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Smoutebollen are Belgian doughnuts made with Belgian beer.

Smoutebollen are a traditional Christmas – or winter – treat in Belgium.

Don’t be turned off by the name, which in Flemish means “lard balls.” I can assure that no lard made its way into these delicious, beer-inflected donuts.

They can range in size from golf balls to tennis balls and are typically served dusted with powdered sugar.

You can fancy-up your smoutebollen by filling them with delicious ingredients such as chocolate or apple but plain is just perfect, too.


Make sure your milk’s warm and not hot! If it’s any warmer than 110-115F it can kill your yeast and your dough won’t rise.

Use a deep frying thermometer to get your oil to 375F. If it’s too hot, your doughnuts will disintegrate once they’re added. Not hot enough and your doughnuts won’t brown or cook properly and they’ll absorb the oil.


Small Bowl

Medium Bowl

Wooden Spoon

Large, heavy bottomed pan

Deep Frying Thermometer

Slotted Spoon

Baking Sheet



Proofing Yeast

Deep Frying


1 hour, 30 minutes

1 hour, 30 minutes



Servings: 15 doughnuts


Smoutebollen are a traditional Christmas - or winter - treat in Belgium, donuts filled with raisins and apple dusted with powdered sugar.


  • ½ teaspoon dry yeast
  • ¾ cup warm milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon finely-grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup diced, peeled apple
  • 1/3 cup Belgian beer
  • Canola oil, for deep-frying
  • Powdered sugar


  1. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk in a large bowl. Set aside until the yeast dissolves, 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add the flour, sugar, lemon zest, raisins and apple in a large bowl. Stir in the beer, then the milk. Once the dough is well-mixed, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 1 hour.
  3. Heat at least 2 inches of oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit in a large skillet or sauté pan. Carefully drop the dough, by rounded teaspoonfuls into the hot oil and fry until golden brown on all sides. (You may need to flip the doughnuts to make sure they cook evenly.)
  4. Use a slotted spoon to remove the doughnuts from the oil and set them on a sheet tray lined with paper towels to drain. Once they’re cool enough to handle, sprinkle the doughnuts with powdered sugar and serve. Makes about 15 doughnuts.
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