Chicken & Turkey, Christmas

Traditional Tourtiere Recipe: A Holiday Tradition


This traditional tourtiere recipe is a lightly seasoned meat pie in an extra flaky pastry.

Traditional tourtiere recipe - a lightly seasoned meat pie

I love the whole cooking countdown to Christmas

I find December is especially fun when you have Holiday traditions that span a variety of cultures, even if all of those cultures aren’t necessarily part of your family tree. Food is usually at the centre of these celebrations and I don’t think that Christmas would feel quite the same without all of the traditional dishes that we share around the table.

I grew up eating lots of German and Scandinavian dishes during the Holidays but my actual roots are Acadian and Irish.

When my mom was growing up, her Grandfather would arrive at the door every December 24 with a rabbit pie in one hand, tourtiere in the other and a load of presents under his arm. Tourtiere, a spiced meat pie, is Acadian holiday fare and to this day it’s on the table every Christmas Eve at our family celebration. (Rabbit pie is not.)

When we were little we called it “torture”, playing games with the pronunciation that never got old.

Mom serves her traditional tourtiere with spiced currants but any pickles or chutney with a bit of a spice and acidity (cranberry sauce, mustard pickles) go well with it. This is a  very rich dish.

 Pastry for tourtiere recipe:

  • 4 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 lb (2 cups) butter, cold
  • 1/2 cup cold milk
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
Combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter until it’s in pea-sized chunks. Gently stir in the egg, water and milk. Mix until combined then scrape out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead a few times until smooth. Cut into four pieces, pat each piece into a disk and chill until ready to use. (Here’s how to make this pastry recipe in the food processor.)

 The Canadian Food Experience Project began June 7 2013. The idea is to share our collective stories through our regional food experiences, to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity.

Traditional Tourtiere

Recipe by Bridget OlandCourse: ChristmasDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time





This is a lightly seasoned meat pie recipe. Makes enough filling for two 9-inch tourtieres. (Find pastry recipe above.)


  • 2 lbs. ground lean pork

  • 1 lb. ground beef chuck (or venison)

  • 2 lg. onions, finely chopped (2 cups)

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 2 ½ tsp. poultry seasoning

  • 2 tsp. salt

  • 1 tsp. celery salt

  • 1 ½-2 tsp. ground pepper

  • ½ tsp. sage

  • 1 cup water

  • 3 medium potatoes, cooked and mashed

  • Pastry for two double crust pies (see recipe above).


  • Combine pork, beef, onion and garlic in a large skillet; cook, stirring often, until the meat is no longer pink.
  • Stir in poultry seasoning, salt, celery salt, pepper, sage and water.
  • Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Uncover and simmer 10 minutes longer.
  • Remove from heat, stir in mashed potatoes and cool.
  • To assemble the pies
  • Line two 9” pie plates with pastry and trim to ¼” overhang.
  • Spoon half of the meat mixture into each pie shell and fold the overhanging pastry in over the meat. Brush the pastry edge with egg.
  • Roll another round of pastry and pay it over the meat mixture. Pinch to seal.
  • Make two 1” slashes in the pastry.
  • Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes, then at 350 F for another 25-30 minutes.
  • Remove to a cooling rack.


  1. Good afternoon Bridget,

    Thank you for the nice article entitled 'Everyone should try Acadian tourtière'. However, no one in Acadie, from NS, PEI or NB ever called le pâté de viande Acadien, a tourtière. The latter belongs to Québec and there is a distinct way to make it. It is similar to the recipe you added in your article. It is a mélange of ground veal, ground pork and often gr. beef. Many would not add potatoes.

    The best cook book for authentic and traditional Acadian recipes which I have been using for years are found in La cuisine traditionnelle en Acadie, by Marielle-Cormier Boudreau & Melvin Gallant. You will find this book on the following link.

    I hope you can correct these in your next article? May I also add that celery or potatoes never entered my mother's, or my own pâté(s) de viande Acadien. Simmered slowly with chopped onions were a piece of pork, lièvre or wild rabbit, sometimes moose or deer meat, but no potatoes, just meat. The spices used were sarriette/summer savoury, salt & pepper and later on, a pinch of clove was added to the slowly simmered meat. Some made and still bake as many as 4, 6 or 20 meat pies.

    Thank you and have a very Merry Christmas!
    B Laura Mazerolle

    PS: I also live in Rothesay and I am originally from a small town called Saint-Léolin, NB, it is next to Grande-Anse and 12 miles from Caraquet NB.

  2. Dear Laura, Thank you for all of this great information. I'll look up that book since there are so many Acadian recipes that I'd like to try. My great grandfather was from Mont-Carmel on PEI, and perhaps that's why there was potato in his pie. Also, he always called it tourtiere. I suppose it makes sense that there were differences among Acadian populations in the Maritimes and Maine.

  3. This is our go-to tourtiere. Everything works out perfectly according to the recipe. My kids can’t wait to dig in as soon as it’s made. I usually end up making 4-6 pies so they can take one home with them!
    Thank you, Bridget!


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