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

Oliebollen FAQs

Can I add anything to my oliebollen?

Dan Krann, our community moderator with Dutch heritage, told us “a staple over the Yule season, especially over New Year’s, these deep-fried nuggets often have 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. If you look at “Dutchies” in your local doughnut shop, you’ll see what is considered the modernized version of this treat.”

What if I don’t have a deep-fry thermometer?

In order to get these little batter balls cooked all the way through without burning the outside, the oil needs to be 350℉. And remember that every time you add more batter, the temperature of the oil will drop. If you don’t have a thermometer, gently drop a small amount of batter into the hot oil. If it sizzles aggressively, the oil is hot enough.

How long should I wait before sprinkling with icing sugar?

The oliebollen need to be warm but give them a minute after coming out of that hot oil. Let them drain until dry—because hot oil and powdered sugar aren’t a good mix—then sprinkle liberally with sugar and pile up on a plate.

Oliebollen, or Dutch doughnuts, in a wire basket, covered with powdered sugar on a white tablecloth.

Oliebollen | Dutch Doughnuts

4.85 / 33 votes
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.
David Leite
Servings48 to 60
Calories49 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time1 hour 45 minutes


  • 2 cups lukewarm milk, plus more as needed
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 quarts vegetable oil, for frying
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


  • 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 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 it 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.
Home Made Winter Cookbook

Adapted From

Home Made Winter

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Serving: 1 servingCalories: 49 kcalCarbohydrates: 9 gProtein: 2 gFat: 1 gSaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 5 mgSodium: 6 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 1 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2012 Yvette van Boven. Photo © 2012 Oof Verschuren. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I was excited to try this recipe because the oliebollen 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 adding a little more sugar in the batter for a bit more sweetness. I’ll 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 the 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 trying to 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.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Made this recipe as directed and turned out wonderfully—better than what I grew up on! The oliebollen were delicious, light and fluffy. Added raisins to the second half of dough and were delicious. Highly recommend!!

  2. 5 stars
    Thanks for the recipe. My husband, whose parents were Dutch, wanted to make them for New Year’s Eve visitors; this was my practice run. I used my bread machine to do the real work. I may need to improve my “two oiled teaspoons” technique. I used a deep-fryer. They came out a bit funny-shaped, and I need to buy a sieve, but they tasted great!

    1. Sure, Bronte. Follow your deep fryer manufacturer’s instructions and deep fry the doughnuts at 350°F.