11 Dutch treats that you need to eat (like, right now)

Did someone say sugar? 😍  We get it when you think of Dutch cuisine you’re probably thinking ‘fried’,  ‘potato’ or ‘beige’. 

But trust us, the Dutch definitely know their way to your heart, and it’s plastered with cookies, cakes, and other mouth-watering toetjes (sweets). 

So here are 11 Dutch treats you definitely have to try. (And we’re talking ASAP — there are too many treats and not enough time!). 🏃‍♂️

1. Appeltaart: a classic Dutch treat with a twist

This Dutch version of the American apple pie, the German Apfelkuchen, or the French Tarte aux pommes, leaves absolutely nothing to be desired. The appeltaart is so popular in the Netherlands that you will hardly find a café without this food item on the menu. 

A perfect addition to any coffee date: Dutch appeltaart with a side of slagroom. Image: Depositphotos

What differentiates the Dutch appeltaart from its brothers and sisters in other countries is the thick apple chunk filling. Occasionally, some sneaky raisins make their way in there too. And, of course, always cinnamon! 

READ MORE | 7 Dutch foods you need to try before you die

Always order your appeltaart with a helping of slagroom (whipped cream)! Or a steaming cup of koffie verkeerd (coffee with milk/latte). (Or both, you won’t regret it!). 😋

2. Bossche bol: the whipped cream dream

This Dutch treat is definitely not talked about enough. Bossche bollen are balls of whipped cream enclosed in a layer of dough wrapped in dark chocolate fondant. Lekker!

The Bossche bol: hard (and chocolaty) on the outside, soft (and creamy) on the inside. Image: Norio Nakayama/Wikimedia Commons/CC2.0

These bad boys are roughly the size of an apple which you can eat with your hands. Pro tip: don’t wear a white t-shirt when eating one of these delicious Dutch treats — they can get messy. 😉

3. Tompouce: the pink pastry dividing the Dutch

Ohh…the tompouce. This Dutch favourite is a square cake with a state-of-the-art pink glaze on top. The centre consists of a thick, creamy vanilla custard filling balanced on a thin piece of puff pastry. 

The tompouce deserves special attention for a multitude of reasons. First of all, it’s heel popular in the Netherlands. The store-chain HEMA says that the tompouce is their most sold baked good. 14 million pieces are bought each year — 14 million!

This dainty cake is also notorious for dividing the Dutch over how best to eat it.

Some Dutchies like to separate the top layer of pink-glazed puff pastry to eat last. Some pick the tompouce up with both hands and eat it like a sandwich. Others tip the tompouce on its side and (try to) elegantly cut through lengthwise to have two equal halves. 

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Apparently, there are 12 different ways of eating a tompouce. That’s a lot of controversy for such an innocent-looking (and lekker) cake. 😋

4. Stroopwafel: the Dutch syrup sandwich

The stroopwafel (syrup waffle) is hands down the Netherlands’ most popular food export! Well deserved because these thinly layered waffles with a smooth caramel filling are seriously delicious.

Look at the gooey syrup dripping down this stack of stroopwafels. Yum! Image: Depositphotos

Ideally, you’ll get yourself one fresh from the market (hot, gooey, and sweet 😍), or you could buy the supermarket version and pop it in the microwave for eight to 10 seconds. It gives off the same effect but is admittedly less elegant. 

READ MORE | Stroopwafels unwrapped: Discover the sweet story behind the Dutch classic

If you’re feeling adventurous, stroopwafels come in an assortment of different flavours ranging from honey to chocolate to lavender — there is a whole world of stroopwafels for you to explore.  

TIP: Sit your stroopwafel on top of your coffee cup and let the steam melt the inside caramel. It’s delicious, and you’ll look like a real Dutchie! 🇳🇱

5. Vla: The Dutch pudding

Vla is basically pudding or custard, just a little more watery — and the Dutch love it. 

What a lovely assortment of chocolate and vanilla vla. Image: Depositphotos 

Enter any supermarket in the Netherlands, and you will see an array of vla lined up in the cooling aisle. They are packaged in milk cartons, and no flavour is left out: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, caramel. And there are often seasonal selections too — like apple pie!

The best thing about vla is you can get creative eating it! Top it with oats and bananas for breakfast, or to make it a real sweet treat, you could sprinkle some hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles) or spritzing whipped cream on top.

Or just chug it right out of the box if you’re feeling ravished. The options are endless!

6. Spekkoek: Indonesian-Dutch treat with many layers (literally and figuratively)

The literal translation of this Dutch toetje is ‘fat cake’ or ‘bacon cake’. Well, doesn’t that sound inviting? 👀 If you can get over the name, however, you definitely won’t be disappointed.

This is actually an image of the Indonesian version of the spekkoek, but we wanted to pay due tribute! Image: Freepik

READ MORE | Let’s talk about good Dutch food

Like many Dutch sweets, spekkoek is packed full of spices. From cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger — this multi-layered cake really has it all. 

