Learn how to make real poutine at home with my Authentic Canadian Poutine Recipe. I will show you how to make it, as well as explaining exactly what exactly poutine is, for the uninitiated.
What kind of a Canadian food blogger would I be if I didn’t have a recipe for Canadian Poutine on this blog? Poutine is a wonderful and delicious concoction of fries, gravy and cheese curds and is one of the most quintessential Canadian dishes! So if you already know how great this dish is and are just looking for a great, authentic poutine recipe to make at home, skip on down to the recipe. I’ve got you covered! If you’d like to learn more about Poutine, read on!
What cheese to use for poutine?
When it comes to poutine, it’s really all about the cheese curds. Real cheese curds are what makes a poutine “authentic”. Cheese curds are simply solid pieces of curdled milk, that can be either eaten alone as a snack or, in Canada, added to fries and gravy to make poutine :) Cheese curds can be found in white or yellow colour. White cheese curds are the ones you want for poutine.
Substitute for Cheese Curds in Poutine:
If you can’t get cheese curds, the closest possible substitution if you want the poutine experience, would be torn chunks (not shredded!) of a full-fat block mozzarella cheese (NOT fresh mozzarella – use the kind you’d shred to put on top of pizza). You want it in chunks so it doesn’t melt completely. Don’t be skimpy. Some cheese curds are the size of my baby finger. That’s part of the poutine experience – the chunks of warm, softened cheese and shredded just won’t cut it because it melts completely and mixes in with the gravy. (Cheddar is not the best substitute. Even though cheese curds are technically cheddar they don’t taste like it. The taste is much more mozzarella-like – soft, pliable, subtle taste, squeaky :)
How do you make poutine gravy?
I’ve included a perfect poutine gravy recipe below for you! If you’ve eaten a lot of poutine, you’ve probably experienced a wide range of gravy tastes. Some are clearly chicken, some are dark and beefy. I think the perfect one is somewhere in between. I looked to French-Canadian chef Ricardo for a reliable and authentic recipe. Let’s face it, the French-Canadians know poutine! His gravy is 2/3 beef stock and 1/3 chicken stock, for a lightened up beef gravy. I think it’s perfect.
How to pronounce Poutine:
If you are an English speaking Canadian, you’ll almost certainly pronounce it “poo-teen” (emphasis on the last syllable). French Canadians might suggest that it should be pronounced as “poo-tin” (again, with the emphasis on the last syllable). I say, if you find yourself in Quebec, you could try the latter – pretty much anywhere else in Canada and elsewhere, the former will serve you well.
How to eat poutine
Even if you are strictly a person who eats fries with your hands, when it comes to poutine, a fork is the only way to go! The combination of lots of gravy and melted cheese is a mess to eat any other way.
Cook’s Notes for Authentic Canadian Poutine
French-Canadians would probably recommend starting your poutine gravy with canned broth (vs. the boxed variety). I personally find it a little too salty for my taste, but that might be just the brand I use.
If you use canned, definitely taste before adding additional salt to your gravy. Don’t skimp on the freshly ground pepper in the gravy, though :)
Get the Recipe: Authentic Canadian Poutine
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp water
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 20 oz beef broth
- 10 oz chicken broth
- Pepper, to taste
For Deep Fried Fries:
- 2 lbs Russet potatoes, (3-4 medium potatoes)
- Peanut or other frying oil
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups white cheddar cheese curds, (Or torn chunks of mozzarella cheese would be the closest substitution)
- Prepare the gravy: In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water and set aside.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, stirring regularly, for about 5 minutes, until the mixture turns golden brown.
- Add the beef and chicken broth and bring to a boil, stirring with a whisk. Stir in about HALF the cornstarch mixture and simmer for a minute or so. If you'd like your gravy thicker, add a more of the cornstarch mixture, in small increments, as needed, to thicken. Season with pepper. Taste and add additional salt, if necessary, to taste. Make ahead and re-warm or keep warm until your fries are ready.
- For Deep-Fried Fries: Prepare your potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch thick sticks. Place into a large bowl and cover completely with cold water. Allow to stand at least one hour or several hours. When ready to cook, heat your oil in your deep fryer or large, wide, heavy cooking pot to 300° F.
- Remove the potatoes from the water and place onto a sheet of paper towel. Blot to remove as much excess moisture as possible.
- Add your fries to the 300°F oil and cook for 5-8 minutes, just until potatoes are starting to cook but are not yet browned. Remove potatoes from oil and scatter on a wire rack. Increase oil temperature to 375°F Once oil is heated to that temperature, return the potatoes to the fryer and cook until potatoes are golden brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined bowl.
- To Prepare Poutine: Add your fried or baked fries to a large, clean bowl. Season lightly with salt while still warm. Add a ladle of hot poutine gravy to the bowl and using tongs, toss the fries in the gravy. Add more gravy, as needed to mostly coat the fries.
- Add the cheese curds and toss with the hot fries and gravy. Serve with freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.
I haven’t tried it. I’ve only been to Canada once. Love your country by the way. I have picky kids and you just made me realize it would be fun to make different dishes from other countries…..yours being the first.
Thanks and enjoy!
now that I have this recipe, my brother can’t say poutine not a thing
Poutine is definitely a thing :)
I love a good Poutine since visiting and trying it in Montreal a decade ago. This recipe is as good as the restaurant we went to back then. Easy to make and a crowd pleaser especially on a cold winter night. I air fried my potatoes and poured the gravy right over the cheese curds to get them to melt. This recipe will become our family’s fave in no time.
