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Looking for a sweet classic Canadian treat? This beaver tail recipe is a delicious Canadian dessert that’s perfect for movie night, Canada Day, parties and game day. The classic Canadian beaver tail is shaped like a beaver’s tail, tastes like a mini donut and is best served warm and coated in cinnamon sugar. Get ready to treat yourself to a taste of Canada with this carnival favourite.

Homemade Canadian beaver tail donut treats on a wire rack after being coated with cinnamon sugar.

Named for their resemblance to a beaver’s tail, these flat donuts consist of fried dough coated in cinnamon sugar. Try them with maple butter, hot chocolate sauce or a double-dunk of cinnamon sugar!

A homemade beaver tail dessert in a bowl of cinnamon sugar with sugar being sprinkled on top.

Why You’ll Love this Easy Sweet Canadian Treat

  • Easy:  The iconic Canadian BeaverTails™ copycat recipe is easy to recreate. Once you’ve made the dough you just need to fry the beaver tails in hot oil and add cinnamon sugar and/or different toppings.
  • Crowd-pleasing:  Nobody is going to refuse this ultimate Canadian carnival and fair food. The crispy exterior coated in sugar and cinnamon makes them really popular and you can just imagine how good they smell when fresh and hot. If you’re expecting a crowd, make sure you at least double or triple the recipe!
  • Delicious:  If you love desserts like funnel cake and sugared warm pastries, you will love this variation of doughnuts. Call them the best beaver tails or even call them BieberTails – whatever their name, they’re a delicious, true Canadian classic!
A Canadian beaver tail made at home with bites out of it with a cup of coffee.

Beaver Tail Ingredients

Whether you’re in a rush to make this Canadian fried dough treat or you want to get fancy and add a square pattern to look like a beaver’s tail, you don’t need too many ingredients for this popular pastry.

The ingredients to make a homemade beaver tail flat donut on a marble counter.

Along with milk, active dry yeast, sugar, oil, and melted butter, you need salt, vanilla, egg, flour, and ground cinnamon. If you want to offer a variety of toppings such as banana slices, extra brown sugar, peanut butter, and so on, go ahead and get those ready, so everyone can add what they want to theirs.

A stack of homemade beaver tails with cinnamon sugar on them.
Homemade Canadian beaver tail donut treats on a wire rack after being coated with cinnamon sugar.

And if you are a donut fan, I bet you’ll also like this donut holes recipe or these Baked Gluten Free Cinnamon Spice Glazed Donuts.

A wire rack with beaver tails on top that have just been coated with cinnamon sugar.

How to Make Beaver Tails at Home

For more detailed instructions, with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card.

Bloom the yeast:  Let them yeast and warm milk sit for a while then whisk in sugar, oil, butter, salt, and vanilla.
Mix in more ingredients:  Add the egg to the yeast mixture and then the flour, mixing until you get dough.
Let the dough rest:  Knead the dough (by hand or with a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook) and then let it sit in a warm place to rise covered with a tea towel.
Shape the beaver tails:  Cut the dough into pieces and shape each one into a ball, then let them rest again.
Cook the beaver tails:  Shape each dough ball into a beavers tail (long oval) then fry in hot oil until golden brown on both sides, and drain on paper towels.
Add the cinnamon sugar coating:  Dip the fried beaver tails in the cinnamon sugar mixture, working in batches if needed.

A stack of homemade beaver tails with cinnamon sugar on them.

Substitutions and Variations

Use any other neutral cooking oil you prefer and choose an electric deep fryer or Dutch oven if you have one since these hold the right oil temperature. Also feel free to sub another flavour for the vanilla or swap in something else for the cinnamon and white sugar dip. Whole wheat flour could also be used.

A basket full of homemade cinnamon sugar beaver tails.

Marshmallows, a squeeze of lemon or lime juice… anything goes! Nutella would also be amazing on beaver tails if you love chocolate as much as me! Another classic flavour combo with a tangy twist is cinnamon and sugar with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on top! You could also serve with maple syrup and powdered sugar. If you are a fan of savoury food, you might like to top with garlic butter.

A basket full of homemade cinnamon sugar beaver tails.

Another presentation option is to use a knife to score the dough after it is shaped to add a square pattern to look like beavers tails.

A Canadian beaver tail made at home with bites out of it with a cup of coffee.

History of Deep Fried Beaver Tails

Beaver tails, which are quite similar to elephant ears in the United States, are an iconic Canadian donut-bannock inspired pastry which are known for eating while skating on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa. According to the Food Bloggers of Canada, this Canadian doughnut was invented in the late 1970s. Grant and Pam Hooker sold them at the Killaloe craft and community fair. The BeaverTails™ store as we know it today opened 1980.

A wire rack with beaver tails on top that have just been coated with cinnamon sugar.

What to Serve with Beaver Tails

You can also change the cinnamon and sugar in this beaver tail recipe for caramel or fudge syrup, sliced fresh fruit (bananas are good) or anything else you want to enjoy with your homemade beaver tails. Enjoy one with some coffee or hot chocolate as an indulgent treat. If enjoying these flat donuts on Canada Day, you can serve with Nanaimo bars or Canadian butter tarts.

A Canadian beaver tail made at home with bites out of it with a cup of coffee.

Deep Frying Safety Tips

Always choose an oil that has a high smoke point. Vegetable oil, corn oil, canola oil or peanut oil are popular and affordable options to consider. I like to use a Dutch oven because it holds the heat well, unless you have a deep fryer. When deep frying, never leave hot oil unattended. It is important to have the lid for the pot at hand. If the oil ignites, place the lid on the pot to extinguish. Also, be sure to keep children (and pets) well away from the deep frying process.

