Dutch food culture is more than pancakes and cheese, though these are a couple of the most well-known dishes you can find here.
The Netherlands offers a culinary experience unlike any other because of its diverse history, with all the cultures that have impacted Dutch cuisine living in relative proximity to one another.
If you’re a tourist and you want to explore the best Dutch food, check out our list of different types of Dutch food!
Bread and Baked Goods
The Dutch cuisine has more than its fair share of baked goods that are just as delicious and well-known as those you can buy at any Dutch bakery. Some of these traditional Dutch foods, such as the Appelflap and Oliebollen, have been around for over a hundred years.
Appelflappen, also known as Appelflap, is a traditional Dutch food. They are small pastries shaped into triangles so that they can easily be stored and carried with you as you go about your day.
This traditional Dutch pastry has a long history that dates back to the Middle Ages. It’s traditionally made with dough, raisins, sour apples, and powdered sugar, and then either fried or baked—both versions can be eaten for breakfast or as a snack.
Appelflap also pairs well with other Dutch foods, such as sausage rolls and cheese sticks, which are common additions to the breakfast menu.
Stroopwafel is a famous food from the Netherlands. It is a sweet pastry made by joining two thin-layered crispy waffle cookies.
A delicious sugary syrup is filled between both layers of waffles to add taste. Butter, yeast, flour, brown powdered sugar, eggs, and milk are used to make the batter for the waffles. Stroopwafel is a globally known Dutch pastry first made in Gouda, Amsterdam, back in the 19th Century.
Appeltaart is one of the most admired traditional Dutch foods. It is made by covering the honeyed apple slices with a tasty pastry lattice. You can also add cinnamon and raisins to it for taste.
Some whipped cream and a steaming cup of coffee would be a great companion to it. This popular and traditional Dutch food dates back to the middle ages.
Boterkoek is an easy-to-make soft butter cake, a delicious traditional Dutch food. Boterkoek dough is made by adding sugar and butter to the flour and adequately kneading it.
The dough is then baked till it swells into a spongy cake. You can also add almond paste or vanilla to it, depending upon your taste.
Oliebollen is a doughnut-like pastry from the Netherlands. It is also known as smoutballen. The tasty Dutch food is made by frying the raisin-filled pastry balls.
Powdered sugar is used to garnish the Oliebollen. It is a traditional food in the Netherlands, especially served with berry filling at formal events like New Year.
Paasbrood or Kerststol is a traditional loaf in the Netherlands. It is an essential part of the Dutch feast at the religious festival, Easter.
The ingredients like flour, milk, eggs, yeast, lemon juice, sugar, cardamom, butter, and raisins make Paasbrood. The traditional Easter bun is filled with delicious almond paste to increase the taste.
Tompouce, also known as Tompoes, is a famous Dutch pastry named after a dwarf stage actor Admiraal Tom Pouce, Jan Hannema’s stage name.
Making this Dutch apple pie is quite an easy task. Just take two rectangular pieces of the baked puff pastry sheet. Apply a vanilla cream layer on one crispy sheet and place the other puff sheet on it. Then spread the pink or orange glaze on top and enjoy eating it.
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Dutch Snacks, Appetizers, and Finger Foods
Dutch snacks, appetizers, and finger foods are at the heart of Dutch food culture. You can’t walk far without seeing evidence of their presence.
You’ll see them in cafes on every corner, being enjoyed with a cup of coffee or tea, like bitterballen or kroket.
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Bamischijf is a traditional snack loved by many in the Netherlands. This Dutch appetizer is very similar to Indonesian cuisine.
Bamischijf is prepared by coating the fried noodles and vegetable balls in breadcrumbs and deep-frying them in oil. It is better enjoyed with thick sauces and ketchup.
Bitterballen is one of the most famous traditional Dutch foods, and almost all the Dutch food-lovers are in love with this savory snack.
Bitterballens are spicy beef balls coated with breadcrumbs and deep-fried in hot oil. In the Netherlands, people love to have mustard sauce with this delicious snack.
Huzaransalade is a unique yet delicious Dutch salad. It is an integral part of lunch as a delightful snack and healthy salad in the Netherlands.
Huzarensalade is also used as an additional serving along with BBQ. It’s a tasty combination of potatoes, carrots, peas, tomatoes, raw cucumbers, boiled eggs, mayonnaise, and gherkins.