Wonderful! Terrific comfort food. Decided at the last minute to make this and cheese curds weren’t available at my store in NC.Closest thing I could come up with was whole milk mozzarella string cheese. Cut that up into curd sizes. Before putting it on fries, warmed in oven,not til melted, but just softened it a bit. Also, let gravy cook down for a while to become more flavorful and somewhat thicker. Delicious!
Thank you Jennifer, for this exceptional recipe! I made this recipe this week and it was a big hit with my husband and adult children. I oven roasted the fries instead of deep frying (tossed in olive oil and roasted at 450 degrees for 40 minutes or until golden brown. I made the gravy using gluten free flour and did not need to use any cornstarch. I seasoned the gravy with seasoning salt, garlic powder, onion powder and a dash of soya sauce. I hadn’t even eaten poutine before and I loved it too. Bought lovely cheese curds here in Canada.
So glad you enjoyed it, Cathy :) Thanks so much!
I made your recipe today because the homemade fries and gravy sounded better than other recipes using frozen/canned ingredients. It was delicious. Thanks so much for posting the recipe. I’ll definitely be bookmarking it for future use.
So glad you enjoyed it! Thanks so much :)
I’ve been wanting to try Poutine for a long, long time, so today I made your recipe, as it sounded so much better than the frozen fries, canned gravy, and cheese curd recipe that I saw. Your recipe is delicious. Thanks for sharing it with the world.
This was spot on! My mom used to make this for us. Of course, she was French Canadian. I have family in Maine, Quebec, New Brunswick, Acadia (now called Nova Scotia) as well as Louisiana. Some-times she would add maple cured bacon chunks. In fact, she’d make many French-Canadian dishes, from boiled dinners, corn fritters dipped in pure maple syrup, clam chowder, ploque (that’s what she called it, a sort of thin buckwheat pancake drenched in real butter, and either maple syrup or fresh blue berries, sometimes black berries on top.) Another thing she made was getting a goodly number of beef or pork bones, usually the big femur bone, have the butcher cut them in half to expose the marrow, then season with pepper and salt, bake them in the oven, and we’d eat this marrow on pan toasted baguette slices. So I was practically raise on French-Canadian food, even if I did grow up in the Los Angeles area. 😆 I still cook like this, especially during the cold winter months. (I am 69 years old and retired in Western North Carolina in 2008 after 30+ years as a Registered Surgical Nurse). Unfortunately, neither of my sisters can cook worth beans, so when they visit, I end up cooking all of their fave dishes my mom used to make. 😂🙃
Hello, I currently live in northern Maine, but have spent many years in Ca. And have indulged in poutine in both places many times over lol. So I feel qualified to say that this recipe is spot on. The only suggestion I have is to keep an eye on your curds.Its an absolute MUST to get the real deal experience. You don’t want them fully melted, nor fully raw. The sweet spot is smack dab in the middle, when they are just starting to loosen up and are warmed throughout. To easily do this, simply put the curds on BEFORE the hot gravy. Pouring the gravy rite over the curds or cheese sub of course. But sometimes the hot gravy and fries arent enough for that specific level of melt(especially with the larger bits). So a quick simple fix is to toss the whole dish into the oven, fairly hot temp, for just a few moments. You don’t want to cook the fries any longer, just warming the curds or cheese chunks until the very first sign of melting. Then pull it out and your good to go. The texture you will experience with the curds melted to perfection like this is something that will stand out in this dish. But not over power. It’s what “makes the dish” for almost everyone who has this authentic dish with some regularly. Fab recipe breakdown and explanation on this local favorite Jennifer! I’m sure anyone who follows will be instantly hooked and love it.
Thanks Brittney and yes, getting the perfect consistency of the curds is always key. I try to have my gravy super hot and usually, that works pretty well, but good tip on the oven, if needed :)
I made this tonight with a open face hamburger
It was so awesome thank you for your recipe
I made the recipe this weekend. Unfortunately I live in South Africa, and I had to use mozzarella. However, this is beautiful! I cannot wait to go to Montreal and have the real deal.
So glad you enjoyed it, Lian :) Thanks so much!
Excellent recipe, thank you! I made a vegetarian option with a vegetable broth which was also great.
So glad you enjoyed it, Luz :) Thanks so much!
Turned out great! First time making poutine at home; really terrific recipe! The only change I made was to air fry the hand-cut fries. Thanks for posting this!
So glad to hear :) Thanks so much!
I think I would rather air fry them too. What temp and how long for the fries in the air fryer? I am now to using an air fryer. Thank you!
I’ve never had poutine before (from the US South), but had seen it on some show, so found this recipe, and glad I’m did. Thanks! The gravy is fantastic and really good on the fries. The only thing I didn’t get right was that the curds didn’t really soften enough, so I might try warming them a little next time. I did order curds online from Wisconsin and they were really good, but not quite as good as ones that a neighbor had brought home from their family farm a number of years ago, so those were probably the true super fresh ones.
I live in WIsconsin and am fortunate to be able to get cheese curds so fresh they are still warm. Absolutely the curds your friend brought directly from the farm would have been superior to something that was shipped. I can’t wait to try this recipe, happy eating!