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Bitterballen are usually served with mustard
A bitterbal, showing the soft roux inside

Bitterballen (plural of bitterbal) are a Dutch meat-based snack, typically containing a mixture of beef or veal (minced or chopped), beef broth, butter, flour for thickening, parsley, salt and pepper, resulting in a thick roux. Most recipes include nutmeg and there are also variations utilising curry powder or that add in finely chopped vegetables such as carrot.[1][2] The ingredients are combined and cooked, then refrigerated for the mixture to firm up. Once firm, the filling is rolled into balls roughly 3 to 4 cm in diameter,[3] then battered in a breadcrumb and egg mixture and deep-fried. They are typically served with a ramekin or small bowl of mustard for dipping. They are eaten in Suriname, the Netherlands Antilles,[4] the Netherlands, Belgium, and to some degree in Indonesia. The very similar but spicy cutlets of Sri Lanka can also be made with fish instead of meat.[5]

Bitterballen are very similar to the Dutch variant of kroketten (plural of kroket) in their ingredients and preparation/cooking methods, as well as flavour, though the larger kroketten have a distinct oblong sausage shape, but with a similar diameter.[6] The bitterbal derives its name from a generic word for certain types of herb-flavoured alcoholic beverages, called a bitter in Dutch, and are popularly served as part of a bittergarnituur, a selection of savoury snacks to go with drinks, at pubs or at receptions in the Netherlands.[2]


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