Diverse & Multicultural
When most people think of Canadian food, they think of meat, cheese, and decadent desserts. These are, of course, all well-represented among the best Canadian food. But as the second-largest country in the world, Canadian food is much more diverse than you may think. Canadian recipes and popular dishes shift depending on the region, but there are some commonalities. For example, a love of maple syrup and a focus on family recipes can be found in cuisine all across Canada. Many regions have been influenced by specific populations, including the French, Jewish, British, Chinese, Ukrainian, German, and Polish. Of course, Canada’s Indigenous Peoples also have their own culinary traditions. Canada is one of the most multicultural countries in the world, so Canadian food really encompasses a little bit of everything. That said, if you’d like to be transported to the Great White North via your kitchen, we have you covered. Check out our list of the best Canadian recipes to try at home!
It wouldn’t be a list of the best Canadian recipes without poutine! While its exact origins are hotly debated, it is generally agreed that this beloved Canadian food originated in Quebec in the 1950s. What is it, you ask? Salty fries and cheese curds are slathered in a warm gravy and the whole thing is served up on a plate. It’s not hard to see why this Canadian recipe is popular throughout the Great White North! Want to make your own poutine at home?
#2 Nanaimo Bars
Nanaimo bars are another famous Canadian food with fans all across the world. We couldn't leave these beauties off a list of the best Canadian recipes! Nuts, chocolate, custard powder, and graham crackers all combine to form a uniquely delicious treat. These no-bake bars feature a base layer made from wafer crumbs and chocolate, a custard-flavored middle layer, and a chocolate layer on top. They’re fudgy and somewhat reminiscent of certain candy bars, like Almond Joy, but really, these bars are something all their own! Named after Nanaimo, British Columbia, Nanaimo bars are said to have been developed during the coal mining era of the late 1900s, when families would send them to their loved ones as lunchbox treats. Today, they are popular all over Canada and make a reliably crowd-pleasing dessert, especially in the summertime. Want to make this beloved Canadian recipe at home?
Bannock is a simple, filling fry bread. Despite the lack of yeast, bannock is soft and airy on the inside with a slightly crispy exterior. It’s thought that bannock was brought to North America by Scottish traders, but there is also evidence that many of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples were making their own versions of bannock before that. Today, bannock continues to be a staple for many Métis and Aboriginal Western Canadians. It can be eaten plain, enjoyed with toppings like Nutella or butter, or stuffed with fillings like meat, cheese, or jam. This Canadian food makes a delicious breakfast but also works as an accompaniment to a lunch or dinner meal. Bannock is also a popular choice with campers, since it requires only a few ingredients to make and is very satisfying. Want to try your hand at this staple Canadian food?
#4 Split Pea Soup
This French-Canadian classic from Quebec is hearty, heartwarming, and delicious. Yellow split peas, vegetables, spices, and ham hock or bone are simmered together to create an unforgettable level of flavor. If you’re looking for a taste of Canada in a bowl, this is it! Split pea soup is filling enough to be eaten on its own for a lunch or dinner meal, but it is especially good paired with a slice of crusty bread. Ready to give this simple, flavorful Canadian recipe a try in your own kitchen?
#5 Butter Tarts
Butter tarts are thought to have originated in Quebec all the way back in the 1600s. These Canadian treats have a flaky pastry crust and a gooey, syrupy, and sweet filling. Sometimes raisins, dried fruits, or nuts are added to the filling, but it depends on who you ask! Similarly, these tarts can be made with a firm or runny filling, but which one is “right” is a matter of national debate amongst Canadians. Because of this, we’ve included two recipe links below, so you can choose your preferred style! In the midst of all this debate, however, there is one thing that everyone agrees on – these butter tarts are absolutely delicious! Ready to try making this popular Canadian recipe yourself?
For a semi-solid filling: See the recipe >
For a runny filling: See the recipe >