In this article we summarise 75 typical Dutch foods you really need to try when you’re in The Netherlands. If you visit The Netherlands only for one day, think again to extend your stay a bit longer. We don’t want you to get sick because you ate too much 😉
Stroopwafels are probably one of the most popular and well know Dutch foods. They are thin waffles made on a waffle iron. The waffle is split in half and smeared with a caramel sauce. Then the two sides of the waffle are put together. Best is to eat it warm. If you bought the prepacked ones, you can put the waffle above your hot and steaming cup of coffee or tea. Then the caramel will melt a bit and it’s just like a fresh waffle. Enjoy!
Another famous Dutch food is bitterbal. You never eat only one bitterbal. That’s why we speak of bitterballen, the plural of bitterbal. These are deep fried golf ball shaped bites made of roux in a crunchy layer of bread crumbs. The roux mostly contains minced beef or veal but you can also find bitterballen made with chicken or even vegetarian bitterballen. Most times you eat bitterballen with some mustard. It’s real Dutch pub or party food.
Kroketten are produces the same as bitterballen, but its shape is different. They’re not round but cylinder shaped. It’s a popular lunch dish when you eat at a lunch restaurant. Kroketten are most times served with white or brown slices of bread and mustard.
Also a popular lunch dish is uitsmijter. It contains two slices of bread (white or brown) with cheese, ham and fried egg(s). Preferably eggs sunny side up.
Dutch people love drop. Well, not all of them. But most Dutch people do. It is not really typical Dutch food. In several North European countries you can also find drop (licorice). In The Netherlands you can find a lot of different kinds of drop. Zoet (sweet) or zout (salty) or something in between. With salmiak, with mint, with caramel, with honey, with everything really. Licorice can increase blood pressure. So don’t eat it too much, especially if you are a cardiac patient.
This one is hard to eat without getting your face and hands dirty, but it’s worth it. Tompouce is pastry made with two slices of thin puff pastry filled with yellow cream or whipped cream. The upper slice of puff pastry is covered in pink icing. When the Dutch celebrate Kings birthday (Koningsdag at 28th of April), the color of the icing is orange. Orange is the Dutch royal color. Sometimes tompouce it topped with some extra whipped cream.
07 Rookworst (smoked sausage)
This is a long sausage where the ends are hold together with a string. They are hanged in a smoke house to get its typical taste. The sausage can be made of beef, pork or chicken. Traditionally rookworst is served with mustard, in a bread roll or with stamppot. More about stamppot later in this list.
Dutch people like spices. Especially when used in sweet foods. Speculaas is one of the most popular ones. Especially when the Dutch celebrate Sinterklaas – the Dutch version of Santa Claus – you can find speculaas everywhere. Speculaas is a crispy cookie made with wheat flower, sugar, butter, a little milk and a lot of spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, gloves, white pepper and cardamom. The spice mix is named speculaaskruiden.
09 gevulde speculaas
Two layers of speculaas (not as crispy as normal speculaas, it is much softer) with a thick layer of amandelspijs (almond paste) in between. Often eaten during Sinterklaas.
Kruidnoten are made with the same ingredients as speculaas, but they are formed in very small cookies. They are very crispy. Sometimes kruidnoten are also layered with white, milk of dark chocolat. Often eaten during Sinterklaas.
Made with ray flour and spiced with anise and sweetened with honey. They are formed in uneven chuncks and quit chewy. Pepernoten are often eaten during Sinterklaas.
12 taai taai
Taaitaai has the same ingredients as pepernoten. Taaitaai is mostly formed in special moulds in the form of dolls. It is often eaten during Sinterklaas.
During Sinterklaas time you can find a large product range of chocoladeletters (chocolate letters). Every letter of the alphabet you can find in milk, dark and white chocolate as well in all kind of luxery varieties with decorations in chocolate or candies. Before bedtime children can put one shoe next to the chimney or the front door during Sinterklaas. If they behaved well they will find a present in their shoe the next day. That can be the first letter of their name or the letter S, the S from Sinterklaas.
