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A big plate of bitterballen with a mustard for dipping and a big 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 1 d
Cook Time 45 mins
Shaping and breading 20 mins
Total Time 1 d 1 hr 5 mins
Course Appetizer, bar food, beer snacks, dutch food, Snack
Cuisine Dutch
Servings 4 aprox 24 pieces


  • deep fryer
  • Instant pot
  • whisk


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

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 the instant pot with 1 tbsp of vegetable oil until nicely browned. You will need to work in batches to avoid cooling down the pan too quickly.
  • Sear the onions and carrots and brown nicely.
    Browned onions and carrots in the instant pot.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients from the "beef braise" section with the browned meat to the instant pot. Close the lid and set 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.
    The braising liquid from the beef.
  • Begin by melting the butter in the pan. Add the flour and whisk.
    Adding the equal parts butter and flour to the pan.
  • Cook over low heat until a blond colour roux is made. About 5 minutes.
    A blond roux in the pan.
  • Add the braising liquid slowly and whisk continually to make a smooth sauce with no lumps of flour.
    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 sauce.
  • Let this cool completely on a tray for approximately two hours or overnight in the fridge.
    Bitterballen cooling on a tray.
  • Once the mixture is completely cooled, begin to roll it into little balls smaller than a ping pong ball.
    Rolled out 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.
    Three containers. One with flour, one with beaten eggs and one with the panko breadcrumbs.
  • Once breaded you can store some in the freezer for later or fry some now in a deep fryer at 170C/350F for about 5-6 minutes or until nicely golden and hot in the middle.
    Breaded bitterballen ready to be fried.
  • Serve with a side of mustard and a good cold beer.
    A big plate of bitterballen with a mustard for dipping and a big cold beer.


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.
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