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The Original Donair From the East Coast of Canada

Rated as 4.45 out of 5 Stars

"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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9 h 50 m servings 450
Original recipe yields 6 servings


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  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.


  • Partner Tip
  • Reynolds® Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 450 calories; 14.3 57.3 22.4 64 814 Full nutrition

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Read all reviews 49
  1. 65 Ratings

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Most helpful positive review

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 t...

Most helpful critical review

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

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Most positive
Least positive

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 t...

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 b...

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.

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 ...

OK, I read the reviews, scrutinized the ingredients, and adjusted the recipe accordingly. We're sort of middle-of-the-road on spicy food (maybe 6 on a scale of 10), and I just knew that 2 tsp o...

i thought this was great. this sauce recipe looks better than dash's recipe on this site. i used this method--- Stir canned milk, sugar and garlic powder until sugar isdissolved. Add vine...

Really good recipe, I add 1 tsp of cumin and an extra tsp of garlic powder to the meat and have a different recipe for the sauce which includes garlic. Make this frequently and usually make 5lbs...

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 ...

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 ot...