meatballs recipe

Bitterballen (Dutch Meatballs) Recipe

5/5 (1)
1 hr 45 mins
Vadim Rachok
01.05.2024
01.05.2024
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Nut Free Dish

Make a classic Dutch bar snack at home! Dutch meatballs (Bitterballen) are a hearty and delicious dish that can be served as a side dish or on their own. They are small meatballs made with ground beef that is fried, seasoned, and combined with the sauce. Then all you have to do is form your meatballs and fry them! It is quicker than you think. Plus, this Bitterballen recipe will help you make this delicious dish super easy!

Bitterballen are a beloved Dutch delicacy, offering a delightful burst of flavors and textures. These crispy meatballs are perfect for sharing with friends over a cold beer or as a satisfying snack on their own. With this easy-to-follow recipe, you can recreate the authentic taste of Bitterballen right in your own kitchen. Enjoy the crunchy exterior and creamy interior of these delicious Dutch treats!

What is Bitterballen (Dutch meatballs)?

Bitterballen are the quintessential Dutch snack. They offer a delightful combination of textures and flavors. These crunchy, golden balls of Dutch origin are traditionally made with a hearty filling of ground beef or veal, beef stock, butter, flour, and a variety of herbs and spices. Once they are fried to perfection, they offer a crispy exterior that gives way to a creamy and rich interior that is bursting with flavorful goodness.

Dutch meatballs are often flavored with herbs such as parsley and nutmeg. These add a distinctive savory and aromatic taste. These delectable treats are served piping hot and are typically accompanied by a tangy mustard dip, which further enhances their savory profile. Bitterballen have become an important part of Dutch cuisine, enjoyed as appetizers, bar snacks, or as part of a casual meal. They are loved by both locals and visitors alike for their delightful taste and comforting indulgence.

What Is a Roux?

A roux is simply flour and fat cooked together – that’s it. It’s a great base for developing beautiful flavors and textures, and it’s the basis for so many beautiful sauces. It is better to cook our roux gently until nicely browned, so the raw flour flavor is cooked out.

Bitterballen Ingredients

how to prepare Dutch Meatballs recipe

  • Ground beef: The main ingredient of Bitterballen is ground beef, which gives this Dutch snack its hearty, meaty taste.
  • Onion: Finely chopped onion adds a depth of flavor and sweetness to the filling and enhances the overall flavor profile of the product.
  • Beef Stock: Serves as the liquid component of the filling, adding richness and umami notes to the mix.
  • Flour: Used as a thickener, the flour helps bind ingredients together, creating a smooth, cohesive filling texture.
  • Butter: Butter adds richness and creaminess to the filling, resulting in a smooth mouthfeel and a buttery flavor.
  • Nutmeg: Aromatic nutmeg adds warm, earthy notes to the filling, complementing the savory elements and adding depth of flavor.
  • Thyme and Rosemary: These herbs add herbal freshness and complexity to the filling, enhancing the overall flavor profile.
  • Medium Hot Mustard: Adds a spicy kick and depth of taste to the filling, balancing the richness of the beef and butter.
  • Parsley Bunch: Fresh parsley adds a subtle herbal note to the stuffing, as well as brightness and a pop of color.
  • Salt and Pepper: Salt and pepper are essential seasonings that bring balance and depth to the overall flavor profile and enhance the flavor of the stuffing.
  • Frying Oil: Oil provides a deliciously crispy exterior while sealing in a flavorful filling.

For the breading:

  • Eggs: Beaten eggs act as a binder for the breading, helping the flour and breadcrumbs adhere to the Bitterballen.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour is used as the first coat in the breading procedure, helping the eggs stick to the surface of the Bitterballen.
  • Breadcrumbs: They are used as the final coating to create a crispy and golden exterior when the Bitterballen is fried.

How to Make Bitterballen at Home?

Meetballs recipe step by step 1-4

Meetballs recipe step by step 5-8

Meetballs recipe step by step 9-12

  1. Dice the onion and chop the parsley into strips.
  2. Sauce: Heat a saucepan, add flour, and fry well to dry it. Add the butter and fry for another 30 seconds.
  3. Add the broth, salt, and pepper, and add nutmeg. Stir constantly until the sauce thickens and becomes homogeneous.
  4. Heat a frying pan, add vegetable oil 0,7-1 ounces (20-30 g), add onion, sauté for 2-3 minutes, add ground beef. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the ground beef is crumbly and golden. 
  5. Add the thyme, rosemary, and the finished sauce.
  6. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, remove the thyme and rosemary, and add the parsley.
  7. Transfer to a bowl or box, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for one hour to thicken and cool.
  8. Use your hands to form balls (1-1,4 ounces (30-40 g)) from the cooled mixture.
  9. Beat the eggs with a whisk until smooth. 
  10. Bread the balls: Roll the meatballs in the flour, then in the eggs, then in the breadcrumbs, then again in the eggs, and finally in the breadcrumbs.
  11. Heat a frying pan with 6 ounces (180 g) of oil. 
  12. Fry the meatballs for 30-40 seconds until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel to remove excess fat.

