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Easy recipe for Bitterballen

Traditional bitterballen are Dutch snacks that are popular in the Netherlands.

easy recipe for Bitterballen from the Netherlands

They are bite-sized, deep-fried balls filled with a savory mixture, typically made with a combination of beef or veal ragout, beef broth, butter, flour, and various spices.

The outer layer is crispy and golden, while the inside is soft and flavorful. Bitterballen are often served with mustard for dipping and are a common snack in Dutch bars and social gatherings. They are enjoyed as a delicious and popular Dutch treat.

If you’re a tourist in the Netherlands, trying bitterballen is a must!

Here’s a basic recipe for traditional Dutch bitterballen:


  • 250g cooked and shredded beef (finely minced)
  • 75g butter
  • 100g all-purpose flour
  • 500ml beef broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Fresh parsley, finely chopped (optional)
  • Breadcrumbs
  • 2-3 eggs, beaten
  • Vegetable oil for frying


  1. Prepare the Filling:

    • In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
    • Add the flour and stir continuously to create a roux.
    • Gradually whisk in the beef broth to avoid lumps.
    • Add the shredded beef and continue stirring until you have a thick, smooth mixture.
    • Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and chopped parsley if using.
  2. Chill the Filling:

    • Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let it cool.
    • Cover the bowl and refrigerate the filling until it becomes firm.
Bitterballen how to make Bitterballen The best filling ideas something different easy recipe
  1. Shape the Bitterballen:

    • Once the filling is chilled and firm, use your hands to shape small balls (typically around 3 cm in diameter).
  2. Coating:

    • Roll each ball in breadcrumbs, ensuring they are evenly coated.
    • Dip the coated balls into beaten eggs and then roll them again in breadcrumbs for a double coating.
  3. Fry the Bitterballen:

    • Heat vegetable oil in a deep fryer or a deep pan to around 180°C (350°F).
    • Carefully fry the bitterballen until they turn golden brown and crispy.
    • Remove and place them on paper towels to absorb excess oil.

To Serve:

Bitterballen are traditionally served hot and are often accompanied by mustard for dipping.

This recipe provides a basic guideline for making traditional Dutch bitterballen. Feel free to adjust the seasonings or add variations to suit your taste. Enjoy your homemade bitterballen!

14 Filling ideas with a difference

While the specific fillings can vary, here are 14 traditional bitterballen fillings you might come across:

  • Beef ragout
  • Veal ragout
  • Mushroom
  • Shrimp
  • Cheese
  • Chicken
  • Ham
  • Curry
  • Truffle
  • Mustard
  • Jalapeño
  • Smoked salmon
  • Gouda cheese
  • Spinach

These variations showcase the versatility of bitterballen, and you may find regional or chef-specific twists on the classic recipe. Enjoy exploring the different flavors!

Bitterballen filling ideas how to serve how to make them

Depending on your filling, You can also serve it with:

Chutney:  Fruit chutneys, such as mango or apple, provide a sweet and tangy contrast to the savory filling.

Pickles:  Pickles or gherkins offer a crunchy and slightly tangy element that complements the richness of bitterballen.

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