How to Make Poutine

You may have noticed poutine showing up on a lot of American bar and restaurant menus recently. This tasty treat is a Canadian comfort food that is finally making its way down to us. But what exactly is it? And why would you want to include it on your menu? To learn about this savory snack food and how it can boost your restaurant or bar's profits, keep reading.

What Is Poutine?

what is poutine

Poutine is a popular Canadian fast food dish that is made with french fries that are covered in cheese curds and gravy. The dish is a popular appetizer because it combines salty cheese curds with meaty gravy and crunchy french fries. Poutine is also an excellent bar snack, and it pairs perfectly with light beers and bitter IPAs. One of the key ingredients in poutine is cheese curds, which can sometimes be hard to find in the U.S. But, if you're looking to make authentic poutine, you can't substitute them. You can usually find cheese curds at cheese stores or specialty delis.

What Does Poutine Mean?

The meaning of the word “poutine” isn’t quite certain. Many believe it comes from the English and French word pudding. Other people believe that the term originated in Quebec as a slang term for "mess," which is how the dish was described when it was invented.

History of Poutine

Like the origin of the word "poutine," the history of this dish is unclear. There are several different poutine origin stories, but they all lead back to 1957 in rural Quebec. What is known is that the first poutine consisted of only french fries and cheese curds, and the gravy was added a few years later in 1964.

The dish started becoming popular in the U.S. during the late 1970s, although it was called "disco fries" in America. The dish was popular in New Jersey and New York, and it was usually consumed after a long night of partying and dancing, hence the "disco" in the name. While disco fries were related to poutine, there were some distinctions, mainly that disco fries used shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese instead of cheese curds.

Why Is Poutine Popular?

People all over the United States and Canada love to order this savory snack food. However, business owners also love to have it on their menus because of how cost-effective it is to make. The basic recipe only calls for three ingredients: french fries, cheese curds, and gravy. Unless you make your gravy from scratch you also don’t need any kitchen equipment beyond a standard french fry cutter and commercial deep fryer.

Cost Breakdown of Poutine

How to Make Poutine

The ingredients used in poutine are very inexpensive, so even if you list it on your menu for a reasonable rate, you can make a nice profit. To decide exactly how profitable poutine is, we created our own and then tallied up the cost of the ingredients, which we then compared to prices we saw on menus around the country.

Profit Margin

When broken down, the cost of the ingredients needed to make one plate of poutine is about $1.50. When we looked at the prices on American menus, a plate of poutine can cost up to $14, but most are around $8 per serving. That gives you a huge profit margin, even if you do use extra ingredients in addition to the three traditional ones (such as aioli, meat, or mushrooms).


  • Price on Menu - $8
  • Food Cost per Serving - $1.50
  • Profit Margin per Serving - $6.50

How to Make Poutine

While there are many different ways you can make poutine and additional ingredients you can add to the dish, we decided to create a traditional poutine. A traditional poutine is made with freshly cut, deep fried french fries with cheese curds on top, followed last by a healthy ladle of gravy. Check out the video below to see how to make poutine:


Poutine Ingredients

  • 1-2 large Idaho potatoes
  • 1/2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp. minced onion
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1/2 tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp. peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese curds
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Directions to Make Poutine

  1. Thoroughly scrub the potatoes and cut into 1/2" sticks using a french fry cutter.
  2. Place the potatoes in cold water for about an hour. Drain and dry them well before frying.
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, add oil, onion, and garlic. Cook for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the ketchup, vinegar, peppercorns, Worcestershire sauce, and beef stock to the saucepan.
  5. Stir the ingredients and bring to a boil.
  6. In another saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour to make a roux.
  7. Stir the roux for about 3 minutes or until it’s light brown in color.
  8. Whisk the roux into the stock mixture.
  9. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until reduced by half.
  10. Strain the sauce through a china cap strainer.
  11. Season the liquid with salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Fry the potatoes until they turn golden.
  13. Place your fries on a dish and top with cheese curds. Then, add your gravy on top and serve.

Because poutine is easy to make, the ingredients are inexpensive, and there is a large profit margin, it's an excellent addition to the menu at your restaurant or bar. Another benefit to offering poutine on your menu is that it is very customizable, so you can increase your profit margin even more by giving your customers the option of adding other ingredients, like other sauces, bacon, or extra cheese. So, if you're looking for a new recipe that's as profitable as it is easy to make, consider poutine as a cost-effective, delicious addition to your bar or restaurant menu.

Posted in: Recipes | By Alyssa Burns
Beth Casebolt Says:

I live right next to the Canadian border and have never heard of this dish. I'm going to add it to my menu!

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