Do you know your stamppot from your saté? Get to grips with cuisine in the Netherlands with our guide to the top 10 Dutch foods – with recipes.
Dutch cuisine might not be as well known as its European counterparts, but you’d be surprised just how delicious food is in the Netherlands. From the sweet and the savory – to the darn right crazy – there’s plenty to sink your teeth into. Just take a look at these lekker Dutch foods, with recipes to try at home.
Essentially a meal in itself, erwtensoep is a thick pea soup – so thick in fact that some say you should be able to leave a spoon standing up in it! You make it using dried split green peas and other vegetables such as celery, onions, leeks, carrots, and potatoes. You then add slices of smoked sausage just before serving; which is usually with a piece of rye bread (roggebrood) topped with smoked bacon (katenspek), cheese, and butter. While the Dutch traditionally eat Erwtensoep on New Year’s Day, it is also a popular choice during the cold winter months. In fact, you will often see skaters along the frozen canals warming themselves up with a steaming hot mug of snert – another name for this tasty soup.
Make your own erwtensoep
- Follow this simple old family recipe
- Find out more about erwtensoep and try this tasty recipe
- Vegetarian? No problem, here’s a vegetarian recipe
Pannenkoeken have remained a staple of local cuisine in the Netherlands for centuries, and it’s not hard to see why. These hearty Dutch pancakes can be topped with sweet or savory ingredients; such as bacon, salmon, apple, cheese, chocolate, powdered sugar, and stroop (a treacly Dutch syrup). But don’t be fooled into thinking they are similar to the American or Scotch variety, because they can be huge! As a result, they can be enjoyed as a main course for lunch, dinner, or dessert – if you have room.
Pannenkoeken are made from a simple batter of eggs, milk, flour (traditionally buckwheat flour), and a pinch of salt. They are then cooked quickly over a pan on high heat and flipped until golden. Fortunately, there are countless pancake houses dotted all over the Netherlands, meaning you are never far away from your next big feast.
Make your own pannenkoeken
- Follow this simple and traditional recipe.
- Get inspired by these 15 Dutch pancake variations – both savory and sweet (also in Dutch)
- Make a delicious Dutch apple pancake in just half an hour
If you can’t quite manage a pannenkoeken, then why not have the next best thing – poffertjes. Made with yeast and buckwheat flour, these small, fluffy pancakes have a light and spongy texture and are a popular food at Dutch festivals and events. Food stalls usually serve them warm on a piece of cardboard paper with powdered sugar, butter, or syrup (stroop). They are cooked in special poffertjes pans, which have lots of shallow indentations in them. But if you’re making them at home, you can simply drop small spoonfuls of the batter onto a frying pan or skillet and carefully turn them over to cook the other side.
Make your own poffertjes
- Try this classic poffertjes recipe
- Follow this recipe that uses self-raising flour instead of buckwheat
- Try this dairy-free, gluten-free recipe
4. Bami Goreng
Due to the colonial connection of the Netherlands with Indonesia, you will find some surprisingly exotic dishes when exploring Dutch cuisine. In fact, you will find Indonesian restaurants everywhere throughout the country, and nearly all of them will have bami goreng on the menu. This stir-fried egg noodle dish blends together garlic, onion, vegetables, meat, egg, and chili to offer a spicy kick. Other Indonesian specialties to look out for in the Netherlands are rendang (meat in coconut milk and mixed spices), rijsttafel (rice served with small dishes of spiced meat and vegetables), and a spiced layer cake called spekkoek.
Make your own bami goreng
- Try this simple step-by-step guide to making bami goreng
- Don’t eat meat? Check out this vegetarian version
- Prefer rice over noodles? This nasi goreng recipe has great reviews
This might not be the most sophisticated dish you will come across in the Netherlands, but you will certainly be grateful for it during those cold winter evenings. Literally translating as ‘mash pot’, stamppot is the ultimate comfort food and involves mashing together potatoes with other vegetables, and serving it with a big smoked sausage and gravy. There are many varieties of stamppot to try, including boerenkool (kale), zuurkool (sauerkraut), hutspot (onions and carrots), and rauweandijvie (endive). Nutritious, delicious, and easy to make, stamppot is undoubtedly one of the most popular Dutch foods you will find.
Make your own stamppot
- Keep it classic with this traditional stamppot recipe
- Fancy some kale? Check out this Boerenkool stamppot recipe
- Why not throw in some onions, carrots, and potato instead
- Craving meatballs? Follow this hearty recipe
Another popular winter classic, hutspot contains mashed potatoes, onions, and carrots. The dish includes a type of carrot known as winterpeen (winter carrots) which gives it a distinctive hint of sweetness that ordinary carrots cannot. It is traditionally served with a piece of braised beef (klapstuk) or a meatball, too. As the legend goes, the recipe originated in 1574, when Spanish troops were forced to leave the city of Leiden after attempting to lay siege. They left everything behind, including parsnips, carrots, and onions. The starving people of Leiden mixed these ingredients together and enjoyed a feast. They later adapted the recipe to replace parsnips with potatoes. Nowadays, many Dutch people still eat this traditional dish on 3 October to celebrate the relief of the city.
Make your own hutspot
- Follow this simple recipe for hutspot
- Try this quick and easy recipe (with reviews)
- Print your own recipe for the kitchen
Another hugely popular Indonesian dish, saté has become an integral part of Dutch cuisine. It is believed to have originated in Java, and consists of skewered and grilled meat served with a thick sauce; this is made from sweet soy sauce, peanut butter, and an Indonesian chili sauce called sambaloelek. While you may have tasted saté (or satay) before in other countries, the chances are that you won’t have enjoyed it quite like they do in the Netherlands – served on top of French fries! Now, how’s that for indulgence?
Make your own saté
- Tuck into some delicious kipsaté (with chicken)
- Make your own saté sauce in just five minutes
- Add a healthy twist with these 20-minute chicken satay lettuce wraps
Hailing from the French word, hachée (which means chopped or ground) this hearty Dutch stew consists of beef and caramelized onions that are cooked slowly for tenderness. The dish is thought to date back to medieval times when meat was reused and cooked in a Dutch oven along with whatever vegetables were available. Wine or vinegar was added to make the meat more tender and the stew was served with a thick gravy that included cloves and bay leaves. Hachée remains a much-loved dish in the Netherlands and a firm family favorite during the colder winter months.
Make your own hachée
- Check out this detailed recipe for hachée
- Practice your Dutch and give this recipe a go
- Print this simple recipe for your kitchen
Easy to make and delicious to eat, Dutch boterkoek (butter cake) is one of the sweetest delicacies you will find in the Netherlands. Made with butter, sugar, and flour, this dairy delight is sometimes filled with almond paste to give it more flavor. It can also include vanilla, salt, or lemon zest, depending on preference. Due to its dense consistency and rich taste, it usually comes in small pieces and is best with a steaming cup of coffee (koffie). Lekker!
Make your own boterkoek
- Try this easy-to-follow recipe
- Practice your Dutch with this tasty recipe
- Make boterkoek with an almond twist
The Dutch have been enjoying appeltaart (or apple pie) for centuries. In fact, the first printed cookbook dating back to 1514 contains a recipe for one. An appeltaart is a deep pie which is filled with slices of apple mixed with sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, and sometimes raisins or currants. Traditionally, the top of the pie is an attractive lattice of pastry strips; which allows you to see the delicious filling below. This heavenly dessert is even better with a generous serving of whipped cream (slagroom) and a cup of coffee.