Oliebollen – Walnut and Cognac

These small oliebollen have a delicate cognac flavour. If you make them a larger size, less will be lost while baking and the cognac flavour will be stronger.


  • 225ml milk
  • 15gr sugar
  • 3gr salt
  • 1 egg
  • 50ml cognac
  • 25gr soft butter
  • 8gr dried yeast
  • 250gr strong white bread flour
  • sunflower oil (2 liter works best but depends on your pan, 5-6cm deep does the trick)


  • 100gr walnuts, roughly chopped

Makes approximately 20-25 small, or 10-15 large


Combine the milk, sugar, salt, egg, cognac and the soft butter.
Stir the dried yeast into the flour, then add the liquids one ladle full at a time.
Mix (preferably in a free standing mixer) for 10 minutes. Add the walnuts and mix to disperse. Cover the bowl and leave to rest for an hour.

Meanwhile, heat the sunflower oil to 180-190°C.

Scoop the dough in portions into the oil. I use a small (4cm) ice-cream scoop to portion the dough, and bake approximately 8 at a time. Do not overcrowd the pan as it may cause the oliebollen to stick together, but it will definitely drop the temperature of the oil a lot, which results in the oliebollen taking longer to crisp up, which will cause them to absorb more oil and becoming quite literally oil-balls (the literal translation of oliebollen). Flip them over once the bottom is nicely browned.
Regular sized oliebollen (5cm ice-cream scoop) should take approximately 6 minutes (3 on each side) and small oliebollen (4cm ice scoop) take about 3-4 minutes.
Take them out of the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. If not eating immediately (the cognac flavour will be stronger if eating immediately), space them out while cooling to avoid them getting squashed and becoming watery from the condensation as hot oliebollen are tossed on top each time.

Serve warm or cold. The Dutch method of serving is with powdered sugar, but they go great with whipped cream (with or without cinnamon) or ice cream.