Poutine is one of Canada’s notable dishes and some of the most delicious comfort food you’ll ever have. 

A plate of hot french fries is topped with cheese curds and smothered in hot brown gravy. The gravy melts the cheese just a little bit for the most perfect dish.

It’s a staple in Canada (and even served at McDonald’s) but there’s nothing like homemade poutine.

taking a fork full of Homemade Poutine

What is Poutine?

A traditional poutine recipe (pronounced ‘poo-teen’ or ‘poo-tin’ in English or ‘poo-tsin’ in Quebec), is a bed of fries topped with cheese curds (not mozzarella cheese) and gravy. Poutine is undoubtedly a Canadian dish that originated in Quebec in the 1950s, although, like many dishes, the true origin is debated.

Different variations can be found throughout the country, and lots of poutine restaurants too! In Canada, poutine graces almost every menu, including fast food restaurants.

The Ultimate Comfort Food

  • Poutine can be made with homemade French fries that have been baked or deep-fried (or even store-bought in a pinch).
  • It’s full of crispy cheesy goodness smothered in brown gravy.
  • It can be customized with your favorite toppings from caramelized onions to taco meat (although these are not traditional).
  • It’s an inexpensive meal and so much fun to eat!
ingredients to make Poutine

Ingredients

French Fries: Use oven fries, deep fry your own french fries, or make air fryer french fries (or even use frozen if you’re in a hurry). If making homemade fries, choose starchy potatoes like russets so they’re crispy on the outside and fluffy inside.

Poutine Gravy: The ‘sauce’ on poutine is a brown gravy that makes the cheese melty and delicious. I prefer a homemade beef gravy made with beef stock or broth but if you have leftover gravy (or even packaged) that works too!

Cheese Curds: Cheese curds are crumbles of cheese that have been separated from the whey and have a mild salty flavor. While many people think they’re mozzarella, they’re actually young cheddar. Cheese curds will not melt entirely in Poutine; instead, they add a chewy texture to the dish…and they squeak as you eat!

Store-bought cheese curds are sold in bags and are often found in the deli area (and not always in the dairy case). If you don’t see them, ask at the store where they are.

Variations

Depending on where you are in Canada (or the US), poutine can come in different forms but always with the same three ingredients: fries, gravy/sauce, and cheese curds.

  • Fries: Waffle fries, wedge fries, string fries, even tater tots, or sweet potato fries are sometimes used, but good ol’ french fries are traditional.
  • Toppings: For a heartier Poutine, a topping of pulled pork, chopped bacon, ground sausage, or seasoned taco meat is an option.
  • Cheese: Squeaky cheese curds are used for poutine but can be hard to find, depending on where you live. If you can’t get cheese curds, you can substitute with cubes of very mild cheddar or mozzarella (although it is technically not poutine if not made with cheese curds, but cheese fries with gravy is delicious too).

How to Make Poutine

  1. Cut potatoes into equally sized pieces & soak in cold water to remove excess starch.
  2. Season with oil, salt & pepper, & bake or air fry in batches (per the recipe below).
  3. Cook onion in a skillet until tender. Add seasonings.
  4. Add beef broth & water, whisking until smooth. Simmer until thickened.

To Assemble and Serve

Assemble poutine by placing hot fries on a plate or even in a paper boat or bowl and top with cheese curds. Pour hot gravy over the top and serve immediately. While it’s very controversial, I love adding ketchup when I serve them.

Pro Tip: Ensure the fries and the gravy are really hot; this helps the cheese get melty.

plated Poutine with ketchup gravy and cheese curds in the back

Poutine Tips

  • The air fryer will make French fries from fresh or frozen in minutes!
  • Cheese curds are best served at room temperature so set them out while the rest of the dish is being prepared.
  • Ensure the fries and the gravy are hot so the cheese curds get melty.
  • Have lots of napkins on hand!

