Oliebollen (traditional Dutch Doughnuts) are deep-fried balls of dough covered in powdered sugar. This recipe is made with beer to make them extra airy. They are crispy on the outside and soft, airy, and juicy on the inside.
They are traditionally eaten in the Netherlands on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the beginning of a new year.
New Year is a great time to make warm food, like these freshly baked Dutch-style Doughnuts. These delicious treats will always taste best straight out of the fryer when they’re still warm.
A real Dutch tradition is to bake these Dutch Doughnuts yourself for New Year’s Eve. I make them traditionally with my mother. I’ve eaten a lot of oliebollen in my life, and I can say that our family recipe is the best! And we always get a lot of compliments about them.
You can bake the traditional oliebollen (that’s my favorite). Or variate and make them with apples, currants, or raisins. And don’t forget to sprinkle them with powdered sugar. You can also use this tough to make apple
What are oliebollen?
The Dutch word “oliebollen” literally translates to “oil balls”, which are deep-fried balls of dough and covered in icing sugar.
The main ingredients in Dutch Doughnuts are flour, butter, eggs, milk, yeast, and sugar. The dough always needs to rise before frying, to make them extra airy. Finally, they are deep-fried in oil until they become golden brown in color.
Where Does this Dutch Tradition Come From?
Oliebollen is a Dutch tradition, dating back to the 1800s when the Dutch would fry up some batter in the days leading up to New Year’s Eve and eat it while they waited for midnight to strike. The idea was that these fried treats would bring them good luck in the coming year. In Holland, oliebollen typically contain a variety of ingredients such as raisins, currants, cinnamon, and apple slices.
What is the function of beer in oliebollen?
The yeast from beer makes your oliebollen extra airy. In addition, beer gives the oliebollen an extra tasty taste. Use lukewarm beer (ideal is between 25 and 30 degrees). Choose a beer with not too many hops, or more specifically not too many hop bitters. Think of a bock beer, a double, or a pilsner.
Once you’ve made oliebollen with beer, you’ll never make it without it again!
Ingredient notes & substitutions
- Beer – use a bock beer, a double, or a pilsner. The yeast from beer makes the oliebollen extra airy.
- Sugar – you can use granulated sugar or caster sugar.
- Yeast -is used to rise the dough, to make the oliebollen airy. This recipe calls for instant dry yeast. You cannot substitute the instant dry yeast 1:1 for fresh yeast or active dry yeast. You need to change the amount of yeast. For more information about yeast.
The original oliebollen are without any filling. That’s how I like them the most! But my boyfriend likes the krentenbollen (oliebollen with currants) more then the oliebollen. You can choose which fillings you want to add to your oliebollen. You can also divide the batter at the end and make different kinds of oliebollen.
First, take the beer and milk out of the fridge an hour in advance and let them sit. The beer should warm up lukewarm (between 25-30°C or between 77-86 °F). You can also put the bottle or can of beer in some warm water.
Heat the milk in a saucepan until lukewarm (maximum 40 degrees). Melt in another saucepan the butter.
In a large bowl mix the lukewarm milk with the yeast. Make sure to use a bowl large enough for the batter to rise in without it overflowing.
Next, add the eggs, beer, all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, and melted butter to the milk mixture. Mix with an electric mixer with dough hooks until everything is dissolved.
Now it is time to add the optional fillings. You can add ground cinnamon, raisins, currants, or apple to the batter and mix with a spatula till incorporated. You can divide the batter into 2 or more different batters to make different kinds of oliebollen.
Cover the bowl with plastic foil or a damp tea towel. Now put the dough in an area with some warmth to let it rise.
Use sunflower or vegetable oil to deep-fry your oliebollen! Do not use frying fat, because that leaves a white layer of fat on a cooled oil ball. They will be fatter and taste not as good as Dutch Doughnuts with vegetable oil.
If you’re cooking with a deep fryer, set it to 356°F / 180°C. If frying on the stove, a deep pan is best. Monitor the temperature of the oil with a thermometer.
To keep the batter from sticking, dip an ice scoop in the hot oil before scooping out some dough. You can also use two spoons instead. Then scoop some dough with an ice scoop and fry it in the deep fryer. Do not fry too many oil balls at once, otherwise, the temperature of the oil will drop and the oil balls will absorb too much fat. Fry the oliebollen until golden brown and done (3-5minutes). Flip them halfway through with a slotted spoon.
Let them drain on kitchen paper and fry the rest of the batter in the same way. They should be served warm with icing sugar.
🇳🇱 Other Dutch recipes
- Dutch Butter Cake (Boterkoek)
- Classic Dutch Pancake Recipe (Pannenkoeken)
- Fresh Pecan Pear Crumble Pie
- Mixing bowls – you need 3 mixing bowls. One for the dough, one for the crumble, and one for the pear filling.
- Deep frying pan filled with sunflower oil for the best oliebollen.
- Icing scoop or two spoons for measuring the dough and scooping the oliebollen into the oil.
- Dishcloth or plastic foil – to cover the mixing bowl so the dough can rise.
👩🏼🍳 Expert tips
- Bake in grams – Use a kitchen scale to weigh your ingredients instead of using measurement cups. A kitchen scale is more accurate.
- Rise – Let the batter rise at a temperature of 30 °C for about one hour.
- Do not stir the yeast directly into the batter – but first dissolve it in a little water, beer or milk.
- Filling – Do you opt for a filling? Make sure it is balanced and that no more than 55% of the batter consists of currants and raisins.
- Don’t make the batter a day in advance. Then it will continue to rise and become too airy.
