Exploring the main dishes of Netherlands

Exploring the main dishes of Netherlands

Are you curious about the delectable main dishes that the Netherlands has to offer? Look no further! In this article, we will take you on a culinary journey through the heart of the Netherlands and introduce you to some of the country’s most popular and mouthwatering main dishes. From the famous Dutch stamppot to the flavorful bitterballen, get ready to discover the unique flavors and traditions that make Dutch cuisine truly special. So, whether you’re planning a trip to the Netherlands or simply want to expand your culinary horizons, join us as we delve into the delicious world of Dutch main dishes.

Traditional Dutch Main Dishes


Stamppot is a traditional Dutch main dish that is beloved by locals and visitors alike. This hearty and filling dish is made by mashing together potatoes and various vegetables, creating a flavorful and comforting meal. The most common variation of stamppot includes mashed potatoes mixed with kale, resulting in a vibrant green dish that is often served with a smoked sausage on top. The combination of the creamy mashed potatoes, the earthy taste of kale, and the smoky flavor of the sausage makes stamppot a true Dutch favorite.


Hutspot is another traditional Dutch main dish that has been enjoyed for centuries. This dish consists of mashed potatoes, carrots, and onions, all cooked together until tender and then mashed together to create a flavorful blend. The sweetness of the carrots and the savory taste of the onions complement the creamy texture of the mashed potatoes perfectly. Traditionally, hutspot is served with a succulent meat, such as braised beef or smoked sausage, making it a wholesome and satisfying meal that warms both the body and the soul.


Erwtensoep, also known as Dutch pea soup, is a hearty and thick soup that is considered a classic winter dish in the Netherlands. This soup is made from split peas, vegetables, and often contains pieces of smoked pork or bacon for added flavor. The soup is slow-cooked for several hours to develop its rich and robust taste. Erwtensoep is typically served piping hot and is a popular choice during the colder months, providing warmth and comfort to those who enjoy it. Its thick consistency and flavorful ingredients make it a filling and satisfying main dish option.

These traditional Dutch main dishes are just a taste of the culinary delights that the Netherlands has to offer. Whether you’re a fan of mashed potatoes mixed with kale, a blend of mashed carrots, onions, and potatoes, or a hearty and thick pea soup, these dishes are sure to satisfy your cravings for authentic Dutch cuisine.

Seafood Delicacies


Kibbeling is a popular Dutch seafood dish that originated in the coastal regions of the Netherlands. Made from chunks of white fish, typically cod or haddock, it is breaded and deep-fried until golden and crispy. The dish is often served with a side of tartar sauce and is commonly found at street food stalls and fish markets across the country. The tender and flavorful fish paired with the crunchy coating makes kibbeling a delightful treat for seafood lovers.


Haring, also known as Hollandse Nieuwe, is a traditional Dutch delicacy that has been enjoyed for centuries. It refers to young herring that has been caught between May and July when the fish is at its best. The herring is carefully prepared by gutting and cleaning it, leaving the head and tail intact. It is then lightly salted and cured, resulting in a distinctive flavor and buttery texture. Haring is often enjoyed raw, with the fish held by the tail and eaten in small, delicate bites. It is a true delicacy that showcases the Dutch love for fresh and high-quality seafood.

Zeeuwse Mosselen

Zeeuwse Mosselen, or Zeeland mussels, are a specialty of the southern coastal province of Zeeland in the Netherlands. These mussels are known for their exceptional taste and plump meat. The mussels are typically harvested during the summer months when they are at their peak. They are then cooked in a flavorful broth made with ingredients such as white wine, garlic, onions, and herbs. The resulting dish is a mouthwatering bowl of steamed mussels, served with a side of fries or crusty bread. Zeeuwse Mosselen are a must-try for seafood enthusiasts visiting the Netherlands, offering a taste of the country’s rich maritime heritage.

In conclusion, the Netherlands offers a diverse array of seafood delicacies that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. Whether you’re indulging in the crispy and succulent kibbeling, savoring the buttery haring, or relishing the flavorful Zeeuwse Mosselen, you’ll experience the unique flavors and traditions of Dutch cuisine. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the main dishes of the Netherlands and discover the wonders of their seafood offerings.

Meat-Based Specialties


One of the most beloved Dutch meat-based specialties is bitterballen. These delightful bite-sized snacks are typically enjoyed as an appetizer or alongside a refreshing beer. Bitterballen are made from a mixture of slow-cooked beef or veal ragout, which is then rolled into small balls. The balls are coated with breadcrumbs and deep-fried until they achieve a crispy golden-brown exterior. The filling inside is rich, flavorful, and often seasoned with a blend of herbs and spices. Bitterballen are traditionally served with mustard for dipping, enhancing their taste and providing a tangy contrast to the savory meat filling.


Another popular meat-based specialty in the Netherlands is the kroket. Similar to bitterballen, kroketten are deep-fried snacks with a crispy breadcrumb coating. However, the main difference lies in their shape and size. While bitterballen are round, kroketten are typically cylindrical. The filling of a kroket consists of a thick and creamy ragout made from minced meat, such as beef, chicken, or veal, combined with a mixture of herbs, spices, and often a touch of nutmeg. The ragout is then chilled until firm, coated with breadcrumbs, and deep-fried to perfection. Kroketten are commonly served on a bread roll as a delicious sandwich option or enjoyed as a standalone snack.


