I came across a social media discussion about donairs the other day,
which in turn led me down a rabbit hole of wonder and confusion.
The first thing I learned
was that not everyone knows what a donair is.
A recent call from a Montreal friend greeted me with:
‘Hey there Sea Salt Galley Kat. What have you been up to?’
I told her that I had just taken my Donair meat out of the oven.
‘What’s a donair? Never heard if it.’
Never heard of a Donair?
Is that even possible?
So I started doing a little research
and have found out that this Middle Eastern treat
had its first Canadian origins in Halifax, Nova Scotia in the early 1970’s,
where I spent the better part of my adult life before moving to Montreal,
and is only now gradually spreading its gospel-according-to-Donair across the country.
…and dear foodie friend of mine (I know you are reading this),
guess what else I learned…
there now exists a Donair shop in Montreal…
…and apparently there exists Donair poutine.
Who knew?
For the sake of my blog,
I have tried to keep all my recipes ‘boat friendly’,
meaning easy to reproduce
in the most modest of kitchens, or galleys, or R/V’s,
even campsites.
…most of them anyway.
This recipe however would be better cooked in an oven.
Not saying I wouldn’t or couldn’t,
it just that the cooking time is low and slow,
so for economy of fuel consumption,
I may have to keep my Donair fixes on land.
Now for the tasty part…
The subtle spice of the meat, the sweetness of the sauce,
the crunch of the fresh vegetables,
wrapped all up in a fresh soft pita…
…pure taste bud heaven!
Captain said it tasted just like the ones he remembered enjoying in Halifax
where we first met many years ago,
when he whisked me away to a foreign land called Quebec…
Galley Kat Notes
In the recipe card below, I have added notes on how to cook this yummy meat in a fraction of the time in your pressure cooker/Instant Pot.  As I mentioned, there was no distinguishable difference in either the texture or flavour.  This can be cooked in just 30 minutes instead of 2 hours.  Lovin’ the options.
Serving options
More of my donair recipes…
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5 from 1 vote

Halifax Donair

Servings 12 Servings
Calories 428kcal
Author www.seasaltgalleykat.com


  • 3 Lbs ground beef avoid extra lean as it makes the results too dry
  • 3/4 Cups fine bread crumbs I used panko
  • 2 Tsp ground pepper
  • 1 Tsp cayenne I used 2 which imparted a subtle bite
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 2 Tsp dried oregano
  • 2 Tsp spicy smoke paprika
  • 2 Tsp onion powder
  • 1 Tsp garlic powder

Donair Sauce

  • 1 Can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 Cup white vinegar
  • 1 Tsp garlic powder

for the donair wrap

  • chopped tomatoes
  • chopped onions
  • pita bread


  • Place meat, seasonings and crumbs in a large bowl.I've learned the best way to mix this is with the tools you were born with.So wash your hands well and dive in, kneading for several minutes.Some who may not like touching the meat can also use a mixer with a hook attachment.Which ever method you use it's necessary to work all the air spaces out before molding into a loaf.It should be dense and well packed
  • Heat your oven to 300 ° F
  • Shape the meat into one tight loaf.Place on a baking sheet.A broiler pan also works well if you want to have the grease drain. *see Galley Kat Notes below for alternate cooking methods
  • Bake for about 2 hours until internal temperature is about 170 ° FCool completely before slicing.

Donair sauce

  • Whisk together the condensed milk, vinegar and garlic powder.This will be your tangy sweet messy sauce.

for the donair wrap

  • Slice the cooled loaf as thinly as possible.If done correctly, the result is almost like shaved beef.
  • Tear off several squares of foil or parchment paper.Donairs are typically wrapped in foil because it molds better around the pita.Place 1 pita on each piece of foil. Load several slices of meat onto each pita.Top with tomato and onion.Drizzle liberally with the sauce. Wrap the foil around the folded pita to trap any drippings from the bottom 

Galley Kat Notes:

I tried this recipe in the pressure cooker and it turned out with no distinguishable differences from the original. Here is what I did: Form the loaf as per original. Place 1 cup of water in pressure cooker pot. Place a trivet in cooker pot. Make an aluminum foil bowl, place the formed loaf in it and lower onto the trivet. Set the pressure cooker on high for 30 minutes. When done, use quick release method. Let meat cool. Slice and serve as usual
I have also cooked this in four small silicone baking forms…easier to store and freeze smaller portions.


Calories: 428kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 362mg | Potassium: 471mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 329IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 137mg | Iron: 3mg

6 responses to “HALIFAX DONAIR”

  1. […] my version of the Halifax Donair came in second […]

  2. Lynn Hensley says:

    I had never heard of a donair until I read the above recipe. It sounds delicious. AND, I’m thinking that it could be an RV recipe in the pressure cooker. I have a small stove-top that I take with me. I would scale the quantities back-to fit the PC & because I travel alone (with my dog-so not actually alone).
    Thanks, I’ve copied lots of your recipes for the Omnia-I just got one & have been practicing while waiting for Spring. My season begins in May here in Wisconsin.

    • mm Galley Kat says:

      I think it may be of Canadian origin and more specifically eastern Canada, but it’s similar to a gyro or shawarma…a middle eastern type dish. Very tasty. Make sure you pack the meat well. The trick is to eliminated air pockets unlike when you make meat loaf, to get a dense result that can be sliced thinly. Let me know how it goes in the PC. I have a small one I use on the boat when hooked to electricity but have never made it in that manner. The Omnia is a wonderful addition to the nomadic life. I even use it in my land kitchen..so much less heat in the summer and much less fuel consumption. Thanks for dropping by.

  3. […] HALIFAX DONAIR Doner Kebab Meat – beef or lamb How to make The Famous Atlantic Canadian “Halifax Donair” […]

    • Debra Devoe 1 says:

      5 stars
      To have less air pockets in your loaf, since you do want it dense, I throw mine numerous times onto the cutting board or whatever surface you’re using. Now, I throw it quite heartily, but not enough so that it splats! (really it all depends on what your definition of ‘splat’ is) Your loaf should change its shape a tad, then you just pat the sides back into loaf shape, and throw it down again. A dozen repetitions should have a lovely texture to your donair loaf. Compact and ready for cooking….works for me.

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