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Donair Vs. Gyro: What’s The Difference?

Donair is a Canadian sandwich with Greek origins. 

Inspired by the Greek gyro which in turn was inspired by the Doner kebab, donair consists of a variety of ingredients wrapped in a flatbread. 

These two sandwiches have a lot of similarities and on observation may even look alike. 

Both gyro and donair are made from well-seasoned meats that are stacked on a vertical rod and cooked over an open flame.

However, taking a bite from each tells a different story as they are loaded with different ingredients.

This post highlights the differences between these two sandwiches.

Difference between donair and gyro

A Gyro sandwich may look similar to donair, however, their contents are slightly different particularly their meats and the sauce used in each of these sandwiches. 

Traditionally, donair is made with its signature donair sauce; a sweet garlic sauce. On the other hand, gyro is made with tzatziki sauce, a yogurt sauce with fresh and tangy flavors. 

The donair sauce gives donair sandwiches their unique flavor.

Another difference is that the meat in donair is typically made up of a combination of ground beef and breadcrumbs while gyro could be made from pork, chicken, lamb or even veal. 

Donair Sandwich

According to sources, the first donair sandwiches were created in the 1970s in the Halifax area of Canada. 

Peter Gamoulakos created the first donair sandwiches after an unsuccessful attempt to sell gyro sandwiches.  

Beef was used in place of lamb for donair sandwiches and the donair sauce was added.

The beef in donair is spiced generously. The meat is first cooked on a vertical spit, thinly sliced and then transferred to a grill to cook further. 

Donair is made up of pita bread wrap and a stuffing that consists of a mixture of beef, vegetables including onions and tomatoes dressed in donair sauce. 

The signature donair sauce is what makes this sandwich stand out.  

What is in donair sauce?

Donair sauce is a sweet sauce made from evaporated milk, white vinegar, garlic powder, salt and sugar. 

With the popularity of the donair sandwich, this special sauce has also been used in other food items. Including pizzas and hamburgers.

Gyro sandwich

A gyro is a Greek sandwich made from various meats, and vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuce and onions. 

Gyro is a very popular street food sold by street vendors in Greece. These Greek sandwiches can also be found over the world 

Traditionally, gyro sandwich from Greece is made from well-seasoned pork and chicken. However, Greek restaurant in other countries may make these sandwiches from a mixture of minced beef and lamb.

The meat in gyro is flavored with seasonings like cumin, thyme, oregano and rosemary. 

The meat is pressed into a conical shape, then placed vertically on a spit rod for roasting cooked on a vertical rotisserie.

Portions of this meat are shaved up and grilled before placing it on pita bread.

Tzatziki sauce, a yogurt-based sauce is also used to make gyro. This sauce is made with Greek-style yogurt, diced cucumbers, dill weed and vinegar.  

French fries or mustard could also be added to the stuffing as well as onion, lettuce and tomatoes.  

The pita bread used could be warmed or grilled. These ingredients are wrapped on grilled pita bread.