Donair sauce is a classic Maritime recipe perfect to pair with East Coast Donairs or Maritime Garlic Fingers. This is a recipe so quick and so easy, it almost feels silly to make a recipe for it. But speaking to readers of the blog, it was HIGHLY requested.
With only 4 ingredients, making donair sauce at home is even faster than getting take-out from Greco! With a name like Maritime Glutton, you know that you can trust me on that! 😉
What is Donair Sauce?
For those of you who aren't from the Maritimes, you might not know what donair sauce is, or even what a donair is - and that's okay! If this recipe has found you and you're intrigued - listen up!
Donair sauce is creamy and sweet with a slightly sour taste. If sweet and sour sauce was made creamy, it would be something like this. Donair sauce originally was used to top donairs - which is kind of like a gyro but with donair sauce instead of tzatziki.
This article from Foods Guy goes into detail about the differences between gyros, donairs, souvlaki and doners. If you're curious about this history and distinctions of all these delicious wrap style meals, he's your guy!
For people who grew up in the Maritimes but moved, you know the struggle of trying to get a hold of Garlic Fingers and Donair sauce West of Quebec. Worry no longer, donair sauce is incredibly easy to make and is inexpensive and, as always, uncomplicated!
This is a really simple recipe - one of those "mix all ingredients" and that's it kind of recipes. The reason this is worth a blog post is because there's some controversy about the right way to make donair sauce. This comes from the sweetened condensed milk vs evaporated milk debate. So I tried both.
Pre-test I thought I was sweetened condensed milk or bust, and I still kind of am, but there is a really nice taste to the evaporated milk. The only downside is that in that recipe, you need to add sugar and it absolutely without exception needs to rest overnight to melt the sugar. It's also highly recommended to use a stand mixer or hand mixer to make donair sauce with evaporated milk. It's hard to get it thick enough - the taste is great though.
Substitions and Diet Modifications
I know some people make donair sauce with evaporated milk but I'm 100% on the condensed milk side. Here's a great article from the Kitchn about the differences between condensed milk and evaporated milk.
Essentially, evaporated milk is just unsweetened condensed milk. With that being said, the two ingredients aren't interchangeable even if you add sugar to evaporated milk because the canning process caramelizes the sugar for a nutty taste. In a pinch you can use evaporated milk and add ¾ cups of sugar - but keep in mind the final product may be grainy and will be much thinner than condensed milk.
When it comes to substituting the white vinegar, it really is paramount to the flavour profile of donair sauce. In a pinch, you could use apple cider vinegar or malt vinegar, but I really don't recommend doing so.
Don't substitute raw garlic or garlic salt for garlic powder. Trust me in that it will completely ruin the flavour profile of the dish by being much too strong or far too salty.
Different brands of sweetened condensed milk will yield the same results as long as the sugar content is the same. The brand I used had 11g of sugar per 1 tablespoon. Keep this in mind when you're looking for a brand. If there is more/less, be prepared to adjust the level of vinegar to get to your desired taste.
If you decide that you want to make this recipe with evaporated milk, know that the portions of the ingredients are different. In order to make this recipe with evaporated milk, use 4 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder. Note that I do still recommend sweetened condensed milk over evaporated.
Below are both versions of donair sauce. The left is with condensed milk and the right with evaporated milk.
So you've tried this new sauce and love it but have no idea what to pair it with. I've got you covered! If you can restrain yourself from literally drinking it, here's a few suggestions.
- Dipping sauce for Garlic Fingers (another Maritime favourite)!
- Any cheesy or garlicky bread will benefit from donair sauce, but the traditional recipe is coming next week!
- Dipping sauce for pizza
- A sauce for Donairs
- A dipping sauce for fries - move over mayochup!
- Sauce base for a Donair Pizza
- Donair Salad - top iceberg lettuce with diced onions, diced tomatoes, donair meat and donair sauce. A lighter carb option for donair wraps (the sauce is not keto friendly, only low carb)!
Do you love Maritime recipes?
Here's some more recipes that were inspired by the wonderful place I call home!
- Brewbaker's Maple Curry Penne (Fredericton, NB)
- Gusto's Tuscan Harvest Salad (Moncton, NB)
- Number One Noodle's Sweet Yellow Thai Curry (Fredericton, NB)
- The Dave Matthews Cocktail (Fredericton, NB)
- 540 Kitchen's Butternut Squash Soup (Fredericton, NB)
Other Recipes You'll Love
Maritime Donair Sauce
- 1 can Sweened Condensed Milk Eagle Brand *SEE NOTES
- ⅓ cup White Vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder not garlic salt
- ⅛ teaspoon Salt or to taste
- Combine all ingredients with a hand whisk or stand mixer until the sauce has thickened to your desired texture.
- Although it can be served immediately, it's best after sitting overnight for the flavours to combine fully.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk Brand: I used the Compliments brand of sweetened condensed milk. The Eagle Brand is a good substitution. They both have 11g of sugar per tablespoon. Keep in mind different brands of sweetened condensed milk may have different sugar contents - making them sweeter or less sweet than this one. Adjust with more vinegar/sugar to get the sauce to your desired sweetness.