Dutch cuisine may not be as widely known or celebrated as some other European cuisines, but it is definitely worth exploring for those who appreciate hearty and comforting dishes. From rich stews to buttery pancakes, Dutch cuisine has a range of dishes that showcase the country’s agricultural abundance and its unique cultural influences.
The Netherlands, located in northwestern Europe, has a maritime climate that is ideal for dairy farming and horticulture. As a result, the country has a rich culinary tradition that is based on fresh and locally sourced ingredients. Below are some of the most iconic dishes of Dutch cuisine.
Stamppot – Stamppot is a classic Dutch dish that consists of mashed Dutch potatoes and vegetables, typically kale, sauerkraut, or carrots. It is often served with smoked sausage or bacon, and sometimes gravy. This hearty dish is perfect for cold winter evenings.
Hutspot – Hutspot is another Dutch mashed vegetable dish, but instead of kale or sauerkraut, it’s made with carrots, onions, and potatoes. It’s usually served with a meatball or a smoked sausage and is a favorite during the fall and winter months.
Erwtensoep – Erwtensoep, or pea soup, is a thick and hearty soup made with split peas, potatoes, carrots, and celery. It’s often served with rye bread and bacon, and is a staple in Dutch households during the winter.
Patat met mayonaise – Patat met mayonaise translates to “fries with mayonnaise,” is a classic Dutch snack that’s enjoyed by many locals and visitors alike. It’s a simple but delicious dish that consists of crispy, golden fries that are typically served in a paper cone or a paper bag, and topped with a generous dollop of creamy mayonnaise.
Speculaas – Speculaas is a type of Dutch cookie that’s traditionally enjoyed during the holiday season. These thin, crispy cookies are made with a blend of warm spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and cardamom, which give them their distinct flavor. They’re often shaped into intricate designs using wooden molds, which gives them a unique appearance.
Stroopwafels – Stroopwafels are a popular sweet treat that can be found in many Dutch supermarkets and bakeries. Speculaas are spiced cookies that are often eaten around the holiday season.
Frikandellen – Frikandellen are a popular Dutch snack that are enjoyed by many locals and tourists alike. They’re a type of deep-fried sausage that’s made with a blend of ground meat, spices, and breadcrumbs. Frikandellen are usually served in a white bread bun, often with mayonnaise, ketchup, and onions. They’re a popular street food and are often found at food trucks or snack bars.
Ontbijtkoek – Ontbijtkoek, which translates to “breakfast cake,” is a popular Dutch bread that’s often enjoyed for breakfast or as a snack. It’s a spiced cake made with rye flour, honey, and a blend of spices such as cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. It has a dense, moist texture and is typically sliced thinly and eaten with butter.
Bitterballen – Bitterballen are a popular Dutch snack that are often served in bars and cafes. They are small, deep-fried balls of ragout, which is a thick and creamy meat stew, typically made with beef or veal. Bitterballen are served hot with mustard and are a perfect snack to pair with a cold beer.
Poffertjes – Poffertjes are small, fluffy pancakes that are made with yeast, flour, and milk. They are usually served with powdered sugar and butter and are a popular street food in the Netherlands.
Hagelslag – Hagelslag is a quintessential Dutch breakfast staple that consists of chocolate sprinkles that are typically eaten on bread with butter. It’s a simple but delicious treat that’s enjoyed by both children and adults alike. Hagelslag comes in various flavors, including milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and even white chocolate. It’s a beloved part of Dutch culture and is often referred to as “chocolate hail” due to its resemblance to small grains of hail.
Dutch cheese – The Netherlands is famous for its cheese, particularly Gouda, Edam, and Maasdam. Dutch cheese is known for its rich and creamy flavor, and it’s often served on bread, as a snack, or as part of a cheese platter.
Suikerbrood – Suikerbrood is another classic Dutch bread that’s popular throughout the country. It’s a sweet bread that’s enriched with sugar and cinnamon and often topped with pearl sugar. The bread has a soft and fluffy texture and is perfect for breakfast or as a snack with coffee or tea. It’s especially popular in the northern part of the Netherlands, where it’s a traditional breakfast food
Dutch herring – Herring is a popular fish in the Netherlands, and it’s often served raw or pickled. Raw herring is typically served with chopped onions and pickles, and it’s considered a traditional Dutch delicacy.
In addition to these classic dishes, the Netherlands has a vibrant food culture that is influenced by its colonial history and its diverse immigrant populations. Indonesian cuisine, for example, is very popular in the Netherlands, as Indonesia was a former Dutch colony. Surinamese, Chinese and Turkish cuisine are also well-represented in Dutch cities.
Dutch cuisine is a delicious and hearty cuisine that is rooted in local and seasonal ingredients. Whether you’re looking for a comforting stew or a sweet treat, there’s something for everyone in Dutch cuisine. So why not try some of these dishes and discover the delicious flavors of the Netherlands?