Netherlands- Bitterballen Recipe


When we asked a friend for a typical recipe from the Netherlands, he sent this recipe for Bitterballen. The original recipe comes from Jo Cooks, and I have simplified it and converted it to measurements we find in the UK. Also, I tried making some in the air fryer and they came out quite well for the healthier version. These tasty fried meatballs are a typical snack in bars in the Netherlands, although I have not ever tried them there. Next time I go, I will look out for them. The best part is when they are hot, the melted sauce inside keeps the meatballs very moist.

Making the gravy for bitterballen
Making the sauce for bitterballen
Cooking the meat and gravy for bitterballen
Cooking the meat and sauce for bitterballen



1/2 c (125g) unsalted butter
1 cup plain flour
3 cups beef broth
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 small onion minced
1 pound (about 500g) ground beef
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


3/4 cup plain flour
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups breadcrumbs
vegetable oil for frying

Cooling the meat mixture
Cooling the meat mixture
Rolling the meatballs in flour, egg and breadcrumbs
Rolling the meatballs in flour, egg and breadcrumbs


First, in a large frying pan melt the butter over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, add the flour gradually, whisking the mixture constantly. It will turn into a thick paste called a roux.

Dissolve the beef bouillon cubes in the hot water.

Slowly whisk the beef broth into the roux. Stir until the sauce is well-blended and thick. Simmer the sauce for a couple minutes then add the parsley, onion, and mince beef. Stir well. Season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Transfer the meat mixture to a covered container and refrigerate for at least several hours until the gravy has solidified.

Next take 3 soup bowls and add flour into one. Add beaten eggs to the second. And in the last one, add bread crumbs. Shape the chilled meat mixture into 1 inch diameter balls. Place these meatballs on one plate. Roll the balls first in flour, then eggs, then finally bread crumbs. Place these meatballs on a separate plate, ready for frying. Once completed, place the plate with the meatballs in the fridge until ready to fry.

In a medium saucepan, add about 2 inches of oil. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. Fry the meatballs in batches until golden brown. This should take about 4 or 5 minutes.

For a healthier version, you can also cook these in an air fryer. Prepare the meatballs and then put them in batches on foil sprayed with oil. Spray the meatballs lightly with oil. Cook at 190C for about 10 minutes on one side. Then rotate and cook for 5 minutes longer.

Serve hot with mustard or hot sauce.

Frying the bitterballen
Frying the bitterballen
Air-frying bitterballen
Air-frying bitterballen

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