Lamb Gyros with Homemade Pitas

Lamb Gyros
Lamb Gyros

Lamb is not nearly as popular in the US as it was in New Zealand, but it’s my favorite. For me, it conjures up memories of the Greek Orthodox church in Monessen and the (then) annual cultural heritage festival. The gyros they made were amazing and I looked forward to them every year.

Our version is made with a lamb roast sliced very thin to make our gyro meat and our own homemade pitas which are surprisingly easy and delicious to make!


  • 2 pounds boneless lamb leg or shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into thin strips/chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary 
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For serving:

  • 8 pocketless pita bread
  • 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced 
  • Shredded lettuce 
  • feta, crumbled 
  • Tzatziki Sauce


In a large bowl, toss the lamb with the garlic, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and lemon juice. Coat the lamb completely. Let the lamb marinate for 30 minutes. 

Heat a large, deep skillet over high heat and drizzle in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the lamb with 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the lamb to the skillet and cook until browned on all sides and cooked to medium-rare, about 4-5 minutes. 

Heat the pita bread in a dry pan or in the microwave for just a few seconds until warm and pliable. On each piece of bread, lay a few pieces of lamb, some tomato slices, lettuce, feta and a spoonful of sauce. Eat up! Feeds at least two.

(adapted from


Making fresh pitas
Making fresh pitas

To make the pitas:


  • Water
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


Make sponge: In a large mixing bowl add 1 cup lukewarm water and stir in yeast and sugar until dissolved. Add ½ cup flour and whisk together. Place the mixing bowl in a warm place, uncovered to form a lose sponge. Give it 15 minutes or so, the mixture should bubble.

Form the pita dough: Now add salt, olive oil and almost all the remaining flour (keep about ½ cup of the flour for dusting later). Stir until mixture forms a shaggy mass (at this point, the dough has little to no gluten development and just looks like a sticky mess and you can easily pull bits off). Dust with a little flour, then knead the mixture inside the bowl for about a minute to incorporate any stray bits.

Knead the dough: Dust a clean working surface with just a little bit of flour. Knead lightly for a couple minutes or so until smooth. Cover and let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then knead again for a couple more minutes. The dough should be a little bit moist, you can help it with a little dusting of flour, but be careful not to add too much flour.

Let the dough rise. Clean the mixing bowl and coat it lightly with extra virgin olive oil and put the dough back in the bowl. Turn the dough a couple times in the bowl to coat with the olive oil. Cover the mixing bowl tightly with plastic wrap then lay a kitchen towel over. Put the bowl in a warm place. Leave it alone for 1 hour or until the dough rises to double its size.

Divide the dough. Deflate the dough and place it on a clean work surface. Divide the dough into 7 to 8 equal pieces and shape them into balls. Cover with a towel and leave them for 10 minutes or so to rest.

Shape the pitas. Using a floured rolling pin, roll one of the pieces into a circle that’s 8-9 inches wide and about a quarter inch thick. It helps to lift and turn the dough frequently as you roll so that dough doesn’t stick to your counter too much. (If dough starts to stick, sprinkle a tiny bit of flour). If the dough starts to spring back, set it aside to rest for a few minutes, then continue rolling. Repeat with the other pieces of dough. (Once you get going, you can be cooking one pita while rolling another, if you like). You have two options for baking the pita from here.

Cook on a very hot skillet until lightly puffy and browned. OR To bake pita in the oven: Heat the oven to 475 degrees F and place a heavy-duty baking pan or large cast iron skillet on the middle rack to heat. Working in batches, place the rolled-out pitas directly on the hot baking baking sheet (I was only able to fit 2 at a time). Bake for 2 minutes on one side, and then, using a pair of tongs, carefully turn pita over to bake for 1 minute on the other side.  The pita will puff nicely and should be ready. Remove from the oven and cover the baked pitas with a clean towel while you work on the rest of the pitas.

(pita recipe adapted from