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Oliebollen recipe

Oliebollen recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Breakfast
  • Breakfast breads and pastries
  • Doughnuts

This recipe was handed down to me by my mother. It is a Dutch favourite on New Year's Eve.

35 people made this

IngredientsServes: 12

  • 2 (7g) sachets dried active baking yeast
  • 125ml lukewarm water (45 degrees C)
  • 550g plain flour
  • 4 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 350ml milk
  • 200g chopped apple
  • 150g sultanas (optional)
  • 1 litre vegetable oil for frying
  • caster sugar for decoration

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:15min ›Extra time:1hr › Ready in:1hr30min

  1. Warm oven on lowest possible temperature setting.
  2. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a small mixing bowl. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Add the eggs, yeast mixture and milk; beat with an electric mixer until blended.
  3. Turn off the oven. Cover the prepared dough with a greased piece of cling film, and place the bowl of dough on the lowest rack of the warmed oven. Allow to rest and rise for 1 hour.
  4. Heat the oil for frying to 175 degrees C in a heavy bottomed, deep frying pan.
  5. Mix the apples and sultanas into the dough. Then, carefully slide the dough by heaping teaspoons into the preheated oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the fritters until they are golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. They should turn over on their own when they are ready to brown on the other side, but keep an eye on them and flip them as necessary. Remove them to a kitchen paper lined plate and repeat with the remaining dough. Dust with sugar while warm.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(34)

Reviews in English (22)

by gompie

I am Dutch and we make it for old years day and we make a lot like 50-100 pieces for the familiy. On new years day we eat the "left overs"as breakfast or even as lunch. Besides oliebollen we make appelflappen, sliced apples with cinnamon and sugar in a dough Oil balls is the name becuase they look like balls baked in oil. On the oliiebollen you pour sugarpouwder (a lot) not normal sugar. You can also make them with out raisin or apple offically oliebollen are without raisin and rozijnenbollen/raisenballs are with. But most people make them with Real Dutch is to pour beer and milk in the dough and not eggs and water. For 41/2 cups flour I use about 1 bottle of beer (330 ml) and 3 or 4 cups of handwarm milk, 2 apples shopped, 2 cups of raisins, 2-3 spoons of sugar. 2 packages of yeast, teaspoon salt. Put it all together until the dough is in a thick ribbon running of your spoon and the it double it size when it rest We bake them in a pan filled with oil 2-3 ltr. I use a pan that can keep the temprature on 180 degrees C and bake for a few hours-08 Jan 2011

by Cindy Yonkman

I was SO surprised to hear that this was a New Years tradition with the dutch, even though we made these EVERY New Years day- I thought it was just a family thing LOL! Our recipe did not use yeast and is very easy to make: 2 cup of buttermilk 3 tbsp oil 1 1 /4 cup sugar 2-3 eggs 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp salt 1 cup raisins 4 cups of flour. Mix all ingrediants and deep fry till golden . makes about 3 dozen YUM- bring on the holidays!-01 Nov 2009

by Brown Sugar

This is a traditonal Dutch recipe, that's served every year around Newyear's Eve.I have a few pointers: I use more sugar (or sweetner). To fully enjoy the taste of the apples, you should use sour apples.According to this recipe, the raisins are optional, but they're actually standard ingredients (in Holland).Also try canned pineapple for a sweeter result. Or rum-raisins to give it a little kick.-20 Apr 2008

Oliebollen Recipe

Oliebollen is a slightly sweet fried pastry made in Belgium and Holland during Christmas period. Olie means oil, bol means ball, and -en is, I guess, the plural suffix. In this case, oliebollen means oil balls.

Oliebollen is not made with a dough that can be shaped by hand like a standart yeast dough, but with a dough that can be poured in the oil with a spoon. Raisins, currants, chopped apple or candied fruit or a few of these can be used together to give flavor to the sweet dough. For example, I used raisins and apples. You can decide according to your taste.

Oliebollen is a dessert that is sold on the streets during Christmas and is known to many people who have had the opportunity to be in Belgium or Netherlands during the Christmas period before. Especially in this period when foreign travels have not been possible for a long time, if you miss your travels to European countries, Christmas markets, Christmas drinks, food and desserts during the Christmas period, you can create the Christmas market atmosphere by making the oliebollen recipe at home and eating them on the balconyshivering.

