Oliebollen, also known as Dutch donuts, are traditionally eaten on New Year's Eve, although you will this treat also at fairs and food stands during the winter season.

Oliebollen or Dutch DonutsThe name of this typical Dutch food translates into 'oil balls', but this translation should not scare you away, because oliebollen are delicious. The history of the oliebollen goes back to the time of the Germanic tribes in The Netherlands, when these tribes were eating the treat during the so-called Yule period, between 26 December and 6 January. The first oliebollen recipe appeared in a cookbook from 1667.

The Dutch are crazy about their oliebollen. Per year, the average Dutch person eats eight oliebollen, which means that per year the Dutch eat more than 130 million Dutch donuts. The national newspaper Algemeen Dagblad run the annual Oliebollentest, in which they test food stands through the country to check which stand serves the best Dutch donuts in the country. One of the top stands is from Richard Visser in Rotterdam, who won the oliebollentest more than any other food stand in The Netherlands.

The dough for this traditional Dutch New Year's Eve treat is made of yeast, eggs, flour, milk, salt and baking powder. The Dutch regularly add raisins, diced apples, currants or succade. Some people also add beer to the dough. After preparing the dough, it needs to raise for at least an hour, but usually more.

Oliebollen are made the same way that people make dumplings. Take two big spoons to scoop some dough and drop the dough into a pan with very hot oil. The oliebollen are usually served with powdered sugar.

Oliebollen Recipe

Ingredients for oliebollen

  • 1 kg all-purpose flour
  • 1 liter luke-warm water
  • 25 grams salt
  • 80 grams yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 50 grams melted butter
  • 10 grams ground cinnamon
  • 30 grams grated lemon zest
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Powdered sugar
  • 450 grams rains or currants
  • 150 grams tart apple, dice

Ingredients for the oliebollen filling

  • 450 grams rains or currants
  • 150 grams tart apple, diced

Instructions for baking oliebollen

  • Dissolve the yeast in water
  • Mix the flour, salt and cinnamon together
  • Whisk the eggs and butter into the yeast mixture and pour over the dry ingredients
  • Mix to form a batter. Stir in the raisins and apples
  • Cover the dough with a damp tea towel and let it rise for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in volume
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a fryer or a deep pan until it reaches between 180 and 190 degrees Celsius
  • Use two large spoons to form balls and drop the balls into the hot oil
  • Fry the ball 5 to 8 minutes or until the balls are golden brown
  • Drain the oliebollen on paper towels
  • Dust the oliebollen or Dutch donuts with generous amounts of powdered sugar before serving

Please make sure that the oil remains at the correct temperature, otherwise the oliebollen will come out greasy and tough.

Enjoy your oliebollen, or like they would say in The Netherlands: Eet smakelijk!

(source recipe: Amsterdam Magazine)