Garlic Fingers & Donair Sauce

So with the crazy popularity of my HaliDip post the past couple of days, I got a hankering for another Halifax favourite – Garlic Fingers. Garlic fingers are NOT:

  • Garlic Bread
  • Bread Sticks
  • Cheese Sticks
  • Sliced into wedges
  • Served with marinara sauce or *shudder* ranch dressing
  • Ever considered to be a healthy snack

Garlic Fingers with Cheese

What garlic fingers are is pure deliciousness in a thumb-sized rectangle shape that are dipped (more like dunked) into donair sauce. You’ve just been schooled my hungry friend.

First thing you should do when you want to make Garlic Fingers is make a batch of Donair Sauce. The best Donair Sauce in the world only has three ingredients: 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, 1/3 cup of plain old white vinegar and 1 tsp of garlic powder.

Donair Sauce 1That’s it.  That’s all. Other recipes call for evaporated milk and sugar… I find these sauces always get thin and separate. That will never happen with this recipe.

Donair Sauce 2When you combine it all in a bowl and start to stir it, you’ll call me a rotten liar or something under your breath, but trust me, this expired-yogurt-looking-thing will turn into this…

Donair Sauce 3Thick, sweet and tangy with just a hint of garlic.  It will never separate and will only get slightly thicker, never thinner.

Now, stop tasting the sauce, cover it and put it in the fridge.  Next up in our Garlic Finger adventure is the dough.  I use this pizza dough recipe for EVERYTHING, pizza, garlic fingers, calzones and even bread sticks (which again, are not garlic fingers…). Although originally posted here, I thought it was time to give this recipe the attention it deserves and took some step by step photos to help you out. Master this and you will never want to order out again. I will no doubt get flack for this, but there really aren’t any good pizza shops in my neighbourhood. In Halifax proper, yes. In Timberlea? Not so much.

Heather’s Pizza DoughMakes a 12-16″ thicker crust pizza or 4 calzones

  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast (not quick rise) (this is equivalent to 1 packet)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (spooned in and levelled with a knife)

Put the water, yeast and honey into the bowl of a stand mixer (if you are some sort of martyr that doesn’t have a stand mixer, fend for yourself). It will look like this…

Yeast rising in waterIf your yeast is active, in about 5 minutes it should look like this (if not, you’re in trouble and might want to go get some new yeast)…

Yeast proofed in waterAt this point, add in the remaining ingredients. No special order, just dump them all in.

Pizza Dough 3Making sure you have the dough hook attachment on and not the paddle, put the mixer on the lowest speed and come back 6 minutes later. During those 6 minutes, I put a big Pyrex measuring cup full of water in the microwave and get it to a rolling boil.  This warm, steamy, moist microwave is a perfect spot for pizza dough to rise. When 6 minutes is up, you will have this…

Pizza dough on dough hookTake the dough off the hook, and while it’s out of the bowl, give it a quick spray of oil, then pop the ball of dough back inside, cover lightly with plastic wrap or tea towel, and put it inside that cozy moist microwave (or your favourite bread-rising spot) for 45 minutes to an hour. It will turn from this…

pizza dough before risingInto this…

Pizza dough after risingGently deflate the dough, form it into a ball that should be as soft yet firm and smooth as Channing Tatum’s butt (or how I assume his butt would be). Put it on a floured board or pizza peel, cover it loosely and let it rest for 10 minutes or so, while you ponder said butt.

Resting pizza doughNow’s the time to roll, stretch or press the dough onto a lightly greased and heavily floured pizza pan. I start by rolling generally, then give a little stretch or two and then lay it in the prepared pan and give it a bit of a press so it somewhat resembles a circle.

Pizza Dough 8Now, since we are making garlic fingers, this is the time that we would slather the dough with garlic butter (and get that oven preheated to 450 degrees (475 even if not using convection). As for garlic butter, you’ll need around 3 tbsp and you can make your own or just buy some.  I make my own and add in as much garlic powder (or in this case Club House Garlic Plus) as you can handle. To 3 tbsp of butter or margarine I’d probably add close to a tbsp of garlic…but I heart garlic. Spread the garlic butter all over the crust, right to the edge and then top with about 2 1/2 cups of Pizza mozzarella.  I can’t stress the importance of Pizza mozzarella enough… it’s stringy, chewy and delicious (I always use Mozzarellisma by Saputo).