When you tasted these creamy sweets, you only want more! Small, hard candy, sweet and buttery.
Small, brittle candy with a strong cinnamon flavor.
16 Haagse hopjes
Small, hard candy with strong coffee flavor.
A current bun, that’s what a krentenbol is. Eat it plane or eat it with butter and (Gouda) cheese. Currents and Gouda cheese seems a strange combination, but it is very delicious.
Airy, dish-shaped, cake-like bread. A little sweet, mostly with a sticky top due to the a layer of caramelised sugar.
Bitterkoekjes are small cookies made with almond flour. They can be a bit chewy. That does not mean that they are old, it belongs a bit to the cookie.
These are crispy, oblong cookies glued together with a slightly sweet cream. Both ends of the cookie are dipped in chocolate.
Not one for people on a diet! It’s a real calorie bomb. The main ingredient is butter. That’s why it’s called boterkoek, which translates as butter cake. That’s why mostly you get only a little squared piece when you ordered it.
22 Zeeuwse bolus
This is a local treat which originates from the Zeeland province. It looks a bit like a cow pie, that is where the name comes from. It is made from a very soft dough, which is turned into a long dough roll. The roll is shaped into a bolus. After that it is turned both sides into a sugar and cinnamon mixture. When it is baked, the sugar caramelises and makes it nice and sticky.
23 roze koek
A round cake with pink icing on top. It is the same pink icing you find on top of a tompouce (number 06). Interesting fact: the pink color is made with lice blood.
Small round puffs filled with pastry cream or whipped cream, with a lot of icing sugar on top. Sometimes the puffs are also topped with chocolate sauce.
25 bossche bol
A large puff filled with whipped cream and glazed with chocolate fondant.
A kind of caky bread made with lots of cinnamon, brown sugar and nutmeg. Is often eaten as a snack and smeared with some (or a lot of) butter.
27 fries suikerbrood
This bread comes from the province of Friesland, that’s why we called it Fries. It is a compact white bread filled with a lot of sugar crystals. Very tasty with some butter.
This is bread cut in slices with a filling with a lot of currants. Nice to eat with a bit of butter.
A roll made of puff pastry filled with almond paste. On top of the roll a cripsy layer of granulated sugar.
A roll made of bread dough. Inside there is a sausage. Typical for the province of Noord-Brabant – that’s why it is also named Brabants worstenbroodje – but you can find it throughout The Netherlanders.
A deep fried skinless sausage you can find in a snackbar, a place where you can find deep fried fast food. You can also buy it at the supermarket (you can find it in the freezer) and deep fry it at home.
You can also order a frikandel speciaal. Then the frikandel is cut open in the length and covered with mayonaise and ketchup/curry sauce and chopped raw onions on top.
Deep fried Asian noodles glued together with a bit of roux, covered with a crunchy skin of bread crumbs. You can find this snack at a snackbar. Or at the supermarket and fry it at home.
The same type of snack as a bamischijf, but the noodles are replaced by fried rice (nasi goreng).
These are small snacks, shaped alike lumpias, which contains minced meat with sambal/pepper sauce. That is where the name comes from. Vlammetjes means ‘little fires’ because that is what vlammetjes do. They make little fires in your mouth. You can find it in a snackbar, but you can also find it in the supermarket at the freezer section. Then you have to deep fry it at home.
Again a very popular snack from the snackbar: kaassoufflé. It is a thick slice of cheese (Gouda) which is breaded and then deep fried.
A meatball sliced in 4 thick slices, an onion sliced in 3 thick slices, alternately strung on a satay stick and then fried. Preferably topped with pindasaus (peanut sauce).
A pannenkoek is a Dutch pancake. It is very thin and soft with a crispy edge. You can eat it plane or with all kinds of toppings and fillings, like raisins, cheese, bacon, banana or chocolate paste. In some restaurants you can have an all-you-can-eat pannenkoeken. Most of the time it is not worth it. You will be full after the first one.
