Tater Tot Poutine is our favourite easy appetizer to cook at home when having a craving for classic Canadian comfort food.
Our homemade Quebec-inspired poutine recipe is prepared with baked McCain Tater Tots and ready to serve in under 40 minutes!
Fork through a steaming bowl of crunchy and crispy McCain Tater Tots slathered in beef or turkey gravy, fresh cheddar cheese curds and chopped scallions.
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What is Poutine?
Poutine is a French Canadian dish traditionally made with french fries, Quebec cheese curds and brown gravy.
The comfort food rose to culinary fame in Quebec during the late 1950s. Its origins are uncertain as there are several competing claims on who invented the dish.
Today, poutine is a celebrated symbol of Quebecois culture, long associated with Quebecois cuisine. It can easily be found throughout the province of Quebec, from cheap and cheerful roadside stands to elegant award-winning fine dining restaurants.
It’s safe to say poutine has now officially gone global as it’s available across Canada, America and is even served at restaurants with large Canadian expat communities like the United Kingdom, South Korea, Costa Rica and Dubai.
Travel to Quebec by Making Tater Tot Poutine at Home
I love planning the ultimate Canadian Road Trip.
As a professional food and travel journalist based in Toronto, I’ve had the opportunity to feast on poutine from traditional markets to award winning restaurants.
For over two decades I’ve traveled across Canada in search of the best poutine via stops in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.
Canadian chefs from coast to coast have developed their own unique poutine recipes with toppings that reflect each provinces unique food culture. In Alberta you’ll find plenty of poutine topped with roast duck or grilled beef and in the Maritimes they love topping poutine with local lobster.
Most restaurants in Quebec serve poutine in its most classic and traditional form, like the celebrated Schwartz’s Deli in Montreal.
Many Quebecois chefs are having fun by playing with new poutine ingredients. Chic Shack in Quebec City tops its poutine with Smoked Meat, a bistro in Montebello piles high with duck confit and a microbrewery in Charlevoix serves cheesy gravy fries with craft beer soaked brisket. I’ve also eaten very fancy poutines topped with black truffle, foie gras or substituted with decadent brie or blue cheese instead of traditional curds.
Our Tater Tot Poutine recipe using McCain Tater Tots is a great way to share your love of Quebec’s famous comfort food from your own home. Our easy recipe uses an oven rather than deep frier so saves you a few calories along the way!
My Family Loves McCain Tater Tots Poutine
I’ve been obsessed with poutine since I was a little kid. I come by it honestly since my family is part French Canadian and we live in Ontario right next door to Quebec.
Back in the 80s and 90s you’d find poutine at fast food restaurants like Harveys, A&W and Swiss Chalet. The dish is enjoyed all year round but I most associate it with the colder months of the year when they’re sold at Fall Fairs and at winter at ski resorts.
Ordering a large poutine was always a special occasion and decadent affair in my family. My dad would usually order a large bowl of poutine after the four of us spent a day skiing on the slopes. We’d all grab tiny white plastic forks and dig into the steaming hot mess of French Fries, gravy and melted cheese.
I’ve always eaten poutine as if it were a bowl of spaghetti. The key is to jab your fork into the fries, slowly twist so the melted cheese wraps around the fried potatoes and then jab around the bowl to ensure everything is covered in gravy.
Most foodies in Canada purchase poutine at a local burger restaurant, diner, pub or roadside french fry stand.
This Tater Tot Poutine recipe is so easy to make at home you’ll see why we’ve fallen in love with hosting gravy and cheese slathered crispy potato potluck parties!
What Are Tater Tots?
So if classic poutine is made using traditional French fries what are tater tots and why do we use them in our recipe?
The name tater tot is a registered trademark of the American frozen food company Ore-Ida, but is often used as a generic term. They were invented in 1953 by the company’s founders, who were trying to figure out what to do with leftover slivers of cut-up potatoes. They chopped up the slivers, added flour and seasoning, then pushed the mash through holes and sliced off pieces of the extruded mixture (like fresh pasta). This is how Tater Tots came to be!
We like using the Canadian brand McCain, which trademarks its frozen tater tots product as McCain Tasti Taters. The potato morsels are quickly deep fried in the factory then frozen so you simply have to reheat them in your oven to crisp them up before serving.
McCain Tater Tots Poutine Variations
Our Tater Tot Poutine recipe features McCain Tater Tots, Quebec cheese curds, brown gravy and sliced scallions or chives.
Here are some additional creative ideas on what to top your poutine with to make it into a protein-packed meal:
- Duck Confit
- Montreal Smoked Meat
- Buttered Lobster
- Sauteed Mushrooms
- Caramelized Onions
- Crumbled Bacon
- Ground Beef
- Pulled Pork
- Beef Brisket
- Fried Chicken
- Foie Gras or Black Truffle
Tater Tot Poutine Tips
This homemade McCain Tater Tots recipe is quick and easy to make at home. We’ve included a few tips for first time poutine makers!
- We suggest using McCain Tater Tots in this recipe but you could use any frozen potato product from your grocery store.
- We’ve prepared these McCain Tater Tots in the oven but you could also use a deep fryer or air fryer.
- In Canada and the States it’s easy to purchase cheddar cheese curds at the grocery store or local cheese shop. If you can’t find curds locally feel free to substitute with grated cheddar, mozzarella or Gruyere.
- We’ve used popular Quebec brand St Hubert canned gravy but you could also use their poutine gravy packet. You can also use homemade turkey gravy or veal jus.
What To Serve with Tater Tot Poutine
I usually eat poutine as an upgrade to my fries when having dinner at a burger joint or as a late night midnight snack.
If you’re making homemade McCain Tater Tots Poutine it’s a fun and tasty option for brunch lovers. Serve alongside fried eggs, fruit salad, sizzling bacon or breakfast sausages and morning cocktails like Baileys Iced Coffee or Whisky Orange Juice.
If you’re hosting a Quebec-inspired dinner party or potluck you might want to serve Tater Tot Poutine as a side dish alongside dishes like tourtiere, creton, pea soup or savoury crepes.
After dinner why not dazzle your guests with one of our popular desserts such as Oat Flour Cookies with Chocolate Chips, Dark Chocolate Lindt Lindor Cookies, Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes Recipe, Cinnamon Babka For Chocolate Lovers or Chewy Easter Toffee Cadbury Mini Egg Cookie Bars, Turmeric Pumpkin Spice Indian Cake or Healthy Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies.
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Best Homemade Tater Tot Poutine Recipe
Tater Tot Poutine
- French knife
- baking sheet
- 28 oz Frozen Extra Crispy Tater Tots
- 1 cup Poutine Gravy
- 6 oz Cheese Curds
- 1 tbsp Chives or Green Onion chopped
- Bake the Tater Tots per package instructions. Make sure to leave space between them on your baking sheet to ensure they brown properly.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the prepared poutine gravy.
- Place half of the Tater Tots in a large shallow bowl. Sprinkle with half of the cheese curds and chives, then drizzle half of the sauce on top. Repeat to make a second layer. Serve hot.
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