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Tourtiere French Canadian Meat Pie, Food Gypsy

Tourtière – French Canadian Meat Pie

Tourtière is a traditional French Canadian spiced meat pie for the holidays. Like ragu in Italy, the Quebecois approach to Tourtière is highly personal. There are as many recipes for tourtière as there are cooks in Quebec!

Tourtiere Meat Pie Recipe, Food Gypsy

Quebec’s Own French Canadian Meat Pie

Some Quebecois favour a Lac Saint Jean approach, with chunky meats and potatoes but most used ground meats, traditionally a ‘tri-meat’ blend of pork, beef and veal, that’s widely available in Quebec.

Others prefer to use pork and veal, some all beef, others all pork, that they grind themselves. There are tourtière recipes that call for fillers, like breadcrumbs but most often, potatoes to help the meat filling bind. Some add cream or milk. There are wet mixes and dry mixes, and those that swear (in the most Quebecois way) that a good French Canadian meat pie should run all over the plate.

The one thing that everyone can agree on – a good tourtière spiced with cinnamon, allspice and cloves – is a must for Christmas!

Tourtiere Canadian Meat Pie, Food Gypsy

Christmas Tradition

Traditionally served on Christmas Eve, our recipe honed at a professional level, is well balanced and moist but holds and serves well. We use a traditional tri-meat approach, and add a light, fluffy potato mash to fill and create a moist, robust meat pie.

In this recipe, I used a lard crust because I find lard both firm and flaky, which is perfect for meat pies like tourtière. You can switch it up to vegetable shortening or butter or even a 50/50 butter/lard mix if you like. I find butter-based crusts often don’t hold well with meat pies. The bottom crust gets too soggy after a day in the fridge… because there will be leftovers!

But hey, there’s no harm in going with a pre-made pie shell. Just make sure it’s a deep-dish, savoury pastry to fit all that delicious French Canadian meat pie filling.


Tourtiére – French Canadian Meat Pie Recipe #tourtière #tourtiere #meatpie

♬ Holly Jolly Christmas – Michael Bublé

Maybe A Little Extra

There will probably be extra filling. And potatoes. And a bit of extra pastry. It’s all a bit extra when you’re making tourtières!

This is the perfect make-ahead recipe. We’ve got a lot going on these days so I made my pastry one day and my filling the next so then it was a quick roll, fill, roll, and bake meal on day three. You’ve been working hard, about the last thing you need on Christmas Eve is to spend three hours in the kitchen.

What Goes With Tourtière?

Traditionally, Tourtière is served with roasted vegetables or a light frisseé salad. An assortment of pickled foods is always delicious; pickled beets, spicy carrots, gherkins or pickled onions.  Many enjoy a tomato-based chutney but most… just break out the ketchup.

Tourtière is after all a poor man’s meal, with the addition of Christmas spices. No matter how you like it, it’s a hearty, filling mid-winter meal that’s sure to please! If you want to try something deliciously different, try our Double Duck Tourtière for added decadence and delight!

Make thee merry!

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Tourtiere Meat Pie Recipe, Food Gypsy

Tourtière – French Canadian Meat Pie

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  • Author: Cori Horton
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6


Tourtière, a traditional French Canadian meat pie for the holidays. The Quebecois approach to Tourtière is highly personal. There are as many recipes for Tourtière as there are cooks in Quebec, and this is ours!


