Cretons: A French-Canadian Pork Pâté (Potted Meat)

Cretons is a French-Canadian pork pâté and is sometimes known as Gortons around New England. This mildly spiced pork spread is popular in Quebec and areas of New England. It’s delicious served on crostini bread and makes the perfect accompaniment to a charcuterie board. 

Cretons Maison - a traditional pork Pate in a blue bowl with a serving knife.

My grandmother made this recipe often but didn’t have a written recipe. Cretons Maison (house pâté) is a typical “back pocket” recipe, one the cook knows without needing to follow a recipe. Pate Recipes often differ from family to family based on flavors and tastes enjoyed by its family members and are passed down through the generations without much consideration

One day when I was in college, I dropped by my Grandmother’s house unannounced. She was simmering cretons on the back burner of the stove. Generally, she topped hers with a layer of fat across the finished product to seal in the flavor, and that my Grandpa liked it on a slice of toast for breakfast or lunch. She said that this is a recipe that her mother always made and was passed down from my great-grandmother so this is something that is been in my family now for at least five generations, if not more

I have modified this recipe to remove some of the fat but it is still not health food by any stretch of the imagination.  No two families have the same recipe for Creton and the flavors are easily altered with the addition or omission of certain spices to make a flavor your family will love.

The ingredients for cretons.

Cretons Maison Ingredients and Tools:


  • Ground Pork – I use Swift Premium but any brand will do.
  • Onions – Vidalia or Spanish yellow are both fine.
  • Garlic – freshly garlic produces the most flavor.
  • Cinnamon – I use organic Saigon cinnamon.
  • Allspice – not just for apple pie anymore!
  • Salt & Pepper – to taste for seasoning the pork pâté.
  • Fresh Bread Crumbs – I use two slices of bread which I form into crumbs using the food processor [paid link].


How to prepare this Easy Gortons Recipe:

Step 1Step 1
Step 2Step 2
Step 3Step 3
Finished DishFinished Dish
  • Step 1: Simmer the meat and spices
  • Step 2: Make the fresh bread crumbs.
  • Step 3: Allow the mixture to cool and then blend it in the food processor [paid link] to your desired consistency. Combine with the bread crumbs.
  • Step 4: Cool in the refrigerator allowing the flavors to meld for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Serve and enjoy!

How to Serve French Pate Cretons Traditionnel

Cretons are best served on crostini bread, toast points, or crackers. We enjoy it with a dap of mustard and a small pickle slice. Cretons pork pate makes a great addition to your Holiday Charcuterie board.

A charcuterie platter with cretons pork pate.

Cretons Recipe FAQs

How much is a portion?

For the purposes of this recipe, a serving is 1/4 cup. This is the amount used in the calculation of the nutritional label.

What’s the best way to defrost pork? 

  • Refrigerator Thawing – plan on 1 full day for a one-pound package of ground pork. After thawing in the refrigerator, items such as ground meat should remain safe and good quality for an additional day or two before cooking.
  • Cold Water Thawing – This method is faster than refrigerator thawing but requires more attention. The food must be in a leak-proof package or plastic bag. If the bag leaks, bacteria from the air or surrounding environment could be introduced into the food. Also, the meat tissue may absorb water, resulting in a watery product. The bag should be submerged in cold tap water, changing the water every 30 minutes so it continues to thaw. Small packages of meat, about a pound, may thaw in an hour or less. If thawed completely, the food must be cooked immediately.

How to store leftovers?

Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

A horizontal photo of Cretons recipe which is a great charcuterie board idea.

Need some other quick appetizers?

