Dutch Croquettes

Whenever we have a big family get together our days centre around a meal of some sort. In years gone by, Nana would invariably switch between a roast or a bbq when feeding a crowd. Whatever meat was left over would be repurposed into croquettes – another recipe that she mastered as part of our Dutch heritage. Anyone who has visited the Netherlands will have probably had the opportunity to sample croquette or bitteballen, with frites and mayonnaise – washed down with a long cool pilsner.

1 kg of leftover roast meat will make 23 croquettes, but you can divide the recipe to accomodate the amount of meat you have.


  • 1 kg of leftover roast meat
  • 2 medium sized onions or 1 large
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 100g butter
  • 100g flour
  • 1/4 litre milk
  • 1 tsp dried herbs
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp oil (olive, rice brain or rapeseed)
  • Oil for frying (rice bran)

For the crumb:

  • Eggs
  • Flour
  • Breadcrumbs


  • Chop the meat coarsely or use a food processor, on pulse – don’t let it get too fine. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Chop the onion and garlic finely and gently soften in a fry pan with a little oil. Set aside to cool.
  • Mix the ground meat, onion, garlic, mustard and dried herbs together. Season well. Set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan, when bubbling add the flour and mix until frothy. Slowly add the milk, using a whisk to mix into a very think sauce. You don’t want this to be pourable otherwise your croquettes won’t hold.
  • Take off the heat and add the meat mix to the white sauce and mix together. Allow to cool – then transfer to the fridge to go cold. This is really important as it’s hard to shape and crumb the croquettes warm. You can spread the mix into a tray lined with baking paper if you need to cool it down more quickly.
  • Meanwhile prepare to crumb – you will need a shallow dish of whisked eggs, seasoned flour and breadcrumbs. Also prepare a large tray (with edges) lined with baking paper.
  • Now here comes the messy part, you want to take a tablespoon full and shape into an oval, flour, egg then crumb – shaping on the tray

  • You can now freeze these (assuming your original meat wasn’t frozen) until you want to have them. If you want to eat then straight away, refrigerate until you are ready to cool them.
  • In a very large pot or deep fat fryer, heat the oil until hot. Gently lower the croquette in, in batches and fry until golden to dark brown.

If doing it Dutch style – serve on a slice of bread, or in a bread roll with mustard and mayo.

Cover image by Picture Partners

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