Doner Kebab Vs Gyro – The Differences

There are various types of kebabs in existence and among them are the doner kebab and gyro which have been around for quite a while. There have been several variations of this fast food, but they don’t stray far from the original recipes. They both use the rotisserie cooking method, which involves the cooking of meat, vegetables, and other food items while it revolves around an open fire, an oven, or a grill, this method makes the food delicious and gives it a unique smoky flavor.

However, even though the donor kebab and gyro have ties to the first kebab recorded in history, they also have many differences that set them apart from each other. 

Doner Kebab Vs Gyro – The Differences

  • The doner kebab originated from Turkey while gyro originated from Greece. 
  • Traditionally, the doner kebab is made from lamb and no pork, in the case of gyro, it is traditionally made from pork. 
  • The sauce associated with the gyro is the Tzatziki sauce, a yogurt dressing with olive oil and fresh herbs, meanwhile, for the doner kebab, a yogurt and garlic dressing that resembles the modern-day mayonnaise is applied.
  • Doner is gotten from the word “donmoek” which means to turn or rotate, in the case of gyro, it is loosely translated to mean “circle” and “to turn”
  • Doner is known as the original kebab while gyro is derived from it.

What Animal Is Doner Meat?

The doner meat primarily comes from lamb, but this has changed as time passed, now a doner kebab can be a combination of both beef and lamb, chicken or veal depending on the restaurant you choose to order from and how they prepare their doner kebabs. Pork meat is not usually included in this recipe, nonetheless, some variations still make use of it.

Gyro vs Doner – Which Came First?

The doner kebab is said to come first and is also tagged as the ‘mother of kebabs’ according to Spruce eats, this kebab is traced back to the 1200s where it was brought about by the ottoman empire in Turkey. It is served on warm pita bread or a serving of rice alongside a fresh salad.

What Animal Is Gyro Meat?

The gyro meat primarily comes from pork and in some cases, shredded chicken is added to the mixture. Variations of this meat are also available with lamb or veal being included in its recipe, it is known to be served with fresh herbs such as rosemary, dill, thyme, etc., and topped with its signature sauce called Tzatziki. 

Doner Kebab Vs Gyro - The Differences

What’s the Difference Between A Kebab and A Doner Kebab?

The difference between a kebab and a doner kebab is that kebab is a collective term that includes all kinds of food being roasted or grilled over an open flame in the rotisserie method of cooking, the food could be meat, vegetables, cheese slices, etc. However, doner kebab is a specific type of kebab with Turkish origins and variations all over the world and is prepared by shaving the outer part of the kebab and serving it in between warm loaves of pita bread.

Why Is Doner Banned in Greece?

Doner is not banned in Greece but the European Union is moving to put a stop to the use of phosphates in between huge cuts of meats that serve as a base for kebabs. These phosphates have been linked to heart diseases.

How To Make Homemade Doner Kebab

For the kebab, one pound of ground lamb or a mixture of ground lamb and beef, your preferred meat can also be shredded chicken, minced cloves of garlic (4-5), One egg, kosher salt, black pepper, cumin, oregano, paprika, coriander, oil for frying, for your salad: you can mix and match with the vegetables of your preference but lettuce, red onion, cucumber, and tomatoes are generally recommended, for the sandwich: large pita bread or any other flatbread and yogurt with fresh garlic and chili sauce. The steps are:

  • Combine all ingredients for the kebab
  • Preheat your oven to 350oF or 176oF
  • Put the mixture in an oiled baking pan and place it in the oven for 30 minutes, checking to see if it is golden brown before you remove it from the oven.
  • After it has cooled, make thin slices of the meatloaf and fry in a pan till it is crisp enough.
  • To put together your sandwich, toast the bread lightly and coat with the yogurt and chili sauce, add your fresh salad, and then the crisp meat slices. Your doner kebab is ready.

Read also: Ground Beef Four Days After the Sell-by Date? [Things to Expect]

How To Make Homemade Gyros

To make homemade gyros, the meat should be marinated in the Mediterranean herb mix before frying or grilling, for the best results.

The ingredients for the meat mixture are as follows:

  • One pound of ground beef, in traditional cuisines, pork is used
  • kosher salt
  • two teaspoons of lemon juice
  • black pepper
  • cumin
  • coriander
  • nutmeg
  • oregano
  • onions
  • oil

For the sandwich: flatbread, Tzatziki sauce can be bought in a grocery store or homemade, lettuce, tomato, and red onion. To prepare gyro,

  • Combine all the ingredients of the meat mixture in a bowl including the lemon juice.
  • Mold the mixture in a sausage-like shape and refrigerate for between 1-2 hours until it is firm and marinate it.
  • Heat a non-stick pan and add oil to it, pan-fry for 4 to 5 minutes for each side, turning it to ensure that it is cooked through.
  • To arrange your sandwiches, spread the tzatziki sauce on the flatbread, add lettuce, sliced tomatoes, onions, add fried/grilled beef and your homemade gyro is ready.

Read also: How Long to Bake Chicken Pieces At 350F, 375F, and 400F


Even with the differences between the doner kebab and the gyro kebab, they’re often mistaken for one another in lots of fast-food outlets because of the meat used to prepare them. To be completely sure of the kind of meat you’re consuming, it is advisable to make this kebab at home, and if you have to order, learn what was used to prepare your doner or gyro kebab.

By Johny

Meet Johny, our exceptionally talented bartender at Bourbono. With an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and an innate ability to mix the perfect drink, Johny is the heart and soul of our establishment’s bar. In addition to his skillful bartending, he also contributes to the Bourbono blog, sharing his love for all things food-related but with a particular passion for beverages and the art of bartending.