Home Recipe Roundup 20 Traditional Canadian Foods

20 Traditional Canadian Foods

If you’ve ever visited Great White North, you’ll know that Canadian foods are delicious and full of flavor.

Much like their scenery, Canada has so much to offer, and to this day, I still crave a big bowl of poutine followed by a creamy Nanaimo bar! 

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Poutine with French Fries and Gravy

You’ve probably tried poutine and maybe even a beavertail, but have you ever had a Caesar cocktail? How about a dreamy butter tart?

You’ll probably want to make everything on this list of 20 Canadian foods! So, what are you waiting for, eh?

1. Poutine

Though it comes in many forms now – from chicken, bacon, and ranch to chicken tikka – you can’t beat a plate of classic poutine. 

My first experience with poutine couldn’t have been more Canadian if I tried: it was at a hockey game in Toronto!

Needless to say, between the thick-cut fries, the melted cheese curds, and the heavenly gravy, I was hooked after one bite!

2. Tourtière: A French-Canadian Meat Pie

This is one thick slice of ground meat, onions, and savory seasonings.

If you’re wondering just how all that ground beef holds its shape, there’s one secret ingredient: mashed potatoes. 

Not only do they bind everything together so you can build this baby pretty high, but they add so much moisture to the pie, too.

3. Montreal Bagels

You’ve probably heard all about how amazing New York bagels are, right? I mean, it’s true, they are sensational!

But I have to say these Montreal bagels are a close second.

It will come as no surprise to see maple syrup on the ingredient list.

Traditionally, these chewy delights are poached in sweetened water for a lovely flavor profile. 

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4. Easy Bannock Bread

Brought to Canada by Scottish fur traders, many Canadian Indigenous people adopted this simple fried bread, and it’s still super popular today. 

Yeast-free, this recipe needs just half a dozen ingredients and no rest time.

Once you have the sticky dough ready – just mix it with a fork – you can fry it right away.

This is great for camping and is how it was made back in the 18th Century!

5. Canadian Salmon in a Maple Syrup Marinade

When I make salmon, I love a sweet chili glaze served with some yummy fried rice. 

But when I saw this quick maple marinade, I just knew I had to try it out!

You’ll whisk together cumin, cracked black pepper, salt, green chili, and chopped ginger, along with the maple syrup, olive oil, and lemon juice.

After 30 minutes, you’ll have one tasty piece of fish!

6. Nova Scotia Lobster Rolls

Most people associate lobster rolls with Maine, but since Nova Scotia is so close, it makes sense they’d have something similar. 

Since you won’t want to overpower the lobster meat, this sandwich has a simple blend of mayo, lemon juice, parsley, and salt and pepper for the dressing.

It’s perfectly creamy, and the lemon juice will enhance the lobster so well. 

I like to add a few dashes of hot sauce to mine, too!

7. French Canadian-Style Crockpot Split Pea Soup

There’s a lot going on in that title, but fear not, this is such a straightforward recipe!

How straightforward? Well, just throw everything in the slow cooker and let it go.

A few hours later, you’ll have a delicious soup. 

The most you have to do is break apart the ham once it’s falling off the bone. 

8. Montreal Steak Seasoning

Montreal steak seasoning is a delightful mix of paprika, salt, garlic, pepper, onion, coriander, crushed red pepper, and dill. 

I know it sounds like a lot, but the trick is to make a nice big batch and store it with your other spices. 

This doesn’t just enhance steak, by the way. It’s fantastic in chicken – especially grilled!

I’ve also used it as a rub for my ribs, and it adds such a depth of flavor that you won’t believe!

9. Nova Scotia Style Donair

Kebabs come in all shapes and sizes, and many places have different names for them – doner vs. gyro, for example. 

This dish is very specific to a small town in Nova Scotia called Halifax.

A Greek chef modified his traditional offering to appeal to Canadian palates, and the donair was born. 

It consists of spiced beef in a pita, topped with onion and tomato before being drizzled with a sweet garlic sauce.

10. Hawaiian Pizza

Did you know you have our neighbors to the North to thank for Hawaiian pizza? It’s true!

Though it might not be my thing, I know plenty of people who just adore the salty and sweet combination of pineapple and bacon/ham. 

Of course, if you can find Canadian bacon, all the better!

11. Homemade Garlic Fingers and Donair Sauce

Garlic fingers are essentially slices of garlic bread.

Instead of cutting a garlic pizza into triangular pieces, the Canadians cut them into slivers, making them more sharable. 

