Donair Sauce Recipe: Using 4 Ingredients That Are in Your Kitchen

May 26, 2023
Written by Kristy J. Norton

The best donair sauce is a perfect blend of sweetened condensed milk, vinegar, garlic powder, and salt.

Don't be fooled by these simple ingredients; this sauce packs a punch! It is sweet, creamy, and fluffy with a tang that is sure to elevate your pita bread, garlic fingers, or donair pizza.

As a barbeque enthusiast, I find that donair sauce is the easiest sauce to whip up because everything you need is definitely in your pantry.

In this post, I will tell you how to make donair sauce and the different variations there are. I will also tell you why we are particular about these ingredients and how to store your donair sauce. Let's go:

donair sauce recipe

My Go-To Recipe For Donair Sauce

This finger-licking recipe begins with the following ingredients in the specified amounts:


  • 600ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ tsp salt


Measure the milk and white vinegar into a mixing bowl. Give it a good mix.

Next goes the garlic powder and salt. Use a hand whisk or a spatula to fold in the dry ingredients into the milk and vinegar mixture.

You can use this mixture right away but for best results, let it chill in the refrigerator for about 8 hours.

About the Ingredients

Sweetened condensed milk- It is the base of the donair sauce and brings a rich creamy volume and sweet taste to the table. I am partial to Nature's Charm sweetened condensed coconut milk simply because enjoy the nutty flavor of coconut.

Garlic powder - It is the twist in the sauce and adds bold tart notes to the sauce.

White wine vinegar - The tangy and sour notes of vinegar marry very well with the sweet, creamy taste of milk. It also acts as a preservative.

White wine vinegar is made by fermenting white wine which makes it milder than regular white vinegar and apple cider vinegar.

This is why it is preferred for cooking and baking purposes. It is a light, refreshing addition to salads, dressings, and dipping. I use Napa Valley White Wine Vinegar because of its signature tangy taste.

Salt - It enhances the different tastes of the ingredients and balances out the widely different flavors.

Ingredients are Organized on the Kitchen Table

Donair Sauce Variations

Donair sauce goes by many names including East Coast Donair sauce, Maritime Donair Sauce, or simply Doner sauce based on where you are. Despite this, it is still the same sweet, creamy, garlicky sauce that hails from the east coast. Check out some of its variations:


Some recipes use evaporated milk instead of condensed milk. What's the difference?

Condensed Milk Vs Evaporated Milk

Condensed and evaporated milk are both shelf-stable products. The main difference between the two is that condensed milk is sweetened while evaporated milk is not.

So, if you opt to use evaporated milk, you have to add a sweetener such as maple syrup, brown sugar, honey, or nectar. I recommend Agave In The Raw Nectar since it is thick and will not interfere with the consistency of the sauce.

Both products have been heated until approximately 60% of the water evaporates. However, condensed milk is comprised of about 45% sugar. This makes it a lot sweeter, creamier, and thicker whereas evaporated milk has a similar consistency as half-and-half.

White Wine Vinegar

You can use balsamic vinegar in place of white wine vinegar. It is the only type of wine that is not made by fermenting alcohol.

Instead, balsamic vinegar is made by aging grapes that have been pressed. This makes it very sweet, zesty, and the perfect alternative for white wine vinegar.

You can also use half a cup of lemon juice if vinegar is not your cup of tea.

Garlic Powder

Garlic mainly serves to spice up the sauce so based on your preference, you can substitute the garlic powder with onion powder.

To add some fiery notes to your donair pizza, add some smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, chipotle powder, or red chili flakes.

To play with the color, just a sprinkle of turmeric brings an earthy, yellow side that brightens up your dining table. If you like a chunky sauce, try adding some diced onions to the mix.

Alternatively, you can use some dried herbs to add a refreshing herb flavor. I like to add a teaspoon of Schwartz Italian Herb Blend because it has hints of basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary that pair immaculately with donair meat.

Pouring Spiced Donair Sauce on top of Tempered Chicken Wrap

Any More Donair Sauce Tips?

This sauce is very flexible and forgiving. It is hard to get it wrong. However, there are things you could do to elevate the taste just a notch higher. Here's how:

Marinate Your Sauce

After mixing in the spices, let your donair sauce rest for between 30 minutes to overnight in the refrigerator before serving it. This will give the flavors enough time to develop and blend.

Use the Right Milk

A good donair sauce is creamy and thick. To nail this, I always recommend using condensed over evaporated milk. Evaporated milk has a less thick consistency which makes it comparatively less creamy.

Don't Overwork the Donair Sauce

Lastly, do not overwork your sauce. Mix only as much as is necessary to bring together the flavors.

Overmixing the sauce with an electric mixer or stand mixer may interfere with the consistency of the milk, making it a bit runny.

How Long Can I Refrigerate Donair Sauce?

When properly handled, this homemade donair sauce will last in the fridge for months without changing in consistency.

Store your donair in an airtight container or sealed glass jar and pop it in the fridge. Don't forget to give it a stir before using it if it has been in the fridge for a few days.

Generally, when the sauce starts to go bad, it starts changing color. This discoloration is usually accompanied by a foul smell. At this point, toss it away.

Why is My Donair Sauce Runny?

So, what could be making your donair sauce runny? Here are the likely culprits:

  • You used too much vinegar. When vinegar is used in excess, the acid will cause the milk to curdle and separate. To avoid this, only use the specified amount of vinegar.
  • You used evaporated milk in your recipe. Evaporated milk is notably less thick than milk that is condensed.
  • It has been in storage for far too long. If your donair sauce sits for too long, it will start to go bad. One sign that your donair sauce is bad is a runny consistency, usually accompanied by a strong, uninviting odor.
Beef Wrap Garnished with Donair Sauce

What Can I Serve With Donair Sauce?

This special sauce is versatile enough to be paired with various foods. Here are some ideas:

  • It is most commonly sprinkled generously on the east coast Halifax Donair. This Canadian comfort food is usually made of ground beef, onions, and tomatoes wrapped inside steamed pitta bread.
  • Use it as a dipping sauce for fries, donair wraps, chicken fingers, fish fingers, and garlic cheese fingers.
  • If you are feeling experimental, use spicy donair sauce instead of regular pizza sauce and take your pizza game to the next level.
  • It can also be used as a spread for breakfast buns, burgers, garlic bread, and sandwiches.

Wrapping It Up

With ingredients easily available and affordable, there's no reason to eat your garlic fingers with ketchup. Whip up this simple sauce and add more life to your dishes.

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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