Our Favorite French Fries

Did you make this homemade Poutine? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

adding gravy to fries to make a Poutine
4.99 from 63 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Homemade Poutine

Crispy fries are topped with cheese curds and smothered in a flavorful gravy to create this Canadian classic!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Soak Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 2

Equipment

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Ingredients  

  • 8 ounces Cheese Curds

Fries

Brown Gravy

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups condensed beef broth

Instructions 

To Make the French Fries

  • Preheat oven to 375°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Wash and cut potatoes into 1/4" fries. Soak fries in cold water for at least 30 minutes, then dry thoroughly using paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
  • In a large bowl, toss fries with olive oil and seasoned salt. Spread on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 425°F, stir the french fries, and continue baking until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.

To Make the Gravy

  • While the fries bake, heat one teaspoon olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook diced onion until tender.
  • Add minced garlic, thyme, and pepper to the saucepan. Cook the mixture for 2 minutes. Whisk in the butter until melted. Stir in flour, cooking the roux for 4 to 5 minutes or until browned.
  • Gradually add the condensed beef broth and 1 cup of water to the saucepan, whisking until smooth after each addition.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 2 minutes. Strain the gravy through a mesh strainer into a pot.

Assembly

  • Place the hot fries on a serving plate and top with cheese curds. Pour very hot gravy over the fries and cheese.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

Remove cheese curds from the fridge to come to room temperature. This helps it melt when the hot gravy is poured over the top.
Ensure the fries and the gravy are hot so the cheese curds get melty.
Use condensed beef broth (or chicken broth or chicken stock if desired) for full flavor.
Short Cut Tips
  • Fries can be cooked in the air fryer or deep fryer.
  • Homemade fries can be replaced with frozen fries.
  • Leftover gravy or packaged gravy can be used in place of homemade brown gravy.
4.99 from 63 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 1108 | Carbohydrates: 83g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 69g | Saturated Fat: 36g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 182mg | Sodium: 1542mg | Potassium: 1746mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 801IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 894mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Appetizer, Party Food, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Canadian
plated Homemade Poutine with writing
close up of Homemade Poutine with a title
pouring gravy over fries and cheese curds to make Homemade Poutine with a title
plated Homemade Poutine and fork full with writing

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. while I like the recipe as is. Being a Brit we like to kick it up. Replace the gravy with curry sauce. Being lazy the best fries are take frozen fries without thawing, air fry at 400*F for 12 minutes.4 stars

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment, Dennis! Using frozen fries are definitely easy and taste great with a poutine

  2. Thank you for this recipe from a Canadian fan! We celebrate Canada Day on July 1st and poutine is a celebration favourite!5 stars

  3. Quebecer here. To make a real poutine, the fries MUST be regular cut, not shoestring, fresh and deep-fried, preferably in lard. There is no need for them to be crispy on the outside, real Quebec fries are not crispy and golden, they are almost brown and soft, not crisp, to the bite. You will be soaking them in gravy, after all, which they will absorb and become soft in any case. The cheese curds should be fresh on the day, at most a day old.
    This is not health food, it is a guilty pleasure. If you want to eat healthy, have a nice poutine and then eat salad for the rest of the week to make up for it.5 stars

  4. This looks really good and I’d like to try it. The curds aren’t available in my area (remote Texas) but could I use large curd cottage cheese instead? Thanks.

    1. Hi Dayna, if you can’t find cheese curds I recommend using a mozzarella. While it will not be exactly the same, it will still be delicious.

    1. You can adjust the number of servings on the PRINT page once you click print. Please note that adjusting the servings will adjust only the amounts on the ingredients list (and not the written directions).

  5. It turned out great. I messed up the timing of the cooking order but a quick reheat of the gravy worked just as well. I will definitely make this again.5 stars

  6. Wow wow your gravy was amazing! Totally sealed the deal on this long awaited craving of mine. Got the curds from target and a bag of frozen fries. Followed your gravy recipe to a T, and wow so delicious and savory my new go to beef gravy recipe for sure thank you!5 stars

    1. Yay!! So happy to hear that, Maria! Poutines are a regular item on my menu, they are so yummy!

  7. Poutine is undoubtedly from Québec but other countries are trying to take credit for this meal. But don’t get it wrong, it’s a 100% Quebecer’s dish.