There are two points to pay attention when making oliebollen. The first is that the dough is not at a consistency to be shaped with hand like a traditional yeast dough, but almost fluid. The dough should be in a consistency that can be poured with a spoon. This consistency will make them look more spongy.

The second and most important is the frying stage. Since the dough contains egg and milk, it brownes very quickly compared to standard dough fries. By the way, Berliner has the same feature. If you are deceived by their colour and remove them from the oil early, the inside will remain doughy. To avoid this mistake, do not make oliebols in large bites. Even if you use a tablespoon while shaping, do not fill the spoon completely, half a spoon will be enough. If you want to be even more assured and if it is not a problem to spend more time for frying, you can make smaller oliebols with a teaspoon. Make sure your oil is hot when starting to cook, but the heat setting should not be too high while frying. I roast this kind of dough on the 5th level of a 9-stage electric stove. Fry the dough bites by turning them often, very often, really often. In this way, the heat will continue to cook the dough without burning the outside and finding the opportunity to move towards the inside and the inside will be cooked beautifully.

Oliebollen recipe - Recipes

Let the raisins soak in water for 15 minutes. Stir the dried yeast and sugar into the milk and let it soak.

Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add a pinch of salt. Slowly pour in the milk with yeast and beat with a mixer with dough hooks until it’s a sticky batter. Mix in the egg and then add the raisins. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let rise for 60 minutes. The batter should rise to be about twice as much.

Heat the sunflower oil to 180 degrees. Scoop a ball of batter into the fat, moistened with water (or an ice cream scoop). After a few seconds you will see the oliebol getting bigger and it will float to the top. Turn frequently. After about 6 minutes, the oliebollen are golden brown and cooked through. Drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle with icing sugar.

5 tips for baking oliebollen:

1. Let the currants soak in rum for a delicious taste.

2. Let the dough rise at room temperature, if the temperature is too warm it will rise too quickly and there will be too many bubbles in the batter, if the temperature is too low the dough will rise too little.

3. When baking oliebollen with apples, use “golden rennettes”, these are nice, firm, and sour apples, and give the oliebol a fresh taste.

4. The batter is very sticky, so use 2 spoons moistened with water to slide the batter into the oil.

5. How do you store oliebollen? Store oliebollen in a sealed bag or box for a maximum of 3 days or freeze them (maximum 2 months). After defrosting, reheat them in the oven for a few minutes.

Oliebollen (Smoutballen)

Literally translated as “oil balls”, oliebollen are traditional Belgian and Dutch doughnuts made with flour, milk, eggs, yeast, and a little bit of salt. They can also contain chopped apple, currants, sultanas or citrus zest. The dough is made into balls using either two spoons or an ice cream scoop, and then dropped into hot oil to fry until cooked, then dredged in icing sugar.

During the winter period in Belgium and the Netherlands, you will find many stalls, called oliebollenkramen (or oliebollenkraam) selling this popular treat.

Although they have been adapted over time, oliebollen are thought to be the inspiration behind the well-loved American donut.

What is the origin of oliebollen?

There is no clear indication of exactly when oliebollen were introduced to Belgium. They were said to be a favored treat of Germanic Alpine tribes, eaten during Yule.

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There is also speculation that Portuguese Jewish immigrants, fleeing the Spanish Inquisition, introduced oliebollen to the Netherlands in the 15th century, and that this is how they eventually made their way into Belgium.

The first mention of oliebollen in Dutch cookbooks was recorded during the 16th century in a cookbook called De Verstandige Kock (The Competent Cook). In 1652, the Dutch painter, Aelbert Jacobsz Cuyp, created a beautiful portrait of a girl carrying a basket of oliebollen (Meid Met Oliebollen).

Perchta and oliebollen

There are some excellent and charming folktales surrounding the origins of oliebollen, and why these deep-fried donuts are such a favored treat.

Perchta is a Pagan goddess, known variously as the “Guardian of the Beasts” and the leader of the Wild Hunt. Perchta (also known as Frau Pecht or Pechta), along with Krampus and other demons and spirits, appears during Yule, now more familiar as the 12 days of Christmas (26 December to 6 January).

