Bitterballen recipe

Dutch bitterballen recipe (my favorite Dutch snack)

Dutch bitterballen (bitterballs) recipe. Is making your own bitterballen at the top of your to-do list? Well, then you have come to the right place. It is such a fun task and the results… delicious! Trust me, once you have tried them, you won’t want anything else ­čśë .

A great snack

I think many a Dutchman will give you the same answer to the question: what is the best deep fried snack? Bitterballen, of course! Even though we have all burned the roof of our mouths on this typical Dutch snack a little too often, it is and always will be delicious.

I like to make my own beef stock an ragout for these homemade bitterballen. It takes a bit of patience, but it is well worth it. You can also freeze them (unbaked) very well! So you can always enjoy a homemade, typical Dutch tasty snack.

The history of the bitterbal

It has been said, that it was not actually the Dutch that developed bitterballen, but the Spanish. Alltough, the Spanish small croquettes with their meaty filling are suspiciously similar to bitterballen…

So, at the start of the 80 years’ war in the 16th and 17th century the Spanish had come to the Netherlands and had difficulty making familiar foods with the produce available in the Netherlands. These conditions forced them to be creative and birthed the prototype now known as the bitterbal. As a Dutchie, bitterballen are our pride an joy, but I do enjoy a interesting history lesson! Source

Dutch meatballs (bitterballen)

Make your own Dutch bitterballen

If you have ever had any type of croquet before, you can use that as an inspiration for Dutch bitterballen. Bitterballen are basically smaller, round croquettes. In traditional Dutch custom they are filled with a meat mixture/ragout made with beef broth and rolled in all purpose flour, an egg mixture followed by breadcrumbs.

You roll them in small batches, into small balls and fry them in an deep fryer (or air fryer) for about 2-3 minutes until golden brown and crispy. You would typically serve them with some spicy mustard, which I highly recommend you try.

How to make good bitterballen with my Dutch recipe

A few tips I would like to give you are to use an ice-cream scoop, so that each bitterbal has about the same size and amount of ragout. Also, you should roll them smoothly so that there are no bubbles or holes in them. In fact, those bubbles/holes increase the risk of bursting during frying.

Lay them on a wire rack or piece of paper towel for a couple of minutes after frying to get rid of the excess oil. Serve your new favorite deep-fried snack on a plate with some mustard and a cold beer and let the good times roll!

Dutch bitterballen
Bitterballen recipe

Dutch bitterballen recipe

The best recipe for homemade Dutch bitterballen. Made with a meaty ragout and golden brown and crispy on the outside, delicious!
Nog geen stemmen
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
Fridge time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 4 hours 20 minutes
Quantity: 45 bitterballen


For the stock
  • 4 – 5 veal bones
  • 500 ml of water
  • 1 onion (in rings)
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 1 carrot (in pieces)
  • 1 leek (in rings)
  • 1 stalk of celery (in pieces)
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 400 grams of veal chops
For the ragout
  • 6 leaves of gelatin
  • 80 grams of butter (unsalted)
  • 100 gram of flour
  • 50 ml of cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 2-3 tbsp soy sauce
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1-2 tbsp parsley (fresh, finely chopped)
For the bitterballen
  • 75 grams of breadcrumbs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 75 grams of Japanese breadcrumbs (panko)


  • Deep fryer

INSTRUCTIONS (how to make this recipe):

Making the broth

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/390 Fahrenheit top and bottom heat.
  • Then bake the veal shanks in the oven for about 20-30 minutes.
  • Place the veal shanks, water, onion, garlic, carrot, leek, celery, thyme, bay leaf and some salt and pepper to taste in a large saucepan. Place on the stove and bring to a gentle boil.
  • Boil the broth for 2-3 hours. Then, for the ragout, briefly cook the veal with it. Remove the veal and set aside. Place a colander over a large pan or bowl.
  • Pour the broth through the colander, this way you only catch the broth. Let the broth and veal cool. You can discard the vegetables, shanks and seasonings; you won’t need these anymore.
  • When the veal has cooled down cut it into small dice.

Making the ragout

  • Put the gelatin leaves in cold water and let them soak for a while.
  • Next, make the roux. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then stir in the flour. Let this cook for a while, keep stirring constantly.
  • Add 500 ml of the (cooled) stock and the cream to the roux.
  • Then bring this to a boil and keep stirring. Taste briefly to see if it is cooked, it should no longer taste like raw flour. Continue to simmer until you have a nice, thick roux.
  • Then add the egg yolks, (squeezed) gelatin, mustard, soy sauce, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste to the roux.
  • Finally, add the parsley and sliced veal to the roux. Place the ragout in a bowl or dish. Cover the roux with cling film and let it set overnight in the refrigerator.

Making the bitterballen

  • Now we are finally going to make the bitterballen! You need to prepare 3 deep plates/bowls for this. A plate with breadcrumbs, a plate with the egg whites and the last one filled with the panko.
  • Take a little ragout (tip: do this with an ice cream scoop), roll into a ball. Make sure the balls are rolled smoothly and have no holes, otherwise you have a chance that the bitterballs will pop open during baking. Roll the bitterball through the fine breadcrumbs, the egg white and finally through the panko. Repeat until you run out of ragout.
  • Deep-fry the bitterballs for 3 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius/355 Fahrenheit. You can also freeze them unbaked, frozen you should deep fry them for about 4 minutes.

Nutrition information per portion

Calorie├źn: 60kcal | Koolhydraten: 5g | Eiwitten: 3g | Vetten: 3g | Verzadigd vet: 2g

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Bitterballen recipe

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