Traditional Dutch Breakfasts: A Simple Start to Your Day

The Dutch approach to breakfast is a bit different than what other European countries may consider normal. Unlike the hearty, warm breakfasts popular in many cultures, the Dutch prefer a simple, cold start to their day. Us Mother Birds here at Hungry Birds Street Food Tours are experts on all things Food and all things Dutch. Here, we’ll explore the traditional elements of a Dutch breakfast, highlighting some must-try brekkys, and delve into the cultural nuances surrounding the morning meals that our fellow countrymen choose on a regular basis.


The Simplicity of Dutch Breakfasts

A traditional Dutch breakfast is characterized by its simplicity. It’s designed to be quick, easy, and nutritious, providing just the right amount of energy to start the day. Here’s a closer look at some of the staples you’ll find on a Dutch breakfast table.

1. Broodje Kaas (Bread with cheese)

One of the most iconic items in a Dutch breakfast is the “broodje kaas.” This dish features fresh bread, typically a whole grain or rye slice or roll, paired with a slice of Dutch cheese, such as Gouda or Edam. It’s a simple yet delicious way to enjoy the rich, creamy flavors of locally produced cheese. It is quick to make, contains healthy fats and protein, and keeps you full until lunch time.

2. Pindakaas and/or Nutella

For those who prefer something sweet, “pindakaas” (peanut butter) and Nutella are popular choices. Spread over slices of fresh bread or toast. Pindakaas, often less sweet and more natural-tasting than its American counterpart, is a staple in many Dutch households. Nutella is a more indulgent choice and probably utilized less than pindakaas, however you will usually find it in the cupboard or on the table of a Dutch household.

3. Hagelslag (Chocolate Sprinkles)

A unique and beloved Dutch breakfast treat, “hagelslag” are chocolate sprinkles that are sprinkled over bread with butter. It comes in a few various flavors, including milk, dark, and white chocolate. Although it is usually considered a children’s choice for breakfast, you will still find many Dutch adults reaching for their box of hagelslag in the morning. Kids at heart 😉

4. Yoghurt and Muesli

For a lighter, healthier option, many Dutch people enjoy yoghurt topped with muesli or granola. This combination provides a balanced start to the day, often enhanced with fresh fruits, nuts, and a drizzle of honey. It’s a refreshing and nutritious choice, perfect for those looking to maintain a healthy diet.

5. Ontbijtkoek (Breakfast Cake)

Ontbijtkoek,” or breakfast cake, is a spiced loaf cake commonly enjoyed with a layer of butter. Flavored with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, this slightly sweet treat offers a comforting taste that’s perfect for the morning. It’s typically made with rye flour, giving it a dense and satisfying texture.


The Dutch Perspective on Warm Breakfasts

One notable aspect of Dutch breakfast culture is the general avoidance of warm foods in the morning. While many cultures favor hot meals like eggs, bacon, or pancakes for breakfast, the Dutch stick to their cold, simple fare. Warm breakfasts are uncommon and often reserved for special occasions or weekends.


Leftovers for Breakfast? Not in the Netherlands

In many parts of the world, eating leftovers for breakfast is a common practice. However, in the Netherlands, this is often viewed with surprise or even mild disapproval. The Dutch prefer fresh, simple foods for breakfast, and the idea of reheating last night’s dinner in the morning is unusual. This preference highlights the cultural emphasis on a fresh start to the day with light, uncomplicated meals.



Experiencing a traditional Dutch breakfast is a delightful way to immerse yourself in Dutch culture. The simplicity and freshness of the foods, combined with unique flavors like hagelslag and ontbijtkoek, offer a refreshing change from the heavy, warm breakfasts common in other cultures. Whether you’re enjoying a broodje kaas or indulging in a sweet spread of pindakaas or Nutella, you’re sure to find something that satisfies your morning cravings. You can find some cool oldschool cafes in Amsterdam that serve these typical Dutch breakfast foods, however, they are not so common because going out for breakfast is not a common practice in the Netherlands. Book a walking street food tour with the Hungry Birds to learn more about Dutch food culutre and taste your way through Amsterdam!


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