She and her beasts roam the countryside during winter. They sneak into people’s houses, and immediately know whether they have been well behaved, and therefore deserving of a treat. If Perchta thinks they’ve been good, they’ll awake in the morning to find a silver coin by their bed. However, if she deems them undeserving, she will slice open their bellies, and replace their innards with straw and pebbles.

She will also do this if she believes the person she is visiting has eaten something other than fish and gruel (traditional yuletide fasting foods).

Another tale tells a story of how Perchta and her spirits flew around the countryside during winter, all looking for something to eat. They would find their victim, cut open their bellies, and consume whatever food they had eaten that day. To prevent this happening, people would consume oliebollen as they said the oil they are fried in would protect them from Perchta’s sword. Their stomachs would be too slippery for the sword to penetrate, and it would slide straight off.

When to eat oliebollen

Traditionally, oliebollen are consumed and enjoyed during the winter months. More so during the 12 days of Christmas. More specifically, these doughnuts are eaten on New Year’s Eve in preparation for another Dutch tradition which takes place on New Year’s Day: swimming in freezing rivers.

When the locals swim through the ice cold water, the oliebollen from the evening before are said to keep them warm inside due to the fat content.


To win this was a highly prestigious honor. Not only would the winner obtain bragging rights for a year, it would also bring an influx of new customers to their bakery.

Richard Visser holds the record for the number of times his bakery has won, having been crowned the best oliebollen baker a total of nine times.

In 2018, the contest came to a halt due to a difference of opinion, and inconsistencies within the jury. In 2019 however, oliebollentest was up and running again but managed and judged differently.

There are now 12 winners from each province, and each winner receives flowers and a certificate showing that they won.

The oliebollen are tested for shape, size, taste, filling, and fluffiness. Candidates can either enter the competition themselves, or their customers can put them forward. A mystery shopper will purchase 10 oliebollen from each bakery, which will be tried and tested on the same day. The results are published later, on 20th December.

Oliebollen and its many names

Oliebol is the singular term, while oliebollen is the plural. In Frisian, they are known as oaljebol or oaljekoek, in the Netherlands they are referred to as smoutballen – which translates to “lard balls”.

Throughout Africa, these delicious delights have various names such as bofflot, yovodocon, and puff puffs.

France has croustillons, while Italians enjoy fritole – a name shared by Slovenians and Croats. In Serbia however, these fried dough balls are known as ustpici.

Across the Americas, these are simply known as dumplings or donut holes.

Whichever part of the world you are in, there will be a very similar local recipe for oliebollen.

Bock beer or water

A good fluffy and rised oliebol, you need beer too! There is already yeast in it, but when you add beer to the batter, you will get the best oliebol. For this recipe I have used Bavaria bock beer! Bock beer is only available in the fall and winter months. This type of beer is golden brown and has a light caramel flavor. Before you start frying them, you will smell the batter! During deepfrying, the alcohol evaporates, so you don’t get dronk! Also children can eat them without having dronk kids. When you are not happy with this, don’t worry! Use warm water instead of beer. In the Netherlands and Belgium we do prepare oliebollen with beer.

Dutch doughnuts with powdered sugar

This recipe is available at the end of my blog. Please read this recipe first, and measure all ingredients up front! When you don’t follow this recipe the right way, your oliebollen won’t be fluffy! I really hope you like this holiday recipe. If you have questions about this recipe, please use our comment box below. For more holiday baking, please see our Christmas time board on Pinterest. Our recipes are also availalbe on Google plus! When you decide to make them, please tag us #cookiesanddoughemporium. Enjoy preparing Authentic Dutch oliebollen and happy holidays.


An oliebol (plural oliebollen is a traditional Dutch food. Oliebollen (literally oil balls) are traditionally eaten on New Year’s Eve and at funfairs. They are also called smoutebollen in Belgium. Sometimes it is referenced in English as Dutch donut.

They are said to have been first eaten by Germanic tribes in the Netherlands during the Yule, the period between December 26 and January 6. The Germanic goddess Perchta, together with evil spirits, would fly through the mid-winter sky. To appease these spirits, food was offered, much of which contained deep-fried dough. It was said Perchta would try to cut open the bellies of all she came across, but because of the fat in the oliebollen, her sword would slide off the body of whomever ate them.


