How to make the perfect poutine

Making poutine, the right way

Traditional and authentic poutine.
Traditional and authentic poutine. Photo by Dan Clapson.

Picture this: golden homemade French fries, still sizzling from being deep fried to perfection, covered in cheese curds and smothered with beef gravy.

If done correctly, the fries will be crispy on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth on the inside, seasoned with just the right amount of salt and swimming in a rich gravy that’s neither too savory or sweet, nor too thick or thin. The cheese bits will be barely melted, so when bitten into, are warm and gooey, yet still hold their shape. Ahhh... heaven. And by heaven, I mean Quebec.

Listen up, Americans, I love you, but we have to talk. You suck at making poutine. You may win all the gold medals during the Olympics, make all the cool movies with our Ryan Gosling, and even win the Stanley cup a whole bunch of times, but one thing you really need to get right is this bangin’ potato dish. At this rate, you’re only getting a certificate for participating and we all know that doesn’t count.

Poutine only has three components: fries, cheese curds and gravy. It shouldn't be too complicated. Here’s what you need to know:


No frozen fries will do. We can tell the difference. Get some Yukon gold potatoes and slice them. Use a French fry cutter and then let the fries sit in a bowl of cold water for at least 30 minutes. After that, make sure the fries are dry, and fry them in small batches. That’s all it takes to make the perfect fries.

Cheese Curds

You need to get your hands on this almost-cheese because there are no substitutions for its squeaky awesomeness. Maybe if you cut mozzarella cheese into big enough chunks, you’ll come close. Maybe.


For a classic poutine gravy, just follow this recipe from Nadia G., and for the love of fried goodness, serve it hot. The piping hot (beef) gravy is what melts the cheese curds!

Only when you "get" the basic poutine recipe down can you begin to add quirky things to it like we Montrealers do. Do not start adding shredded lamb or smoked meat (which, you haven’t mastered yet either). When you get this recipe right, the world will know and we, its founding members, will come to judge celebrate, you. Good luck, friends.