Best oliebollen Amsterdam and where to find them
Let me introduce you to one of the most popular traditional Dutch food items: oliebollen (pronounced as o-lee-bollun). An oliebol is a sweet deep-fried delicacy that is primarily eaten during the cold winter months in October, November and December. Dutch oliebollen are made of flower, yeast, sugar, milk, oil and dusted with confectioner’s sugar (or powdered sugar). The Dutch oliebollen tradition goes back hundreds of years and first appeared in a Dutch cooking book in 1667.
About the author: Laura Daniëlle is co-founder of Comedy Walks: the most fun alternative walking tour of Amsterdam with a stand-up comedian as guide!
Back in the old days, oliebollen were limited to plain and raisin-filled options. Nowadays, you’ll encounter a variety of oliebollen featuring fillings like Nutella, pastry cream, rum, caramel, and more. Personally, I have a soft spot for the straightforward, no-nonsense oliebol, but from time to time, I do indulge in one with raisins. No matter your preference, it’s a golden rule to generously coat it with confectioner’s sugar!
How popular is the Dutch oliebollen tradition?
The Dutch oliebollen tradition is incredibly popular and firmly rooted in Dutch culture. The tradition is an essential part of Dutch holiday celebrations, with oliebollen being a staple treat during New Year’s Eve festivities. I am pretty sure that the average Dutch person has no clue about the annual consumption of oliebollen in the Netherlands. Bear in mind that it is only eaten during a 2-3-month period with a peak around New Years Eve. It is estimated that the Dutch, along with numerous tourists, consume over 100 million oliebollen each year! That is quite an accomplishment for a population of 17,2 million people. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to participate in the Dutch oliebollen tradition when you’re visiting Amsterdam during the colder months.
Where to find your oliebollen in Amsterdam?
Where can you find your oliebollen in Amsterdam? Oliebollen are either home-made, sold in bakery stores or at the numerous street carts that you’ll find around the city from October onwards. I strongly believe that each and every visitor to Amsterdam should try an oliebol at least once in a lifetime. Therefore, I made a huge sacrifice: I have done an oliebollen tasting at 19 oliebollen stalls/street carts in Amsterdam to make sure that you know where to get your much wanted oliebol. I would like to thank my friend Mareike who joined me during one of my oliebollen trips. I could do max 7 oliebollen in Amsterdam per day and needed a few days off before I could go on another oliebollen tasting journey.
The best oliebollen Amsterdam
The perfect oliebol is a very personal matter, so it is not fair to say that a certain oliebol is good or bad. In my opinion, there is no such thing as the best oliebollen in Amsterdam. I would say that the best oliebollen in Amsterdam are the ones that are fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. And there are plenty of places where you can find them. Here is my list of favourite oliebollen stalls or street carts in Amsterdam in random order:
#1 Hugo de Grootplein in West
This was the first oliebollen stall I tried in Amsterdam, and bingo, delicious! Corry and her husband Willem have been making oliebollen at this spot for the last 30 years! If oreo’s are your guilty pleasure, you should definitely stop by at this stall. And always a good sign: the owners love their own oliebollen and split a raisin and regular oliebol between the two of them per day. Their hours extend until 20:00, making it perfect for a post-dinner oliebol treat! They are open from 1 November onwards.
#2 Cornelis Troostplein in de Pijp
The owner of this oliebollen place is Jan whose grandparents started the oliebollen business more than 40 years ago. Jan is passionate about oliebollen and explains in detail how to make the perfect oliebollen with fruit (sorry, secret recipe). Fun fact: Jan starts his day with a hearty breakfast of three oliebollen! At Jan’s oliebollen stall I tried the delicious appelflap, a Dutch term that intriguingly translates to “apple envelope.” Jan kindly enlightened me about the distinction between an appelflap and an appelbeignet: both feature apples, but the former is prepared with dough while the latter uses puff pastry. Both take a delightful dip in the deep fryer.
#3 Oostelijke Handelskade (corner J.F. van Hengelstraat) in East
For the past 16 years, Wesley and Shannon have been the proud owners of this oliebollen stand. Wesley’s father, with over 40 years of expertise, is an oliebollen virtuoso, still crafting these Dutch delights for his son in case he has urgent business elsewhere. They also offer mini-oliebollen that are perfect for sharing during your oliebollen tasting adventure. Notably, their berlinerbollen (filled with yellow cream) and nutella-bollen have been gaining popularity. You can indulge in their oliebollen starting from October 5th each year.