A beaver tail being cooked in a dutch oven of oil.
A beaver tail just out of the deep fryer being dropped in a bowl full of cinnamon sugar.

Storage Instructions

  • As you probably expect, homemade beaver tails are best served hot as soon as they’re cooked. But if you do have some left over, you can keep them in an airtight container and enjoy them within 3 days.
  • You can also freeze them for up to 3 months but don’t dip them in cinnamon sugar first. Another idea is to freeze the prepared dough and fry the beaver tails after thawing.
A basket full of homemade cinnamon sugar beaver tails.

Best Canadian Beaver Tail FAQs

Can you make beaver tails in an air fryer?

Whether you remember beaver tails fondly from your childhood or you and your folks knew then as elephant ears, these are 2 names for the same delicious Canadian pastry treat. But if you prefer to air fry rather than deep fry, you might be curious whether this recipe is suitable. You can air fry them for about 5 minutes at 350°F but, unless you have a huge air fryer, you can only do one or two at a time, so it might be quicker to deep fry them in hot oil the traditional way.

Can you make a gluten free beaver tail?

You definitely don’t have to miss out on this yummy treat just because you can’t have gluten. Simply use your preferred measure-for-measure gluten-free flour (1:1) in the recipe and they will still come out delicious!

A Canadian beaver tail made at home with bites out of it with a cup of coffee.

Homemade Beaver Tail Recipe

5 from 116 votes

Homemade Beaver Tail Recipe

By: Bella Bucchiotti
This beaver tail recipe is a delicious Canadian dessert that’s perfect for movie night, Canada Day, parties and game day. The classic Canadian beaver tail tastes like a mini donut and is best served warm and coated in cinnamon sugar.
Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients 

  • ¾ Cup whole milk, warm
  • 2 ¼ Teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ¼ Cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 Cups granulated sugar
  • canola oil, for frying

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, gently combine the warm milk with the yeast. Let sit for 8 minutes to bloom.
  • Once the yeast has bloomed, add the light brown sugar, 2 Tablespoons canola oil, melted butter, salt, and vanilla. Whisk until combined.
  • Add the egg, whisk until combined.
  • Sift in the flour, half at a time. Mix by hand or with a dough hook until flour has been incorporated. Dough should be soft, but not overly sticky, add additional flour if needed 1 Tablespoon at a time.
  • Knead by hand for 5 minutes, or in a stand mixer for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Cover and let rise in a warm location for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
  • After the dough has risen, fill a medium pot or dutch oven with enough canola oil to fry in (at least 3” deep). Heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches between 355 degrees F and 365 degrees F.
  • While the oil is heating up, turn the dough out onto a clean and lightly floured surface. Slice the dough into 12 pieces.
  • Take each piece of dough and form into a ball by pulling the outer edges to the bottom center of the dough ball. Let the balls of dough rest, covered, for 15 minutes.
  • Fill a shallow dish with 2 cups of sugar and 2 Tablespoons of cinnamon, mix. Set near your frying station along with a wire rack over a baking sheet or paper towels to set the finished fried dough on.
  • Once the dough has rested and oil has come to temperature, use a rolling pin to flatten a few of the dough balls into oblong shapes, similar to a beaver’s tail. These should be very thin ¼” or less.
  • One at a time, gently lay the flattened dough into the hot oil. Fry for 30 to 60 seconds on each side, using a pair of tongs or chopstick to flip the dough.
  • When cooked, pull the beaver tail out and let the excess oil drip for just a second before immediately dunking into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Cover completely, turning over as needed. Set on the wire rack to cool. Give this first one a taste and adjust cooking time or temperature as needed.
  • Continuously check the temperature of the oil to make sure it is not getting too hot or too cold.
  • Continue steps 11 to 14 until all of the dough has been fried and sugared.

Notes

You can use any kind of frying oil you prefer, canola, vegetable, peanut, or even lard if you really want to. Make sure you are disposing of the used (and cooled) oil properly when you are finished, never pour oil down your drain. 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 273kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 210mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 53IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

This beaver tail recipe is quick and easy, and shows you how to make that wonderful Canadian carnival favourite, the beaver tail. These cinnamon sugar coated dough treats are best served slightly warm. You will love this classic Canadian dessert making them at home just as much as you do at the fair.

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Bella Bucchiotti

Bella Bucchiotti is a Canadian-based syndicated food, travel, and lifestyle writer, photographer, and creator at xoxoBella. She founded xoxoBella in 2015, where she shares her love for food, dogs, sustainability, fitness, crafts, outdoor adventures, travel, and philanthropy to encourage others to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places, and stand for a cause. Bella creates stress-free and family-friendly recipes for weeknight dinners and festive feasts.

 

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Recipe Rating




10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe for the first time.
    I have to say, it’s the perfect dough recipe.. crisp on the outside but tender and soft on the inside. I put a mixture of chocolate toppings which was delish. 😋
    I just love this so much that I will probably use the dough recipe to make donuts too 😃 thank you for this recipe! 💕

  2. 5 stars
    I mean holy crap, I didn’t know how these would turn out but they were awsome! It’s an easy to follow recipe that many people can make.

  3. 5 stars
    Made these with my niece and she was absolutely tickled by the name (and of course LOVED the cinnamon sugar)! Thank you so much for the recipe.

  4. 5 stars
    My hubby has talked about eating bever tail before so when I found your recipe I had to make him a batch. He was pretty happy to have this treat again. Your recipe is easy to make.