REVIEW: McDonald’s Poutine (Canada)

McDonald's Poutine

Is there anything more Canadian than eating a poutine? Watching hockey, maybe. Or drinking coffee from Tim Horton’s. I’ve got a confession to make, though: I don’t particularly like hockey or Tim Horton’s. I know! I know! I’m pretty sure the only thing keeping me from being deported is my abiding love of poutine.

Seriously, what’s not to love? Fries. Check. Delicious. Cheese curds. Yep, delicious. Gravy. You know that’s delicious. So it’s no surprise that when you combine those elements, you (usually) wind up with a delicious final product.

Oddly enough, McDonald’s only recently started serving poutine in Canada (they’ve had it in Quebec for a while, but the rest of the country has been sadly poutine-free). This doesn’t seem like a big deal until you realize that McDonald’s was the last poutine hold-out among the big burger chains. That omission has finally been rectified.

It costs $3.99, which isn’t crazy expensive, nor is it a particularly great value for the amount of food you’re getting.

The biggest obstacle in McDonald’s quest to bring a great poutine to the masses: their very thinly-cut fries. Though McDonald’s fries are some of the better fast food fries out there, a poutine really requires a more substantial fry to hold up to the onslaught of gravy. And how does McDonald’s solve this issue? By doing nothing at all; sadly, the thin fries are just as problematic as you’d think.

To be fair, the idea of McD’s creating a separate type of fries just for their poutine is pretty much a pipe dream. It would be nice, but it’s never going to happen.

McDonald's Poutine Closeup

So yes, the fries sog up. In fact, they were soggy right from the first bite (though spending a couple of minutes taking pictures before I started eating probably didn’t help in that regard — but I suspect that this was a lost cause either way).

The gravy is a fairly generic chicken gravy; it tastes fine and gets the job done, but it’s nothing that anyone is going to get too excited over. If you’ve ever had a middling canned gravy from a supermarket, you know what to expect.

It also wasn’t quite hot enough. The heat level in a poutine is a bit of a balancing act; you don’t want it to be so hot that the curds completely liquefy, but they do need to soften a bit more than the curds did here.

The curds, however, are pretty good. The biggest test of a good cheese curd is whether or not it squeaks when you bite into it, and these had a decent amount of squeak.

And of course, kudos must go to McDonald’s for avoiding the cardinal sin of poutinedom — substituting shredded mozzarella for the cheese curds, or, even worse, shredded cheddar (the horror… the horror). Any restaurant that serves poutine with shredded cheese is basically announcing to the the world: “Hey, guess what? We’re garbage and we serve garbage!” Harsh? Maybe. True? You know it.

(Nutrition Facts – 510 calories, 30 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 1010 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fibre, 1 gram of sugar, and 17 grams of protein.)

Item: McDonald’s Poutine (Canada)
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: McDonald’s
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: A passable poutine that doesn’t get anything horrifically wrong. Squeaky curds. Will satisfy a poutine craving in a pinch.
Cons: Thin fries that immediately sog up. Boring gravy. Not hot enough. A little overpriced for what you’re getting.

8 thoughts to “REVIEW: McDonald’s Poutine (Canada)”

  1. It sounds good, but it kind of looks like a McDonald’s employee ate some packing peanuts and then threw up into a box of fries. (Stranger things have come out the drive-thru window I’m sure.) However, I love Qdoba burritos and the inside of those can also look pretty disgusting depending on your choice of filling. I guess you really can’t judge a book by it’s cover. I’ll try anything once!

  2. I’m bummed to hear the gravy sucks; it looks pretty runny. I think if it was thicker it might not make the fries as soggy? Still, you’re right, they either haveto be thicker or crunchier from the beginning. It looks like a hellalotta great cheese, though! I remember A&W and BK Poutine being good, but whenever I’m in Canada I usually hit up the Costco for some!

  3. I tried this and I’d give it 4 out of 10, especially after trying the Joey’s Urban poutine with the pulled beef, roasted onions, sauteed mushrooms, and sour cream. The best thing ever.

    But yeah, I found this poutine bland and uninspiring and awfully gray-looking. My location didn’t serve it very hot, either, and the cheese curds just couldn’t be enjoyed because they weren’t slightly melty at all. Just ick.

  4. Great review!
    I would have written the exact same thing! McD’s poutine is quite underwhelming.
    The gravy would be the kind that is “good for anyone” and that little kids could easily eat.
    Was not expecting a nice rich gravy as McD is known for being average and trying to please everyone…

    My cheese curds were NOT squeeky, guessing the location I go to it has more arab people and the item does not sell well here?
    The fries were allright, but at least this time my fries were warm. last time I got a Med fry at drive through they were room temperature.
    (I could not return them, was in a taxi…)

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  5. I’ve had the McDonald’s poutine, and I took it back to the server and asked them to make a fresh one, as it was cold. When they gave me the replacement poutine, it was luke-warm. They politely offered to heat it up in the microwave, which helped, but… the taste was still bland and uninspiring.

    McDonalds execs, take note: the gravy has to be HOT enough to melt cheese!! How could you miss that detail? I know you were sued by crazy lady with a hot coffee, but…

    1. the 80 year old lady the sued McDonald was not crazy she got forth degree burns from that coffee and she suffered permanent scarring on her legs she had every right to sue them

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