Try This East Coast Donair Sauce Recipe, Inspired by a Legendary Halifax Eatery

King of Donair

King of Donair restaurant, Halifax. Photo:, Courtesy of Penguin Random House Canada Limited

One of the defining characteristics of a Halifax donair is the sauce — a sweet, tangy elixir that East Coasters love on their donairs, on their pizza and on their garlic fingers . . . and on a whole lot of other things too these days. Donair sauce as a condiment is fair game on menus across the Maritimes — you’ll find it on everything from steamed buns to cheesecake (yup, that’s right, the Sweet Hereafter in Halifax had a donair cheesecake).

Garlic fingers, simply a pizza pie piled high with mozzarella and garlic cut into strips, is another much- beloved Atlantic Canadian invention, and donair sauce for dunking is a requirement for this dish. There’s also one incredibly controversial ingredient that pizza-shop owners and eaters have debated for generations: To garlic powder or to not garlic powder?

East Coast Donair Sauce (inspired by King of Donair)

A large donair is displayed in Dartmouth, October 22, 2015. Halifax regional council voted 12-4 in favour of a staff report to consider approving the donair as the official food of the municipality. Photo: Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press


Makes about 1 1/2  cups (375 ml) 


2/3 cup (160 ml) evaporated milk
2/3 cup (160 ml) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp (2 ml) garlic powder (controversially optional)
1/4 cup (60 ml) white vinegar


  1. In a large bowl, mix together the evaporated milk and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. If using the garlic powder, add it and mix until well incorporated.
  2. Slowly drizzle in the vinegar, folding it into the mixture. Do not stir too aggressively or whisk, or the sauce will split and clump.
  3. Transfer the sauce to a glass container and refrigerate, sealed, for at least 1 hour before serving.

Excerpted with permission from Where We Ate: A Field Guide to Canada’s Restaurants, Past and Present by Gabby Peyton. Copyright © 2023 Gabby Peyton. Photography credit: King of Donair. Published in Canada by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.