Not only is it rich in flavour, but this cake also has a rich history. The treat is thought to be a product of Dutch colonialism in Indonesia, where a similar version of the “thousand-layer cake” is served during the holidays. 

7. Boterkoek: the Dutch buttery sugar bomb you have to love

The Dutch ‘butter cake’ is exactly what the name describes it as. The boterkoek mainly consists of butter, sugar, flour — and is therefore suitable for even the pickiest eaters.

You can recognize the boterkoek through its distinct pattern and almond topping. Image: Depositphotos

You can easily recognize the boterkoek by the typical criss-cross pattern on the top, sometimes buried under a layer of roasted almonds for an extra kick. 

READ MORE | Your guide to all the ‘lekker’ Dutch festive food and drinks you can enjoy (guilt free) this holiday season

This cake is genius in its simplicity that we really don’t have much to say. Except to try it, of course! 

8. Oliebollen: the ultimate Dutch New Year’s treat

If you’re not familiar with Dutch holiday traditions, you might be wondering what the frick are oliebollen? Well, don’t worry, that’s what we’re here to tell you.

Oliebollen with raisins and powdered sugar…if that doesn’t scream holiday season. Image: Freepik

An oliebol, literally translates to ‘oil ball’ (mmm, appetising), is a deep-fried dough ball dusted with powdered sugar.

It sounds simple, but it’s also absolutely delicious. You can get different variations, for example, with raisins or apple pieces. One thing is certain, they’re best enjoyed after a wintery cold afternoon walk, hot and steaming directing from an oliebollenkramen.

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As soon as Christmas and New Year start approaching, you’ll see oliebollenkramen (oliebollen stands) pop up all over the country. In supermarkets frozen oliebollen are moved right to the front of the shelves. Lekker!

8. Gevulde speculaas: like speculaas cookies, but the cake version

Another Dutch holiday treat: anything speculaas. Especially, gevulde speculaas. You might have come across the Dutch speculoos cookie, a flat, sweet, crispy thing pressed in the form of Dutch houses or windmills.

What a perfect view of the creamy-marzipan filling of a gevulde speculaas. Image: Depositphotos

Well, gevulde speculaas (filled speculoos) takes it up a notch. What gives the two treats the same name is the spice mixture, which gives this distinct speculoos-y flavour.

The ultimate difference is that gevulde speculaas is more of a small cake than a cookie. And it’s filled with a deliciously sweet marzipan filling. Yum!

10. Kruidnoten: the teeny-tiny treats that taste like Christmas

As soon as Sinterklaas approaches, you’ll find these little button-sized biscuits stocking the shelves of every supermarket in the Netherlands.

Tiny little pops of flavour! Image: Freepik

You might, by the way, know these Dutch treats under the name pepernoten. Don’t worry, that’s an honest mistake, and even Dutch people typically don’t know the difference.

READ MORE | 3 weird Dutch food ‘things’ that will make you cry/laugh

To clarify once and for all: kruidnoten are small dome-shaped spiced biscuits made from wheat flour. Pepernoten, on the other hand, are based on rye flour and flavoured with honey and anise. While kruidnoten have a uniform size, pepernoten come in different shapes and sizes. 

You’ll most likely be popping kruidnoten into your mouth while having a Christmas movie night.

11. Limburgse vlaai: the tri-national fruit tarte

Last but not least, the cherry on top of the cake (almost, quite literally). ✨ Popular in Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands, the Limburgse vlaai is a real crowd-pleaser. 

Dutch Limburgse vlaai with a delicious cherry filling. Image: Depositphotos

To be honest, who would turn down a piece of taart filled with sweet and juicy fruits? Traditionally, the Limburgse vlaai is filled with plum, but there are also variations with sour cherries or apples. 

READ MORE | 3 weird Dutch food ‘things’ that will make you cry/laugh

The most important thing for the cake to be a true Limburgse vlaai is the unmistakable criss-cross pattern on top. 

The cake originates from the Dutch province Limburg (duh) in the south of the country, which is nestled in between its Belgian and German neighbours. Consequently, some version of the cake exists in all three countries.

Did we miss one of your favourite Dutch toetjes? Tell us in the comments below!

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in January 2022, and was fully updated in August 2023 for your reading pleasure.

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Cara Räker 🇩🇪
Cara Räker 🇩🇪
Cara moved to the Netherlands at fifteen and she is here to stay! After all, there is so much to love about it, except maybe the bread (as every German will tell you). Next to finishing up her bachelor's degree in European politics (dry), Cara loves to do yoga, swim, and cook delicious veggie food.

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  1. “The cake originates from the Dutch province Limburg (duh) in the south of the country, which is nestled in between its French and German neighbours.”
    Hopefully no Belgian will read it!


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