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Bitterballen on a board with mustard, a Dutch flag and a cold beer.

Bitterballen - Dutch Secrets Exposed

An extremely addictive Dutch snack consisting of slowly braised beef that's thickened with a roux and deep fried into little crispy balls.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Shaping, breading and cooling: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours
Servings: 4 aprox 24 pieces
Calories: 455kcal
Cost: $15/ 12€


  • deep fryer
  • Pressure cooker (You can also use an oven)
  • whisk
  • Baking trays
  • Cast iron pan


For the beef braise

  • ½ kg chuck or brisket cleaned of excess fat
  • 2 whole onions cut in half, skin left on
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled
  • 2 whole carrots peeled and quarted
  • 250 ml chicken stock
  • 2 pc bay leaves
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • ½ bunch thyme fresh
  • 1 tsp allspice whole
  • 1 pc star anise
  • ½ bunch fresh thyme

For the bitterballen mix

  • 30 g butter
  • 30 g flour
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp marmite optional
  • salt and pepper

For the breading

  • 1 box panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 whole eggs beaten
  • 150 g flour


  • mustard for dipping
  • frying oil


  • Sear the beef in a cast iron pan with 1 tbsp of vegetable oil until nicely browned. Work in batches to avoid cooling down the pan too quickly.
    Searing the beef to get a nice colour on the meat.
  • Sear the onions and carrots and brown nicely.
    The carrots and onions nicely browned.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients from the "beef braise" section with the browned meat to the Instant Pot. Close the lid and set it on high pressure for 35 minutes.
  • Once the timer goes off, let it cool for 20 minutes. Manually release the rest of the pressure.
  • Strain the liquid from the braise and save 250ml of the braising liquid. Once the beef is cool enough to handle, shred it into small pieces with your hands. Alternatively, you can chop the beef with a knife into smaller pieces.
    The braising liquid measured out.
  • Begin by melting the butter in the pan. Add the flour and whisk.
    Melting the butter and flour together.
  • Cook over low heat until a blond colour roux is made. About 3 minutes.
    Cooking the butter and flour to make a blond roux.
  • Add the braising liquid slowly and whisk continually to make a smooth sauce with no lumps of flour.
    Making the sauce for the bitterballen and adding the braising liquid.
  • Once all the liquid is mixed in add the shredded beef, allspice, marmite and fresh black pepper. Cook gently until the mixture thickens slightly for about 2 minutes. Taste. Make sure it's seasoned nicely with salt and pepper.
    Adding the shredded beef to the mix.
  • Let this cool completely on a tray at room temperature for 10 minutes. Once it's cool enough to put in the fridge, cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for about two hours or overnight.
    The finished bitterballen mix.
  • Once the mixture is completely cooled, begin to roll it into little balls (smaller than a ping pong ball).
    Rolling the bitterballen mix into little balls.
  • Get three containers with high sides and fill one with flour, one with beaten eggs and the other with the panko bread crumbs.
    Dredge the balls in the flour, then the eggs and finally the panko breadcrumbs.
    Breading the bitterballen mix in flour, eggs, then panko bread crumbs.
  • Once breaded you can store some in the freezer for later or fry some now in a deep fryer at 170°C/350°F for about 5-6 minutes or until nicely golden and hot in the middle.
    The finished bitterballen ready to be fried.
  • Serve with a side of mustard and a nice cold beer. Enjoy!
    Bitterballen on a board with a mustard on the side for dipping.


Breading the bitterballen is time consuming so get somebody to help you if possible.
Take your time to properly coat the balls in the flour, then egg, then panko to ensure you have a really nice breading.
Always be super careful when deep frying. Use a proper deep fryer instead of a putting a pot of oil on the stove.


Calories: 455kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 336mg | Potassium: 644mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 366IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 5mg
Tried this recipe?Leave a comment below!