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Dutch Bitterballen

One of the foods my husband misses from home are bitterballen, a fried bar snack you find almost everywhere in the Netherlands. When we started to think about making them for him here, I went back to my recipe for Spanish Croquetas (click here ). They are pretty similar and after a lot of tasting we decided these were right. I hope you can give them a try and enjoy a taste of Holland too.

Ingredients - makes about 40

300g minced beef

75g chopped onion

Olive oil

2 tbs Parsley chopped

Zest of one lemon

Juice 1/2 lemon

1/2 tsp mace

Salt and pepper

For the roux:

50 butter

75 flour

225 whole milk

For the coating:

70g panko

2 eggs

25g flour.

500ml vegetable oil approximately, to fry

American yellow mustard to serve


Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan. Add the mince and fry until browned, remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon.

Fry the onion in the same pan and cook until softened.

Spoon the mince back into the pan and add the parsley, lemon juice, zest and mace. Season well. Cool.

To make the roux: melt the butter add the flour and mix well. Over a low heat slowly add the milk. The mixture will become very thick. Check the roux does not taste of raw flour. Cool.

When the mince and roux are both cool, mix them together well. Chill in the fridge for several hours, so they become very firm.

To assemble the bitterballen: beat the eggs together in a small bowl and add some salt (this makes the eggs more runny and easier to work with). Line up the flour, egg and panko crumbs and a lined large baking sheet.

Take walnut sized amounts of the mix and form a ball. Roll the ball first in the flour, then in the beaten egg and finally in the panko crumbs. Chill in the fridge until ready to cook.

Heat some vegetable oil in a deep sided pan, a wok works well for this. Don't over fill the pan, the oil just needs to cover the bitterballen. Heat the oil to about 190c or until a small crust of bread sizzles and turns golden brown when dropped in.

Serve the bitterballen immediately with American yellow mustard or cool and open freeze.

To cook from frozen: Place the frozen bitterballen on a baking sheet and cook at 190c for 10 minutes.

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