Crab Croquettes/Bitterballen

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Crab Croquettes/Bitterballen with a Basil Dip

I could eat a croquette about anytime of the day. Definitely an obsession that just grew once I moved to the Netherlands. Here we call them bitterballen, and they are usually filled with beef or veal. I love switching it up with the ingredients and so far I have made them with dried Spanish ham, risotto, kale and Buffalo chicken. However, for my newest creation I went for crab, my first seafood bitterbal and it was a great hit.

The most used condiment when eating a bitterbal is mustard, which is a great combination, but with crab it just didn’t seem right. So I went for a basil dip which made this snack even better!

This recipe makes about 10.


170g crab

1 tablespoon olive oil

20g butter

2 tablespoons flour

200ml milk

2 eggs

200g breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

1/3 teaspoon chili flakes



1lt vegetable oil for frying

For the dip:

1/3 cup basil leaves

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon plain yogurt

Juice of ½ a lemon

Pinch of salt


In a blender or food processor add the basil leaves, lemon juice and yogurt and blend until a smooth consistency. Combine the basil mixture with the mayonnaise and season with a pinch of salt. Pour the dip into a serving bowl and keep in the fridge until ready to use.

In a pot melt the butter in the olive oil over medium heat. Gradually add the flour until it is well combined with the butter and does not stick to the pan. Turn of the heat and pour in the milk, in batches, and whisk until there are no clumps and the sauce has thickened. Add the crab, parsley, chili flakes and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let it cool off for about 20-30 minutes, then put in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours.

Whisk the eggs in a bowl and add the bread crumbs to a plate; season both dishes with salt and pepper. With wet hands form the mixture into small balls, roll them in the egg mixture and finally coat with the breadcrumbs. Repeat this step to create an extra crunchy coating.

Place the vegetable oil in a large saucepan and heat over medium heat. Once it is hot start frying the balls until they are golden brown; do this step in batches. Make sure the oil is not too hot or else they will burn easily. If you have a deep fryer, like I do, turn the heat to 180C and fry the balls in batches until golden brown.

Serve the crab croquettes with the basil dipping sauce and enjoy!



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