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Souvlaki vs. Gyro — What's the Difference?

By Fiza Rafique & Urooj Arif — Updated on April 22, 2024
Souvlaki consists of small pieces of grilled meat on a skewer, while Gyros are made from meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie, usually served in a pita.
Souvlaki vs. Gyro — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Souvlaki and Gyro


Key Differences

Souvlaki is traditionally prepared with marinated meat, such as pork, chicken, or lamb, skewered and grilled, highlighting its charred and smoky flavor. Whereas Gyros are made from meat slices stacked on a vertical spit and seasoned with a blend of spices before being slow-roasted, offering a savory and tender texture.
The preparation of Souvlaki often involves marinating the meat in olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs, enhancing its freshness and zest. On the other hand, Gyros typically feature a richer flavor profile, combining powerful spices like oregano, thyme, and rosemary with the distinct taste of roasted meat.
Souvlaki is commonly served with grilled vegetables on the skewer or on the side, emphasizing a balanced and healthful meal option. Whereas Gyros are often accompanied by sauces such as tzatziki, tomatoes, and onions, wrapped in a soft pita, creating a hearty and satisfying street food experience.
In Greece, Souvlaki is a popular fast food that can be enjoyed on the go, typically seen at street markets and small eateries. On the other hand, Gyros are also prevalent in casual dining and street food scenes, recognized for their quick and flavorful nature, but with a different method of cooking and serving.
Souvlaki offers a versatile eating experience, as it can be consumed straight off the skewer, placed in a pita, or served on a dinner plate with additional sides. Conversely, Gyros are primarily known for being served in a pita, making them a quintessential wrap-style sandwich.

Comparison Chart

Meat Preparation

Grilled on skewers
Cooked on a vertical rotisserie

Typical Meats

Pork, chicken, lamb
Lamb, beef, chicken, or mixtures


Smoky and zesty from marinade
Savory and seasoned from spices

Serving Style

Skewers, pita, or plated
Usually in a pita wrap

Common Sides

Grilled vegetables, tzatziki
Tzatziki, tomatoes, onions

Compare with Definitions


Popular street food in Greece.
Street vendors selling Souvlaki are a common sight in Athens.


Typically served wrapped in a pita with sauces and vegetables.
He ordered a beef Gyro with extra onions and sauce.


Commonly made with pork, chicken, or lamb.
Lamb Souvlaki is particularly tender and juicy.


Favored for quick meals and late-night snacks.
Gyros are perfect for a quick meal on the go.


Often marinated with lemon and herbs.
The Souvlaki was marinated overnight to enhance its flavors.


Features a blend of savory spices.
The spices in the Gyro gave it a distinctive flavor.


Traditional Greek dish of skewered and grilled meat.
For dinner, we enjoyed chicken Souvlaki with a side of rice.


Greek dish of meat roasted on a vertical spit.
I couldn't resist the delicious smell of Gyro cooking nearby.


Can be served on a skewer or in a pita.
She ordered Souvlaki in a pita, topped with tzatziki.


Commonly includes a mix of lamb and beef.
Their specialty is a mixed meat Gyro that's incredibly flavorful.


Souvlaki (Greek: σουβλάκι [suˈvlaci]), plural souvlakia, is a popular Greek fast food consisting of small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables grilled on a skewer. It is usually eaten straight off the skewer while still hot.


A gyroscope.


A Greek dish consisting of pieces of seasoned meat roasted on skewers.


A gyrocompass.


A Greek fast food consisting of pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables grilled on a skewer, variously also called kalamaki or kebab or, in sandwich form, gyro or shawarma.


A gyroscope.


A wrapped pancake dish filled with meat, salad and some kind of sauce or dressing, commonly called a kebab.


A gyrocompass.


Made of lamb


An autogyro.


(bicycle parts) detangler.


A style of Greek sandwich commonly filled with grilled meat, tomato, onions, and tzatziki sauce.
I'll have a gyro, please.


A Greek sandwich: sliced roast lamb with onion and tomato stuffed into pita bread


Rotating mechanism in the form of a universally mounted spinning wheel that offers resistance to turns in any direction

Common Curiosities

Can Souvlaki and Gyro be made with the same types of meat?

Yes, both can be made with meats like chicken and lamb, but Gyros often include beef.

Which originated first, Souvlaki or Gyro?

Souvlaki has historical roots going back to ancient Greece, making it older than the modern Gyro.

Which is healthier, Souvlaki or Gyro?

Souvlaki may be considered healthier due to its grilling method and frequent inclusion of vegetables.

How long does it take to prepare Souvlaki?

Preparation can vary but typically involves at least a few hours for marinating, plus grilling time.

Is Souvlaki or Gyro more popular in Greece?

Both are extremely popular, but Souvlaki is especially favored at street markets and casual eateries.

How are the spices different in Souvlaki compared to Gyro?

Souvlaki typically has lighter seasoning focused on herbs, while Gyro uses a robust mix of spices.

What is a typical side dish for Gyro?

Fries or a Greek salad are typical sides served with Gyro.

What is the main difference between Souvlaki and Gyro?

Souvlaki is skewered and grilled meat, while Gyro is meat cooked on a vertical spit.

Are Souvlaki and Gyro served the same way?

Souvlaki can be served on skewers or in a pita, while Gyros are typically served in a pita wrap.

What sauces are commonly used with Souvlaki and Gyro?

Tzatziki is the most common sauce for both, though other variations may include garlic or yogurt sauces.

Is Souvlaki considered fast food in Greece?

Yes, it's considered a fast and convenient food option.

Can I find vegetarian versions of Souvlaki and Gyro?

Yes, vegetarian options exist, using ingredients like halloumi cheese or grilled vegetables.

What is the best time of day to eat Gyro?

Gyros can be enjoyed any time but are particularly popular as a lunch or late-night snack.

What is the typical cost difference between Souvlaki and Gyro in Greece?

Prices vary by location and ingredients, but both are generally affordable meal options.

Can Souvlaki be eaten as a main course?

Yes, it can be served as a main course, often with sides like salads or rice.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.

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