• 3 June 2020

When visiting the Netherlands you’re sure to discover beautiful tulip fields, quirky windmills, giant wheels of cheese and many, many bicycles. You will also encounter delicious Dutch food! These traditional dishes offer a sample of Dutch culture (and are incredibly tasty to boot!)

We’ve put together a list of mouth-watering recipes that are easy to create and will make you feel like you are relaxing at one of Amsterdam’s canal-side cafes!

Food platter dutch food
The Netherlands is home to a range of delicious traditional food.

Pannenkoeken (Pancakes)

Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

The Dutch love their pancakes! Savoury pancakes are more popular than pizzas and pancake houses are found in cities across the Netherlands. Known for having a wide variety of toppings, pannenkoeken come in sweet and savoury options. Below is the recipe for a classic savoury option with bacon and gouda.

Savoury pannekoeken dutch food
Pannekoeken is one of the most popular Dutch dishes and can be enjoyed savoury or sweet – yum!
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • A few tablespoons of butter
  • 2 cups good quality gouda cheese (grated)
  • 4 – 6 strips of bacon

Makes 4 dinner plate-sized pancakes

  1. In a bowl beat the eggs until slightly foamy. Add milk and salt and whisk to combine.
  2. Add the flour slowly, whisking while you add it until the mixture is smooth without any lumps.
  3. Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium heat and add a little butter to coat the bottom.
  4. Fry 1 or 2 strips of bacon until cooked.
  5. Add half a cup of the pancake batter to the pan on top of the bacon and swirl it about so it coats the bottom (this pancake is thinner than the typical American pancake but thicker than a crepe).
  6. Add as much or as little grated cheese as you’d like on top of the batter.
  7. Cook until you see the batter getting dry on top and releases from the sides of the pan (about 2 – 3 minutes).
  8. Flip the pancake and cook on the other side for about 1 minute.
  9. Roll it up and eat as is or drizzle some traditional Dutch syrup over the pancake!

Beef Bitterballen

Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
Difficulty: Moderate

Bitterballen is a delicious ball coated with crispy breadcrumbs and complete with a creamy meaty filling. This pub food staple gets its name from the tradition of pairing it with bittertjies (Dutch bitters) so it’s safe to say this snack is best served with a cold brew of your choice.

Beef bitterballen dutch food
Hearty bitterballen are popular pub food. Be sure to enjoy with a cool Dutch beer!

For the meat:

  • 450g stewing beef
  • 1 large onion cut into quarters
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Few sprigs of fresh thyme

For the filling mixture:

  • 50g butter
  • ½  cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 shallot chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup beef stock (liquid reserved from the cooking meat
  • 2 ½ teaspoons unflavoured gelatin
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Handful of parsley finely chopped
  • ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard

For the breadcrumb coating:

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • Oil for frying
  1. Place beef in a large pot with just enough water to cover the meat and bring to a simmer.
  2. Skim off the foam and add the onion, peppercorns, bay leaf, garlic cloves and thyme.
  3. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for a few hours until meat is tender.
  4. Remove the beef from the pot and allow to cool (strain and reserve the cooking liquid for later).
  5. Once the meat is cool cut into smaller pieces. 
  6. For the ball mixture, start by making a roux. In a large skillet on medium heat melt butter then remove from heat and add flour and chopped shallots and mix until combined.
  7. Add the milk and cooking liquid to the flour mixture and mix until all combined. Place back on medium heat and once the mixture starts to boil reduce heat and let it simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
  8. Dissolve the gelatin in the ¼ cup of cold water and add to the simmering mixture stirring regularly.
  9. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, parsley, mustard and diced beef and mix well.
  10. Let the mixture cool down to room temperature and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.
  11. Now for the deep frying – roll heaped teaspoons of the cooled mixture into neat, even-sized balls (about 30 in total).
  12. Roll each of the balls in the flour and then dip in the egg. Next, roll and coat in the breadcrumbs and place on a baking sheet.
  13. Once they’re all coated, heat oil in a pot over medium heat until 180°C (Top Tip: the oil is ready when you drop some of the mixture in and it floats to the top).
  14. Fry the bitterballen in batches until golden and once removed drain on a paper towel.
  15. Serve hot as is or with a side of mustard.

Asparagus Hollandaise 

Time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Asparagus season (spring) is a big deal in the Netherlands and is eagerly anticipated every year. White asparagus is the most popular in the Netherlands and is mostly grown in Limburg but is usually available directly from farmers or at farmer’s markets. When asparagus is combined with a delicate hollandaise sauce you get a truly delicious taste!