  • 1 (0.6 ounce)yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1 bottle dark beer
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 Granny Smith apple – peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • oil for deep-frying
  • confectioners’ sugar for dusting


  1. Warm the milk to 110F and add the yeast and 1 tbsp sugar. Let stand for 10 min it should be foaming by now, If not then your yeast is not working. Try a new package. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Stir the yeast mixture, and egg into the flour and mix into a smooth batter.
  2. Soak the raisins in water, after they are plum take the raisins out of the water and stir the raisins and apple and beer in the flour. Cover the bowl, and leave the batter in a warm place to rise until double in size. I like to put the bowl in the stove with only the light on, it will help to rise. This will take about 1 hour.
  3. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer, or heavy deep pan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Use 2 metal spoons. It’s easier to use a gravy ladle and one soup spoon. The gravy ladle gives you the right size for the oliebol. Drop them carefully into the hot oil. Fry the balls until golden brown, about 8 minutes. The doughnuts should be soft and not greasy. If the oil is not hot enough, the outside will be tough and the insides greasy. Drain finished doughnuts on paper towels and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve them piled on a dish with more confectioners’ sugar dusted over them. Eat them while warm.

*Below is my recipe card. Right click and save, print as a 4࡬ picture*

Gluten Free Oliebollen Recipe: A Dutch New Year’s Treat

Enjoy this yeasty gluten free oliebollen recipe! Oliebollen is a Dutch New Year’s treat that literally translates to “oil balls,” which means that oliebollen is the most unhealthy, most delicious, most oily-and-yeasty-and-soft-and-crunchy-and-sweet thing there is.

I come from a very Dutch family. There are several inevitable facts resulting from this: First, we’re all tall. Except me. I tell my sisters that “I’m not short, I’m just short enough to wear heels and be awesome.” Second, we’re stubborn. I guess we inherited the hold-back-the-ocean-for-hundreds-of-years genes. Third, we completely and utterly lack rhythm and live in fear of the day we’ll be involved in a spontaneous street dance (which, according to Disney, happens fairly frequently). Fourth, if you’re Dutch, you make oliebollen. It’s just what you do.

I would have my sister explain about oliebollen, since she tends to wax poetic over it, but since she’s not around I’ll have to do my best. Oliebollen literally translates to “oil balls,” which means that oliebollen is the most unhealthy, most delicious, most oily-and-yeasty-and-soft-and-crunchy-and-sweet thing there is.

It’s usually made around the New Year as a way to start the New Year off feeling cleansed and healthy. We stopped eating it years ago after we went gluten-free, but every year we were still subjected to the torture as all our relatives posted their New Year’s oliebollen pictures on Facebook. Two years ago I finally came up with a perfect gluten-free fried doughnut recipe, and it seemed that my doughnut recipe could be turned into a gluten free oliebollen recipe (doughnuts and oliebollen are similar…oliebollen is just more oily and thus more delicious).

And so it is that two years later, I have made a gluten free oliebollen recipe. I know it’s after New Year’s, but there’s absolutely no reason not to enjoy oliebollen all through January. As a way to, you know, get started on your New Year’s health goals.

Sweet fluffy pastry deep fried and lightly dusted with icing sugar, sound familiar? Oliebollen is thought to be the original doughnut recipe. Brought over to America and cooked by early Dutch settlers and of course being as tasty as they are they soon caught on and developed. Although traditionally oliebollen is only eaten during New Years, this tasty doughnut recipe is great all year round.

With adopted dutch cousins I always think that I also have a claim to a Dutch heritage. However stuffing my face with the rich and creamy Dutch desserts such as Oliebollen, Boterkoek and spiced apples a few days a year does not get me any closer to having a EU passport. Although I don’t have Dutch blood in my veins this surprisingly simple recipe for oliebollen at least lets me have some Dutch in my tummy.

