The Best Foods to Try in the Netherlands

For such a small country, the Netherlands has quite a few iconic dishes and foods that are worth trying on your next trip. From sweet treats like stroopwafels to herring and codfish, here are the top 10 must-try Dutch foods.

01 of 10

Bitterballen

Cropped Image Of Hand Serving Bitterballen In Plate On Table
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These little croquette-type snacks are iconic in the Netherlands. A popular bar snack, bitterballen are often eaten alongside small beer or glass of wine. They are a thickened meat stew, that is rolled in breadcrumbs and deep fried. At Amsterdam's DeHallen food market, head straight to De BallenBar, where Michelin-starred chef Peter Gast serves different flavors of Bitterballen—the truffle one is not to be missed.

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02 of 10

Apple Pie

Apple pie and latte
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Another Dutch classic is apple pie. Along with apples, the filling usually includes cinnamon and currants and the pie is topped with whipped cream. Café Papeneiland, an easy-going local eatery, serves some of the best apple pie in the country; the recipe that has been handed down through generations.

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03 of 10

Stroopwafel

Stack of Dutch caramel waffles on a plate.
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Stroopwafels are baked batter "sandwiches" filled with caramel, and they are the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee. In fact, some people place the stroopwafel on top of the coffee as a sort of lid to warm up the stroopwafel for an altogether more oozy experience. Stroopwafels are thought to have originated from Gouda (famous for its cheese) so it makes sense to head there for your first bite of this addictive sweet treat. Avoid pre-packaged versions in shops and head to the Syrup Waffle Factory for freshly made stroopwafels.

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04 of 10

Dutch Pancakes (Pannekoeken)

Overhead shot of a dutch pancake folded in half, topped with walnuts, on a blue and white floral plate. To the right of the plate there is a fork and knife on a white napkin. There is a blue menu from Oudt Leyden under the left side of the plate. above and slightly to the right of the plate is a pink daisy in a blue and white vase. Above and to the left of the plate is a bottle of syrup and a container of confectioners sugar

 Courtesy of Oudt Leyden

Dutch pancakes are not dissimilar to large French crepes and they come topped with sweet and savory flavours such as apple and cinnamon sugar or cheese and ham. Head to Leiden and make a pit stop at Oudt Leyden, which has gained a reputation as the best pancake house in the Netherlands.

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05 of 10

Dutch Codfish

With the North Sea close at hand, fresh fish isn’t exactly in short supply in the Netherlands. Head to the island of Texel and you can experience some of the freshest fish, plus the famous Texel lamb, which tastes incredible thanks to the animals being able to roam freely. You can try local food from land and sea, that’s been expertly prepared, at Bij Jef, a Michelin-starred restaurant on the island.

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06 of 10

Poffertjes

Dutch Poffertjes (Mini Pancakes) at Street Market
Michael Berman / Getty Images

The Dutch pancakes cousin is poffertjes, small puffed up pancakes. Light and spongy, they are traditionally served with butter and icing sugar. You can get poffertjes in plenty of restaurants and supermarkets but since the 1800s these little sweet treats have been sold at a delightful stall in a small park an hour outside Amsterdam. It's open each year from March until early September.

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07 of 10

Fries (Frites) and Sauce

Person Holding French Fries Over Walkway
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The Dutch love their fries and most come smothered in frietsaus: a lighter, sweeter version of mayonnaise. At Dapp Frietwinkel, in Utrecht, the team cooks up fresh batches of organic frites each day. Choose from a selection of sauces, including an egg-free mayo for vegans and an ever-changing seasonal sauce.

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08 of 10

Herring

two halves of raw, fresh herring on a plate with diced onion. The herring closer to the camera has one dutch flag toothpick in it and the herring farther away has two dutch flag toothpicks

Ira Heuvelman-Dobrolyubova / Getty Images

Another gift from the North Sea is herring, which is traditionally served raw with onions in the Netherlands. Head to Schmidt Zeevis, which supplies fresh fish to restaurants across the country, and stock up on food from its lunch corner or take seafood home from the delicatessen and cook it yourself.

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09 of 10

Hutspot

Hutspot (bolied potatoes, onion and carrots) with klapstuk (boiled beef) in purple plate, wooden surface, sided by cutlery.
Frans Schalekamp / Getty Images

Hutspot was first discovered in the 1500s in Leiden, when the Dutch found a stew that the Spanish were cooking after they had fled the city during the Eighty Years’ war. The original stew was made from parsnips, but today it is potato-based and mixed with carrots, onions, and sometimes, meat. The Hutspot’s cousin is Stamppot which consists of potatoes mashed with various vegetables like kale and sauerkraut. During the winter head to Roberto’s in Leiden, to sample this traditional Dutch stew.

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10 of 10

Oliebollen

Traditional dutch oliebollen donuts oliebollen. A woman picking one donut, bokeh lights background

Ira Heuvelman-Dobrolyubova / Getty Images

Oliebollen are deep fried dough balls with currants that are dusted with icing sugar. Traditionally eaten warm on New Year’s Eve, street vendors and bakeries start serving these sweet treats during the winter festive period. Get yours from Hollandse Gebakkraam, a friendly vendor on Marie Heinekenplein, a stone’s throw from the famous Albert Cuyp Market.

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