These are also a kind of pancakes, but they are much smaller, fluffier and a thicker. Poffertjes are made in a special poffertjespan. A pan with small round kuiltjes in it where you can put the batter. After a few minutes on one site, they flip them over with a fork and then get them out of the pan. It is common to eat poffertjes with powdered sugar and a lump of butter.
A roll made of puff pastry filled with apple, raisons and a lot of sugar and cinnamon. On top of the roll a cripsy layer of granulated sugar. Is often eaten during New Years Eve.
Fried fluffy dough ball with or without raisons. Preferably dusted with a lot of powdered sugar. Is often eaten during New Years Eve.
This is a special kind of stamppot. You make it with mashed patatoes, carrots and onions. You can eat klapstuk with it. This is beef cut from the beef breast that has to be stewed for a very long time. So long that it melts on your tongue when you eat it.
43 hete bliksem
Also a special kind of stamppot. This stamppot is made with mashed patatoes, sour and sweet apples and onions.
44 erwtensoep or snert
Comfort food for cold winter moments. Erwtensoep is a very thick split pea soup. It is best when your wooden spoon sticks upright in the soup. Most of the times the erwtensoep is served with roggebrood (62) and katenspek (thin slices of bacon which looks a lot like Zeeuws spek (72), but has less spices in it) on the side.
A seasonal soup made of aspergous. When you want to eat freshly made aspergesoep, it is mainly available from April to the beginning of June. Especially in the provinces of Limburg and Noord-Brabant, you will find asparagus soup a lot on menus in restaurants and eateries.
A soup made of kidney beans.
47 raw herring with chopped raw onions
The smell often causes people to be reluctant to try to eat it. And if people try to eat it, some of them with still not like it because of the texture and/or taste. But anyway, many Dutch people like to eat this typical Dutch food. So if you want to eat as a Dutchie, at least you have to try.
Eat it in a traditional way by holding the herring by its tail, dip it in chopped raw onion and let the fish slide into your mouth. If you don’t want your hands to get smelly, you can order your herring as op z’n Amsterdams. You will get your herring cut into bite size pieces, with a little fork, some chopped raw onion and some pickles. Still smelly breathe though after eating it 😉
Bite size pieces of cod covered in batter and then deep fried. You eat it with remoulade or garlic sauce. The seller may ask you: ‘Wil je er extra kruiden op?” That means if you want to have extra spices on the kibbeling. The spices mostly contains paprika powder and salt.
You know fish and chips. A lekkerbekje looks like the fish from fish and chips. A fillet of cod dipped in batter and then deep fried to get a crispy skin. You can eat it plane but a lot of times they serve some remoulade sauce with it.
This is herring preserved in vinegar. You can find it in a supermarket or a fish shop (viswinkel) in a glass jar.
Vla is like liquid custard. Most traditional it has a vanilla taste. But you can find vla in all kinds of flavors: chocolate, bitterkoekjes, cream, hopjes (16), cinnamon.
A combination of vanilla vla and yoghurt, poured in a bowl at the same time.
53 Dutch apple pie
Dutch apple pie (appeltaart) is made with lots of sweet-sour apples, currants/raisins and cinnamon. On top of the pie it has a grid pattern of dough or it has a layer of crispy crumbs and sugar. It is best when it is semi-warm with a good dollop of whipped cream on top.
54 limburgse vlaai
Vlaai is pastry that consists of a thin dough base with a raised edge. It can be filled with all kinds of filling. Popular fillings are cherries, apricots, rice or apples. Sometimes vlaai has a layer of dough on top, in a grid pattern, but usually the pastry is ‘open’.
It is typical pastry from Limburg (The Netherlands and Belgium). That is why it is also called Limburgse vlaai.
