Oliebollen (Dutch Donuts)

Oliebollen (Dutch Donuts)

I hope everyone has had a great Christmas with family and friends. Now it’s time to prepare for new years eve! Even on new years eve, the Dutch have a few traditional foods to enjoy. One of them are oliebollen, which literally translated into “oil spheres” or “oil balls”.

The oliebol is one of the oldest Dutch delights. They were originally made in winter months to content the gods and scare off evil spirits. One of them was the Perchta, the goddess of winter. She had a sword and would slice open bellies of whoever stood in her way, especially in winter. The legend goes that anyone who ate enough of these greasy foods would not be killed, because the sword would simply slide off of their bellies because of the fat.

Oliebollen are a kind of dumpling, either plain or filled with raisins, fried in hot oil. Oliebollen are traditionally eaten on New Year’s Eve and at funfairs. In wintertime, they are also sold in the street at mobile stalls, together with other Dutch delights.

This recipe yields approx. 25 Oliebollen.


  • 1 egg
  • 500 ml milk
  • 500 gr flour
  • 7 gr dried yeast
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp salt
  • 150 gr raisins or 50/50 currants/raisins(optional)
  • Cooking oil for frying (No fat!)
  • Icing sugar to garnish

Soak raisins/currants over night in cold water or rum. Soak the raisins/currants in rum or water, preferably over night or, if you don’t have time or forgot, before starting the dough. Use warm water/rum to speed up the process.

Heat the milk until it’s 37-46°C. Sift the flour and cinnamon into a clean bowl and create a crater. Sprinkle the salt onto the flour. Now, in this crater, add the milk, sugar, yeast, cinnamon and the egg and mix thoroughly. Slowly start to mix in the flour bit by bit until it turns into a smooth batter. Add the raisins and slowly fold them in. Clean the sides of the bowl, cover with a damp cloth or towel and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour.

Heat the cooking oil to 175°C, don’t use fat! The fat will solidify at low temperatures and leave a nasty coating, and thus a horrible feeling in your mouth. Big no-no!

Use a cookie / ice cream scoop or two spoons to spoon the batter into the oil and fry for about 3 minutes, max. 5 scoops at a time or whatever less fits into your pan. Turn them over after 1,5 minutes, if that doesn’t happen on its own. If your oliebollen can swim freely, they will turn over by themselves once one side is done. This happens because the batter side is heavier than the fried side!

Remove the oliebollen with a slotted spoon, place them onto paper towels. Change the paper towels regularly so they can continue to soak up the excess oil.

Make sure the oil is at the correct temperature and proceed to fry all the batter. Serve with powdered sugar on a plate.

Happy New Year!

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