A recipe for poutine perfection

Photo by Aschaf

There’s a reason why this grease-dripping, calorie-packed hangover cure is so famous in Canada. Now you can make one at home, too.

The origins of poutine are in Quebec, but have long been disputed between the two towns of Warwick and Drummondville. Warwick claims their recipe was established in a now-closed restaurant named L’Ideal, while Drummondville’s poutine originated in Le Roy Jucep.

Nobody is sure exactly when and where the dish was created, but its greasy-goodness fame has spread globally.

How to make your own poutine

Here’s how you can create the perfect poutine in less than 30 minutes.


  • 1 quart vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 (10 1/4 ounce) can beef gravy, or homemade gravy
  • Store-bought plain French fries, or 5 whole potatoes cut into fries
  • 2 cups cheese curds or cheese of preference


1. Heat oil in a deep fryer at 365 degrees (Fahrenheit). Or if you don’t have a fryer, use a skillet.

2. Warm the gravy.

3. Heat the fries in the oil until they turn brown.

4. When cooked, remove fries and blot with paper towels to remove excess grease.

5. Smother fries with cheese.

Photo by tuppus

6. Smother cheese with hot gravy.

Voila! The meal to make your arteries scream.

How do you like your poutine?

The above recipe is probably the simplest way to create a poutine, but the most important thing to keep in mind is that there are no real rules.

Cheese curds or shredded cheddar, gravy or special sauce, ketchup heaped on top or not… keep searching until you find that special, favorite flavor. Trust me, it’s a culinary adventure.

There are also regional differences across Canada that help give a little kick.

Quebec - Replace the gravy with poutine sauce, an arguably more popular option among many Canadians. Being from Newfoundland, I’m never entirely certain how the rest of the country does things, including food. The sauce is like thickened chicken stock, seasoned with pepper and onion flavoring, and powdered mixes can be bought in grocery stores.

Newfoundland and Labrador – Newfoundlanders and Labradorians like to add “dressing” (turkey stuffing) to their poutines, a combination of bread crumbs, savory, and onions. When the dressing becomes soaked with the gravy, it adds great texture.

Nova Scotia – Nova Scotians are big on lobster poutine, which is like a regular poutine but includes lobster meat, chopped chives and hollandaise sauce with halloumi cheese.

Other Atlantic Canadian additions – Some places in Atlantic Canada top their poutines with donair meat, which probably has about the same nutritional outcome as adding bacon to caramel corn.

International Poutine – If you’d rather go international, try the Italian-style poutine, which replaces the gravy with spaghetti sauce and is topped with ground beef. Mexican poutine includes fries, carne asada, guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo and cheese, and can also be served with hot sauce.

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  • Helen

    So far, I’ve only had Burger KIng poutine, which I love. Costco seems an unlikely poutine venue, but I’ve seen take-out trays HEAPED with poutine there, so that’s my next thing to try–if I can find someone to share it!

  • http://www.evaholland.com Eva

    You gotta go for the real stuff, Helen – home-style, from a roadside chip truck. The chain versions just can’t compare. (That being said, if you must go fast food, the A&W poutine is worth a whirl. BK is a good one, too.)

  • Candice Walsh

    You know, I still haven’t found the perfect poutine place, although I suspect Eva is right. Perhaps I’ll make it a new quest of mine, seeing as how I’ve already found the world’s best nachos.

    That being said, a trip to my hometown always requires a poutine at the local grease-factory, a small fast food joint. The latest word from home though was that the place broke something like 40+ health regulations? You’d think that would discourage me, but it kinda doesn’t.

  • Sylvie

    Have to agree with Eva, the no-name roadside truck is the way to go but if you do go chain-style, New York Fries also does a good job.

  • http://www.thejetpacker.com The Jetpacker

    I had no clue what poutine was until we went up to Canada for the Olympics. And after eating it, I can’t say I’m a convert. I guess I’m a chili-cheese fries purist.

  • Nancy Harder

    I’ve only had poutine once, sadly. I had it at a bar in Montreal and omg. The gravy, the cheese curds, so good. This recipe looks word.

  • http://beatravelbee.com Joya

    This is probably the main reason I want to go to Quebec. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • http://matadortravel.com/travel-community/anne137 Anne

    Go Candice go! Poutine doesn’t get enough attention on the world food stage. The thought of poutine with turkey stuffing makes my mouth water.

