Stop. We promise this Easy Homemade Turkey Gyros recipe is actually very simple, it just has multiple steps. Most of those steps are waiting time, and the actual hands-on prep time is under an hour. This is also a large batch recipe that is perfect for freezer meal planning and makes for a lightning fast weeknight meal.
Oh yeah, it has a lot less fat and calories than the traditional pork, beef, and lamb varieties while knocking it out of the park on flavor. We believe in your ability. What are you waiting for?Print
Easy Homemade Turkey Gyros you can make ahead of time and freeze.
For the Meat
- 2 lbs ground 85% lean turkey meat (the 90%+ lean variety will be too dry)
- 1 medium yellow onion, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1.5 tsp dried oregano
- 1.5 tsp ground cumin
- 1.5 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp ground rosemary
- 1 tsp dried marjoram
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp ground black pepper
Prepping the Meat
- Combine all seasonings in a small bowl and set aside.
- Mince onion and garlic as finely as possible (grind further with a mortar and pestle, if you have one) then add to a large food processor bowl and pulse further. Add the turkey and seasoning mixture, distributing evenly around the bowl. Process at low-medium speed for 1-2 minutes, stopping regularly to scrape down sides of bowl. Stop processing once the meat turns into a tacky paste.
- Divide the meat mixture between two glass loaf pans. Glass is ideal because it cooks more evenly, and you can see if there are any air pockets to work out. Form an even layer of meat in each pan, compressing as much as possible and making sure there are no air pockets. Cover with plastic wrap (right on top of the meat) and refrigerate 2-3 hours.
Cooking the Meat
- Once meat has thoroughly chilled, preheat oven to 325 degrees F and place rack in center position.
- Next, we need to create a water bath to keep the meat from drying as it cooks. Line a 9×13 pan or roasting pan with an old washcloth or kitchen towel (keeps the loaf pans from slipping) and place the loaf pans into the 9×13 pan. Slowly add hot tap water until the 9×13 pan is 1/2 to 2/3 full, then remove plastic wrap from the meat and carefully place the assembled pan in the oven.
- Cook for 60 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted into center of each pan 160 degrees F (start checking at 50 minutes). Fully cooked turkey should read 165 degrees F but the pans will continue to come to temperature while resting, and the sliced meat will be pan seared before serving, so 160 is fine.
- Once meat is at 160 degrees, remove loaf pans from the water bath and transfer to a heatproof surface, allowing to rest for 10 minutes.
Finishing the Meat
- The turkey will give off quite a bit of liquid as it cooks. Use a spatula to carefully transfer meat to a cooling rack over a plate, discard the excess liquid from the glass pans, and carefully wash and dry them.
- Blot resting meat with paper towel to remove excess moisture, then wrap each piece tightly in foil. Stack both foil packets inside of one of the loaf pans and use the second loaf pan to press down slightly on the stacked packets (compressing the meat results in a smoother final texture). Place some heavy items in the top loaf pan (beverage cans, paperweights, marbles, etc.) or stack a few large books on top, and let rest another 20-30 minutes and come to room temperature.
- Seal individual foil packets in zip top bags with air removed and refrigerate another 2 hours to overnight before searing (we place one cooled packet in the freezer for future use).
Putting it Together
- When ready to serve, prepare toppings, Tzatziki sauce, pitas or naan (we use our grain-free wraps for this) and set aside.
- Use a large, sharp knife to slice the meat thinly crosswise. Each foil packet is enough for four servings of meat. Slice only as much meat as you will use. The remaining block can be refrigerated up to 3 days, tightly wrapped.
- Thoroughly heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat then brush with avocado oil or another high smoke point oil of choice (do not use olive oil for this). Once the pan is hot and oiled, work in batches to quickly place meat slices in a single layer and sear one side, then flip just long enough to warm the other. About 2 minutes total. Not too long or the meat will dry out. Serve immediately.
Refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months, tightly wrapped.
A full-size food processor can accommodate up to 2 pounds of meat at a time. If doubling for meal prep, work in two separate batches.
Total prep/cook time does not include refrigeration time.
Keywords: gyro, gyros, paleo, keto, grain-free, gluten-free, turkey gyro, turkey gyros, low-fat gyro