Donair Sauce

Donair Sauce
Donair Sauce Header

This is the tried and tested original Halifax Donair Sauce, originally created in Halifax by Peter Gamoulakos. I can taste no difference from what I remember growing up in Halifax, NS. The addition of Onion Powder is solely my own. I like the flavor the onion offers and works really well with items the sauce is used for.

There is some debate about whether evaporated or sweetened condensed milk should be used. A 1978 article from the Chronicle Herald states that sweetened condensed milk is the main ingredient, whereas Halifax Magazine, in an interview with Leo Gamoulakos, reports that the original sauce had 5 ingredients: evaporated milk, sugar, vinegar, garlic powder, and parsley. I gather that most shops use evaporated milk, at least in Halifax. But there are shops that use condensed or a mix of both. I wrote a Food For Thought article just on this and why the Original or Authentic Donair Sauce is made with Evaporated Milk and not Sweetened Condensed Milk.

Below is the store-bought version ingredient listing. I am not crazy about these, and you will taste a difference between homemade and store-bought for sure. I forget which one now. But one of them was really bad. Tasted chemical like.

Donair Sauce Ingredients

The original sauce had 5 ingredients: evaporated milk, sugar, vinegar, garlic powder, and parsley. Commercial kinds, has added water and starch to increase volume and stability.




Water, sugar, whey powder, modified corn starch, canola oil, garlic powder, citric acid, xanthan gum, sodium benzoate, polysorbate 60, titanium dioxide. Contains: Milk

In any event, I suspect that the original sauce was Tzatziki. But it wasn’t well accepted at the time. So this was created to appeal to the taste buds of the people of Halifax. This became the famous Halifax Donair Sauce we love and recognize today. You can make this at home easily, and it’s the real thing and definitely better than any store bought kind.

How long to refrigerate Donair Sauce

When first mixed and refrigerated, the Sauce can be used in as little as an hour. However, an overnight refrigeration is better for thickening. Before using, drain out the liquid that have settled at the bottom to eliminate any excess liquids that would otherwise thin out the Sauce. After this, you can bottle the Sauce or keep it in a Tupperware container and store in the fridge.

How Long does Donair Sauce Keep

I have kept this for over a month. In general, you will see it go to a yellow color before it goes bad, sort of smelling off. It lasts a very long time. Keep it covered and refrigerated. I’ve always used it up eventually so use your best judgment, however it does last unusually long.

Donair Sauce with Accumulated Liquids

Donair Sauce Clear Liquids

On the bottom, a clear liquid will accumulate. Gently push the sauce aside to create an opening to drain out the clear liquid and mix the Donair Sauce again, or keep it in and mix for a thinner Donair Sauce. I always drain it out for a thicker Sauce.

Why is my donair sauce runny

You need to whisk the Milk and Sugar to incorporate air into the Evaporated Milk before the Vinegar is added.

Over mixing when the vinegar is added will result in a runny Sauce. About 12 turns or so is all that is needed while pouring in the Vinegar.

Liquid will accumulate at the bottom, gently move the Sauce to the side to drain out excess Liquid and stir the Sauce again. If the Liquid is not drained out, you will end up with runny sauce. Some do remix the Sauce, but this will give you a thinner Sauce. I always drain it out.

Donair Sauce Uses

There are plenty of other uses, some of which are listed below.

All Beef Donair


Softened Lebanese Pita Bread with Halifax Donair Meat & Sauce. Topped off with Diced Onions & Tomatoes.

Rectangular Garlic Fingers with Bacon Sliced

Garlic Fingers

Pizza Dough Brushed with Garlic Butter and topped with a Mozzarella & Provolone Cheese Blend. Often with bacon Bits on top.

Donair Platter Thick Cut Fries

Donair Platter / Poutine

Fries with Donair Meat & Sauce, topped with a Mozzarella & Provolone Cheese Blend. Optionally with Diced Onions & Tomatoes.

JAH Donair Oven Sub

Donair Oven Sub

Oven Sub stuffed with Donair Meat & Sauce, topped with a Mozzarella & Provolone Cheese blend with Diced Onions & Tomatoes.

Donair Pizza

Donair Pizza

Pizza Dough sauced with Donair Sauce and topped with Donair meat, Diced Onions & Tomatoes with a Mozzarella & Provolone Cheese blend. Add more donair sauce on top.

Twisty Bread with Garlic Sauce

Twisty Breadsticks

Served as a dipping sauce for Twisty Bread.

Donair Dip

Donair Chip Dip

Hot Dip fresh out the oven for dipping your Chips.

Donair Salad

Donair Salad

Donair Salad with a Dressing made with some Donair Sauce.

Donair Sauce Pin

Halifax Donair Sauce

Halifax Donair Sauce served with Donairs, Garlic Fingers and more.
Prep Time5 minutes
Rest Time1 hour
Course: DIP, Sauce
Cuisine: Halifax, Halifax Nova Scotia
Keyword: Authentic Donair Sauce, Donair, Donair Sauce, Halifax, Original Donair Sauce, White Sauce
Servings: 1 portions
Author: JAH


  • Mixer or Whisk
  • Bowl with Lid


  • 1 can Evaporated Milk
  • 3/4 – 1 can Sugar - or about 3/4 C – 1 C of Sugar
  • 2 Tbl Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder


  • Empty the milk into a bowl and using the same can to fill 3/4 with sugar and place that into the bowl. Add Garlic & Onion Powder
  • With a mixer, whisk the bowl until the milk turns a whiter color and all sugar is dissolved.
  • For about 12 turns with the whisk, slowly add 2 Tbl Vinegar.
  • Cover and refrigerate at least for 1 hour, overnight is best.


The bottom of the bowl will collect a small amount of clear liquid, you can push the donair sauce aside and drain this out and then mix again.
Sugar – I usually add just a little over 3/4 of a can.
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