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

  • 1 kg wheat flour
  • 1 L tepid water
  • 20 g salt
  • 50 g sugar
  • 16 g dried yeast
  • Sunflower oil (good for high heat cooking)
  • 2 Tbs Powdered sugar for finishing touch
  1. Mix the yeast with the tepid water. Ensure that the water isn't too hot for the yeast before using.
  2. Add the flour to the watery yeast. Mix the batter briefly, using the lowest setting on the blender.
  3. Add the salt and the sugar. Mix in quickly.
  4. Leave the batter to rise for 45 minutes in a warm place.
  5. Use a large bucket to let the batter rise. To prevent the batter from dehydrating, lay a damp tea towel over the batter.
  6. After the dough has risen, start making doughnuts. Heat the oil to a temperature from about 180ºC / 350ºF. Use a sauce (gravy) spoon to spoon the batter into the oil. Take a small or medium sized soup ladle, dip it in the hot oil briefly, scoop up some batter, then lower the ladle in the oil. The oliebol will float out of the ladle.
  7. Don't fry too many at once––3 or 4 is the limit for most pans.
  8. Fry the Dutch doughnuts for about six minutes.
  9. When they are half cooked, they will roll over by themselves, however they sometimes they need a little nudge to turn.
  10. Remove from the oil using the ladle or slotted spoon. Lay a piece of kitchen paper into a bowl or deep plate and put each of the cooked Dutch doughnuts on it. The kitchen paper soaks up most of the oil.
  11. Before you serve the Dutch doughnuts, sprinkle them with powered sugar.

Images originally produced for wikiHow. This recipe is edited from the original wikiHow article on how to make Make oliebollen

Oliebollen doughnut recipe tips

  • Dont use animal fat or lard to fry the doughnuts in as this will give them an odd white coating as they cool down.
  • Although this is a good recipe to get kids involved in as they can enjoy watching the yeast grow remember to always be careful around boiling oil.
  • Add dried fruit, rasins or chocolate chips to the dough to change it up and give it a special flavor.


If these little Dutch treats didn’t show up on New Year’s Eve, I don’t think the new year could possibly still come about. It certainly wouldn’t be the same.

They are also excellent with raisins or apple added to the dough.


  • 1 cup Water (warm)
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Yeast
  • 6 cups Milk
  • ½ cups Lard, Melted
  • 1-½ teaspoon Salt
  • 1-½ cup Sugar
  • 6 whole Eggs
  • 11 cups Flour
  • 1 quart Oil For Deep Frying
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar (Icing Or Confectioners Sugar), For Dusting


Note: Prep time does not include rising time.

Combine first three ingredients and let stand for 10 minutes.

Scald 6 cups milk in a pan. Scalding milk means bringing it nearly to a boil, preferably in a thick-bottomed pan while stirring actively, to keep a protein skin from forming on the surface and keep the proteins and sugar from sticking to the bottom.

Once milk is done, beat into it the next 5 ingredients, adding in raisins or chopped apple if desired. Let rise until double in bulk.

Once risen: Drop by tablespoon into hot oil (375 – 400 degrees), and fry until golden. Drain on a paper towel, then dust with powdered sugar.

Dutch Oliebollen Recipe for New Year’s Eve

Generously scattered around the Netherlands at this time of year are oliebollen stands. You will find these sweet Dutch treats at winter fairs and Christmas markets and in any town centre. However, you can also make your own with this recipe.

The Dutch Doughnut

Olibollen are deep fried dough balls, usually covered in icing sugar. Translated as ‘oil balls’ they are commonly labeled as Dutch doughnuts. However, they have no hole in the middle and are actually likely to be the precursor to the common North American doughnut.

Oliebollen Origins

Having been around for centuries, oliebollen have Germanic origins and came about as offerings to keep the Gods on site, albeit more in the form of a biscuit than the dough ball of today.

Through the years the dough ball emerged and the Dutch take their oliebollen very seriously, some joining long queues to sample those made by the national winner of the ‘best oliebollen’ annual contest.

New Year’s Eve

As soon as the cold days approach bakers start setting up their stands but actually oliebollen are traditionally eaten on New Year’s Eve. They are a staple part of seeing in a new year whilst watching fireworks or the huge bonfires on the beach and toasting with a glass of champagne.

Make Your Own Oliebollen

If you are not lucky enough to be in the Netherlands during the winter months then you can make your own oliebollen. Here’s what you’ll need to make between 25 and 30: