Cretons is a traditional Quebecois meat pate, commonly served on toast for breakfast. This is my recipe for a homemade, gluten free version.
Originally published March 7, 2013. Updated on 6/16/2021
Cretons - it's a goofy food name for us Anglos.
Reading it, it looks like someone typoed "Cretin". It's actually pronounced something like "Cret-AWN", and is a hugely popular breakfast food in Quebec.
I first had this when I was in my early teens, visiting my father in Montreal... and I hated it!
The spiced pork pate looked really gross in the plastic tub it came in, and the idea of putting cinnamon and cloves in a savory Pâté was completely foreign to my still-developing palate.
I think the idea of it managed to confuse my actual taste buds at the time, because - as an adult - I love the stuff.
I love spreading meat on toast for breakfast - cretons actually comes second to my all time favorite breakfast: Haggis on a toasted bagel.
Cretons is a lot easier to come by than haggis, though.
It requires no fancy or hard to find ingredients, and whips up fairly quickly at home.
This is my version, which is not only gluten free, but a bit spicier than some of the grocery store cretons I've had in Quebec.
This makes a good amount for a family, but feel free to cut the recipe in half if needed.
What is Cretons Made from?
Cretons is basically just a cold, spiced pork pâté.
You start off with ground pork, onion, garlic, spices, and milk. It gets cooked - slowly - until all of the milk is absorbed or boiled off, then allowed to cool.
Once the fats solidify, you stir it again and then chill it until you use it.
Why do I specify “gluten-free” for my cretons, you may ask?
Because a lot of versions involve either breadcrumbs, or torn up slices of bread.
I find it unnecessary at best - and undesirable in terms of allergens and carbs - so this recipe is bread-free.
How Do You Eat Cretons?
Cretons is generally spread - cold - onto hot toast. I’ve tried heating it up as well, but I do prefer traditional, chilled service.
You can also serve this in the same way you’d serve other pâté, on toasted crostini or crackers.
How Long Can You Keep Cretons
Generally speaking, cooked pork will last from 3-4 days in the fridge - so that’s the guideline I use for cretons.
If you want to freeze it, package it in an airtight freezer safe container. It will last for between 2-4 months.
As a tip... the less air in the package, the longer it will last. Squeeze out all of the air from a bag, or press plastic wrap against the top of the cretons surface before adding a lid to a lidded freezer dish.
This recipe is one of many fantastic Canadian recipes in my cookbook, "More Than Poutine: Favourite Foods from my Home and Native Land”. "More than Poutine" is a Canadian cookbook like no other - written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional home cooking recipes, as well as accurate homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada! Order your copy here on this site, through Amazon, or through any major bookseller!
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Gluten Free Cretons
- 2 lbs Ground Pork
- 1 Large Onion finely chopped
- 2 Garlic Cloves pressed
- ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Ground Cloves
- ¼ teaspoon Allspice
- ¼ teaspoon Ground Ginger
- 2 cups Milk
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 teaspoon Dried Parsley
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- In a large pan, mash together pork, onion, garlic, and spices. Add milk a little at a time, stirring to create a runny paste. Add bay leaf.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the milk is absorbed/cooked off. Add parsley, stir well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer cretons to a storage dish with a lid, as-is.. or put in the food processor and puree for a finer texture. Chill well, stir before serving for the first time.
- Store in the fridge for up to a week.