Either way, you cannot go wrong with a tender pizza dough covered in garlic butter and mozzarella cheese. 

But the sauce pushes this side dish over the edge. Seriously, you have to try this!

12. Calgary Ginger Beef Recipe

This Canadian-Chinese fusion dish is made with deep-fried sliced beef – flank or sirloin work the best – which is then tossed in a sweet chili sauce. 

As the name suggests, the sauce contains plenty of ginger for a lovely warm spice that’s not too overpowering. 

Getting the texture of the beef right is almost as important as the sauce.

If you get this at a restaurant, it will be fried twice to ensure maximum crunch!

13. Classic Canadian Caesar Recipe

Full disclosure: I’ve never been a huge fan of Bloody Marys. So Caesars are not my thing. 

That being said, they’re practically a religion in Canada! But what are they?

A Caesar is a Bloody Mary-type cocktail, made with many of the same ingredients, including Worcestershire sauce, tabasco sauce, and vodka.

However, it also includes pickle juice, BBQ sauce, and clam juice-infused tomato juice. 

Yeah… clam juice. Try it if you’re feeling adventurous!

14. Timbits

Dunkin’ has Munchkins, and Tim Horton’s has Timbits.

I don’t know a single Canadian that hasn’t grabbed a box of Timbits to bring to work or school once in a while, and they’re such a classic sweet treat. 

They’re usually covered in a glaze or powdered sugar, and you can get them filled with strawberry jam, custard, or chocolate spread.

Since they’re made with baking powder, Timbits are usually much cakier than a typical donut, but they’re still super delicious and light. 

15. Baked Maple Glazed Donuts

These baked donuts are lightly spiced, wonderfully tender, and super flavorful with the maple glaze on top. 

Full of nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove, these make the perfect fall fave!

Since they’re baked, you won’t even need to worry about frying any dough. 

It’s the maple glaze that really sets these apart – so be sure to get the good stuff!

There’s a big difference between synthetic pancake syrup and 100% pure maple syrup.

16. 5-Ingredient Maple Candy (Toffee)

Would you believe me if I told you this fantastic candy is paleo-friendly and gluten-free?

I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true!

You’ll mix your coconut sugar, butter, maple syrup, and water until it starts to boil and reaches soft ball stage (around 234-240°F/112-115°C) before whisking as it rises to the hard crack stage (295-309°F/146-154°C).

This gets poured onto a lined baking sheet, and then you can top it with anything from dark chocolate chips to chopped nuts. 

17. Cinnamon Sugar Beaver Tails

Every Canadian kid grew up eating beaver tails, and every Canadian adult will happily run to the beaver tail stand for a dose of nostalgia. 

These cinnamon sugar-coated fried pieces of dough are very donut-like but tend to be quite flat, like a beaver tail! 

I’ve had them with a sweet glaze, and even peanut butter smothered over the top. They’re big, warm, and so worth every calorie!

18. Old-Fashioned Butter Tarts

I’ve had a bunch of different butter tart varieties, including blueberry, pecan, and raspberry.

But nothing is quite as tasty as the original recipe. 

They’re very much like a mini-pecan pie, only in many cases they also have raisins in the mix. 

As the name would suggest, these need a flaky, buttery pie crust that should be unbelievably tender and slightly sweet.

Every bite is better than the last!

19. No-Bake Vegan Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo is a pretty little port town on Vancouver Island. It’s funky and full of unique places to eat and drink. 

Needless to say, I ate a lot of Nanaimo bars on my trip there!

The classic recipe has a simple chocolate, coconut, and graham cracker base, along with a custard-like filling that’s topped with chocolate. 

But the beauty of these bars is that they’re so easy to modify! This vegan recipe uses cashews, coconut, cocoa powder, and dates.

This makes it both crunchy and sweet, and strong enough to hold its shape when cut. 

The filling is a quick mix of cashews, coconut milk, maple syrup, and turmeric (for the color).

However, I’ve made it with pistachios in the past for a lovely green coloring. 

20. Glazed Maple Shortbread Cookies

As if shortbread cookies could get any better!

These tender, crumbly cookies get a heavenly maple glaze on top for just a touch of extra sweetness. 

The key to the perfect shortbread cookie is to keep it simple – this recipe uses flour, butter, and sugar. That’s it!

Don’t handle it too much, and pull them from the oven before they turn golden.

This will ensure they’re perfectly tender and will melt in your mouth!

20 Traditional Canadian Foods

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Canadian Foods

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INSANELYGOOD

Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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