When it comes to the Netherlands, many have pretty much only heard stories about Amsterdam. However, there are a lot of things the Netherlands should be known for, one of which is their amazing cuisine, especially the traditional Dutch desserts.
Many Dutch sweets aren’t widely known and that’s why it is good to know some of the delicious Dutch pastries and cakes that you must try!
Traditional Dutch Desserts
Poffertjes (Dutch Mini Pancakes)
One of the most popular Dutch desserts from the Netherlands is called poffertjes. They look a lot like mini pancakes and are actually made from the same dough as Dutch pancakes.
The sweet, Dutch snack is small and fluffy and needs to be made in a special pan to create the shape. Poffertjes are often enjoyed with powdered sugar and a lump of butter to give them an even better flavor!
You could also eat the Dutch dessert with jam, syrup, chocolate, or even cheese if you’d like!
Paasbrood/ Kerststol (Easter/Chrismas Loaf)
As long as we are talking about festive Dutch desserts, you should totally try their paasbrood during Easter! This pastry translates to Easter Loaf and it tastes amazing!
The dough is filled with candied raisins and a sweet almond paste before being baked. After which, the loaf itself is topped off with a kind of glaze or powdered sugar.
This delicious Dutch pastry makes a regular appearance on two occasions every year. During Easter, the Dutch call it paasbrood; but during Christmas, it’s called kerststol, or Christmas Loaf. Although the names are different, the pastry is exactly the same, which means you can enjoy it twice a year!
Oliebollen (Doughnut Balls)
Oliebollen are one of the best Dutch desserts you will find in the Netherlands! This Dutch pastry is commonly seen during Christmas and New Year’s when hosts put these on the table for family and friends to enjoy during the festivities.
The name “oliebollen” translates to oil balls, referencing how the balls of dough are baked in hot oil. However, these are basically comparable to the likes of doughnuts ball.
Oliebollen are usually eaten with powdered sugar on top, but some people pair it with jam. You can also get some fancy oliebollen with raisins in them.
Appelflap (Apple Turnover)
Another traditional Dutch dessert is called the appelflap. These pastries from the Netherlands are filled with sweet apples on the inside. You can also consider it to be a smaller version of apple pie is much easier to carry with you.
They make for a good dessert or snack, so consider bringing them on a day trip to one of the famous landmarks in the Netherlands.
Appelflappen is made from dough, apples, and powdered sugar, but sometimes you can find one stuffed with raisins as well. This is also one of the oldest Holland desserts as they date way back to the Middle Ages.
Appelflappen is a common baked treat at local homes too as the recipe is quite simple. You can often find the dough in the supermarket, after which you only have to put some apples on it and then fold the dough so it closes.
Pannekoeken (Dutch Pancakes)
Pannekoeken is not only a great Dutch dessert but is often eaten as lunch or dinner as well.
You can consider it the Dutch version of American pancakes; only these pancakes are a lot thinner and bigger. One pannekoek takes up an entire frying pan!
There are various ways to make pannekoeken as everyone prefers something different for their toppings. You can make the standard version of course, and top it off with powdered sugar or syrup. However, the pannekoeken can also be made with bacon, banana, apple, cheese, or spinach.
Banketstaaf (Dutch Christmas Log)
A banketstaaf is a Dutch dessert that locals like to enjoy during the holidays. This sweet, Dutch pastry is made from a light, puffy dough, and very sweet almonds. It’s perfect if you love sweet snacks!
When you try banketstaaf for the first time, try to have a cup of tea on the side. Nothing will give you a cozy feeling like eating a piece of banketstaaf while sipping on your tea! It helps to curb the sweetness and wash down the treat.
Tompouce (Puff Pastry With Cream)
Are you looking for one of the best desserts from the Netherlands? Be sure to try the tompouce! This cake was invented as a variation of the French Napoleon dessert. You can find tompouce in most of the supermarkets and bakeries.
Tompouce is made from two kinds of biscuits with rich cream in the middle. On top of the tompouce is a layer of frosting that’s usually pink in color, giving this pastry a distinctive look.
This Dutch dessert is so popular in the Netherlands that they even change the color of the frosting to orange during King’s Day!
Moorkop (Cream Puff)
Moorkop is another sinful, Dutch dessert that is not to be missed. This decadent pastry is made from a choux pastry, filled with whipped cream.
To make this Dutch sweet even richer they glaze it with chocolate. You will often find some more whipped cream on top of the moorkop as well for fancier versions. Sometimes, bakers even top it with pieces of fruit, like pineapple or tangerine.
If you translate the name of this dessert in Dutch, it actually means Moor’s head. The chocolate cover of the Dutch pastry resembles a Moor’s turban, which is why it got this name.
Nonnevot (Twisted Doughnut – Nun’s Buttocks)
Nonnevot is a Dutch pastry from the southern province called Limburg. This Dutch sweet has been around since the 17th century and is still very popular today!
The dough is made with salt, milk, flour, yeast, lard, butter, and brown sugar. To transform the dough into a nonnevot, they deep-fry the pastry until it has a nice, golden-brown color.
This Dutch sweet used to be only available during carnival, but it can now be bought throughout the year in other regional bakeries as well.
In amusing Dutch fashion, the name of the pastry actually means nun’s butt. However, there’s a ‘logical’ explanation for this. The knotted shape of the Dutch dessert looks a lot like the knot you will find on the back of the uniform of a nun.
Bossche Bol (Chocolate Profiteroles – Balls From Den Bosch)
This Dutch dessert originates from the city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch or Den Bosch. Bossche Bol is a pastry filled with whipped cream and coated in chocolate.
These pastries are so big that they are usually served with a fork and knife, as well as a napkin since it is a rather messy affair when eating them.
This Dutch pastry has been around since 1921 and was invented by Henri van der Zijde. The people in the Netherlands usually enjoy a Bossche bol with some coffee.
You can consider the Bossche bol as a much larger version of the moorkop, although they have an even bigger version of this pastry as well, called a reuzenbol.
Gemberbolus (Dutch Ginger Roll)
Gemberbolus is another one of the traditional Dutch desserts in the Netherlands. This pastry is made with candied ginger and cinnamon, creating a unique taste. You will also find milk, flour, yeast, salt, vanilla, eggs, butter, and sugar in them of course.
This is one of the oldest Holland desserts as they think it was first prepared during the time of the Jewish influence on Dutch cuisine. Now, you can find this Dutch pastry in many bakeries throughout the Netherlands.
The Dutch sweet is usually baked and sold in an aluminum cup for easy consumption because it is so sticky on the outside.
Zeeuwse Bolus (Dutch Cinnamon Rolls)
Do you like cinnamon rolls? Then you should definitely try this Dutch pastry called Zeeuwse bolus. The dessert itself is made from flour, salt, sugar, yeast, butter, and milk, then mixed with dark brown sugar and cinnamon.
Try to consume this dessert when it’s still warm and gooey because that’s when the flavor and fluffy texture are prime for enjoyment.
Zeeuwse bolussen were first prepared by Jewish bakers back in the 17th century. Nowadays, people in the Netherlands often have Zeeuwse bolus with a cup of coffee and some butter.
Peperkoek (Dutch Gingerbread Cake)
Peperkoek is a Dutch pastry that’s often eaten during lunch or breakfast in the Netherlands. Although it looks a lot like cake and has many similarities, the taste is quite different. This cake is seasoned with nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves, which gives it its light brown color and unique taste.
The Dutch like to eat their peperkoek with a layer of butter, which enhances the taste. Peperkoek goes great with a cup of tea, so be sure to try that!
Another advantage of this traditional Dutch dessert is that it can stay fresh for weeks, even at room temperature.