Meat Pie Crust:

• 3 cups all purpose flour
• 2 pinches of salt
• 1 cup lard
• 6 – 8 tablespoons cold water

Tourtière Filling:

• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 small onion, diced
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 pound ground pork
• 1 pound ground beef
• 1 pound ground veal
• 2 medium potatoes, mashed (see note)
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
• 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (to taste)
• 1/4 teaspoons ground allspice
• 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
• 2 teaspoons coarse salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
• 1/4 – 1/2 cup beef broth (see note)
• 1 – 2 tablespoons flour (see note)
• 1 egg for egg wash


For the crust:
1. Add flour and salt to food processor. Pulse to mix.
2. Add lard, one third at a time, pulsing to combine, until you have a crumbly, sandy textured mixture.
3. Transfer dry mix from food processor large bowl. Add just enough cold water to make it come together into a dough.
4. Pat into a flat disk, divide in half, and wrap both disks with plastic wrap. Chill a half hour, minimum.
Tourtière Filling:
1. Start peeled, large-cubed potatoes cooking, in a medium sauce pan, with salted cold water over medium-high heat about 10 – 15 minutes before you start cooking your filling. Ideally, you want them both to finish cooking at the same time. (Reduce or advance temperature, if needed, to adjust timing.)
2. Add a good slick of olive oil to a large frying pan. Add half of your meat mix. Season well with salt and pepper as it cooks. Once cooked, drain meats in a colander, set in/over a large bowl to catch any meat drippings. Repeat with balance of meat mixture until well-cooked and drained then transfer 3 cups (750 grams), well packed, into to large mixing bowl and reserve. (Also reserve meat drippings for potatoes.)
3. Add more olive oil to pan, over medium heat and cook onions until translucent, about 2 minutes. Then add garlic and cook lightly, another 2 minutes, before adding entire contents of pan to measured meat mixture.
4. Your potatoes should be fully cooked by now. Drain and mash, adding ONLY meat drippings for fat and flavour so your potatoes are light and fluffy, not sticky. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add 1 cup (250 grams) of potato mash into your reserved meat mix. Add thyme, cinnamon, all spice, cloves and flour (see notes) plus up to a half cup of beef stock (see notes). Mix well to combine. Taste. Adjust seasoning to your liking. Reserve to cool or fridge for later.
Assembly /Bake
1. Pre-heat oven to 365°f (185°c). Coat pie plate well with non-stick spray. Roll one dough disk on a well-floured surface into a thin, flat, round sheet about 12 inches wide – to be able to fit into your pie pan with extra over the sides.
2. Gently press the pastry dough into your pan, then trim edges, leaving an extra 1/2 inch all the way around. Then fold that 1/2 inch under to give your pie edge depth and shape.
3. Scoop in your tourtière meat filling; cold or at room temperature. Gently press the meat mixture together so it adheres well inside the pie.
4. Roll your top crust and transfer to top of pie, using your rolling pin. Trim excess to match bottom pie crust
5. Cut top vent in centre of pie with a small decorative cookie cutter, or a sharp pairing knife.
6. Using you fingers, or a brush apply a thin coat of water to your bottom edges, to help you dough stick together. Crimp edges together using your fingers for a fluted finish. Or use the tongs of a fork for a rustic approach.
7. Finish top of crust with any desired pastry decoration – leaves, stars, and trees are very popular – using leftover pastry bits and a little water to help make them stick.
8. Whisk egg, with one tablespoon of water. Brush top of pie with egg wash and immediately place in 365°f (185°c) oven for 15 – 20 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature 340°f (170°c) and bake for an additional 30 minutes (up to 45 for ceramic pie plates).
9. Remove Tourtière from the oven. Let stand for 10 minutes then cut and serve. Happy holidays!


Potatoes: Russet potatoes preferred. Cooked, mashed, seasoned and mixed with meat juices ONLY. No dairy. No butter. Potatoes should be light and fluffy, not wet and sticky.

Beef Broth & Flour: The amount you will need depends largely on how you want your Tourtiére, French Canadian Meat Pie a bit wetter or a bit dryer. In this recipe I used 1/4 cup of beef broth and 1 tablespoon of flour.

  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Meat Pies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Canadian

Cori Horton

Cooking in her home kitchen just outside Ottawa, Canada; Cori Horton is a food photographer and recipe blogger. A Cordon Bleu-trained Chef, Cori spent five years as the owner of Nova Scotia's Dragonfly Inn and has been sharing all things delicious - right here - since 2010.

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