Ready to bake garlic fingersBake for 16-22 minutes, depending on your oven.  You want the bottom slightly golden and the cheese bubbling and browning. YUM! Remove from oven and cut them into FINGERS, and serve with DONAIR SAUCE. I kid, I kid, but those two things are really important.

HeavenHeaven on a pizza pan.


PS. I almost forgot to add that bacon is also sometimes added… if you want to add some crumbled cooked bacon (no bacon bits please, ick), do it after adding the cheese. Although bacon makes everything better, I prefer my garlic fingers without.

About Heather Nolan

Heather Nolan lives just outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia. She loves her lil' family, her cats, traveling, and creating in the kitchen. Her iPhone is often confused for a conjoined twin.


  1. Looks delish!

    Only thing I’ll mention is the cup of water in the microwave– I read an article in the kitchen at work that talked about how plain water boiled in the microwave has a good chance of blowing up when you take it out. The author’s son had third degree burns on his face and had to have ceramic shards taken out of the burns on his face, and science backed this phenomena up.

    So please take care!!!

  2. YummMmm you used Epicure Garlic Aoli , I only use Epicure and cannot wait to try this :)

  3. the donair sauce recipe is pure BRILLANCE !! I never get a thick sauce because I have always been told to use evaporated milk .. thank you so very much !!

  4. My wife and I are from Digby but we left a long timesgo. We have spent most of the last 25 years in Houston Texas and i have not been home in the last 3 years at all. We saw you donair recipe on Monday and my wife whipped up a batch yesterday. Needless to say we have been in heaven for the last teo days. Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. I just came upon your blog the other day and its just awesome. It sounds like we share the same passion for food. I am from Pictou County and there is nothing better than pizza and garlic fingers. I also use the same recipe for Donair sauce and you’re right, it IS the best. And I can’t agree more on the Mozzarellissima…once you try it there’s no going back.

  6. Hi. I just found your blog though a friend this morning and so glad I did. I love finding and reading blogs from the East Coast. We’re from Yarmouth living in SK now and missing all the good pizza places. Hubby and I make our own pizzas, as well as garlic fingers and donair sauce. You can’t buy garlic fingers or donair sauce here. When we went home for a visit over the summer I inhaled a donair sub from Greco.

  7. Very nice. Now can you figure out how to make Sam’s/Acropole brown (Pictou County) pizza sauce and throw that up here please???

    • Do you know I’ve never even had it… I’ve heard about it for years and years, but kind of afraid to have to drive for 2.5 hours to get my pizza fix if I get hooked! ;)

    • I love Pictou County Pizza and Acropole is by far the best around!!! Who knew we had such a National treat!?!?!??! I won’t bother making this recipe, I’ll just call and place my order!!! Thanks for sharing, though!

  8. was wondering what happens if u dont own a mixer..i realize i will have to mix by hand but are u aware of any do’s or dont’s? im not sure if its like pie crust..u work it to much and its ruined? any tips would be helpful :)

  9. HaliDip and now this!? You have made this displaced Haligonian one very happy girl. Now if only I could get cheese curds in the Bahamas for a poutine side-dish, life would be complete (and my arteries officially clogged). Thank you from the bottom of my homesick heart!

  10. When you say 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour “spooned in and levelled with a knife,” what exactly do you mean? Because I can’t level off my cup measure- it’s one of those glass Pyrex ones! :-S

    • Stan Brown says:

      As long as you spoon the flour into the Pyrex cup you will be ok. Just don’t scoop the cup into the bag of flour as you may get air pockets and thus not a true measurement.

    • I took photos of that but then didn’t add them :) I will next time. I really think that a good set of dry and liquid measures are very important. dry measures will allow you to level off the top to give you a true estimate (only weighing the flour would be truly exact). Differences of a couple of tbsp can make a big difference in breads…

      When you spoon the flour in, it ‘breaks it up’ so to speak so that it’s not packed (again, packing it could mean an extra tbsp or two being added…)

      Pyrex are great wet measures though :) As are OXO


    • Hi there, the recipe does state to lightly grease and heavily flour :) Also, it states it’s for a 12 – 16″ pizza (depending on how thick you like the crust) or 4 calzones.

