Beaver Tails are the ultimate Canadian carnival food! Light airy dough fried golden brown and coated in cinnamon and sugar!
Beaver Tails Recipe
Beaver Tails have always been one of my favorite treats to get at fairs! Light and airy dough with a crispy exterior coated in sugar and cinnamon. If you have never this classic Canadian treat you are missing out!
The dough is light and airy yet crispy and not overly sweet. The cinnamon sugar coating on the outside provides just the right amount of sweetness. A true Canadian Classic that can be found at every fair or carnival!
What are Beavertails?
Beavertails are a Canadian dessert that are traditionally served coated in cinnamon and sugar. However, there are endless flavor variations and combination for beavertails.
A beavertail is a flat, oval shaped donut meant to mimic the shape of a beavertail. A knife is used to score the dough after it is shaped to add a square pattern to look like a beavers tails.
My recipe is for a classic cinnamon sugar beavertail but you can add anything from peanut butter, nutella, sliced banana, fruits, nuts, marshmallows and more on top of your beavertails! Another classic flavor is cinnamon and sugar with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on top!
Who Will Enjoy This Recipe?
Any one who likes donuts will love this recipe! Beavertails are a Canadian variation of doughnuts and they are simply delicious. They are perfect for dessert, breakfast, brunch or a sweet treat for movie night and parties! I often serve beavertails at game days and Superbowl parties and they are always a fan favorite!
Don’t worry if you or your guests aren’t fans of cinnamon, there are endless flavor variations for beavertails and I have included 5 of my most popular flavors below! You can even setup a beavertail bar at your next brunch or party. Pre-cook all of the beavertails and setup a station with all different toppings. Have your guests create their own unique beavertail!
Beavertails Flavor Variations
My personal favorite way to enjoy this Canadian delicacy is while it’s still warm and coated with cinnamon and sugar! There is something so irresistible about the combination of the warm crispy dough paired with cinnamon and sugar.
However, there are endless flavor variations and you can pair your own favorite toppings. Here are some combos to try instead of cinnamon sugar:
- Chocolate Banana – spread Nutella or chocolate spread of choice on top and then top with thinly sliced banana
- Chocolate Strawberry – if you love chocolate dip strawberries this combo is just for you! Add Nutella or chocolate spread and then top with sliced strawberries
- Apple Pie – add a few spoons of apple pie filling on top of the beavertail.
- Pro Tip – drizzle some caramel sauce on top for an even more decadent apple pie flavor!
- Smore’s – add a layer of Nutella or chocolate spread and top with crushed graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate chips!
- Pro Tip – if you have a kitchen torch you can toast the tops of the marshmallows!
- Chocolate Peanut Butter – add a layer of Nutella or chocolate spread. Melt a tablespoon of peanut butter in the microwave and drizzle over top. Top with your favorite chocolate peanut butter candy (ex. Reese’s or M&M’s).
What is in Beaver Tails?
The dough comes together with pantry staple ingredients. They are a simple dessert that can be made without needing to pick up any special ingredients.
- Flour – beavertails can be made with white all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, or a combo of the two. I prefer using white all purpose flour as the resulting dough is light and airy.
- Yeast, Sugar and Warm Water – instant or dry active yeast can be used for this recipe. To activate the yeast is it first combined with sugar and warm water until is starts to produce bubbles and puff up.
- Warm Milk – milk is added into the dough but it must be warm milk or it will cool down the dough and hinder the rising process (the milk just needs to be microwaved for a few seconds until warm to touch)
- Melted Butter – ensure the butter is fully melted so it will be evenly incorporated into the dough
- Vanilla – just a splash of vanilla adds a perfect hint of vanilla flavor into the dough
- Salt – just a pinch of salt
- Egg – one egg is mixed into the dough
- Cinnamon and Sugar – this recipe is for the classic cinnamon sugar coated beavertails but you can also use any of your favorite toppings for different flavor combinations as suggested above
How to Make Beaver Tails
Full Printable Recipe at Bottom of Page
1 On a large plate, combine the coating ingredients (sugar and cinnamon), set aside. Grease a large bowl with oil or cooking spray, set aside.
2 In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the a dough hook, stir together the yeast, sugar, and warm water. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in the warm milk, sugar, butter salt, vanilla, egg, and oil.
3 Gradually add in the flour 1/2 cup at at time. Mix and scrap down the sides of the bowl after each addition. After all the flour has been added in, mix until a smooth dough ball forms.
4 Place the dough ball in the greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled, approximately 30-45 minutes.
5 Place the risen dough on a floured flat surface (ex. kitchen counter) gently deflate and flatten into a rectangle. Cut the dough into 8 even pieces. Shape each piece into a thin oval (beaver tail shape). Use a sharp knife to carefully score the top of the beaver tails to create small square sections (to replicate a beaver tail).
6 Place the shaped beaver tails on a floured cookie sheet and cover with a lint free towel. Set aside to rise 10 minutes.
7 In a large skillet or deep pot, heat enough oil to come 2″ up the sides on medium-high heat.
8 Working in batches, fry the beaver tails 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove from the oil, drain on a paper towel and then immediately dip in the cinnamon sugar mix. Set on a cooling rack to cool. Repeat with all beaver tails.
Serve warm and enjoy!
