Alternative names Herb salad with yogurt[1] Yogurt with cucumber and garlic[2]
Type Dip or soup
Course Side dish Meze
Place of origin Turkey, Azerbaijan
Region or state Anatolia, Balkans
Serving temperature Cold
Main ingredients Yogurt, variety of herbs, cucumber, garlic, salt, olive oil and sometimes lemon juice or vinegar
Variations With strained or diluted yoghurt and other herbs and vegetables
Food energy
(per serving)
94.8 kcal [3] kcal
Cookbook: Cacık 

Cacık (Turkish pronunciation: ; Ottoman Turkish: جاجيق‎; Arabic: لبن وخيار‎; Persian: ماست و خیار ‎‎; Kurdish: caciq‎; Azerbaijani: cacıq; Greek: τζατζίκι or , anglicised: or ) is a dish of seasoned, strained or diluted yogurt, eaten throughout the former Ottoman countries. It is similar to tarator in Balkan cuisine. It is made of salted strained yogurt or diluted yogurt[2] mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, sometimes with vinegar or lemon juice, and some herbs like dill, mint, parsley, thyme etc.[4][5] It is always served cold.


  • Etymology 1
  • Variations 2
    • Turkey 2.1
      • Haydari 2.1.1
      • Variants with purslane 2.1.2
      • Variants with carrots and other vegetables 2.1.3
    • Greece 2.2
    • Cyprus 2.3
    • The Balkans 2.4
    • Middle East 2.5
    • Similar dishes 2.6
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


The ultimate source of the word cacık is uncertain. It is likely a loanword from the Armenian cacıg.[6][7]

The root cac is likely related to several words in Western Asian languages. Persian zhazh (ژاژ) refers to various herbs used for cooking. Kurdish (Kurmanji) jaj refers to caraway,[8] while Armenian taghdz (դաղձ) refers to mint. The suffix -ık is Turkish and is related to Armenian -ıχ (-ıg).

Evliya Çelebi's 17th-century Seyâhatnâme travelogue defined cacıχ (cacıg) as a kind of herb.[8] Another pre-1900 source identified it with Van herbed cheese from eastern Turkey.[8] Ahmet Vefik Pasha's 1876 Ottoman Turkish dictionary defined cacık as an herb salad with yogurt.[8] This remains the most common definition today.[2]

The word cacık is also used in Turkish as a slang term for "fool" or "naïf".[7]



Turkish cacık is made of yoghurt, salt, olive oil, crushed garlic, chopped cucumber, mint.[4] Among these ingredients, vinegar (mostly white grape or apple), lemon juice, and sumac are optional. Dill and thyme (fresh or dried) and sumac and paprika may be used alternately.

Cacık served as side dish

Mostly, cacik is served to accompany main dishes. As a side dish, it is diluted with water, which results in a soup-like consistency. If consumed as a meze, it is prepared undiluted but follows the same recipe. Often, dill and thyme are added as well. Ground paprika may also be added if it is prepared as a meze and to be served with some grilled meat, other mezes or rakı (a Turkish spirit similar to Greek ouzo). More rarely, it is prepared with lettuce or carrots instead of cucumber under the name of kış cacığı (winter cacık) or havuç tarator.


Haydari is a different type of mixture of some herbals, spices, garlic with strained yoghurt or labne. The main differences to cacık is that cucumber is not included in the recipe and that strained yoghurt or labne is used. It is just served as meze and it have to be more strained and soury and salty than cacık.[9]

When served as meze

Variants with purslane

In Turkish and Greek cuisine, purslane salad is very common and sometimes purslane salad is made with yoghurt and cooked or uncooked purslane so it is also called cacık.[10][11][12]

Variants with carrots and other vegetables

Carrots and other vegetables can be added to cacık.[13][14][15] In Turkish cuisine when cooked or uncooked carrot is added to cacık it is sometimes called havuç (carrot) tarator as a Balkan cuisine.


Main ingredents of Greek style tzatziki

Greek-style tzatziki sauce is served with grilled meats or may be served as a mezze alongside other mezzes, dishes and ouzo. Tzatziki is made of strained yogurt (usually from sheep or goat milk) mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, and sometimes lemon juice, and dill or mint or parsley.[5]


In Cyprus, the dish is known as talattouri[16] (cf. tarator), and recipes often include less garlic and includes the herb mint, unlike the Greek counterpart.

