for gyros, I'd recommend doubling the sauce and veggies. Alternatively, check out the recipe ideas above the recipe card for ways to use leftover beef so you can enjoy gyros one night and a different recipe with the leftovers. You can also freeze leftover beef for gyros in the future! 

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 650kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 131mg | Sodium: 542mg | Potassium: 1347mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1357IU | Vitamin C: 55mg | Calcium: 200mg | Iron: 9mg

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I shouldn’t really add a rating – I had full intentions of making this as written, but failed to realize that I didn’t actually have fire roasted tomatoes in the pantry, like I thought 🙂 Nor did I have herbes de provence – but I made do with what I did have, LOL, and it came out SO tasty!
    I did make the tzatziki per the recipe – that came out excellent. And I added chopped red bell pepper and crumbled feta to my salad – overall a DELICIOUS dinner tonight, thank you!

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