Discover the Delights of Donairs: A Nova Scotia Favorite

The Donair is a Nova Scotia specialty that remains undiscovered, mainly in other areas. In this blog post, I’ll share a foolproof recipe to create scrumptious Donairs at home and introduce you to the magic of this Maritime gem.

The Origins of the Donair

Before diving into the recipe, let’s take a brief look at the origins of the Donair. This Canadian delight has its roots in the Turkish döner kebab and Greek gyros but has been adapted to suit local tastes. The result is a unique, mouthwatering dish that’s perfect for satisfying those late-night cravings.


Crafting the Perfect Donair Meat

The foundation of a delicious Donair lies in its meat. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 to 3.5 pounds of lean ground beef (mix in some venison burger if available)
  • 2 tsp flour (all-purpose or whole wheat)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1.5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 tsp Za’atar Spice (Italian seasoning will substitute)
  • 4 tsp paprika (not smoked)
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1.5 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tsp salt

Start by combining all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Use a food processor or mixer to blend the mixture until the texture becomes homogeneous, losing its graininess. Form the mixture into loaves and place them on a wire rack over a pan to keep the drippings off the loaves. Bake at 350°F for about 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F or higher. Allow the meat to cool for 1-2 hours before slicing it into thin strips.

TIP:  For an even finer and more homogeneous texture, run the ground meat through a grinder a couple of extra times before mixing it with the other ingredients. This will ensure your Donair meat has the ideal consistency for a truly authentic experience.

I recommend a rotisserie like this one:


Two Delicious Donair Sauce Variations

A perfect Donair needs an equally perfect sauce. Here are two variations to suit your preferences:

Donair Sauce 1: Unsweetened Evaporated Milk

  • 1 can of evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 4 teaspoons white vinegar, or as needed

Donair Sauce 2: Sweetened Evaporated Milk

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
  • 4 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp garlic powder

For either variation, mix all ingredients except the vinegar in a bowl. Gradually add the vinegar while whisking until the sauce reaches a thick, spoonable consistency. Be careful not to over-whisk.

Assembling Your Donair

Now comes the moment of truth – putting it all together. You’ll need the following:

  • Diced tomatoes and onions
  • Pita bread

Fry the sliced Donair meat in a hot, oiled pan until becoming crispy. Set aside and cover with foil to keep warm. Lightly wet a pita bread and fry it in the same pan for about 30 seconds per side. Place the pita on a plate, layer it with meat, diced onions, and tomatoes, and generously drizzle with Donair sauce. Fold and enjoy!

In this article, I’ve shared with you the secrets to making a mouthwatering Donair, a Nova Scotia favourite. So give it a try and experience the flavours of the Maritimes right in your own kitchen.

Prepared Donair
Mixing donair meat in a mixer
Raw donair meat ready for oven
Donair meat Roasting in the oven
Slicing the donair meat
Frying the donair meat



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