#4 Van Woustraat (corner Jozef Israelskade) in the Pijp/Rivierenbuurt
Peter, the skilled oliebollen craftsman, was initiated into the world of oliebollen by his father-in-law back in 1999. That is a solid 2,5 decades of expertise in oliebollen mastery. Peter firmly believes that he makes some of the best oliebollen in Amsterdam, following a secret recipe from his grand-parents. Peter eats 2-3 of his oliebollen per day, which I can say from my own experience is durable. Also from my own experience I can tell that 7 oliebollen a day proved to be a bit excessive!
#5 Marie Heinekenplein (in the Pijp)
Eddie’s oliebollen have become a household name at Marie Heinekenplein with their 25 years of presence. Baking oliebollen is a long tradition in Eddie’s family, with both his father and grandfather running their own oliebollen street carts. The beauty of oliebollen is that each baker adds their personal touch, and, in Eddie’s case, even though his daughter is a skilled oliebollen baker herself, in his oliebollen cart, she is only allowed to bake under his watchful eye. Now that’s genuine passion! Eddie takes oliebollen to the next level with his premium creation: the stroopwafel oliebol, featuring salted caramel and a mini stroopwafel tucked inside. You can indulge in Eddie’s oliebollen starting from October 1st!
#6 Hartog’s Volkoren Bakery (Wibautstraat 77) in Oost/East
Hartog’s Volkoren (volkoren means wholewheat) is a bakery store where they sell wholewheat food products including oliebollen. I had no idea that wholewheat oliebollen even existed until I came across Hartog’s Bakery. It was delicious! These are absolutely premium quality oliebollen and if you want to indulge and play the “healthy” card, this is the place to go. Unfortunately, it was very busy that day so I didn’t get a chance to speak with the owners. Next time perhaps, because I will definitely go back! Hartog starts selling their oliebollen from 2 November onwards.
#7 Wibautstraat (corner Eerste Oosterparkstraat) in Oost/East
Dirk is an established oliebollen artisan with almost forty years of expertise. He’s crafted oliebollen in various cities across the Netherlands and discovered that Dutch folks have varying preferences for the perfect oliebol based on their location. In Amsterdam, his customers favour their oliebollen light and fluffy, precisely how I prefer them! Dirk also managed to convince me that he creates the most delicious appelflappen, using secret ingredients to achieve the ideal gooey and crunchy texture. Well, he succeeded, I’m now a devoted fan. Dirk, an early bird, kicks off his oliebollen business in the first week of October.
#8 Haarlemmerplein (Westerpark)
I simply must include this one because their oliebollen are absolutely delicious. Unlike most oliebollen stands that open on November 1st or even earlier, this particular one normally doesn’t kick off until December 1st. Reportedly, this year, 2023, the municipality of Amsterdam will allow them to start on 1 November. I was in a bit of a hurry when I passed by their oliebollen stand in 2022, so I’m planning to return this year and inquire about what makes their oliebollen so exceptional!
#9 Buikslotermeerplein (Amsterdam North)
For several decades, the Geeris family has been operating this oliebollen paradise. Geeris and Cupido, the official name of their oliebollen stand, have been skillfully making their oliebollen right here for over 25 years. Among their loyal customers, the berlinerbol is the most popular one, well after the oliebol and the raisinbol of cours. They are good friends with Wesley and Shannon (#3) and asked me whose oliebollen are superior. Honestly, both were equally delicious, I have no preference.
Other oliebollen street carts that I visited during my tasting journey:
- Bos- en Lommer weg
- Christiaan Huygensplein
- Admiraal de Ruiterweg (corner Willem de Zwijgerlaan)
- Linnaeusstraat (corner Ringdijk)
Oliebollen Christmas ornament (glass)
I am not kidding you! This year, you can purchase your own glass oliebollen Christmas ornament for your tree, so you can cherish your oliebollen tasting for a long time. The ornament is available at the store Karwei for €4.49 ($4,75). I already got mine and can’t wait to hang it on my Christmas tree!
All information in this blogpost is based on personal experience and commission free.