As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some recipes may contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission, at no additional cost to you.
* UPDATED on 29 Dec 2022 *
Oliebollen or “Oil Balls” are Dutch apple doughnuts which are traditionally eaten at midnight on New Year’s Eve but are often found at oliebollenkraam (market stalls) in many Dutch cities from November onwards. The best oliebollen are the ones that aren’t oily, even though they are called “oil balls” in Dutch!
Many believe the Dutch introduced the “doughnut” to the US where they then took it further by introducing hundreds of fillings, flavours and toppings.
Surprisingly, there are no spices or extracts added to the oliebollen mixture. The apples and raisins give the oliebollen its unique flavour and as the sugar is only added at the end as a coating, this apple doughnut equivalent is perfectly balanced in flavour and sweetness. In fact, the Dutch say that the sugar sprinkling is believed to symbolise a sweet and everlasting life. That’s a great start to the new year, for sure!
Gluten-Free Oliebollen (Dutch Apple Doughnuts)
For the yeast mixture:
- 80 ml milk, lukewarm
- 2 tsp dried yeast
For the Oliebollen mixture:
- 250 g store-bought or homemade gluten-free bread flour
- ½ tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 180 ml milk, lukewarm
- 170 g raisins
- 1 large green or red apple, peeled, cored and chopped in 2cm pieces
- 45 g lemon and orange candy peel pieces, chopped finely (optional)
- Sunflower oil, for deep-frying
- Powdered or icing sugar, for dusting
Preparing the yeast mixture:
- Add the lukewarm milk to a cup and stir in the yeast until dissolved.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for 10 mins to react.
Preparing the Oliebollen dough:
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, xanthan gum, salt and lukewarm milk with the lightly beaten eggs.
- Cut the apple into 2cm pieces and add them to the mixture.
- Mix in the yeast mixture, raisins, apple pieces and optional lemon and orange candy peel pieces.
- Cover with a damp cloth and rest in a warm place for 1 hour.
Deep-Frying the Oliebollen:
- Heat the oil in a deep-sided frying pan to a temperature of 170°C/325°F or until a piece of Oliebollen dough turns golden in 30 secs.
- Using two spoons or a regular size ice cream scoop, shape the dough into balls and drop two or three balls carefully into the hot oil. Try to not over-crowd the pan.
- Deep-fry for approx 4 mins. The oliebollen will sink to the bottom of the pan and then return to the top, floating. Spin the oliebollen around several times to ensure all sides are golden.
- Remove the oliebollen with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels or crumpled baking paper. This prevents them from going soggy.
- Immediately dust the cooked oliebollen with icing sugar and continue frying the remaining balls.
- Oliebollen can be eaten warm or cold. Dust a second round of icing sugar just before serving.
- Best eaten on the same day
- Reheat in a moderate oven covered with foil or in an air-fryer
- Not suitable to freeze
Thanks for the recipe! These worked perfect for me! Only thing I had to do was add a teaspoon of sugar to my active fry yeast because it wasn’t reacting in the lukewarm milk on its own.
Loved this recipe so much, can’t wait to make them again!
Thanks, Lydia for your feedback! Happy to hear that you made them and loved the recipe. Interesting about the sugar…I know what you mean, some dried yeast products need that extra boost with the sugar. Happy New Year!