The Original Donair From the East Coast of Canada Recipe -
  • READY IN ABOUT 10 hrs

The Original Donair From the East Coast of Canada

Recipe by  

"In the early 70's, a Greek restaurateur in the city of Halifax introduced the Donair. Within a few short years, virtually all pizzerias had added their version of the dish to their menus. Not to be confused with gyros, the Donair has a vastly different flavor. Originally the dish was made with ground lamb, but this proved too costly and ground beef was later substituted. Technically, this resulted in an aberration of sorts, as the final product was not what the originator had intended. What resulted, however, is the legendary East Coast Donair."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 6 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    10 mins
  • COOK

    1 hr 10 mins

    9 hrs 50 mins


  1. In a bowl, thoroughly mix together the ground beef, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, and oregano. Pack the spiced meat into a thick loaf shape, cover, and let rest in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. Place the meat loaf onto a baking sheet, and bake for 1 hour, flipping the loaf over halfway through cooking. Allow the meat loaf to cool so it holds together for slicing.
  4. Mix together the evaporated milk and white sugar in a bowl, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, and then add the vinegar by teaspoons, mixing together after each addition, to taste. Refrigerate the sauce until serving.
  5. Slice the meat loaf into 1/4-inch thick slices, and brown the slices in a skillet over medium heat until both sides are brown and crisp, about 5 minutes per side.
  6. Sprinkle the pita bread rounds with a little water, and press each onto a heated skillet to warm up.
  7. To serve, place several slices of meat into a warmed pita bread, and spoon about 2 tablespoons of sauce over the meat. Roll the pita bread into a cone shape, wrap in aluminum foil to keep the sauce from dripping out, and serve.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Oct 28, 2009

I am a Maritimer and this is almost identical to my recipe but I mix in 1 tsp of garlic powder to the sugar when making the sauce. It is important to make sure you add the vinegar 1 Tbsp at a time and mix well so it will thicken. We had many a donair party while living in Western Canada and got many western friends addicted to our yummmy donairs!

Most Helpful Critical Review
Aug 26, 2011

8-24-11: This turned out much too hot. Maybe I made a mistake.

Nov 06, 2009

I thought this was pretty good although a bit hot for our taste. I was able to let the uncooked mixture sit for a few hours only rather than overnight as the recipe suggests. The sauce was a bit thinner than I had expected but perhaps was due to my method of mixing. I thought the taste, sweet/sour was a nice combination with the spicy meat slices. Thank you very much for taking the time to share your recipe with us. I will make this again but will decrease the cayenne a touch, and I might try it with ground pork.

Mar 07, 2011

I have been using this very same recipe for years now, with the addition of 1 tsp of garlic. Just like that other Maritimer. I use the sauce for quite a few other dishes as well.

Nov 18, 2009

Just like the ones at Big Red's in Chester NS. Thanks for taking me home for awhile! Everyone in my family liked it. An easy make ahead recipe. I did add the garlic powder like someone else suggested because that's the kind of sauce I'm used to. Here's a hint no one mentioned. The sauce is thicker right after it is made than if it sits in the fridge for any length of time. So I chilled it a bit and then used it right away. This is fantastic!!!

Sep 04, 2011

I've never been to Halifax, but I have to say, this was mighty tasty. I was craving Turkish Doner...and used the meat recipe to satisfy that craving. Would use 1/2 the cayenne next time--but other than that, great. Didn't have any evap. milk--so made tzatziki sauce. So good and easy. A lot healthier too than typical doner, as I used 93% lean ground beef. Thanks!

Jun 20, 2011

I made these donairs for supper the other night and my husband can't stop raving about them! I followed the recipe exactly and couldn't believe how easy they were to make! The meat sliced like it was roast beef and it was easy to get very thin pieces. For some reason though, the sauce seemed like the recipe called for too much milk. It was too runny. I did mince up some fresh garlic until it was a smooth paste and added it to the sauce. Though runny, the taste was awesome! I left it in the fridge until it was chilled.Next time I think I will use less milk.I can't wait until I make them again!

Nov 09, 2011

Tried this and Loved it!! Used less cyanne pepper because i didnt want it to be too spicy and i added garlic to the sauce, Will no longer be buying donairs from take out places =) Thanks so much!!


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  • Calories
  • 450 kcal
  • 22%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 57.3 g
  • 18%
  • Cholesterol
  • 64 mg
  • 21%
  • Fat
  • 14.3 g
  • 22%
  • Fiber
  • 1.9 g
  • 8%
  • Protein
  • 22.4 g
  • 45%
  • Sodium
  • 814 mg
  • 33%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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