The Balkans

There are dishes similar to cacık called tarator in many Balkan countries.

In Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia and Serbia, the same dish is known as "dry tarator" (Bulgarian: сух таратор, Macedonian: сув таратур, Serbian: сув таратор), or as "Snezhanka" salad (салата "Снежанка"), which means "snow white salad", and is served as an appetizer. During preparation, the yoghurt (Bulgarian: кисело мляко, Macedonian: кисело млеко, Serbian: кисело млеко) is hung for several hours in a kerchief and loses about half of its water (drained yogurt, Bulgarian: цедено кисело мляко, Serbian: цеђено кисело млеко, Macedonian: цедено кисело млеко). The cucumbers, garlic, minced walnuts, salt and vegetable oil are then added.

In Bulgaria,[17] tarator is a popular meze (appetizer) but also served as a side dish along with Shopska salad with most meals. Sunflower and olive oil are more commonly used and walnut is sometimes omitted. Tarator is seasoned with garlic and dill both of which can be omitted if so desired. Tarator is a popular dish in Bulgaria. A salad version of tarator is known as "Snowwhite salad" (Bulgarian: салата Снежанка- "salata Snezhanka" or "Snejanka" ), also called Dry Tarator. It is made of thick (strained) yogurt, without water. It can be served as an appetizer or as a side to the main meal. It is a common refresher during the summer.

When cacik is served as soup

In Macedonia, tarator or taratur is made with garlic, soured milk, cucumber, sunflower oil and salt. It is garnished with dill and served either room temperature or chilled (sometimes by adding ice blocks).

Tarator is a popular salad and dip in Serbia rather than a soup; it is also known as "tarator salata". It is made with yogurt, sliced cucumber and diced garlic, and served cold.

In Albania Tarator is a very popular dish in summer time. It is usually served cold and is normally made from yoghurt, garlic, parsley, cucumber, salt and olive oil. Fried squids are usually offered with Tarator.

Middle East

Similar dishes in Iraq are known as jajeek. They are normally served as meze to accompany alcoholic drinks, especially Arak, an Ouzo-like drink made from dates.

A similar dish is made in Iran, called mast-o-khiar literally meaning yogurt with cucumber. It is made using a thicker yogurt, which is mixed with sliced cucumber, and mint or dill (sometimes chopped nuts and raisins are also added as a garnish).

Similar dishes

A variation in the Caucasus mountains, called ovdukh, uses kefir instead of the yogurt. This can be poured over a mixture of vegetables, eggs and ham to create a variation of okroshka, sometimes referred to as a 'Caucasus okroshka'.

In South Asia a similar dish is made with yoghurt, cucumber, salt and ground cumin (sometimes also including onions) called raita.

See also


  1. ^ Ahmet Vefik Paşa, Lugat-ı Osmani (1876)
  2. ^ a b c "TÜRK DİL KURUMU". Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "Cacık". Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Grigson, Jane; Yvonne Skargon (2007). Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book. U of Nebraska P. pp. 239–40.  
  5. ^ a b "Eva’s Classic Greek Tzatziki Sauce". Thursday for Dinner - Cooking Videos of Family Recipes. Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  6. ^ "BUGÜNKÜ TÜRKÝYE TÜRKÇESÝ". Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Razuvajeva, Olga (2009). "Slang in the Turkish Language as a Social, Linguistic, and Semiotic Phenomenon". University of Gaziantep Journal of Social Sciences 8 (1): 299–316.  
  8. ^ a b c d "Cacık". EtimolojiTurkce. Retrieved 2014-08-27. 
  9. ^ Elizabeth Taviloglu. "Haydari - Meze With Strained Yogurt, Garlic and Herbs". Food. Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  10. ^ "Purslane Tzatziki". KALOFAGAS - GREEK FOOD & BEYOND. Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Pırpırım Cacığı". Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  13. ^ Ahmet Vefik Pasha, Ottoman Turkish Dictionary, s.v. cacık
  14. ^ Lisa. "Greek Vegetarian". Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  15. ^ Nancy Gaifyllia. "Tzatziki with Carrots". Food. Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  16. ^ Hoffman, Susanna (2004). The olive and the caper: adventures in Greek cooking. Workman. p. 149.  
  17. ^ pers comm, Емил Атанасов и Нина Шарова

External links

  • Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism Web site: contains recipes and nutritional information