Kroket is a Dutch fast food, identical to Bitterballen in taste and shape. It consists of marinated meat, potatoes, cheese, and spices.
The mixture is rolled into cylindrical shapes and coated with breadcrumbs. Then it is fried in hot oil and served with different sauces. It is usually found in snack bars and cafes.
Pepernoten, also known as Peppernuts, are irregular-shaped spicy cookies. Pepernoten is traditionally baked on the 5th of December to celebrate Sinterklaas Day. The day is associated with a saint, Nikolas.
The ingredients required to make these Dutch biscuits are flour, brown caster sugar, cold butter, salt, and gingerbread spices.
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Dutch Breakfast & Lunch Foods
Every Dutch breakfast and lunch starts with one thing: bread. The Dutch diet is very different from the American diet, with a heavy emphasis on meat, cheese, and bread. The typical Dutch breakfast consists of a few slices of bread with a variety of toppings, such as peanut butter and honey or savory toppings.
Hagelslag is a mouthwatering Dutch breakfast food with quite a simple recipe. You just need to toast the bread with butter and spread some chocolate sprinkles on top and the quick breakfast is ready. Enjoy munching on it with a steaming cup of coffee.
Hagelslag is a Dutch word that means ‘hailstorm.’ It refers to its invention during a hailstorm by the director of VENCO, B.E. Dieperink.
Ontbijtkoek, also named Peperkoek, is a traditional Dutch breakfast cake. It’s a light brown, spicy cake made of rye flour and flavored with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.
The Dutch people love eating this spicy breakfast cake topped with a thick butter layer and a hot cup of tea. Moreover, it stays fresh for weeks, even at room temperature.
The Netherlands is known worldwide for its pancakes (or pannenkoeken, as they’re called in Dutch). These thin, round crêpes are cooked on a griddle and are traditionally eaten with powdered sugar, syrup, or fruit preserves. They’re usually topped with a dollop of whipped cream.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Amsterdam during the summertime, you can also find them topped with seasonal fruits! Flour, milk, eggs, and butter are some of the ingredients used to prepare the dough for Pannenkoeken. The dough is then cooked on the pan to make flat Dutch pancakes.
Pastechi is a Dutch pastry, first made on a small island, Aruba. Aruba used to be part of the Netherlands in ancient times.
Pastechi is a sweet and tasty breakfast pastry, also used as a snack. The Dutch use chicken, beef, tuna, vegetables, and Dutch cheese as the stuffing ingredients for the pastry dough.
Tosti is also a famous Dutch breakfast. It consists of two bread slices stuffed with ham and cheese and toasted together for a pleasant taste. Serve the guests with ketchup and mayonnaise sauce to enhance the taste.
Uitsmijter Spek En Kaas
Uitsmijter Spek En Kaas is another favorite traditional Dutch food for breakfast. The traditional way of making this breakfast is pretty straightforward. Half fry the eggs and place them on bread slices with Dutch cheese and ham. Then season them with pepper and salt.
In English, Uitsmijter means “bouncer” or “doorman” because it used to be a late-night service at cafes right before their closing time.
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Wentleteefjes is a traditional Dutch breakfast toast. It is made by soaking the loaves of bread in milk and beaten eggs and then frying them in a pan.
You can also use the leftover hard bread to make Wentelteefjes. The practice will give the same lavish taste and also prevent food wastage.
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Dutch Soups & Stews
Soups and stews are an integral part of Netherlands cuisine. There are a few basic types of Dutch soup, but all have one thing in common: they’re hearty.
One of the most basic Dutch soups is erwtensoep, or split pea soup. This pea soup is often eaten with hard rolls for breakfast or lunch, but it can be eaten at any time of day.
Dutch people intensely crave this flavorsome pea soup in winter. Ice skaters love to eat this hot soup to get some warmth in the cozy weather.
It is a mixture of various boiled vegetables such as green peas, potatoes, onions, celery, and carrots. It also contains a few pieces of smoked sausage.
Hachee is a mouthwatering Dutch stew. It is made by adequately tenderizing the beef in caramelized onions. Vinegar is also used while cooking to enhance the tenderness of the meat.
Hachee is an all-time favorite winter dish for people in the Netherlands. Some bay leaves and cloves are used for a pleasant fragrance and taste.
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Dutch Fish/Meat & Vegetable Dishes
Dutch people love eating fish and meat with vegetables. Their food is full of fantastic flavors, spices, and aromas. If you want to taste authentic Dutch cuisine at its finest, try out these traditional meat & vegetable dishes.
