Despite being only a relatively small country in Northern Europe, the Netherlands has had a significant impact on the world owing to its historical empire and important role on the continent.
But write them off at your peril! Overlooking the tasty delights of the Netherlands will mean you miss out on some of the most exquisite dishes and sweet treats found in Europe.
Most Popular Dutch Foods
Dutch cuisine is typically quite simple: breads, meats, cheeses and vegetables. However, owing to its colonisation of far flung countries such as the East Indies, Dutch cuisine began to evolve somewhat over the 20th century to become much more diverse in its range of flavors.
But what the Dutchies do best has to be sugary snacks, which you’ll find in abundance in this list. So without further ado here are the absolute must-try Dutch dishes along with recipes for you to try for yourself.
Poffertjes are simply Dutch mini pancakes that are small, fluffy yeasted treats baked in a special Poffertjes pan.
Poffertjes can be made with various savory fillings including jams, fruit syrups, chocolate and grated cheese. They are served on paper plates with plastic forks and are presented with a lump of butter and icing sugar or cinnamon sugar.
Stamppot is a comfort food of the Netherlands made with mashed potatoes, smokey sausages and a variety of vegetables such as carrot, onion, turnip and spinach.
It is quintessential Dutch fare and it can be made in many variations.
The word ‘Oliebollen’ literally means oil balls but they are quite simply Dutch doughnuts. Oliebollen can be enjoyed all year round but they are commonly eaten on Christmas and New Years.
Oliebollen are basically deep-fried balls of dough that are centred with raisins or currents and dusted with powdered sugar. The modern versions of Oliebollen or Dutch doughnuts uses several berry fillings as a topping.
Hollandse Nieuwe Haring (Soused Herring)
Hollandse nieuwe haring, commonly known as soused herring, is a raw herring that is cooked in a variety of spices and apple cider vinegar, coated with a preserving liquid.
It is usually eaten as a snack on its own or with onions.
Appeltaart is quite simply the Dutch version of apple pie. It is made by slicing apples and covering them with a lattice pastry. The appeltaart is then served with whipped cream.
Bitterballen are similar to the British scotch egg. Beef is generally used to make this delicious and crispy snack-time recipe.
For Bitterballen, beef is finely chopped and seasoned with several spices. Spicy beef is then rolled into balls which are then coated with bread crumbs and deep-fried.
Stroopwafel is the most famous pastries of the Netherlands and is also popular throughout the world. It is a unique kind of waffle which is made from baked butter that you place on a hot cup of tea or coffee to make the insides all gooey.
The Stroop is a special sweet and sticky syrup that is filled in between the two thin layers of the waffle. Butter, eggs, milk, brown sugar, flour and yeast are all used to make the stiff batter for the waffles.
Erwtensoep is basically a thick split pea soup. The smokey soup is made with peas that are simmered with meat, onions, carrots and celery.
Lekkerbekje and Kibbeling
Lekkerbekje and Kibbeling is the Dutch version of famous fish and chips, except without chips.
Generally white fish or codfish is battered with various spices and is deep-fried. For Kibbeling, the fish is cut into small chunks whereas for Lekkerbekje, the fish is whole and not cut into chunks.
This mouth-watering crispy fried fish is served with various dipping sauces of your choice like mayonnaise sauce, garlic sauce and tartar sauce.
Patat are quite simply Dutch French fries. It is known by different names like ‘friet’, ‘frites’, ‘vlaamse frieten’ and ‘Patat’.
Patat is thicker than the normal French fries and is served with a variety of toppings including tomato ketchup, peanut sauce and mayonnaise.
‘Patatje oorlog’ is a famous version of Patat in which the French fries are served in a box or paper cone with raw chopped onions, peanut sauce and mayonnaise.
Kapsalon is a savory multi ethnic dish from Rotterdam comprising of fries topped with cheese, meats, sauces and salad. Known to pack a staggering 1800 calories, Kapsalon is a bit of a guilty pleasure or something to gorge on after a night of drinking.
Pannenkoeken are a type of thin, wide pancake that can include either sweet or savory toppings. Typical sweet toppings include syrup, icing sugar, cinnamon sugar or spreads like Nutella or jam. Typical savory toppings are meats like bacon and ham, or cheese. Some toppings are even a bit of both sweet and savory, for example, gouda cheese and apples.