Boterkoek (Dutch Butter Cake)
One of the best traditional Dutch desserts is boterkoek. The cake is made from sugar, flour, butter, eggs, and vanilla. For extra flavor, you can also find variations with lemon zest, almond extract, or almond shavings.
To make the cake look better visually, bakers brush the sticky dough with some beaten eggs and then decorate the cake. This is why you can see a criss-cross pattern on top of the cake after it has been baked golden brown in the oven.
Most people in the Netherlands enjoy their slice or square of boterkoek with some coffee on the side.
Vlaai (Dutch Fruit Pie)
Another Dutch dessert originating from the region of Limburg is vlaai. Although there are many kinds of vlaai, it’s different from a regular pie altogether.
Vlaai usually consists of a yeast pie base with filling. On top, you will often find a crumbly topping. You can get vlaai with cherries, apricot, rice pudding, apples, or chocolate, so there’s always plenty to choose from.
Vlaai was first made by tribes from Germany. They drizzled the dough in fruit juice or honey to make it sweeter. Later, it was also used as a kind of sacrificial bread in monasteries.
In the Netherlands, vlaai was first eaten in Maastricht during festivities and celebrations, but now it’s very common throughout the entire province of Limburg.
Appeltaart (Apple Pie)
Although apple pie itself is not a dessert from the Netherlands, appeltaart is a Dutch version of this delicious pastry. It’s made with sliced apples, which get covered with lattice pastry to make it a delicious pie!
Most people in the Netherlands serve appeltaart on someone’s birthday, but you can often order it as a concluding dessert in restaurants as well. There are also different variations of appeltaart you can try, some have raisins or berries in them.
Top off your Appeltaart with some whipped cream or ice cream for the perfect heavenly pairing.
Speculaas (Spiced Biscuits)
Speculaas are a kind of cookie laced with spices that give them their amazing taste. They are typically made with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.
This traditional food in the Netherlands is often eaten on the evening of St. Nicholas Day, which is celebrated in early December.
The children of the Netherlands will put their shoes by the chimney and St. Nicholas will reward them by putting speculaas and other Dutch sweets in them before the morning!
Another Dutch sweet that’s eaten on a festive occasion is called pepernoten. These are really small cookies that resemble a smaller version of speculaas. Similarly, they are a common treat left in kids’ shoes on St. Nicholas Day.
Pepernoten are pretty much only available in grocery stores around the time of St. Nicholas Day. Although throughout the years, stores have started selling these baked goods earlier and earlier. You can often already find pepernoten in September!
Stroopwafel (Caramel Syrup Waffles)
Do you want to try one of the sweetest Dutch pastries? Then don’t miss the famous stroopwafel! This Dutch dessert is actually one of the best-known pastries in the Netherlands. Stroopwafels consist of two very thin waffles made from baked butter.
To stick the thin waffles together, they use a kind of sticky syrup, the ‘stroop’, to glue them together, which combines them into one cookie. You can find stroopwafels in every grocery store in the cookie aisle. Try it as a sweet snack during your coffee or tea break!
Krakelingen (Sweet Dutch Pretzels)
One of the best Dutch pastries is the sweet, Dutch pretzel. These can be found in pretty much any supermarket and aren’t like the salty pretzels you might know. These cookies are quite buttery and covered in sugar.
Interestingly, you will have seen some similar variations of this in Danish cookie boxes. They are hard cookies that look like mini pretzels with their twisted pattern.
If you want to bake more often, you can also prepare the sweet Dutch pretzels yourself. The process of making this Dutch dessert isn’t difficult, although it is time-consuming so make sure you have plenty of time available.
Indulging In Traditional Dutch Desserts
From the sweet and sticky stroopwafel to the long-standing Vlaai, Dutch desserts are a unique treat. They are an important part of traditional Dutch food and a great way to experience the unique flavors of this country
Whether it’s for festive occasions or just because you’re craving something sweet, these tasty treats are sure to satisfy your cravings. Be sure to take some time out of your day to indulge in one of these classic dutch desserts when you are there!