Stamppot is a traditional Dutch food with an old history dating back to ancient times. It’s a healthy combination of mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables like carrots, endive, and kale.
The Dutch love to eat Stamppot in winter with a special Dutch sausage, rookworst.
Bami Goreng is the most chosen Netherlands food. It originally belonged to Indonesian cuisine, but it’s trendy among the Dutch.
It is a blend of chopped onions, stir-fried egg noodles, vegetables, and meat, flavored with different spices.
Lekkerbekje en Kibbeling
Lekkerbekje en Kibbeling is a famous Dutch fish dish. They refer to the battered fish (either cod or whiting) served with tartar sauce and deep-fried mussels or fries.
Kibbeling is a Dutch word referring to cod cheeks, an essential part of the Dutch diet in the middle ages.
Saucijzenbroodjes en worstenbroodjes
Saucijzenbroodjes en worstenbroodje is a pillowy pastry with spicy, savory meat inside. The dough is made from puff pastry, eggs, and spices.
The stuffing is ground meat seasoned with savory spices. After being fried or baked, the rolls are sliced into bite-sized portions.
Sate is also one of the most popular Dutch foods, first prepared in Indonesia. It is a skewer of meat properly grilled and marinated in a thick sauce.
Indonesian chili sauce, peanut butter, and soy sauce make that thick sauce. People in the Netherlands enjoy this marinated Sate with peanut sauce.
Dutch Street Food
Poffertjes are small-sized round Dutch pancakes baked in a special iron pan. This spongy Dutch dessert is an essential part of meals at annual Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Poffertjes are a popular street Dutch food made with buckwheat flour and yeast. These soft Dutch pancakes are often served with butter and sugar syrup. You can also add strawberries and whipped cream as toppings.
Frikandel is one of the best examples of traditional Dutch food. It looks like a sausage. It is made with ground chicken, meat, or beef, seasoned with different spices like pepper, cinnamon, and mace. Frikandel is oftentimes served with fries, diced onions, and mayo sauce.
Patat is one of the famous Dutch street foods. It’s a thick French fry typically served in a paper cone. Belgium was the first country to invent this tasty food.
These thick French fries come in different sauces like mayonnaise, ketchup, and peanut sauce. The Dutch love to add various spices and raw chopped onions to it for taste and savor.
What is a Traditional Dutch Dinner Meal?
A traditional Dutch dinner includes potatoes, meat, and vegetables, served with gravy. The meat is usually salted or smoked, and the vegetables are often cooked with the meat.
One dinner dish that’s so iconic that it’s become synonymous with Dutch cuisine is called “stamppot.”
A typical stamppot might include kale, carrots, onions, and bacon bits or ham. After dinner, Dutch people usually drink coffee or yogurt as a dessert.
Is Dutch Food Good?
Dutch food is often stereotyped as plain, simple, and not very tasty. The truth is that Dutch foods are usually neither plain nor simple nor, in fact, very unhealthy. Some of the most famous Dutch foods have international reputations for being excellent!
That doesn’t mean that every dish is a masterpiece. However, you will be pleasantly surprised by the variety and high quality of food you can find in the Netherlands.
What is The Netherlands’ Staple Food?
Potatoes! The Netherlands is a country that has embraced the potato for centuries, and it is still their most popular food today. Take Stamppot, for example.
In the 1770s, potatoes overtook bread as the most important source of nutrition in the Dutch diet. The potato had become a major element of the Dutch diet by the 1720s, and by 1800, it was “the” staple food.
Another one of the Netherlands’ most well-known foods is Gouda cheese – a type of cheese with a very mild flavor. It’s often eaten on bread or served with mashed potatoes and vegetables for dinner.
This is probably one type of food that’s well-known outside of the country too! You can find Gouda cheese in pretty much any supermarket around the Netherlands.
How Many Cheese Markets Are There In The Netherlands?
There are currently five cheese markets operating in the Netherlands – Woerden, Gouda, Hoorn, Edam, and Alkmaar. Among these five cheese markets, the Alkmaar market is the most famous and popular one.
The Alkmaar cheese market is an event that combines historical education and entertainment. It’s located in the center of Alkmaar, which is a city in the Netherlands. It is a popular tourist attraction for its historical significance and its cheese as well.