Oliebollen ~ Dutch Doughnuts

Nothing’s better than warm oliebollen, or Dutch doughnuts, thanks to their crisp nooks and crannies and their pillowy centers hidden beneath a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

A wire basket of oliebollen or Dutch doughnuts covered with powdered sugar on a white tablecloth

These traditional Dutch doughnuts are no ordinary pastries. Crisp on the outside with a cakelike interior that’s decidedly not too sweet, these orbs of deep-fried perfection are sorta reminiscent of beignets and are entirely deserving of a name that just sorta begs you to roll it around in your mouth. Just like the roly-poly pastries they describe.–Angie Zoobkoff

What Is An Oliebollen?!

We were a little confused about what exactly an oliebollen is, aside from something we want more of in our life. And then one of our recipe testers, Dan Kraan, shared some of his experience with them…

“Growing up in a Dutch family and in a Dutch church, oliebollen was a staple over the Yule season, especially so over New Year’s. The New Year’s morning church service saw bowls of these, waiting in the coffee hall for post-sermon coffee and conversation. Now, I must say that I have rarely seen these deep-fried nuggets without currants or raisins in them. That addition makes this sugar-dusted fritter even more magical during a season when imaginations and festivities run higher than the rest of the year. BTW, if you use apple chunks or rings instead of currants or raisins, you’ll get appelflappen.

“Believe me when I say that there are about as many recipes for oliebollen as there are for hushpuppies! Self-rising flour will work well to make then and is often called for in many recipes instead of yeast. In addition to the use of self-rising flour, these recipes often use ginger ale or beer as a liquid of choice, instead of milk. The results of this combination are a tad denser, but still a treat!

“If you look at “Dutchies” in your local doughnut shop, you’ll see what is considered the modernized version of this treat. Even the apple fritter can be construed as a stylized version of oliebollen.”

Oliebollen | Dutch Doughnuts

  • Quick Glance
  • (5)
  • 30 M
  • 1 H, 45 M
  • 4 to 5 dozen (2-inch | 5-cm) fritters
4.8/5 - 5 reviews
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In a small bowl, combine the lukewarm milk with the yeast and sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, sift the flour with the salt. Make a well in the center and crack the egg into it. Add the yeast mixture and beat with an electric hand mixer, adding more milk if needed to make a thick batter the consistency of a cake batter. Cover the batter and set aside in a warm place to rise for 1 to 2 hours.

In a large sauté pan or deep-fry pan set over medium-high heat, warm the oil to 350°F (180°C). Using 2 oil-slicked teaspoons, make balls of batter no larger than 2 inches (5-cm) in diameter, sorta like a large golf ball, and let them slide into the hot oil. Depending on their size, you can fry 4 to 8 at a time. Cook until golden outside and cooked through inside, flipping halfway through cooking, about 6 minutes, depending on the size. Drain on paper towels.

Serve warm, sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

I was excited to try this recipe because they looked good and seemed easy to make. I’m very pleased to report they rated very high in both categories! The batter was super easy and quick to prepare. They were best to eat the first day but stored well in an airtight container. I heated the leftovers the next day in the oven at 400°F for about 15 minutes and froze the rest.

The only thing I would like to change is maybe add a little more sugar in the batter for a bit more sweetness. I will make them again!

Somewhat reminiscent of beignets, but smaller, these oliebollen have a nice crisp exterior and a tender, cakelike interior. They’re slightly chewy in texture with just right amount of sweetness from the icing sugar.

In Canada, our flour is a little different than in the United States. I needed close to half-cup of milk, or more, over what was initially asked for. The results are still great, though.

Although not called for in this recipe, currants or even raisins are routinely added. That size of batch is probably the right amount, because you’ll want to share! Also, once you have one…

The Dutch doughnuts I’m accustomed to however, are usually one or two bites. Even using a couple of greased tablespoons yielded a size close to a regular doughnut. Using a couple of oiled teaspoons is probably the best method for getting the balls the right size for deep frying. The size of these will vary a lot, but I’d recommend to try and keep them 2-inches or less across the equator.

A note of caution. When eating olibollen, do not inhale while taking a bite. You risk inhaling the confectioners’ sugar, too, making an enjoyable experience a little complicated.

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. Very easy recipe and the results are delicious! Just what you need on a cold winter day in Northern Canada!

  2. I have made oliebollen for years, but thought to try this. Excellent recipe; I added cinnamon, lots of raisins and apples. The batter made beautiful round oliebollen with a firm interior. Great taste!

  3. I split batter into two bowls half with raisins others with apples and cinnamon. Huge hit. Easy to make. Not greatest next day must be nuked a few seconds to re-soften. But these never last long at a party to worry about left overs. I like they are not sickly sweet like Timmies donuts are here in Canada.

  4. My mom spent many years in Holland long time ago and she used to make several dutch dishes for us during Christmas and New Year holidays. When I found this recipe, I was like…my mom made this all the time, I got to try this.

    So I made this yesterday for a New Year’s party at my house. It was a hit, everybody liked it. A big bowl disappeared very fast. I made some changes though, I added 1 more egg and 2tbs of sugar. The batter turned out great. I’m so glad that I have another traditional food that I’ll make every year for my American family. Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  5. I made these and this Dutch girl, who has had many olliebollen, this is simply the best I have ever made. I loved them! I wish I knew how to hashtag. I will ask my kids! Thank you!

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