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These oliebollen are a delectable New Year's treat, whether you're Dutch or not!

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A Dutch New Year's celebration just wouldn't be complete without oliebollen, the aptly-name “oily balls” that are the heavenly match of a cake doughnut and apple-raisin fritters.

Since marrying into a Dutch-Canadian family, I've come to love the New Years tradition, but as with most baked goods in my kitchen, I set out on a mission to come up with a healthier sourdough version that makes the grains more digestible and uses more nourishing fats.

Enjoy – and Happy New Year!

This post has been featured at YeastSpotting at the Wild Yeast blog.


Sourdough Oliebollen: Dutch New Year's Doughnuts

Sourdough Oliebollen: Dutch New Year's Doughnuts

Yield: 2-3 dozen
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 45 minutes

Delectable doughnuts for a New Year's treat, whether you're from Dutch heritage or not!


  • 1 1/2 cups sourdough starter
  • 1/4 cup unrefined cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup melted butter, cooled but still liquid
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 apple, peeled and finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • homemade powdered sugar, for dusting
  • tallow, lard, or coconut oil, for frying


    1. The night before you want to make your sourdough oliebollen (or at least 6 hours), mix the starter, sugar, flour, milk, butter, and lemon juice in a large non-reactive bowl. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 6-18 hours.
    2. When you're ready to fry your oliebollen, heat enough fat to completely submerge the oliebollen to 360° F. (Yes, this is slightly lower than you typically fry doughnuts, but this is a more tender dough than some and you also want them to remain as soft as possible on the outside without becoming crunchy nor soaking up huge amounts of oil.)
    3. Meanwhile, stir the egg, salt, baking powder, baking soda, apple, and raisins into the sourdough sponge.
    4. When the fat is hot, dip a teaspoon into the fat to keep the dough from sticking to the spoon, then drop the dough into the fat by heaping teaspoons. Let fry until deep golden brown, about 2 minutes, then flip the bollen over until the rest of the doughnut is brown, another 2 minutes or so.
    5. Drain and enjoy dipped or dusted with homemade powdered sugar.


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8 thoughts on “Sourdough Oliebollen: Dutch New Year’s Doughnuts

    • Kresha says:

      I’ve never tried it myself, but I know several people who use a flax egg substitute regularly in a number of baked goods, so definitely give it a go!

  1. Pingback: 101 Fabulous Fermented Foods - Nourishing Joy

  2. Tasja says:

    Thank you for this great recipe! I’m from the Netherlands and grew up with Olie Bollen and Appel Flappen. I have a regular recipe and make some every year. THIS year (this month) I started my sourdough starter and love the idea of sourdough olie bollen! I made some of these today and they came out lovely! Thank you so much for this recipe! Gelukkig Nieuw Jaar!

  3. Kim says:

    It is safe to say that originally Olliebollen would have been a sourdough recipe? And if so, when did we go from this being a somewhat healthy treat ( sourdough, fermented,properly prepared grain, lard) to what we now know as a unhealthy crime against humanity AKA oi balls of doom

    • Kresha Faber says:

      Yes, theoretically, merely because these have been made for hundreds of years (I love this painting, called “Maid with Oliebollen,” which is circa 1652) and – as you obviously know – natural fermentation was the way breads and grains were commonly prepared.


      The changing of how they’re made simply changed alongside all the other changes with how grains are used and treated in cooking, which happened largely through the last century.

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