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Everything you need to know about the eierbal

Date:28 February 2024
Hylke with an eierbal.
Hylke with an eierbal.

From the outside, the famous Groningse snack looks like a big bitterbal [breaded and fried balls of thick stew], but inside, you will find a small layer of thick stew and, at its core, a whole boiled egg. We will reveal how this interesting snack came into existence and other fun facts in today’s blog. So, read along!

The history of the delicious snack

It’s unsure what specifically inspired the invention of the Groningse eierbal. Some say that the similar Scotch Egg, a boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat that’s breaded and then deep-fried, has been an inspiration, as this snack has existed since the 18th century. Others suggest that there have been some Indonesian influences because there’s an Indonesian dish called sambal telur, which is somewhat similar. Nevertheless, the Groningse eierbal was invented after the Second World War. During that time, people didn’t have much money and needed something cheap and filling. That’s why the first eierballen were nothing more than some boiled eggs in soaked stale bread.

Many people consider the Sloots family, who owned Sloot Automatiek, to be the inventors of the snack. However, Cafetaria Succes also had the eierbal on their menu. Though, Sloot Automatiek was the first to advertise the snack. The advertisement can be found in Nieuwsblad van het Noorden published on the 23rd of January 1951.

Fun facts

  • The world’s biggest eierbal was fried by a few students in the snack bar Friet van Piet on the 24th of June 2015. They used an ostrich egg, which made the circumference of the eierbal 44 centimetres. 

  • In 2017, the Groningse eierbal was put on UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage of the Netherlands after an initiative of RTV Noord.

  • The snack has many variants: with or without meat, with or without curry powder, with chilli pepper or without. There’s even a vegan eierbal with an “egg” made of potato, almonds and vegetable gelatine. For the “egg” to smell and taste like an actual egg, kala namak, black salt, is used.

How to make an eierbal at home

Credits to Visit Groningen for the recipe.

  • 65 g wheat flour + 50 g for breading

  • 1 tsp curry powder or other spices like chilli, coriander, ginger, cumin, kurkuma etc.

  • 1 tsp ground mustard seed

  • Dried or fresh parsley

  • 32 g unsalted butter

  • 250 ml cold vegetable stock

  • 4 medium eggs + 1 egg (whipped) for breading

  • 50 g breadcrumbs

How to make it:
Ragout (thick stew)

Sift the flour into a bowl and add the spices and parsley. Melt the butter in a saucepan. As soon as the butter starts to bubble, add the flour/spice mixture. Heat for 3 minutes on low heat while stirring constantly. Be careful the mixture does not get too dark or burn while reducing the stew.

Pour in the vegetable stock, let it boil and stir with a whisk so there are no lumps—season with salt and pepper. Leave to cook over low heat for a few minutes while stirring. Spoon the stew into a bowl, cover and leave to cool to room temperature. Then let it sit for about 5 hours in the fridge or 1,5 hours in the freezer.

Preparing the eggs

Boil the eggs for about 5 minutes, cool them off under cold water and peel them. Pat the eggs dry with a piece of kitchen paper.

Divide the stew into four equal portions of about 80 grams. Dust your palms with some flour. Roll the portions of stew into balls and press them flat. Dust the eggs with some flour and fold the ragout evenly around the egg. Wrap the eggs in cling film and leave to set in the fridge for 24 hours.

For the breadcrumbs, put flour on a plate. Whisk the egg in a bowl. Put the breadcrumbs on a plate. Pass the eierbal successively through the flour, egg and breadcrumbs. The eierbal is now ready to go into the deep-frying pan.


Heat oil in a deep-frying pan to 170 degrees Celsius. Deep-fry the eierballen for about 5 minutes. Note: do not deep-fry eierballen in too hot oil. Otherwise, the ball will not get hot inside and will get too brown on the outside.

Note: eat the eierballen immediately or store them in the fridge for up to two days. After that, they are no longer tasty. You cannot freeze the eierbal.

Now you know everything about the famous eierbal and can even surprise your friends with home-made snacks. If you haven’t tried the delicacy yet, put it on your Groningen bucket list!

About the author


Hiya! I’m Hylke, a Dutch MA English Literature student. People often ask me if I’m Frisian, but sadly I’m not; I just have a Frisian name. I love reading, writing, meeting with friends, and the colour yellow, so much so that I take pictures of every yellow wall I can find!


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