Dutch Breakfast and Brunch Recipes

Best Dishes to Start the Day the Dutch Way

Traditional Dutch breakfast and brunch meals are pretty low-key in the Netherlands, with plenty of bread, dairy and fruit, and breakfast favorites 'ontbijtkoek' and 'beschuit' (rusk-like rounds). On Dutch holidays, more luxury items such as smoked fish platters and fruited breads are the stars of the show. Of course, any overview of Dutch breakfast and brunch recipes has to include a good recipe for whole wheat bread, an essential. And while pancakes and poffertjes are more...MORE often found on Dutch lunch and dinner tables, we've added them here, too. Our favorites (in no particular order) include:

  • 01 of 06
    Dutch whole wheat bread
    Lucy Lambriex / Getty Images

    This is the ultimate whole wheat bread recipe. It's pure, honest and wholesome - with no additives, bread improvers or sugars added - just freshly milled whole wheat flour, water, yeast, salt and a touch of olive oil. It will always amaze me how a handful of humble ingredients can combine to create something so sublime as bread. I learned how to bake whole wheat bread at a specialist artisanal whole wheat bakery in Amsterdam, called Hartog's. This is their recipe. It makes a dense,...MORE hearty loaf, which goes a long way because it is so filling. Typical Dutch bread toppings include cheese, (salty) Dutch peanut butter, appelstroop, cold meats, jam, honey, hazelnut-chocolate spread and hagelslag (sweet chocolate, aniseed or fruit sprinkles).

  • 02 of 06
    Dutch Chocolate Stol. Photo © K. Engelbrecht

    While popular at Dutch Christmas and Easter, fruited breads with their squidgy marzipan-like centers are now eaten throughout the year in the Netherlands. My chocolate version is a great choice for a weekend brunch. Serve in slices with the very best grass-fed butter you can find and dust with powdered sugar. It really needs nothing more.

  • 03 of 06
    Another variation on the traditional Dutch broodmaaltijd (bread meal) is the uitsmijter; slices of bread topped with fried eggs, ham and cheese. Because uitsmijter is the Dutch word for bouncer, it is said that the dish was once served to bar-goers at closing-time, before kindly showing them the door. Of course, these days you'd be hard-pressed to find a bar willing to feed you after 10pm, so you might have to fix this for yourself at home.
  • 04 of 06
    Dutch omelet
    Marta Greber / Getty Images

    While the boerenomelet (literally 'farmer's omelet': a mixed vegetable omelette) is more common, I prefer this omelet with turnip greens, goat's cheese and chilli. Turnip greens (also known as turnip tops) are called raapstelen or keeltjes in Dutch and are one of those forgotten vegetables that are coming back into vogue due to their excellent nutritional profile and delicious taste, which could be described as a cross between spinach and arugula. These iron-rich leafy green veg...MORE are also full of vitamins and fiber.

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  • 05 of 06
    Dutch apple and bacon pancake
    Kate Hopkins - accidentalhedonist.com / Getty Images

    These are the most famous Dutch pancakes; plate-sized and hearty, and very, very popular due to the yummy combination of sweet, tart and salty flavors. Dutch pancakes are usually served with a dark syrup called stroop (you can buy it on websites that sell Dutch food items). The Dutch tend to eat savory pancakes such as these for lunch or the evening meal, but they're an excellent hangover cure and therefore great for brunch too.

  • 06 of 06
    PinoDita / Getty Images

    Poffertjes are another version of Dutch pancake, in miniature.  They are cooked in a special poffertjespan, a cast iron pan with little indentations to cook the blini-like Dutch treats. Like blini, poffertjes are made with buckwheat flour, which lend a nice tang and a bit of extra nutrition (including vitamin B complex, amino acids, fiber, flavonoids and various minerals) to these indulgent bites. Unlike blini, they are usually served with sweet toppings in the Netherlands. In the classic...MORE poffertjes recipe, they are served with butter and powdered sugar, but you could also indulge in poffertjes with strawberries and whipped cream or poffertjes with a delicious date sauce. Skewer on satay sticks to create a popular Dutch kids' party snack.