Tips and Tricks for the Best Beavertails
Dough – ensure all ingredients are warm or at room temperature when preparing the dough. Allow the yeast to activate for at least 5 minutes with the sugar and warm water. You will know the yeast is ready to use when it is puffy and has bubbles. Leave the dough to rise covered in a warm place. This can be your oven if it has a ‘proof’ setting, a microwave, or in your kitchen in front of a sunny window.
Shaping – lightly flour your hands when handling and shaping the dough. This will help the dough to not stick to your hands. Add more flour to your hands between each beavertail that you shape. If you don’t have a rolling pin you can use a drinking cup or bottle to roll out the dough. Lightly flour the rolling pin, cup or bottle to avoid the dough sticking to it.
Cooking Method – I highly recommend frying the beavertails for the best results. Air Frying or baking will not result in the same texture dough. Use a deep pot to fry them and add enough oil to come 2″ up the sides of the pot.
Frying Oil Temperature – Allow the oil to heat up before adding the first beavertail. If the oil is not hot enough the dough will absorb too much of the oil. You will know the oil is ready when it starts to shimmer, you can also use the handle of a wooden spoon or chopstick to test the oil temperature. Place the end of the utensil into the oil and if the oil bubble around the wood it is ready to fry. Test the oil temperature between batches to ensure all the beavertails evenly cool. The oil will cool down slightly after each beavertail is fried.
Coating – to ensure the cinnamon and sugar mix sticks to the beavertails, once the beavertail is fried golden brown, drain on a paper towel or wire rack until cool enough to handle. Then immediately coat in the cinnamon sugar mix while still warm.
How to Store Beavertails
Store cooked and cool beavertails in an air tight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. The beavertails are best eaten fresh the same day but will remain fresh for up to 3 days
What to Serve with Beavertails?
For a fun 3 course Canadian inspired dinner serve these beavertails as dessert with:
- Poutine – one of the most famous Canadian dishes and one of the easiest to make! Crispy fries topped with gravy and cheese curds.
- Donair – are so simple and delicious! Spiced meat cooked on a skewer, shaved thin and pan fried until golden brown. All wrapped up in a pita with a sweet and tangy sauce, onions and tomatoes.
Can Beavertails be Frozen?
YES! I love making a batch of beavertails and saving a few in the freezer for a later date. To freeze, cook and cool the beavertails and do not coat in the cinnamon and sugar. Wrap the beavertails in plastic wrap (optional) and place in a freezer safe Ziploc bag or air tight container. Freeze for up to 3 months.
To serve frozen beavertails, allow them to thaw at room temperature for about 5 minutes and then follow the below reheating instructions. Once reheated you can coat them in cinnamon and sugar or top with your favorite flavor combination.
How to Reheat Beavertails
To reheat beavertails you can use an oven, air fryer or microwave. For best results I recommend an oven or air fryer as the beavertails will be crispy when reheated. If reheating frozen beavertails, allow to thaw at room temperature for about 5 minutes first.
Oven – Reheat in the oven at 350°F for 3-5 minutes or until warmed through and crispy.
Air Fryer – You can also reheat in an Air Fryer at 350°F for 2-3 minutes, flip halfway through.
Microwave – Beavertails can also be reheated in the microwave for 15 – 30 seconds but they become soft and not crispy.
Looking for Easy International Dessert Recipes?
- Maple Pecan Butter Tarts – one of my favorite simple sweets. The filling comes together in a flash and used store bought tart shells makes this super quick and easy!
- Pastel de Nata – are the most famous and delicious Portuguese Dessert. The creamy custard that caramelizes while baking in a light and flakey pastry crust is a must try!
- Baklava – combines citrus, cinnamon, honey soaked layers of flaky crispy phyllo pastry with spiced nuts. It is the perfect sweet treat to finish off a meal.
Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, may earn me a small commission.
- 2 1/2 tsp instant or dry active yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 cup warm water, about 110°F, or warm to the touch
- 1/2 cup warm milk, about 110°F, or warm to the touch
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil, or other neutral cooking oil
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1 cup oil, for frying
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- On a large plate, combine the coating ingredients (sugar and cinnamon), set aside. Grease a large bowl with oil or cooking spray, set aside.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the a dough hook, stir together the yeast, sugar, and warm water. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in the warm milk, sugar, butter, salt, vanilla, egg, and oil.
- Gradually add in the flour 1/2 cup at at time. Mix and scrap down the sides of the bowl after each addition. After all the flour has been added in, mix until a smooth dough ball forms.
- Place the dough ball in the greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled, approximately 30-45 minutes.
- Place the risen dough on a floured flat surface (ex. kitchen counter) gently deflate and flatten into a rectangle. Cut the dough into 8 even pieces. Shape each piece into a thin oval (beaver tail shape). Use a sharp knife to carefully score the top of the beaver tails to create small square sections (to replicate a beaver tail).
- Place the shaped beaver tails on a floured cookie sheet and cover with a lint free towel. Set aside to rise 10 minutes.
- In a large skillet or deep pot, heat enough oil to come 2" up the sides on medium-high heat.
- Working in batches, fry the beaver tails 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove from the oil, drain on a paper towel and then immediately dip in the cinnamon sugar mix. Set on a cooling rack to cool. Repeat with all beaver tails.
- Serve warm and enjoy!