  12. Help!!! My sauce will not thicken. My recipe is followed to a t :(

    • Are you sure you used sweetened condensed milk? It’s thick to begin with.

      Is it possible you used evaporated milk?

      • This is what I use and its thick :) and oh sooo good

        a can of evaporated milk, cold
        a can of sweetened condensed milk, cold
        1 teaspoon of onion powder
        2-3 tablespoons of garlic powder
        3-5 tablespoons of white vinegar

  13. Jennifer Compagna says:

    I can’t wait to try both your donair sauce recipe and your halidip! I’m from Cape Breton and live in Saskatchewan and can NEVER find donair sauce or garlic fingers that come even close to comparing to that from the east coast! Thanks so much for posting!

  14. Elizabeth Stevens says:

    I hear ya! Lived in the west 13 years and when you say garlic fingers and do air sauce they look at you like you have three heads.I am going to try this awesome thanks.You would be rich if you made this in the west.

  15. OMG! If this works my husband and I will love you! Not to mention the other converts we’ve made in QC. Every time we go down home I bring back 3 frozen donair pizzas and sauce, there’s never enough sauce though! If you figure out how to make homemade donair meat….. I might have to adopt you!

  16. Jennifer Compagna says:

    Ok, I just made the donair sauce to have with Dominos pizza (certainly not as good as the Mom and Pop pizza shops at home, but I do like to dip my pizza) and it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!! Thanks SOO much for the recipe!! One question, do you know if the sauce can be frozen? There’s only myself and my husband so a full container would take a while to go through!

  17. Love this! Our family moved to Halifax 18 months ago after having lived in Newfoundland, Ontario and Africa. I have to admit that one of the things I was most excited about in moving here was being able to get the best donairs in the country! Having visited here several times as a teen and young adult, I had first hand experience with the drippy, sweet, spicy, chewy things and I couldn’t wait! Halifax does not disappoint. I think I will have to make a batch of this to have with our next homemade pizza. Anxious to try the Halidip too! Happy to find your blog!

  18. This donair sauce can also be frozen. It will be a little runnier when thawed but still delicious. I have been doing it for years cause it makes too big a batch for me.

  19. Leanne in Ottawa says:

    Thank you so much!! I made them last night and they were incredible!!!!

  20. Heather!
    I just discovered your blog and I love it!! I lived in Halifax for 4 years before moving back to NL. Needless to say, all I’m craving right now is King of Donair and Boneheads BBQ after looking at your blog.I’ll definitely be using some of your delish recipes in the future :)

  21. MY FAVORITE!! YUMM, I can’t believe so many people are living without garlic fingers in their life! My doniar recipe is the same, its SO good!

  22. foodie4sure says:
  23. Thanks for the recipe for the crust! I used it to make pizza and it was delicious :) Going to try the garlic fingers next!!

  24. “Should not be cut into wedges” Amen, sister!!

  25. Thank You!! Will have to make these and sauce for Hubby – he misses proper Donair sauce here in Ottawa. The link to the Brown Sauce for pizza is good, but appears to have a a lot more ingredients than I generally use. We’ve brought back a litre of Sam’s sauce several times and have been reverse engineering it. Some green pepper – No mushrooms and no onion powder, celery salt or basil. The trick is to cook the veggies down like a risotto. For other folks missing maritime treats, there is a recipe for Oatcakes on my blog – the recipe is from Sweet Lou’s formerly on Hollis St.

  26. the garlic fingers were delicious !!

  27. I have a trick for you donair sauce 1 can of evaporated milk
    1/2 cup of white sugar
    1/2 tsp garlic powder
    Now here’s the trick 1/2 pks envelop of Knox geletin no flavor in 1/4 cup vinigar disolve I put in micro 10 seconds incorporate in your mix and mix well chill at least 1 hrs thick don air sauce the real McCoy.

  28. why not quick rise yeast, its the same and u dont have to proof it. i use quick rise for all the recipes that ask for instant.

  29. Thank you so much for this recipe! We are Nova Scotians living in China and were missing a taste of home. We also tried your donair recipe but had to use a pizza crust since we couldn’t find pitas. It was awesome! My kids are munching down the garlic fingers right now and loving them. Thanks again!!

  30. I wish I had a stand mixer to make this

  31. 4000miles from home and we just had donair sauce!!! what a treat. THANK YOU!


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