    Also, if you’re looking for decent chain-poutine, Harvey’s is best in my books. Eva’s right though, the best is from a side-of-the-road chipwagon that you can smell a mile away.

  • http://annemerritt.blogspot.com Anne

    Yeah Candice! Poutine doesn’t get enough attention on the global food stage. The thought of poutine with turkey stuffing makes my mouth water.

    As far as decent chain-poutine goes, Harvey’s is best in my books. Eva’s right though, the best is from a side-of-the-road chipwagon that you can smell a mile away.

  • http://travelerahoy.wordpress.com Al

    I never knew there were so many ways to make poutine. The idea of adding dressing is genius, and lobster poutine sounds heavenly. I’ve tried making my own poutine but I don’t have a deep fryer, and baked fries aren’t the same. And I’ve tried using grated cheese, but curds are the way to go, they melt much better and more evenly.

  • telse

    I like the way you added other Canadian versions in this article–I think the one with stuffing sounds really awesome!

  • Candice Walsh

    Thanks guys! Experiment a little, eh? And yeah, I’m not quite sure if the homemade version will ever come close to the wicked-awesome deep-fried stuff.

  • Rob

    If you are in Toronto, try “Smoke’s Poutinerie” on Adelaide St W. Unreal post-bar food with long lineups to show for it.

  • Kelly

    I had poutine for the first time a few weeks ago in Montreal–so good! Thanks for the recipes!

  • Annie

    Great article & recipe!

    ……La Banquise!
    THE place where you must try a poutine if ever you are in Montreal, Qc.
    Open 24h/24

  • http://www.OmnivorousTraveler.com Darrin

    Thanks for writing about such a variety of poutine. Lobster poutine sounds like just the thing to shed a refreshingly non-luxurious light on lobster.

    For chain resto poutine, Chez Ashton hits the spot. St. Hubert’s poutine gravy mix isn’t bad for a mix. I bring home bags of the mix to tie me over until my next trip to Quebec. In the meantime, T Poutine on Ludlowe St. in my hometown of NYC does a good job, and does a mean smoked meat poutine.

    Now if you will excuse me, I’m going to get my cholesterol checked.

  • Samantha

    I’m from Montreal, and I still think finding the perfect poutine is tricky. I agree with Annie that La Banquise is the place for poutine, but there are a bunch of tiny greasy shacks in Quebec that top it. just avoid all chain fast food restaurants. and it’s got to be in this province.

  • Iustefan

    Recipe for the perfect poutine, La Banquise at 4am et..

    Danse la Poutine

  • Elisabeth

    I myself am a poutine fan… The secret to a good poutine is the cheese curds. They have to be fresh of the day and still squeaky.
    When I make them at home I use Green peppercorn sauce or homemade spaghetti sauce.
    When I eat out, I usually take the Italian poutine with the ultimate topping!!!
    Freshly cut Smoked Meat!!!

  • http://www.goinglocaltravel.com Vicky Baker

    I have just moved in to a house two blocks from Montreal’s famed Banquise. The late-night, out-the-door queues are unreal. It must do the best business in town.

  • Stephen

    This sounds a lot like ‘chips, cheese and gravy’ – a Scottish delicacy! Although im very interested in this cheese curd… sounds delicious!

  • Tarko

    For the best Poutine, you will need to come for a drive in the Eastern Township. Sherbrooke to be specific. There is a really-small-chain (read:3 restaurant) that serves both excellent smoked meat and the best Poutine ever. You can even try to mix both for an extra kick.

    Look for it, it’s called: ‘Chez Louis’.
    Ask anyone from Sherbrooke and surrounding, they know where they are.

    I would like to disagree though: In order to have Poutine, you NEED the cheese curd. I’ve been traveling for 3 years, trying to experiment and reproduce the taste of my homeland with no success… trust me, the curd makes ALL the difference in the world.

  • Carole

    I grew up watching my father making curries,it’s a tradition in our family. When I had Italian Poutine in Quebec City, I was still eating it at the Airport when we were leaving! Soooo good. So many different ways, but original poutine is the best! forget BK and costco! I made a really good hot and spicey ground beef curry, smothered it on top of the Homemade fries and covered it with grated cheese. Fabulous if you love Indian food!