Chef Recipe Tips:

  • You can add your favorite spices to the balls – coriander, cumin, paprika, hops-surely, etc. 
  • You can add grated mozzarella or cheddar cheese to the middle of the balls.
  • Bitterballens are the perfect beer snack.

What Is a Roux?

A roux is simply flour and fat cooked together – that’s it. It’s a great base for developing beautiful flavors and textures, and it’s the basis for so many beautiful sauces. It is better to cook our roux gently until nicely browned, so the raw flour flavor is cooked out.

how do you cook meatballs

What to Serve with Bitterballen?

  • Mustard: A classic condiment to serve with Bitterballen, mustard is tangy and slightly spicy. Its tangy flavor complements the savory richness of the snacks. It’s a delightful contrast.
  • Aioli: Add a flavorful twist to Bitterballen with creamy garlic aioli. It makes a delicious dipping sauce that enhances the overall flavor with its garlicky notes and smooth texture.
  • Chili Sauce: For those who like a little heat, chili sauce or pepper jelly adds a spicy kick. Combining savory and spicy creates an exciting flavor profile.
  • Pickles: Pickled gherkins or cornichons are a refreshing and tangy accompaniment to Bitterballen. Their crunchy texture and tart flavor balance the richness of the snacks. They also have a palate-cleansing effect.
  • Beer: Bitterballen are often enjoyed as bar snacks and are a perfect match for a cold glass of beer. The crisp, refreshing qualities of beer help cleanse the palate between bites. This makes for a satisfying and enjoyable drinking experience.
  • Salad: A light and refreshing counterpart to Bitterballen is a fresh green salad with a simple vinaigrette dressing. The salad’s crisp greens and tangy dressing provide a contrast to the richness of the snacks and balance the meal.

easy recipe for meatballs

Storage Tips

Bitterballen should be eaten hot and fresh from the fryer. If you have leftovers after cooking, they will be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

To reheat them, use an air fryer. This will revive the outer crispness of the breading and heat them through. Otherwise, you can place them on a baking sheet and heat them up in the oven. You could use the microwave. But that would make them soggy.

Another way to avoid this problem, as mentioned above, is to freeze a batch of uncooked Bitterballen and fry only the quantity you need!

Bitterballen (Dutch Meatballs) Recipe
5/5 (1)
Author:Vadim Rachok
These are really delicious and easy to make. Serve with potatoes.
meatballs recipe
Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 46 mins
Servings:
5
The ingredients you need:
10,6 ounces (300 g) ground beef
1 pc onion
10,6 ounces (300 g) beef broth
1,4 ounces (40 g) flour
1,4 ounces (40 g) butter
0,04 ounces (1 g) nutmeg
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1,4 ounces (40 g) medium hot mustard
1 bunch parsley
salt
pepper
34 fluid ounces (1 l) oil for frying
2-3 pcs eggs
3 ounces (80 g) flour
3,5 ounces (100 g) breadcrumbs
Let’s start !
1

Dice the onion and chop the parsley into strips.

2

Sauce: Heat a saucepan, add flour, and fry well to dry it. Add the butter and fry for another 30 seconds.

3

Add the broth, salt, and pepper, and add nutmeg. Stir constantly until the sauce thickens and becomes homogeneous.

4

Heat a frying pan, add vegetable oil 0,7-1 ounces (20-30 g), add onion, sauté for 2-3 minutes, add ground beef. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the ground beef is crumbly and golden. 

5

Add the thyme, rosemary, and the finished sauce.

6

Simmer for 2-3 minutes, remove the thyme and rosemary, and add the parsley.

7

Transfer to a bowl or box, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for one hour to thicken and cool.

8

Use your hands to form balls (1-1,4 ounces (30-40 g)) from the cooled mixture.

9

Beat the eggs with a whisk until smooth. 

10

Bread the balls: Roll the meatballs in the flour, then in the eggs, then in the breadcrumbs, then again in the eggs, and finally in the breadcrumbs.

11

Heat a frying pan with 6 ounces (180 g) of oil. 

12

Fry the meatballs for 30-40 seconds until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel to remove excess fat.

Nutrition Information
Servings Per Recipe: 5 Calories: 2562
% Daily Value *
 % Daily Value *
Total Fat 37g47%
Saturated Fat 20g101%
Cholesterol 169mg56%
Sodium 1548mg67%
Total Carbohydrate 24g9%
Dietary Fiber 3g10%
Total Sugars 6g 
Protein 23g46%
Vitamin C 10mg11%
Calcium 143mg11%
Iron 4mg22%
Potassium 296mg6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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Add a twist to your Bitterballen by experimenting with different spices or adding cheese to the filling for extra flavor. And don't forget the perfect pairing - serve them with tangy mustard, creamy aioli, or spicy chili sauce for a delightful taste sensation. Plus, freezing uncooked Bitterballen allows for quick and convenient frying whenever you crave these delectable snacks!

Vadim Rachok
Vadim Rachok
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