Air Fryer Ravioli

Nashville Hot Chicken Tenders

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Cheese Fries

Barbecue Dry-Rubbed Chicken Wings

Spinach Dip Stuffed French Bread

cretons 8

Cretons: A French-Canadian Pork Pâté (Potted Meat)

Ronda Eagle | Kitchen Dreaming
Cretons is a French-Canadian pork pâté and is sometimes known as “Gorton” around New England. This mildly spiced pork paté spread is popular in Quebec and areas of New England dense in French-Canadians.
4.84 from 6 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine French-Canadian, New England
Servings 8 servings
Calories 176 kcal



  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp salt , more or less to taste.
  • 0.5 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups Water Substitute: unsalted chicken stock or beef stock – see notes
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs [about 2 slices of bread]


  • Place a medium saucepan [paid link] over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add 2 Tbsp olive oil and gently fry the ground pork until cooked through. While the pork cooks, use a fork to keep crumbling it.
  • Add the onion, garlic, spices, salt and pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions and garlic are soft and translucent. Add the milk or water, then lower the heat to a low simmer and continue to cook for about an hour.
  • If the mixture starts to dry out add beef stock or water to keep it at a very-thick-sauce consistency. Add bread crumbs and mix to combine. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool.
  • Either with an immersion (stick) blender [paid link] or food processor [paid link], grind until fine and granular but not pasty.
  • Place the mixture into a glass or ceramic container and seal with plastic wrap. Refrigerate several hours to overnight for the best results. Serve with crostini or toast points.


Serve on crackers as a snack, crostini for a great appetizer, toast points for a hearty breakfast, or with mustard as a sandwich for lunch.
This also makes great camping food since it is so versatile. Prepared ahead of time, it would make a lovely addition to the other chilled foods in your cooler.
If using salted chicken stock, be sure to adjust the amount of salt added to the meat.


Serving: 0.25cupCalories: 176kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 11gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 363mgPotassium: 196mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin C: 2mgVitamin K: 1µgCalcium: 24mgFolate: 11µgIron: 1mgZinc: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

24 thoughts on “Cretons: A French-Canadian Pork Pâté (Potted Meat)”

  1. Heading to Quebec City for the first time in a month and a half. I’m starting to try foods I will encounter there. I made cretons for the first time tonight and enjoyed it. This recipe was the starting base and I added a few flavors I particularly like. Thumbs up!

    • That’s awesome! Any recipe is just that — a starting point to tweak to your specific tastes. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. If you get a chance, try the French Meat Pie. I had the opportunity to try one in Calgary this past summer and it was just like my Meme’s recipe!

  2. Ha! Great recipe! As you said, each family has their own version – mine does not include garlic, but adds a stick of celery! Happy to see the allspice – not many recipes that you read include it. Our first new england cold snap is promised for next week so there’s a pot on the stove with a couple of pounds simmering. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Absolutely! I’d use 80% lean ground beef, otherwise, you won’t have enough fat and it won’t come together into the pate. Fat is for both flavor and texture in this recipe.

  3. Hi.
    I plan on using 3 lbs of ground pork to feed more people and to put in jars as gifts.
    Can I just triple the ingredients in the list or do I need to make other adjustments?
    Thanks for your help.

  4. My Memere would roast a 4 lb pork shoulder and when it was cool enough to handle – pass it through a meat grinder along with the onions. This made the mixture smooth and creamy. It was simmered for 4 hours with the seasonings and spices. We placed the crotons in small containers and sealed really good. They were ready to go for a great appetizer!

  5. Hi! I know this has been posted a while; hoping I can get an answer as I am trying to compare a few recipes. I don’t see that the recipe says to add the water/stock/(milk) to the simmer. Is it just “if needed,” or would the 2 cups be added before simmering, then more if needed? Thanks!

  6. Great recipe and bit of history. Just came upon this from a whole hog customer of our farm. He was asking about the use of back and leaf fat from his pig for his family Gorton recipe. Only thing I would add to your piece, try pasture raised pork and pork fat as a nutrient rich substitute for the commodity ground pork. Just as our Canadian ancestors did 100 years ago when pork was pork. Planning to try your version. Thank you.

  7. Cortons, along with my Memere’s crepes, are THE tastes of my New England childhood! Makes my mouth water just thinking about them and my heart warm just thinking about my wonderful Memere.

  8. Hi, i’m from Montreal Quebec yes, cretons is from here, along with “pouding chômeur “ ( a delicious warm cake in sauce ) “ poutine , and our sugar pie “.
    That “ creton “ recipe sounds right.


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