- Before baking, stir the batter firmly a few more times with a wooden spatula. This ensures a soft structure.
- Fry the oliebollen in sunflower oil or other vegetable oil. That gives the most neutral taste.
- Right temperature – make sure the temperature of the oil in your pan or deep fryer is constantly between 175 and 180 °C.
- Do not fry too many oil balls at once, otherwise, the temperature of the oil will drop and the oil balls will absorb too much fat.
🍰 How long can you store oliebollen?
Out of the refrigerator
Store oliebollen out of the refrigerator in an airtight container or cover them with clingfilm. Then they will stay good for 2-3 days. If you find them a little tough, you can warm them up in the microwave or oven and they’ll be nice and soft again, make sure to eat them warm. Sprinkle them with some icing sugar.
Never store oliebollen in the refrigerator.
Oliebollen can be stored in a Ziploc bag for up to 3 months. Take care that the oliebollen have cooled down before putting them in the freezer. Let them thaw before eating them. Thaw them at room temperature. Heat them in the oven or microwave. Serve them lukewarm with powdered sugar on top.
Leftovers can be warmed in a heated oven at 390 F/200 C for 15 minutes or in the microwave on high (850 watts) for 20 to 30 seconds.
Yeast is often used in baking. But, it is important to test yeast before using it to make sure that it’s still good and viable. Yeast has a limited shelf-life and can go bad after too much time has passed. Red Star Yeast explains how you can test your yeast.
Using a one-cup liquid measuring cup, dissolve 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar in 1/2 cup warm (110-115°F) water. If you don’t have a thermometer, the tap water should be warm but NOT hot to the touch.
Stir in one (0.25oz) packet (7g) or 2 1/4 teaspoons of dry yeast until there are no more dry yeast granules on top.
In three to four minutes, the yeast will have absorbed enough liquid to activate and start to foam.
After ten minutes, the foamy yeast mixture should have risen to the 1-cup mark and have a rounded top.
If this is true, your yeast is very active and should be used in your recipe immediately.
Remember to deduct 1/2 cup liquid from the recipe to adjust for the water used in this test.
If the yeast did not rise to the 1-cup mark, discard this yeast.
Use a vegetable oil without much flavor that you can heat to a high temperature (because of frying). Sunflower oil, vegatable oil or peanut oil are very suitable.
This recipe uses 3 teaspoons of instant yeast. If you prefer to use fresh yeast, you will need 60 grams. If you make oliebollen with dry yeast, you need 30 grams. Note: with both fresh yeast and dry yeast, you must first dissolve the yeast in lukewarm milk before adding it.
⚖️ Baking in grams
The most accurate way to bake is by baking by weight. Measuring cups are very inaccurate and can lead to baking failures. Therefore all of my recipes are posted in grams. I always bake with a scale, so I have a recipe card that automatically converts metrics to US customary, but it can have errors. So I advise you to bake with a digital scale. You can find them on Amazon for a small price.
⭐️ Did you make this? Please leave a star rating below or a review in the comments section.
Oliebollen – Traditional Dutch Doughnuts with beer
- Ice cream scoop
- Deep fryer or pan with sunflower oil
- Large mixing bowl the dough will rise it size 2 or 3 times
- 600 ml beer (lukewarm) Pilsener, IPA, Double or Bock
- 800 grams all-purpose flour
- 150 ml milk (lukewarm) lukewarm
- 50 grams unsalted butter melted
- 30 grams sugar
- 10 grams salt
- 9 grams instant dry yeast
- 2 large eggs
- pinch ground cinnamon optional
- icing sugar for garnish
- 250 grams raisins optional
- 200 grams apples optional, sour apples (like Golden apple or Granny Smith)
- 100 grams currants optional
- 3-4 liter sunflower oil
- Take the beer and milk out of the fridge an hour in advance and let it sit. The beer should warm up a bit to between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius. You can also put the bottle or can of beer in some warm water.
- Heat the milk in a saucepan until lukewarm (maximum 40 degrees). In a large bowl mix the lukewarm milk with the yeast and sugar. (Make sure to use a bowl large enough for the batter to rise in without it overflowing)150 ml milk (lukewarm), 30 grams sugar, 9 grams instant dry yeast
- In another saucepan melt the butter.50 grams unsalted butter
- Add the eggs, beer, all-purpose flour, salt, and melted butter to the milk mixture. Mix with an electric mixer with dough hooks until everything is dissolved.600 ml beer (lukewarm), 800 grams all-purpose flour, 10 grams salt, 2 large eggs, 50 grams unsalted butter
- Optional: Add ground cinnamon, raisins, currants, and apple to the batter and mix with a spatula till incorporated.pinch ground cinnamon, 250 grams raisins, 200 grams apples, 100 grams currants
- Cover the mixing bowl with plastic foil or a damp tea towel. Now put the batter away for an hour in a warm place, so that the yeast can let the dough rise.
- When the batter is almost ready to fry, turn on your deep fryer to 356°F / 180°C or you can fry the Oliebollen in a deep pan on the stove with sunflower oil, just make sure you check the temperature regularly to ensure consistency while frying the Oliebollen.3-4 liter sunflower oil
- Dip an ice cream scoop in the hot oil (this prevents the batter from sticking) and scoop the batter into balls into the hot oil. Do not fry too many oil balls at once, otherwise, the temperature of the oil will drop and the oil balls will absorb too much fat. Fry the oliebollen until golden brown and done (3-4 minutes). Flip them halfway through with a slotted spoon.
- Let the oliebollen drain on kitchen paper and fry the rest of the batter in the same way
- Serve them lukewarm with icing sugaricing sugar
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.
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