Doner Vs. Gyro | Find The Difference

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Looks can be deceptive, and that makes us often need clarification about finding the difference between many food items. One example is doner vs. gyro. If you need clarification on the difference between these two, here’s a detailed guide to finding out what sets them apart.

Doner Vs. Gyro

What are the differences between doners and gyros? A gyro is a derivation of doner, popularly known as a doner kebab. The main difference between doners and gyros is their place of origin. But there’s more to these two food items that you will find in the sections below.

One similarity between the two is that they are truly delectable. You will have a hard time resisting them both. So, let’s check out what makes these similar yet distinct delectables different from each other.

Doner Vs. Gyro | Difference Table

Basis of DifferenceGyroDoner
Cooking methodVertical rotisserieVertical rotisserie
MeatLamb, beef, pork, or chickenLamb, chicken, veal, or turkey
SeasoningsThyme, oregano, cumin, marjoram, and rosemaryCumin, garlic powder, salt, coriander, smoked paprika, and pepper
BreadPita (pocketless)Turkish flatbread (with pocket)
Spreads and SaucesTzatzikiYogurt, tahini, or hot sauce
ToppingsTomato, red onion, lettuce, French friesTomato, cucumber, red onion

What Is Doner?

Döner is a Turkish dish similar to the Greek gyro or Arab shawarma. It is made with seasoned meat shaved from a vertical rotisserie. The meat bastes itself in its own juices and turns rich and flavorful. 

Once cooked properly, it is placed on a Turkish flatbread along with other ingredients like lettuce, sliced tomato, and onions. A donor is usually served with yogurt, tahini, or hot sauce.

Usually, lamb is used to make a doner in Turkish countries as pork is not an option. But other meat variations also include chicken, beef, seafood, or other meats.

Döner is usually known as a doner kebab. Doner means to rotate, while the word kebab or kebap (as called in Turkish) refers to meat cooked on skewers over a fire. In Arabic, doner kebab is known as shawarma. 

What Is Gyro ?


As doner moved towards Europe, it turned into what we know as gyros. It is one of the most popular street food dishes in Greece. Like doner, the gyro is made with meat. But unlike just lamb, it is also made with pork and chicken in Greece or veal in other countries. 

The meat shavings are customarily served on lightly grilled pita bread, along with vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, lettuce, cucumber, French fries, and tzatziki.

Don’t the two look the same thing? Read on to learn their real differences.

Doner Vs. Gyro | What’s The Difference?

Doner Vs. Gyro

When it comes to the differences between doners and gyros, the main distinction comes from the place of origin. Then comes the difference in their ingredients and spices. But below are the factors that make doner and gyro unique.

1. Ingredients

You may have yet to find any difference between the above explanation of doner and gyro. However, this article will help you understand how these two sandwich wraps are unique in their own ways.

Doner kebabs are typically made with lamb, chicken, or beef. The meat is spiced with a special Turkish seasoning mix that includes cumin, garlic powder, salt, coriander, smoked paprika, and pepper. This seasoning mix gives the meat a spicy and aromatic flavor.

Doner kebabs are served with yogurt, garlic sauce, or tahini that adds to the flavor.

Gyros, on the other hand, are usually made with lamb or chicken, but beef and pork, and other meats are also used. The meat for making gyros is marinated with Mediterranean spices, which usually include thyme, oregano, cumin, marjoram, and rosemary.

Gyros are typically served with tzatziki, a light sauce made with yogurt, salt, garlic, olive oil, and cucumber.

2. Preparation

One thing that is common between doners and gyro is the use of meat. However, before being placed on a rotisserie, the meat in the doner and gyro is processed differently.

For making doner kebabs, minced meat is mixed with chopped onions, garlic, and seasonings. It is shaped using a roller and placed onto a vertical cone where it is chilled. This helps to hold its shape well.

On the other hand, thin slices of meat are used to make gyro, which is seasoned and placed on an inverted cone. 

While the preparation of meats for doner and gyros differ, the cooking process is the same. They are both cooked vertically, overheated, and sliced to place on the bread.

Another major differentiating factor between doners and gyros is their bread. Doner is made by adding all the ingredients inside a pide bread, similar to pita bread but thicker in texture and has a sprinkling of nigella seeds.

Gyro bread is also like pita bread, but it is pocketless. So, all the gyro ingredients are wrapped inside the bread like a wrap.

3. Breads

Another major differentiating factor between doners and gyros is their bread. Doner is made by adding all the ingredients inside a pide bread, similar to pita bread but thicker in texture and has a sprinkling of nigella seeds.

Gyro bread is also like pita bread, but it is pocketless. So, all the gyro ingredients are wrapped inside the bread like a wrap.

4. Flavor

The difference between doners and gyros majorly comes from the difference in the flavor of meat and sauces.

