Classic French Canadian Tourtière


Many French Canadians eat tourtière during the Christmas season, a traditional spiced meat pie with a flaky crust.

Tourtière recipes vary from region to region. In Montreal, people tend to make it with ground beef and pork. Out in the Gaspe, it’s usually a hearty seafood pie made with  salmon, cooked potatoes and sauteed onions. Up on the  Lac Saint Jean region, they make it with chunks of meat, including wild game whenever they can get it.

You can always but your  tourtière – but why  not make your own this yearIt’s not difficult, it’s tastier than anything you buy, and people will “oohh” and “ahhh” at your cleverness.

Classic French Canadian Tourtière

Of all the versions of  tourtière in Quebec, this is my favourite. It’s a simple, fragrant meat pie, thickened with potatoes, and baked until golden brown. This recipe makes two 9″ meat pies, or one giant deep dish pie.    

Prepare 3-4 hours ahead of baking time

  • 11/2 pounds ground pork or veal
  • 11/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2-3 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 6 potatoes, cooked them mashed
  • 1-2 cups beef or vegetable broth (or just water)
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Pie Crust Ingredients

Makes 2 covered pies or 4 single pies

  • 5 cups flour (635 grams)
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 2 ½ cups shortening (320 grams)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1 tbsp. white vinegar

Egg Wash

  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon cold milk



Start by making the tourtiere filling. Heat large skillet, add oil, then saute chopped onions for about 10 minutes on medium heat, until onions are soft and golden.

Mix the ground pork and beef together in a bowl with your hands. Add the fried onions, then return the meat and onions to the fry pan and cook for another 10 minutes, chopping up the meat as it cooks.

Add the broth, mashed potatoes and spices to the meat, mix well, then cook over medium-low heat with the lid ajar, for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Remove from heat. Taste the meat mixture and add more salt, pepper or spices if needed. Cool in the fridge for about 2 hours, until completely chilled.

Making Pie Crusts 

Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add room temperature shortening. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture until rough crumbs.

Beat egg, water, and vinegar together, then pour over flour mixture. Stir mixture together with a fork until moistened. Divide dough into four equal size balls, roughly 275 gm each.

Roll out out one of the 275 gram balls of dough, and put it in the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. Spoon in half of the meat filling, patting it down lightly to compress it a bit. Brush the pie rim with water and place the second circle of dough on top, pressing the edges together to seal. Trim edges and decorate the top.

Repeat to make the second pie.

Egg Wash

The egg wash will give your tourtière a golden glow, so don’t be tempted to skip this step.  Beat the egg and milk together and brush the mixture over the top of the crust and around the edges.

Cut steam vents on top of both pies to let moisture escape.

With the rack in the bottom third of the oven, bake at 375F for about 50 minutes or until the pies are golden brown.

Yield: Makes 2 meat pies

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Marc Lalancette says:


    Reading your tourtière recipe on the CBC news app made me come to your food blog page. The recipes you have here are like a flashback into my childhood.

    My maternal grandmother was from the Beauce region of Québec. Raising 13 children made her cooking hearty, filling and plentyful. I am not sure about other grandmothers from that region but, mine had what I called “The Magic Tablecloth”. It did not matter what time of day my family arrived at her house, as soon as that tablecloth covered tbe dining room table there was an instant brunch on it. She always made sure you were fell fed, with many helpings, to the point where you had to beg her to please stop or explode…

    Two things. One, my grandfather would eat tourtière with molasses. In my huge family, my grandfather, mother and myself are the only ones that eat it that way. With the caribbean spices in the pie, molasses made sense.

    Two. Grandmother would made a desert she called “Sly” (?). It looked like a variation on the Pets de Soeurs recipe. It was dough rolled out to the thinness of filo dough with butter/brown sugar mixture spread on top then another thin dough layer on top. Baked. Cut into squares. She passed away before i could get recipe and my mother does not know how to make it. I wonder if you have come across something similar.

    Sorry about the lenght of this comment. So many memories. Thank you for your blog.


    1. What a beautiful note – thank you – what a wonderful memory – I love your description of her “Magic Tablecloth'”


  2. 1 lb de porc, haché
    ou 1 lb de parties égales de bœuf, veau, porc hachés, ou uniquement de bœuf et de veau.
    1 petit oignon, en dés
    1 petite gousse d’ail émincée (optionnel)
    1/2 c. à thé de sel
    1/4 c. à thé de sarriette
    1/4 c. à thé de poivre de céleri
    1/2 c. à thé de clous de girofle moulus
    1/4 tasse d’eau
    1/4 à 1/2 tasse de chapelure

    1. Mettre tous les ingrédients dans une casserole, sauf la chapelure.
    Porter à ébullition et laisser cuire à découvert, pendant 20 minutes.
    Retirer du feu.
    2. Ajouter quelques cuillerées de chapelure, laisser reposer pendant
    10 minutes. Si le gras a été suffisamment absorbé par la chapelure, il
    n’est pas nécessaire d’en ajouter. Sinon, continuer de la même manière.
    3. Refroidir et verser entre deux croûtes de tarte. Faire cuire dans un
    four à 500 F. jusqu’à ce que la pâte soit bien dorée.


    1. Thank you for posting that! I will try your recipe.


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