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Dutch Meatballs (Bitterballen) Recipe

Dutch Meatballs (Bitterballen) Recipe

I host an annual Christmas party for some friends, and one year, I made a dish from each person's background, including these Dutch meatballs with a crispy coating. Talk about a hit! —Tracey Rosato, Markham, Ontario
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + chilling Cook: 5 min./batch YIELD:30 servings


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 beef top sirloin steak (3/4 pound), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-1/3 cups dry bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • Oil for deep-fat frying
  • Stone-ground mustard, optional


  • 1. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add broth; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Carefully add meat and parsley; cook and stir for 2-5 minutes or until meat is no longer pink. Stir in the salt, nutmeg and pepper. Transfer to a bowl; refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until chilled.
  • 2. Place bread crumbs in a small shallow bowl. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and oil. Drop meat mixture by tablespoonfuls into bread crumbs; shape into balls. Dip meatballs in egg mixture, then coat again with crumbs. In an electric skillet or deep fryer, heat oil to 375°.
  • 3. Fry meatballs, a few at a time, for 2-4 minutes or until golden brown on all sides. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot with mustard if desired. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.

Nutritional Facts

1 each: 72 calories, 5g fat (1g saturated fat), 22mg cholesterol, 88mg sodium, 4g carbohydrate (0 sugars, 0 fiber), 4g protein.

Reviews for Dutch Meatballs (Bitterballen)

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cassiejeanms User ID: 7645753 182080
Reviewed Feb. 5, 2014

"Fairly easy to make and tastes very good!! My daughter's favorite new party food!!"

mountainberrybutterfly User ID: 684083 110374
Reviewed Feb. 2, 2013

"Thank you smulpaap. That way makes sense. I am very excited to make these for my father who is heritage is from the Netherlands. He fondly remembers many ethnic dishes his mother made when he was young."

smulpaap User ID: 4177271 178602
Reviewed Jan. 31, 2013

"I am Dutch and make bitterballen at least once a year as part of my New Year's Eve buffet. Bitterballen are made the same way one makes croquettes, just a different shape. The bitterballen in the Netherlands are made with meat that is cooked to the point where it falls apart. The best are referred to as meat threads, draadjes vlees. So you cook the seasoned meat till it falls apart, then add the flour to the pan and make a roux, add the liquid, water or broth depending on how well seasoned the meat was to begin with and cook until the flour has the consistency of extremely thick gravy. Then chill the mixture and once chilled you will be able to form balls which then are breaded. We like to double bread them so the filling does not leak out when they are fried. This also lets you fry them all at once and any leftovers can just be reheated in the oven. They also make a good sandwich filling the next day."

taver User ID: 475676 97328
Reviewed Jan. 31, 2013

"Because I am familiar with the bitterballen(original dutch name) I know to use cooked meat for this recipe. It is very tasty/gives better texture when cut fine.We add 1 TBlsp of gelatin and 1/8 mace increasing the pepper to 1/4 tsp."

DarLynn4706 User ID: 6637169 109897
Reviewed Jan. 31, 2013

"Totally agree with other reviewers.. am sitting here thinking the picture looks so delicious, then read the instructions; now scratching my head with a puzzled look on my face. I want to make them but don't dare until the instructions are clear."

Lovepiggs User ID: 986676 177525
Reviewed Jan. 31, 2013

"This recipe doesn't make sense. Are these chunks of breaded meat, or actual meatballs with ground beef?"

texazgal User ID: 6194676 97326
Reviewed Jan. 31, 2013

"Haven't made, but how do you get a meatball out of a 1/2" cube of steak? I thought ground meat works better."

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