Nova Scotia Style Donair


If you've ever been to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, hopefully you had the chance to try a donair. This is the recipe used to make those donairs in some places in town. Remember to knead that meat until it's almost a paste!

Prep Time:
40 mins
Cook Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
Additional Time:
6 hrs
Total Time:
9 hrs 10 mins
15 servings


  • 4 pounds ground beef

  • 1 pound ground lamb

  • 5 teaspoons all-purpose flour (Optional)

  • 4 teaspoons salt

  • 5 teaspoons dried oregano

  • 2 ½ teaspoons dry mustard

  • 2 ½ teaspoons garlic powder

  • 2 ½ teaspoons cracked black pepper

  • 2 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper

  • 2 teaspoons crushed dried chile pepper

  • 1 ½ teaspoons paprika

  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning


  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk

  • ¾ cup white sugar

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar, or as needed

  • 15 pita bread rounds

  • 2 tomatoes, chopped, or more to taste

  • 1 onion, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease a large baking pan with sides.

  2. Place beef, lamb, flour, salt, oregano, dry mustard, 2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chile pepper, paprika, and Italian seasoning in a bowl; knead all ingredients together with your hands until mixture is like a paste, about 10 minutes. Roll the meat mixture into a large loaf shape, and place into the prepared pan.

  3. Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, about 2 hours. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). Remove from oven; place meat on a drip rack until completely cool to allow juices and fat to drain. Refrigerate meat for 6 hours or overnight.

  4. Stir evaporated milk, sugar, and 2 teaspoons garlic powder together in a small bowl; gradually stir in vinegar just until mixture thickens.

  5. Slice donair meat into strips about 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thick. Fry meat strips in single-sandwich batches in a skillet over medium-high heat until meat begins to crisp at the edges; remove from pan. Quickly rub 1 pita round lightly with water; fry pita in same frying pan, turning once, just until warm, about 1 minute.

  6. Spread pita with about 1/2 tablespoons of sauce mixture, top with donair meat, and garnish with onion, tomato, and more sauce; repeat with remaining meat and pita.

Cook's Notes:

Beef can be used in place of lamb if desired.

Flour acts as a binder, but it is possible to make the recipe without using flour.

In place of kneading meat mixture in Step 2, you can pass mixture through a grinder until finely ground. The finished product should be similar to processed meat, so that it can be thinly sliced and then pan fried without crumbling.

You can also top with mozzarella cheese if you like.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

511 Calories
22g Fat
45g Carbs
33g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 15
Calories 511
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 22g 28%
Saturated Fat 9g 44%
Cholesterol 103mg 34%
Sodium 1004mg 44%
Total Carbohydrate 45g 16%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 33g
Vitamin C 5mg 26%
Calcium 142mg 11%
Iron 4mg 24%
Potassium 559mg 12%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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