A list of iconic dishes and treats that are typically eaten in Canada during the chilly winter.
‘Tis the season… for eating! As the days get shorter, darker, and colder in the winter, many turn to food as a source of internal warmth and comfort. Besides being essential for life, food brings people together and generally just makes us feel good. This is especially true during the chilly winter months we get in Canada, where a belly full from a nice warm bowl of soup, a stew, or tasty comfort food is more than welcome.
Canada is a massive country with a wide range of cultures, traditions, and cuisines, so it’s no surprise that we have an equally varied selection of typical foods that we eat during the frosty season. Therefore, in an ode to the season and the diversity of Canadian food, we’ve decided to throw together a list of popular comfort foods that are commonly enjoyed during the winter in Canada — see the list below!
1. Butter Tarts
Some prefer it with raisins and some without, but we can all agree the classic Canadian butter tart is straight-up yummy. This sweet pastry treat is made with a mix of butter, sugar, syrup, and egg filled into a soft pastry shell. My personal favourites are the kinds with pecans on top!Recipes
This traditional French-Canadian meat pie originated in Quebec, but it’s now sold and eaten all across Canada. The savoury dish consists of a medley of ground meats (usually pork) and spices, and it can be frequently seen served during the holiday season.Recipes
3. Beaver Tails
Not to be confused with an actual beaver’s tail, this tasty pastry is pure fried goodness topped with sugary temptations. It’s shaped like a beaver tail, hence the name, and there are tons of flavours to choose from. You can buy them at BeaverTails shops scattered throughout Canada, and there are even shops in the U.S., Mexico, France, and Japan!
Available for purchase at BeaverTails® locations.
4. Nanaimo Bars
Nanaimo Bars are probably the most well known Canadian dessert. They are named after — you guessed it — the city of Nanaimo in British Columbia and are very popular around the holidays. No baking is necessary to make Nanaimo Bars, making them a very accessible treat to prepare.Recipe
5. Maple Taffy
In Canada, snow is so abundant that it’s even used to cook! To make maple taffy, a sugar snack often sighted at winter festivals, you can boil maple sap into hot syrup and drizzle it onto fresh snow. The Canadian delicacy is then lifted with a popsicle stick and enjoyed like candy.Recipe
6. Mulled Apple Cider
A warm mulled beverage is the perfect drink to sip on on a frigid winter evening in Canada, and mulled apple cider is probably one of the most common of the bunch! Usually mixed with spices such as star anise and cinnamon sticks, as well as fruits, this comforting drink is easy to make and you can also choose to add alcohol for an extra kick.Recipe
7. Chili (also known as chili con carne)
Not much beats a nice hearty bowl of homemade chili when it starts to get chilly outside. Chili (also known as chili con carne) is super easy to make in big batches for the whole family and is often featured during holiday cook-offs. This dish warms the tummy and soul, making it a popular wintertime meal in Canada.Recipes
8. Mashed Potatoes
Okay, sure, mashed potatoes aren’t just Canadian, but they are a very traditional plate served across the country during the holidays. Often accompanied by a roast turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas, there are numerous ways to make them, and you can even drench them in gravy for even more deliciousness!Recipes
Commonly eaten in the Canadian prairie provinces, perogies (also written pierogi) are a delicious filled dumpling with origins from Central and Eastern Europe. They can be stuffed with potato, cheese, bacon, and more, and they taste absolutely perfect with their typical sour cream topping. There’s also a giant perogy statue in Glendon, Alberta, showing you exactly how important the food is viewed in Canada.Recipes
When it comes to traditional foods in Canada, bannock has to be at the very top of the list. The Canadian fry bread was originally brought to the country by the Scottish, but it was later adopted and adapted by the Indigenous peoples of Canada. It’s simple to make, but very filling, and tastes great served with butter or jam.Recipe
11. Clam Chowder
Popular on the east coast, clam chowder is a creamy soup best served as a nourishing starter or side dish. As the name suggests, clams are a key ingredient in the soup, as are potatoes and onions, and it doesn’t take long to whip it up.Recipe
12. Shortbread Cookies
Shortbread cookies are a holiday staple in several countries — and that includes Canada! These addictive buttery treats come in many different shapes and sizes, and they’re so easy to make. They also taste great when paired with warm milk or hot chocolate.Recipe
You didn’t think I’d actually leave out Canada’s most quintessential food dish, did you? Poutine is a Canadian speciality that can be enjoyed any time of the year, but something about the hard-to-resist concoction of fries, gravy, and cheese curds just works so well for a comforting bite to eat in the winter.Recipe
[All article images sourced from Shutterstock]