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.
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!
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.
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
- Cut potatoes into equally sized pieces & soak in cold water to remove excess starch.
- Season with oil, salt & pepper, & bake or air fry in batches (per the recipe below).
- Cook onion in a skillet until tender. Add seasonings.
- 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.
- 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!
Did you make this homemade Poutine? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!
- 8 ounces Cheese Curds
- 2 large baking potatoes scrubbed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
- seasoned salt to taste
- 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
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.
- Place the hot fries on a serving plate and top with cheese curds. Pour very hot gravy over the fries and cheese.
- Serve immediately.
- 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.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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