This is a very dry bread. You can discribe it as a round toast. Beschuit is baked two times. First as a cylindrical bread and then cut in centimeter thin slices and then bakes again. In The Netherlands it is tradition to eat beschuit met muisjes (60) to celebrate the birth of a child. But beschuit is also nice to eat with your breakfast.
Chocolate sprinkles on bread or beschuit. Who doesn’t want that?
57 (chocolade) vlokken
More chocolate sprinkles to put in bread, but these are bigger than hagelslag.
Kokosbrood is made from ground coconut and sugar pressed in slices to eat on bread. Often kokosbrood is marbled white with pink or white with brown. There is not really a big taste difference between those two. It is mostly coconut and sugar you taste.
Sweet or sweet-sour apples are cut into small pieces and cooked (sometimes with some extra sugar) through until it is a thick spread. Appelstroop is high in iron. You can also find perenstroop. To make this they use pears instead of apples.
Muisjes are aniseeds coated with a layer of sugar. There are two types: pink with white and blue with white. You can eat it on bread for breakfast or lunch, but usually it is eaten with beschuit (55) to celebrate the birth of a child. When it is a boy you get blue (with white) muisjes and when it is a girl you get pink (with white) muisjes.
You can translate muisjes as mice. That is because muisje resemble very small mice. They have a round shape and a very small tail because of the shape of the aniseed .
These are another type of sprinkles to eat on your slice of bread.
62 fries roggebrood
Compact and heavy rye bread from Friesland. High in fibres. To eat at breakfast or lunch. Or to eat with katenspek aside your bowl of erwtensoep (44).
63 patatje mayo
Cripsy fries with a good dollop of creamy mayonaise.
64 patatje oorlog
Crispy fries covered with mayonaise, peanut sauce and chopped raw onions. Sometimes you also get ketchup or curry sauce with it. Yes, that is a lot of sauce!
65 patatje pinda(saus)
Crispy fries with a good dollop of peanut sauce (pindasaus)
Apples and sugar cooked to mush. Usually served as a side dish.
67 Smoked eel
The eel is stripped from its guts and then smoked as a whole in special smoke houses. Most of these smoke houses can be found in places around the IJsselmeer (lake).
68 filet American
Very finely grounded and lean raw beef, seasoned with salt and pepper. It is used as a spread on a slice of bread. You also have special variants like filet American with extra pepper, with chopped raw onions or with chopped pickles.
69 Gouda cheese
Gouda cheese (Goudse kaas) made from cow’s milk has the shape of a wheel. It is a typical Dutch cheese originally from the city of Gouda.
Cheese with cumin seeds.
71 friese nagelkaas
Cheese with cloves.
72 zeeuws spek
Bacon marinated with herbs and spices such as garlic, paprika, mustard, onion and pepper. Then the meat is grilled or roasted. This gives zeeuws spek the typical bbq taste.
A bread roll made of puff pastry with a flat meat ball in it.
74 Easter eggs (paaseitjes)
Small chocolate eggs usually the size of a pewit egg packed in a variety of cheerful colored silver foil. The chocolate comes in different flavors, traditional you have milk chocolate, pure and white. But you can also find paaseitjes filled with caramel, mocha, cream or even with alcohol. Traditionally eaten during Easter, although they are usually in supermarkets straight after Christmas. What almost every year causes a slight upheaval in the Netherlands ;-). “By far it is not Easter yet and already you can buy easter eggs!”
This one is quite a new dish in the typical Dutch foods list. It originated a few years ago when a hairdresser salon (Dutch word is kapsalon) in Rotterdam asked a shawarma shop to make a dish with all their favourite ingredients: fries, shawarma and Gouda cheese. All the ingredients were combined together and put into a grill. After grilling the dish has been topped with salad and garlic sauce and kapsalon saw the light of day. Nowadays it’s a very popular dish in The Netherlands. Also in Belgium and Germany you can order kapsalon now.
This list is not complete at all. But we restricted ourself to 75 for this time. Do you have another Dutch food favorites. Please write them below. Maybe we can make a Top 100 list next time 😉