Oliebollen – Dutch Doughnuts

An oliebol (plural oliebollen) is a traditional Dutch and Belgian food. They are called oliebollen (literally: oil spheres) in the Netherlands, while in Belgium they are called smoutenbollen (literally: lard balls although the real “smout” is of rapeseed oil) in Dutch and croustillons (loosely: crispies) in French. In English they are more commonly known as Dutch Doughnuts or Dutchies. In the distant region of Istria, now split into the countries of Italy, Croatia and Slovenia, a variation of this dish is called fritole, fritule and blinci. In Serbia they are called uštipci.

Oliebollen are a variety of dumpling made by using an ice-scooper or two spoons to scoop a certain amount of dough and dropping the dough into a deep fryer filled with hot oil. In this way, a sphere-shaped oliebol emerges. Oliebollen are traditionally eaten on New Year’s Eve and at funfairs. In wintertime, they are also sold in the street at mobile stalls.

The dough is made from flour, eggs, yeast, some salt, milk, baking powder and usually sultanas, currants, raisins and sometimes zest or succade (candied fruit). A notable variety is the appelbeignet which contains only a slice of apple, but different from oliebollen, the dough should not rise for at least an hour. Oliebollen are usually served with powdered sugar. In Flanders the “oliebol” is called “smoutenbol” where as the only difference is not baked in vegetable oil, but in animal fat. Another difference between the Dutch oliebol and the Flanders smoutenbol is that the smoutenbol is usually not filled in contrast to the Dutch oliebol. The filling of the oliebol could consist of raisins, currants and apple, other ingredients can be added, such as succade, pieces of orange or whip cream.

Oliebollen - Dutch Doughnuts
Oliebollen are a variety of doughnut made by using an ice-scooper or two spoons to scoop a certain amount of dough and dropping the dough into a deep fryer filled with hot oil.
Cuisine: Dutch
Recipe type: Street Food
Serves: 18
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 2 x 7 g sachets dried yeast
  • ¼ cup caster sugar
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ⅓ cup currants
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 green apple, peeled, finely chopped
  • vegetable oil, to deep-fry
  • icing sugar, to dust
  1. Place yeast, sugar and ½ cup lukewarm water in a small bowl and stir to dissolve. Set aside for 10 minutes or until mixture bubbles.
  2. Place flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
  3. Pour the milk, eggs and yeast mixture into the well and stir until combined.
  4. Add the currants, raisins and apple, and stir until well combined.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until dough doubles in size.
  6. Fill a deep-fryer or a large saucepan ⅓ full with oil and heat over medium heat to about 160°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 40 seconds). Working in batches, use 2 dessertspoons to form 6 cm balls, then gently drop them into oil and deep-fry, turning halfway, for 5 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
  7. Dust Oliebollen generously with icing sugar and serve immediately.

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