Oliebollen (Deep-fried dough balls)

Susan, AKA Kiwicook
Susan, AKA Kiwicook

Susan, AKA Kiwicook

In her days as a recipe developer, Susan has created over 450 recipes. Her Dutch and New Zealander roots serve as a basis for her culinary inspiration.

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Olienbollen deep fried dough balls

New Years Eve just wouldn’t be the same without Dutch oliebollen. These deep-fried dough balls studded with rum soaked raisins and doused in icing sugar is the way Netherlanders ring in the New Year. It’s  a centuries old tradition and it’s said that oliebollen were likely the precursor to the modern day donut, thanks to the Dutch settlers bringing their recipes with them to the New World.


‘Young woman with a cooking pot filled with oliebollen’  (Aelbert Cuyp, ca. 1652). Sourced from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliebol

I have wonderful childhood memories of my Dutch family and friends getting together for New Year parties and partaking of oliebollen, along with deep-fried apple fritters, otherwise known as appelbeignets (let’s not even start a conversation about calories!). And why do we love them? Coz they’re crunchy on the outside, soft and doughy on the inside and far too moreish for their own good – thank heavens they’re a once-a-year treat only!

I found this great recipe at The Dutch Table.com – my new go-to site for authentic Dutch recipes. I doubled the recipe and made 20 balls (ice-cream scoop size). They’re extremely easy to make and, so long as your oil is hot enough, you can’t go wrong with them. I do hope you get to try them out at least once in your life – you’ll need to go on a diet for a week afterwards, but hey… some things are worth it! Happy New Year!

Olienbollen deep fried dough balls

OLIEBOLLEN (Deep fried dough balls)

Experience the flavors of Holland with Oliebollen! These deep-fried dough balls are crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, with a touch of sweetness – a delightful and satisfying snack.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 8 hours
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 8 hours 40 minutes
Course Snack
Servings 10 servings
Calories 80 kcal


  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • A little dark rum or water, to soak raisins in
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • ½ cup of milk, warmed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
  • 8 cups vegetable oil, for frying
  • Icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar), to dust


  • Soak the raisins in some rum or warm water (enough to cover) for several hours before making the oliebollen (preferably the night before). When ready to make the oliebollen, drain the raisins and put aside.
  • Scatter the yeast in the warm milk and leave it for 10-15 minutes to ‘sponge’ – if the yeast is still active, it will froth up. If it doesn’t, you’ll probably need to buy new yeast.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and lemon zest. Stir in the milk/yeast mix. Add the salt, whisked egg and melted butter and stir the batter until combined well. Finally, stir in the drained raisins.
  • Cover with a tea-towel and let it rise until it doubles in volume (this may take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour). As you can see from the photo below, the batter is quite wet. It puffs up and bubbles when it rises and, when you stir it, it’ll look quite stringy. Stir the mixture to deflate it, then cover and allow to rise again (the second time should be shorter).
  • In the meantime, heat the oil in the fryer up to 180C (356F). Place a plate with several paper towels to soak up the excess fat of the fried balls.
  • Stir the batter (it will deflate again). Now use a large spoon or an ice cream scoop to scoop out a portion of the batter (you’ll find it’s easier if you wet the spoon in water before each scoop). Drop it into the hot oil and fry for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until a deep golden brown. Lift out each ball with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper towels (you will need to refresh the towels for each batch).
  • Transfer the oliebollen to a serving plate and sprinkle with icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar) to serve. They can be served warm or cold.


Calories: 80kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 3gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.05gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 21mgPotassium: 69mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 79IUVitamin C: 0.3mgCalcium: 21mgIron: 1mg
Keyword deep fried dough balls, Olienbollen
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Susan, AKA Kiwicook
About The Author
Susan, also known as the Kiwi Cook, hails from Levin, New Zealand, and has a unique Kiwi-Dutch-British heritage that influenced her culinary upbringing. As an artist, tutor, writer, and editor, Susan dedicates her weekends to creating delectable dishes. Her food philosophy embraces moderation and listening to her body's needs.


  1. I have recently relocated to Amsterdam and discovered oliebollen, simple to make yet very nice and tasty delicacy. Thanks for posting that recipe here, need to try to make it one day myself.

  2. I never have heard about oliebollen before.. but after seeing this post they are definitely something I need to make! They look SO delicious!

  3. Oh my gosh! My mother was born in Holland (Friesland) and came to the U.S. in 1948. She always made these every new year’s day. Was so excited when I saw them on Foodgawker. Love them! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hi Susan
    I too have Dutch parents that immigrated to Australia in the early 50’s & I’ve enjoyed Appelflappen & Olieballen for as long as I can remember. Although I’m now 55 and both parents have passed I still make these for a treat for my family & friends (mostly Aussies) as I will be tomorrow for our New Years street party festivities.
    Reason for my comment is to let you know I am the National Procurement Manager for The Source Bulk Foods, we have 32 stores nationally with more to be opened in the coming year, including 3 in New Zealand. Check our web site & hopefully this will be of interest to you as a source for organic products. Happy New Year & lekker eten

    • Lovely to meet you John. Great that you have similar memories – all the more precious given your parents have passed. Thanks for the tipoff about your company. I’ll be sure to check it out. Happy holidays!

  5. Hi Susan, love your recipes! My grandma used to make oliebollen and appelflappen every year around New Years.
    We live in the US since 5 years and my daughter and I make oliebollen around the holidays every year! Our neighbors and friends here love them!
    We also put grated apple in the dough, which make the oliebollen even taste better! You can also add some cinnamon. I prefer without, others love them better with cinnamon, so that’s personal.

    This year I will try to make the ‘Appelflappen’ for the first time. Saw you have a great recipe for that as well.

    Happy New Year!

  6. 5 stars
    I made this yesterday (without the rum). It was delicious. It’s better than my grandma’s recipe. I always thought it was Ukrainian, but someone yesterday said it was actually Dutch.

    We’ve always called this “portzelky”, which is described here: http://www.mennonitegirlscancook.ca/2008/12/portzelky-new-years-cookies.html

    It’s interesting that the Mennonite version of this recipe calls for 7 cups of flour, but the Dutch recipe calls for 1 cup of flour. I guess Mennonites have more babies and bigger families. 😉


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