When the Netherlands comes to mind, most people think of Amsterdam’s romantic canals, the Red Light District, and the country’s lax marijuana laws. What they don’t think of, though, is Dutch cuisine.
And while that doesn’t come as much of a surprise, it is a real shame; there are quite a few Dutch dishes that deserve some recognition!
Here are the top 10 Dutch foods to try in Amsterdam!
10 Dutch Foods to Try in Amsterdam
If you like caramel, you’re going to love stroopwafels. This traditional Dutch treat comes in the form of two thinly pressed waffles, glued together with a mixture of syrup, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Stroopwafels can be eaten alone or accompanied by tea/coffee. Either way, these things are downright scrumptious.
Poffertjes are another traditional sweet treat that you’ve got to try while in Amsterdam! Basically, poffertjes are Dutch pancakes, dressed in powdered sugar, butter, and syrup. Unlike American pancakes, however, poffertjes have a light, spongy texture; and of course, they’re mini!
Our favorite place to eat poffertjes in Amsterdam is The Pancake Bakery, located on the Prinsengracht.
If you want to make your own poffertjes at home, click here for our poffertjes recipe!
Next up are pannekoeken, or pancakes. Dutch pannekoeken are very thin, light pancakes which are usually about a foot in diameter. Pannekoeken can be made either sweet or savory, with various toppings such as bacon, cheese, apples, raisins, or the typical combination of powdered sugar, butter, and syrup. Really, the options are endless!
At The Pancake Bakery, we went the savory route. We ordered the Caprese pancake, topped with melted cheese, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, pesto, and fresh basil (see the featured photo)!
And you thought apple pie was American all along, didn’t you? Turns out, apple pie, or appeltaart, is incredibly Dutch. The filling of an appeltaart consists of slices of apples, sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, raisins, and sometimes nuts and liqueur. Appeltaart is usually topped with a lattice of pie crust, but can also have a crumbly topping, or no topping at all.
If you ask Amsterdam locals where to find the best appeltaart, they’ll likely tell you to go to Winkel 43, in the Jordaan district. But be prepared for chaos and a long wait – this place is popular!
Our Dutch friends have often told us, “Don’t ask what’s inside bitterballen, just eat them.” When I wouldn’t take that for an answer, they would reply, “No one actually knows what’s inside.” In conclusion, bitterballen are just balls of deep-fried goodness, served piping hot, with mustard for dipping.
But if you really want to know the secret, I’ll tell you! Bitterballen usually contain a roux of butter and flour, minced beef or veal, beef broth, parsley, salt, and pepper. Some of the bitterballen we sampled in Amsterdam also had notes of curry! So good!
If you didn’t already know, the Dutch controlled Indonesia until after World War II. For this reason, Indonesian flavors have become commonplace in the Netherlands, and of course, Dutch influences still remain in Indonesia, too.
One popular dish in both countries is loempia, which are deep-fried spring rolls stuffed with varieties of meats and vegetables.
#7 Frieten met mayonaise
Love it or hate it, the Dutch will put mayonnaise on just about anything. Well, maybe not anything. But they do generously dollop mayo onto one dish in particular: frieten met mayonaise. French fries with mayo is wildly popular in the Netherlands. Give it a try, won’t you?
Kaastengels are another direct reflection of the Netherlands’ history with Indonesia. Kaastengels are basically deep-fried loempia, filled with Gouda or Edam cheese. They are served hot, with a bowl of spicy chili sauce for dipping.
A fair warning: Kaastengels are dangerously delicious. While in Amsterdam, I couldn’t stop at just one serving. I kept ordering more and more kaastengels for the whole table (but mostly for me) to snack on.
If there’s one food the Dutch are famous for, it’s their kaas! By far, the most famous Dutch cheeses are Gouda, Edam, and Old Amsterdam, but don’t stop there. There are plenty of other Dutch cheeses to discover. Pop into the cheese shops, outdoor markets, and grocery stores to sample them all!
#10 Tony’s Chocoloney
The last on this list of foods to try in Amsterdam isn’t exactly traditional. However, it does come from Amsterdam, and the Dutch absolutely love it. Tony’s Chocoloney is probably the best chocolate on the planet. And with flavors like sea salt caramel, dark coffee crunch, and dark pecan coconut, this stuff can’t be beaten. You can find Tony’s Chocoloney in just about any grocery store in Amsterdam!
So next time you visit…
Those are the top 10 Dutch foods to try in Amsterdam! We tried them all out, and they certainly passed the taste test! We loved ’em all.
Of course, there are other Dutch foods you could try, like pickled herring or drop (a licorice-flavored candy), however these 10 foods to try in Amsterdam are sure to be crowd-pleasers, no matter what!
Over to you! Have you ever visited Amsterdam, or anywhere else in the Netherlands? How many of these Dutch foods did you try?