With a Turkish blend of spices, a doner has more heat and brings Eastern flavors to the table. Moreover, the yogurt sauce adds a delicious punch of garlicky flavor that pairs well with Turkish spices.

On the other hand, gyros have a fresher flavor thanks to the Mediterranean herbs and spices. Gyros have relatively less heat, which is also balanced out by the thicker pita used. Moreover, its pairing with tzatziki adds freshness and bright flavors.

Apart from the spice mix, the flavor of doner and gyro is also defined by the meat used. A doner is typically made using lamb, whereas gyros are made with lamb or a combo of beef, lamb, or chicken.

Lastly, the difference in the ingredients of bread also has a direct impact on how it tastes.

5. Texture

The texture of doner and gyro also differ owing to the fact that the meats are differently processed along with the bread used to make each of them.

A doner kebab is made with minced meat, making the meat’s texture grainy, soft, and tender. 

Gyros, on the other hand, are made with sliced meat. So, it feels just like what you expect from sliced meat. It is smooth, thick, and has a bite. 

Apart from the textures of meat, the texture of bread in both doners and gyros differs. The bread of gyros is thicker than that of gyros.

Furthermore, the texture of doner and gyro differ because of the vegetables used. Doner usually has a crunchy texture because of freshly cut cucumber, onions, and tomatoes.

Gyros are made with similar vegetables but can also have a softer texture.

Doner Vs. Gyro | Which One Is Healthier?

If you come to the nutritional value of doner and gyro, you will find both ranks almost the same in calories, carbs, protein, and fat meter. So, if you consider picking any of them depending on the nutritional value, you can choose any. 

The meats and vegetables of both doner and gyro contribute to high levels of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Thus, doners and gyros make for a good choice for nutritious meals.

Doner Vs. Gyro | Which One Is Tastier?

Doners and gyros are both incredibly tasty meals to indulge in. They are packed with flavorful meats and sauces. So, the decision ultimately comes down to your personal taste.

A doner has a creamy, spicy, and salty taste. In comparison, gyro has a distinct flavor of tzatziki and meat. If you enjoy complex flavors, the doner will make for a tastier meal.

Doner Recipe 

Making a traditional doner kebab at home can be a bit tricky due to its slow and vertically-rotational cooking. However, this recipe aims to capture the flavors of the doner kebab more than the rotisserie cooking method. 

This recipe takes ground lamb or a combination of beef and lamb, seasons it, and cooks it in a loaf pan. Once it is cooled, the meatloaf is thinly sliced and crisped in a pan. 

Then the meat is piled on pita bread with vegetables and slathered with sauce. Check out how to make a doner at home using this recipe

Gyro Recipe

Gyros are a delicious sandwich for lunch or dinner, with spiced, grilled meat topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, and a flavorful tzatziki sauce. While a gyro is traditionally cooked with whole meat slices, this recipe uses ground meat and seasons it with special spices to give it a traditional flavor.

Once the meat is ready, it is placed on a bed of tzatziki sauce, lettuce, onion, and tomato over pita bread and wrapped like a burrito. Find out how to make a gyro at home by following this recipe.

Can We Substitute Doner For Gyro

Doner and gyros are two similar yet distinct dishes that have become popular worldwide. They’re both inspired by the cooking technique of the Turkish doner kebab.

But can we substitute one for another? Yes, doner and gyro can be substituted for each other. That’s where all the confusion lies because they are similar yet different. If you are looking for a gyro and don’t find one, you can opt for a doner or vice versa.

The difference you will find between the two will be between the spice level and texture. However, they both make for a delectable treat.

Doner Vs. Gyro | Which One Is Better?

Choosing between doner and gyro is a tough choice. Both these sandwich wraps contain more or less similar ingredients. The choice depends on the texture you prefer and the spice level. 

Doner is spicier than gyro and has a grainy, soft, and tender texture. On the other hand, gyros are less spicy, have a bite to them, and can be crunchy.

One factor that makes a doner stand out is how it’s served. While a doner is served with fillings inside or beside the bread, a gyro comes as a wrap or burrito. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a doner?

Doner is a Turkish dish made with sliced meat, vegetables, and sauces filled inside a flatbread.

What is a gyro?

Gyro is a Greek dish made with sliced meat, vegetables, French fries, and sauces served as a wrap.

What meats are used to make a doner?

A doner kebab is typically made with lamb. Other meat options include chicken, beef, veal, seafood, and more.

What meat is used to make gyro?

A gyro can be made with lamb, chicken, pork, veal, beef, and more.

What sauces are used to make a doner?

A doner is served with yogurt, tahini, or hot sauce.

What sauce is a gyro served with?

A gyro is served with tzatziki, a sauce made with yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, sometimes with vinegar or lemon juice, and herbs such as dill, mint, parsley, and thyme.


Now that you know a little bit more about these two Mediterranean dishes. Hopefully, next time you will be able to spot which dish is what. Either way, you are sure to have a delicious time with two exotic fast-food items.

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