Persian Yogurt with Cucumber (Mast-o Khiar)

You will find yogurt with cucumbers in almost every middle-eastern culture. This version is Persian, Maast-o Khiar, made with dill and mint.

Persian Yogurt with Cucumber (Maast-o Khiar) by

Yes, this is not a back-to-school post! I realized that with all of this focus on kids, it’s time to talk about something else. You know, it’s a mommy-syndrome to rattle on and on about our kids. Here in San Diego, the weather has turned HOT again. And that means this momma does not want to to cook and heat up the kitchen. One of our family’s favorite condiment with our Persian dinner is often confused with it’s Greek counterpart. Mast-o Khiar, which translates to be yogurt with cucumber is my go-to appetizer, condiment and side dish.

Persian yogurt is very different from Greek and the mass marketed Dannon/Yoplait you find in the supermarket. Recently in one my foodie facebook groups, there was a great discussion about the virtues of yogurt and our personal favorites.

I am not dismissing Greek yogurt. It is thick and full of so many good things for you: probiotics, calcium, protein…. But, it is rather bland. This is a virtue when you are adding your own flavorings like fruit, honey or granola. I love my Greek yogurt for breakfast.

But not for my mast-o khiar.

Persian yogurt has a bit of sourness to it. This is because when you are making yogurt, you are letting it sour for up to 18 hours! I promise I will include a yogurt-making post soon!

But for now, if you can find yourself a middle-eastern store, you’ve got to try some Persian yogurt. It is so full of flavor, you’ll wonder why you ever ate the boring bland stuff.

During the newlywed years, the hubby and I had great… discussions about how to make this simple dish, masst-o khiar. It’s yogurt with cucumber- How complicated can it be?

Well, my family made it traditionally with dried dill. My husband’s family made it with dried mint. We both insisted that our family’s version was the right version. Finally, I started making maast-o khiar with both dried mint and dried dill. Peace was brought to our house. And I continue making mast-o khiar this way.

Some people add raisins and walnuts to the mix. Some people like a bit of dried rose petals in theirs. Serve it as an appetizer with bread or potato chips (oh yeah, so good with chips!) or dollap some on your kabob, steak, chicken or fish. My kids fight over who gets to lick the bowl clean.

Oh there I go again, bringing up the kids again…

And no, it’s not tzitziki sauce. It’s mast-o khiar, yogurt with cucumber!

Mast-o Khiar (Persian Yogurt with Cucumbers)

This popular mediterranean yogurt dish can be found in many variations, depending on the region. The Greeks have tzatziki, for example, and the Persians have this version. Recipe by Laura Bashar of Family Spice


  • 4 cup yogurt, plain Greek
  • 1 1/2 cup Persian cucumbers, diced
  • 2 tsp dill, dried
  • 2 tsp mint, dried
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, ground


  1. Combine in medium-sized serving bowl:
    • 4 cup yogurt, plain Greek
    • 1 1/2 cup Persian cucumbers , diced
    • 2 tsp dill, dried
    • 2 tsp mint, dried
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper, ground


Serving Suggestions: Chopped walnuts and raisins can also be added to the yogurt. Great as a side dish or as an appetizer, served with bread or potato chips.

Cooking Tips: Traditionally, middle-eastern yogurt is thick and a little sour. If you can not find authentic middle-eastern yogurt, you may need to adjust the seasonings.

Prep Time:

Yield: 8 servings

Mast-o Khiar (Persian Yogurt with Cucumbers) Detail

, ,

8 Responses to Persian Yogurt with Cucumber (Mast-o Khiar)

  1. I LOVE Persian yogurt! I cannot believe I have everything for this recipe yet never made it at home! I’m going to pick up Persian cucumber on the way home from school today. I’m so excited!!!

  2. Kim at #

    Hi Laura! I love tangy flavors; I will lick the inside of a sour cream container with very little shame. 🙂 So… I need to get acquainted with Persian yogurt, QUICK. Do you also cook with it? What is a brand I should look for?


    • Laura at #

      Hi Kim! My personal favorite is Ab Ali. You can definitely find in OC/LA area. I have also used it for marinating, great meat tenderizer, and baking.

  3. What a great appetizer or snack! I’ve never tried Persian yogurt but it sounds great!

  4. Delishhh at #

    Love Persian food and all their different yogurts too – i would rather have this with a burger than ketchup or mustard. So good.

  5. I can’t wait for the yogurt-making post. I’m very intrigued and want to try Persian yogurt!

  6. I don’t believe I’ve ever had Persian yogurt. It sounds intriguing! You have to post your recipe for making it soon – I’m totally curious to see how it differs from other kinds of yogurts. Anyway, nice recipe. I make a similar Indian recipe with fresh mint and cayenne pepper (not a lot, just a touch to spice it up slightly). This looks really good – thanks.

  7. Eha at #

    Laura dearheart: a Persian yogurt making lesson soon, please! Notice in your previous post you did use the Greek one! Would love to taste the difference! And, are Persian cucumbers the same small, slim ones as what i know as Lebanese ones? OK, i make tzatziki all the time, but love the variations you suggest on this one for the ‘tartier’ [?] Persian kind! Have a lovely weekend!!

Leave a Reply