Asparagus hollandaise dutch food
Asparagus hollandaise is a quick and delicious Dutch meal to put together and enjoy.
  • 1 bunch asparagus (either green or white will do)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 4 tablespoons good quality dry white wine
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper

Serves 2 – 4 people

  1. Snap the bottom ends off the asparagus and steam for 5-8 minutes until tender but still firm.
  2. For the hollandaise sauce, beat the egg yolks and wine until light and frothy.
  3. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  4. Add the egg and wine mixture to another saucepan and warm over a low heat, continuously beating until the sauce thickens. 
  5. Once the sauce has thickened, remove from heat and add the melted butter in a thin trickle, while continuing to whisk until all combined.
  6. Add the nutmeg, lemon juice, salt and pepper and whisk it all together.
  7. Serve hollandaise sauce drizzled over the asparagus.

Shrimp Kroket (or Croquette)

Time: 1 hour
Difficulty: Easy

Kroket is a staple Dutch snack that has been loved by the Dutch for many years. Found pretty much all over the Netherlands, even in vending machines! It is a must-try if you’re ever visiting the land of wooden clogs and windmills. Here is a quick and simple version for you to try at home.

Shrimp croquettes dutch food
The deep fried Dutch staples are popular across the country and can be bought fresh from vending machines in the capital city!
  • 300g baby shrimp
  • 80g butter
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour plus extra for coating
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup fish stock
  • 3 teaspoons unflavoured gelatin
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 50ml cream
  • Handful of parsley finely chopped
  • Few drops of lemon
  • 5 egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Oil for frying
  1. For the roux, melt the butter in a saucepan on medium heat, stir in the flour and cook for a few minutes, being careful not to let it brown. Set the saucepan aside to cool completely.
  2. In a different saucepan heat the fish stock and milk on medium heat until just simmering.
  3. Add the milk mixture to the roux little by little while continuously whisking to prevent lumps.
  4. Put the mixture back on low heat and cook for a few minutes while stirring to prevent it from burning. Remove from heat.
  5. Dissolve the gelatin in the ¼ cup cold water and once dissolved add to the mixture.
  6. In a bowl, mix the cream and egg yolks until smooth then stir into the filling.
  7. Then add lemon juice, pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, shrimp and chopped parsley to the filling and mix until well combined.
  8. Let the filling cool down completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.
  9. For the frying, combine the egg whites and 1 tablespoon of flour and mix until smooth.
  10. Roll bits the filling mixture to form sausage type shapes until all the filling is used.
  11. Dip them in the egg white mixture and let the excess drip off then roll in the breadcrumbs.
  12. On medium heat, heat oil in a pot to 180°C. 
  13. Fry the krokets in batches until golden brown and drain on a paper towel.
  14. Serve hot with any sauce of your choosing!

Poffertjes (mini pancake puffs)

Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

This yummy sweet treat is another staple in the Netherlands. Typically made for special occasions and national holidays, it is also enjoyed for breakfast and as a dessert. You can find them in market stalls with tons of different toppings but the traditional way to enjoy poffertjes is drizzled with melted butter and a sprinkling of icing sugar.

Poffertjes with icing sugar dutch food
Enjoying one of these sweet treats is a must when visiting the Netherlands!
  • 150g buckwheat flour
  • 100g all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 350ml milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 7g packet dry yeast
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 tablespoons oil for greasing pan
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • Icing sugar for dusting
  1. Heat the milk in a saucepan to warm, remove from the heat and mix in the caster sugar and the yeast. Set the pan aside for 5 – 10 minutes during which time the mixture will become foamy.
  2. Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and slowly add the yeast mixture, then the egg, to the flour and whisk until you have a smooth batter. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and allow it to rest for an hour, by which time it should have doubled in size.
  3. To make the pancakes pour the batter into a large jug and pour small quantities into a pan, you may prefer to use a tablespoon to spoon out the mixture.
  4. Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat. Grease the pan with some oil and spoon in a small amount of pancake batter at a time. The pancakes should be approximately 4cm in diameter, cook quickly on both sides and remove to a paper towel on a warm plate until you have made all the pancakes and are ready to serve.
  5. Once all the pancakes have been made transfer onto serving plates, drizzle with melted butter and dust with icing sugar. Serve immediately.

We hope you’ll be having fun in the kitchen trying out these recipes straight from the Netherlands. Next time you visit Holland on a trip to Europe be sure to tuck into these heerlijk (delicious) Dutch delicacies!

Questions & Comments

Join the Expat Explore family!

We’ll deliver top travel tips, insider info and travel inspiration right to your inbox.

By submitting this form you agree to our Privacy Policy.

Secured by thawte

256 bit SSL encrypted security

Mastercard Visa