Traditional Dutch Food You Need to Try

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Are you a foodie heading to the Netherlands and wondering what traditional Dutch food you should indulge in? Then you are in luck because I’ve lived in the Netherlands for the last 3 years and during this time I have tasted a ton of traditional Dutch foods. Therefore, I have created an extensive list of all the best Dutch foods that everyone should at least try while visiting Holland.

Although Dutch cuisine is not as famous as Italian or Mexican cuisine, it still has its specialties and dishes unique to the country. The traditional Dutch foods are unique and range from savory to sweet and everything in between.

Travel and food go hand in hand and one of the best ways to truly experience a new culture is by eating their local foods. Luckily the Netherlands has a lot of food options so you can continually experience and immerse yourself in Dutch culture one taste at a time.

(Disclaimer: Some links in this post may be affiliate links, meaning if you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you and you may even receive a small discount. See disclosure for more information.)

Traditional Dutch Food

Apple Pie / Appeltaart

Apple pie on a tray with whipped cream

In the Netherlands apple pie – which is also called appeltart – is one of the most popular desserts you can get. It is sold in almost every cafe and bakery and is a highly sought after sweet dessert option.

In the Netherlands, the apple pie is served as a deep dish warm from the oven with apple chunks in it. It can also be topped with whipped cream to add some more sweetness! If you are in Amsterdam you must taste the best apple pie in the city at Winkel 43.

Gouda Cheese

Assortment of cheese

The Dutch are famous around the world for their amazing cheese, and the most famous one is Gouda cheese. Finding good cheese and different types of cheese in the Netherlands will not be difficult. There are cheese shops in every city on virtually any street and almost all offer free samples of all the amazing and diverse cheese flavors.


Fries in a cone

Frites are the Dutch version of french fries – also called patat, Vlaamse frieten, or friet. These fries are much thicker than regular french fries and were invented in Belgium. The most popular dipping sauce to eat them with is mayonnaise, but other options such as ketchup, curry sauce, peanuts sauce or even melted cheese are available as well.

These fries are typically served in a paper cone with the sauce right on top. You will surely stumble upon a ton of fries shops on your adventures in the Netherlands and getting your own serving to enjoy while walking around and exploring is a must.


Poffertjes being made

Poffertjes are a traditional Dutch sweet treat that everyone loves. They are essentially mini pancakes that are so fluffy they are almost spheres. Poffertjes are typically served with powdered sugar and butter as toppings. However other toppings like fruits and whipped creams are also common.

You can get these at street stands, at local markets, at bakeries, and even from places like Dominos pizza!

Raw Herring

Raw herring is not for the faint-hearted. Herring is a type of fish and the Dutch like to eat it raw. Traditionally it is eaten by holding the fish by the tail and tipping your head back to bite it upwards. It is a fun experience but if you are not a fan of raw fish its probably not for you.

The fish can also come with toppings like onions or sliced gherkins to spice it up. You will smell the fish stands before you see them and they can be found all around cities in the Netherlands. The best time to try raw herring is in May or June as this is when its the freshest.


Stroopwafels are a Dutch sweet treat that is loved by everyone. They have become known in other parts of the world but their origin is in the Netherlands. They consist of two thin waffles stuck together by a layer of gooey sweet syrup. This is undoubtedly the most famous traditional Dutch food that is popular amongst locals and tourists alike.

A traditional dutch food - stroopwafels in a shop window

You can buy stroopwafels in every supermarket, street market, and most bakeries.  The best ones can be found at street markets or specialty stores where they make them fresh in front of you. There are even some stores in Amsterdam that specially decorate them with toppings like candy and chocolate.

This is not only great food to taste in Holland but also the perfect souvenir to bring home!


Round, fried balls in a container with mustard on the side

Bitterballen is one of the most famous and popular Dutch snacks that is a favorite at bars and pubs. These are meat-based balls that are deep-fried and served with a dipping sauce that pair amazingly with beer. The inside is usually beef-based along with some other ingredients like broth, thickening, and others.

Be careful while eating this as the inside is usually very hot. Interestingly enough, Bitterballen is very similar to Kroket in filling and flavors.


White, brown, and dark chocolate covered pepernoten

Pepernoten is a Dutch cookie-like treat typically served in December. They are small and round and taste like a ginger cookie and can be found in the traditional ginger flavor or with chocolate coatings! These small yet mighty sweets are a great small treat that can easily become addictive.


Black liquorice swirls

Drop is what the Dutch call licorice and let me tell you they are obsessed with it. The Dutch have the highest consumption of licorice in the world where a person eats around 2kg per year. You can find it all around in grocery stores and candy stores with flavors varying from savory to sweet.


Kroket is a dutch snack that you will find on the menu at most pubs and restaurants. It is a deep-fried roll filled with meat ragout inside. There are many different flavors of kroket all with different fillings inside. They are often served as a snack with mustard on the side.

Kroket zoomed in

In addition to restaurants, you can get Krokets virtually anywhere in the Netherlands. From snack bars to street shops, and even McDonalds! If you are looking fort he ultimate Dutch experience ,find a Febo – which is a walk-in snack bar – and get one there. Just be careful, the Kroket can be quite hot inside.

TONY’S Chocolonelys Chocolate

Various chocolate bars with testers at the bottom

TONY’s is a special chocolate bar that is made in the Netherlands. The brand not only creates delicious chocolate flavors but also works to fight slavery in the chocolate industry. In Amsterdam, there is a TONY’s superstore where you can test all the unique flavors like salted caramel, pretzel, and many more!


Oliebollen literally translates to oil spheres and they are very similar to donuts. They are sweet dough balls that usually have raisins or sultanas in them. The dough balls are topped off with icing sugar to make them even more sweet and delicious.

Three oliebollen with icing sugar a traditional dutch food

This traditional Dutch food is a festive treat that is traditionally eaten around New Year. However, during the whole month of December, you can find stands serving them all around the Netherlands.


Stamppot translates to “mash pot” and consists of mashed potato with vegetables thrown in together and a sausage added on top. Popular vegetable fillings are carrot, spinach, kale, onions, and the sausages are usually either smoked sausage or bacon lardons.

Read More: Amsterdam Tulip Guide: Where to find them year-round


Sprinkles on a white table

Hagelslag simply means sprinkles! However, unlike most places they arent used for cakes and icecream but for breakfast. The dutch put these sprinkles on their toast with butter to start the day off with a statement. But hey, traditions are traditions and this traditional Dutch food is eaten in a very unique way.


White colored cookie

Speculaas is a Dutch biscuit that is spiced to taste like sweet gingerbread. It is served around Sinterklass time (December) and Dutch people are obsessed with this. It is the perfect sweet treat for the festive season that you will love if you like gingerbread. They also have some Speculaas spreads for toast and such that are just as amazing and addicting.

The Dutch aren’t world-famous for their cuisine but they do have some very prominent and delicious snacks and treats. When visiting the magical lands of the Netherlands be sure to try a few if not all of these special foods!

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Disclaimer: Some links in this post may be affiliate links meaning if you click on the link and make a purchase, we receive a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you and you may receive a small discount. See disclosure for more information.