Several different restaurants lay claim to this Canadian specialty but as is the case for many recipes, no one knows for certain.  One thing that can be agreed upon is that the recipe first appeared in the 1950's.  Wikipedi provides a list of the top contenders here.

The original recipe was simply a batch of fresh french fries topped with cheese curds and a fresh brown gravy.  Since then variations abound.  One chef even created a version topped with lobster and a bearnaise sauce.

There is even a annual La Poutine Week held the first week of February.  Residents can seek out their favorite poutine then go online and place their vote for the best in the land.


About Poutine

One of the great things about our diverse world is all of the interesting foods (and combinations, thereof) that are out there waiting to be tried.  Now, depending on who you are, and where you are, this feature may bring you something unique or it just might be something you enjoy everyday.  This week's entrée is brought to us from Québec, Canada, Poutine!

One of GourmetSleuth's own creators is a French-Canadian, native of Montreal and speaks highly of this prized local treat. The excerpt below is an article from About.com and does a marvelous job explaining the intricacies of "Poutine".

"Poutine, even God would eat it, coming back from the bars at 3 a.m. plastered with His buddies, sit in front of a bowl of it, full of sauce, and topped with cheese!"  --[translated from the French], quote by Sylvain Bouchard

Ah, Bliss. There are few foods which will clunk more satisfyingly to the bottom of your gut or stick more cloyingly to your ribs: poutine, the quintessential pig-out dish from Québec. Pronounced (in the U.S poo-TEEN, or to more closely approximate the Québecois dialect, POO-tin, the classical version is a heap of crispy golden fries piled in a disposable bowl, mixed with cheese curds, then smothered in piping hot beef gravy. The stuff has in the past been hard to come by outside of Canada, but it is catching on as desperate French-Canadians export it to places like Florida, California, NY, France, and other poutine-bereft areas where they find themselves stranded.  read more

Basic Poutine Recipe

1 serving homemade French fries
1 can brown gravy, heated
1/2 cup cheese curds (more or less to taste)


Place French fries in the serving dish. Cover fries with curd cheese. Pour hot brown gravy over fries. Serve hot. 


Variations on a Poutine Theme

  • Italian Poutine : Use spaghetti sauce (heated) instead of brown gravy. 
  • Galvaude : Add chopped cooked chicken, peas and coleslaw to the basic poutine recipe above. 
  • Use shredded mild cheddar instead of cheese curds, but taste will vary.

Key Ingredients

French Fries

Homemade French fries seem to be the preferred base for the dish.

Cheese Curds

Now, if you are in the U.S you are going to have some trouble finding cheese curds.  They appear to be the shape and size of large dry cottage cheese curds, but with a stringy texture. The best substitute is mozzarella.  But the flavor will not be the same.


This part is a little confusing too.  While the recipe we found called for a can of beef gravy.. other sources say the real thing is more like a barbecue chicken sauce. I'm not sure if they are talking about a simple sauce used for barbecued chicken, or a sauce with a chicken base. These sauces can be found in Quebec in a mix form.  One well-known brand is St. Hubert We are still on the prowl for a real sauce recipe and will post it when we find it.

More Information

Poutine Making Photos

Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of GourmetSleuth.com she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.