Swiss Chalet Sauce Recipe
Back when I was writing “More Than Poutine” - as an expat Canadian living in the states at the time - Swiss Chalet Sauce was one of THE most requested recipes.
The whole starting point of the book was to create homemade versions of a lot of the Canadian foods that aren’t available abroad, after all.
... and OH BOY, Canadians do love their “crack sauce”!
I actually have a Facebook exchange from years ago, where my husband was first exposed to Chalet Sauce:
Me: Someone tell him that people DO drink the last bit of Crack Sauce, cause he doesn't believe me
Him: She took it like a shot of booze! I half expected her to slam it on the table after.
Me: I should have thrown it on the ground and demanded more, Thor style. I need a crack sauce wench.
Canadian Friend: Oh my god don't waste it
American friend: What is this crack sauce?
Me: Magic and love.
American Friend: This is not a good description I need to know what this is LOL. You can't say something like crack sauce to a hardened Philadelphian and expect me to know that it doesn't contain crack lol
Me: I'm not 100℅ sure that it doesn't...
What is Swiss Chalet?
Swiss Chalet is a very popular restaurant chain in Canada.
When I was a kid, the one we would go to went heavy on the “Swiss” theme - I remember hanging banners with those stylized dragons, lions, and crosses.
I remember thinking how much they reminded me of the sails on my model Spanish Galleon, weirdly enough.
Anyway, the chain has moved away from that kind of ambience over the years, but they’re still known for their rotisserie chicken.
Moreso than the chicken - IMHO - they’re known for Chalet Sauce, which accompanies each chicken dinner.
They even had a promotion a few years ago where Lays did a Chalet Sauce potato chip for them. We were never able to find any, though :(.
What is Chalet Sauce?
Chalet Sauce is a savoury sauce. Vaguely tomato based, with a ton of herbs and spices in it.
You're meant to dip pieces of rotisserie chicken in it.. but I know plenty of people from back home who will straight up drink any that remains after dinner - myself included!
Packets of an instant version are available at grocery stores in Canada - a popular item for expats on vacation to bring home - but it's not quite the same.
I had always assumed that the sauce was made from ingredients like chicken broth, tomato juice, etc... but as it turns out, the restaurants also make them from a dry mix.
... just a bit of a different mix, it seems?
What is Chalet Sauce Made Of?
Depends on what version you’re talking about!
Small Pouches for Home Use
Modified corn starch, Salt, Sugar (dextrose) Tomato powder, Spices, Chicken fat, Silicon dioxide, Herbs, Yeast extract, Onion powder, Citric acid, Garlic powder, Caramel colour, Natural flavour.
The 5 lb Bags the Restaurants Use
Modified Cornstarch, Dehydrated Vegetables (Tomato, Onion, Garlic), Salt, Chicken Fat, Spice, Dextrose, Corn Maltodextrin
My Homemade Chalet Sauce
As no one wants to fuss with shopping for tomato powder and dried chicken fat, this homemade version goes in the direction of my original assumption, rather than sticking to "this is how they do it".
Quite the laundry list of ingredients, yes... but that’s what it takes to make a VERY accurate replica!
Developing This Chalet Sauce Recipe
This was the most... involved... recipe to create for the book, and I think it has the most interesting back story.
During the development of More Than Poutine, we made a couple “research” trips up to Canada to buy source material.
While I could get a good ballpark off years-old memory, I wanted to be as accurate as possible - which meant having the real thing on hand for comparison.
So we went up with a cooler for the perishables, and just went on a wild shopping trip. Candy bars, shelf stable sauces, etc.
Things like cake and dip went into the cooler, eventually being used to perfect recipes like my Homemade Deep N Delicious Cake and Dill Pickle Cream Cheese Dip - a VERY accurate version of the Philadelphia brand favourite.
We lunched at Boston Pizza, for a reminder of the flavour profiles to be able to replicate their Cactus Cut Potatoes & Dip.
Swiss Chalet SCORE
Swiss Chalet Sauce was a different case. It was SUCH a complex flavour, I wanted to have the real thing on hand, not just go off memory from a recent lunch.
So we went to a Swiss Chalet, said I was an expat visiting from the US, and asked if I could buy like a big takeout soup container of the stuff to bring home with me.
.... and they insisted on giving me a whole bag of the dry mix. IT WAS A 5 POUND BAG OF MIX!
They didn’t even charge us for it. I was blown away.
We tipped enough to make the waitress emotional, after that. LOL
So anyway, when working up my version, I had a cup of ready made from the restaurant, a packet of the stuff they sell in stores - AND a 5 lb bag of the dry mix the restaurants use - on hand as source material.
How Do You Serve Chalet Sauce?
Chalet sauce is served hot, alongside chicken.
It’s also great as a dip for fries or bread... drizzled over mashed or baked potatoes, etc.
Not to sound like a hipster or anything, but I used to order their poutine with the gravy swapped out for Chalet Sauce.
I felt bad for being annoying, but it was really good... and it’s since been added to their menu as an actual thing 🙂
... and yeah, when you’re a Canadian who’s been living away and are on a visit home?
It can be served as shots. No joke.
Anyway, keep scrolling for that recipe!
Love Canadian food? Check out 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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Replica Swiss Chalet Sauce Recipe
- 4 tablespoon Butter
- 3 tablespoon Corn starch
- 3 cups Chicken broth
- ¼ cup Tomato juice
- 1 teaspoon White vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoon Onion powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon Paprika
- ¾ teaspoon Dried sage
- ½ teaspoon Garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Dried summer savoury
- ¼ teaspoon Ginger powder
- ¼ teaspoon Mustard powder
- ¼ teaspoon Thyme
- 1 Bay leaf
- In a medium sized saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
- Allow to cook, whisking frequently, until it just starts to brown a little.
- Add corn starch, whisk until smooth.
- Add chicken broth a little at a time, whisking to fully incorporate butter mixture.
- Add remaining ingredients, whisk well.
- Turn heat up to medium-high, bring just to a boil.
- Turn heat down to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove bay leaf, serve hot.