Hachee is a traditional Dutch meat-based stew that offers a hearty and comforting dining experience. This slow-cooked dish combines tender pieces of beef, typically from the chuck or round, with an assortment of aromatic vegetables, such as onions, carrots, and bay leaves. The beef is first seared to seal in the flavors before being braised in a flavorful mixture of beef stock, red wine, and a touch of vinegar. The stew simmers gently on the stovetop until the beef becomes tender and the flavors meld together. Hachee is often served with a generous portion of mashed potatoes or boiled potatoes, creating a satisfying and wholesome meal that warms the soul.

These meat-based specialties showcase the rich culinary heritage of the Netherlands and are beloved by locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re craving bite-sized snacks like bitterballen and kroketten or seeking a hearty stew like hachee, these dishes are sure to tantalize your taste buds and provide a delightful exploration of Dutch cuisine.

Vegetarian and Vegan Options


Snert is a traditional Dutch soup that is not only delicious but also suitable for vegetarians and vegans. This hearty soup is made with split peas, vegetables, and herbs, creating a warm and comforting dish. Typically, snert includes ingredients such as onions, carrots, leeks, and celery, giving it a rich and flavorful taste. To make it vegan-friendly, you can use vegetable broth instead of meat-based broth. Snert is often served during the winter months and is perfect for warming up on a cold day.


Another vegetarian and vegan option to explore in the Netherlands is groentesoep. Groentesoep, which translates to "vegetable soup" in English, is a light and refreshing dish made with various vegetables. It typically includes a combination of carrots, leeks, peas, potatoes, and other seasonal vegetables. The soup is flavored with herbs and spices, providing a delightful taste. Vegetarian and vegan versions of groentesoep can be easily prepared by using vegetable broth as the base. It is a healthy and nutritious option for those looking for a meat-free Dutch dish.


For cheese lovers who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, kaasstengels can be a delightful treat. Kaasstengels are cheese sticks that are popular in the Netherlands. Traditionally, they are made with Gouda or Edam cheese, which are both vegetarian-friendly options. However, for vegans, alternative plant-based cheeses can be used. The cheese is cut into long sticks, coated in breadcrumbs, and then deep-fried until crispy. These savory snacks are perfect for enjoying as an appetizer or as a side dish. Whether you follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, kaasstengels allow you to indulge in the cheesy goodness that the Netherlands has to offer.

Regional Main Dishes

Groninger Poffert

Groninger Poffert is a traditional main dish hailing from the Groningen region in the Netherlands. This dish is a type of steamed pudding made with a batter consisting of flour, milk, eggs, and raisins. The batter is poured into a special poffert pan or a bundt cake pan and then steamed until it becomes fluffy and cooked through. The result is a delightful and slightly sweet pudding that can be enjoyed as a breakfast or dessert. Groninger Poffert is often served with a generous drizzle of melted butter and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Its unique texture and comforting flavors make it a beloved main dish in the Groningen area.

Limburgse Asperges

Limburgse Asperges, also known as Limburg asparagus, is a popular main dish that showcases the delicious flavors of white asparagus. The Limburg region, located in the southern part of the Netherlands, is renowned for its asparagus production. This dish typically consists of tender white asparagus spears that are harvested by hand and then cooked until perfectly tender. The asparagus is often served with boiled potatoes, ham, and a rich hollandaise sauce. The combination of the earthy asparagus, the savory ham, and the creamy hollandaise creates a harmonious blend of flavors that is simply irresistible. Limburgse Asperges are highly anticipated during the asparagus season, which usually starts in April and lasts until June.

Friese Sûkerbôle

Friese Sûkerbôle, also known as Frisian sugar bread, is a delightful main dish that originates from the Friesland region of the Netherlands. This sweet bread is a staple in Frisian cuisine and is enjoyed on special occasions or as a treat during breakfast or brunch. The dough is made with flour, yeast, milk, sugar, and a hint of cardamom for a unique flavor. After the dough rises, it is shaped into a loaf and topped with a generous layer of sugar before baking. The result is a beautifully caramelized and sweet bread with a soft and fluffy interior. Friese Sûkerbôle is often sliced and served with a spread of butter or a slice of Frisian cheese, creating a delightful balance of flavors. This traditional main dish is a true gem of Friesland and a must-try for anyone visiting the region.

By exploring the main dishes of the Netherlands, one can truly appreciate the rich culinary heritage that each region offers. Whether it’s the comforting Groninger Poffert, the flavorful Limburgse Asperges, or the sweet Friese Sûkerbôle, these regional main dishes represent the diverse and delicious cuisine found throughout the Netherlands.

The Netherlands offers a diverse and delicious array of main dishes that showcase the country’s rich culinary heritage. From the iconic stamppot and herring, to the hearty erwtensoep and indulgent bitterballen, there is something to satisfy every palate. Each dish is a testament to the Dutch people’s passion for high-quality ingredients and traditional cooking methods. Whether you are a local or a visitor, exploring the main dishes of the Netherlands is a must-do experience that will leave you with a newfound appreciation for this small but mighty country’s gastronomic delights. So, take a culinary journey through the Netherlands and immerse yourself in the flavors and traditions that make its main dishes truly special.

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