Amsterdam is associated with many things…canals, tulip gardens, clogs, windmills, but one of its most famous desserts, the stroopwafel, is often never considered.
Amsterdam’s lesser-known delight thrives in the hearts and taste buds of both locals and tourists alike – stroopwafels.
The thin, chewy treats have become a staple dessert or snack for visitors to the city and many leave craving more. Stroopwafels are a must-try dessert when in the Dutch city and they aren’t hard to find!
This blog post will explore the history of the delicious waffles, what they taste like, where you can find them and how their popularity has sky-rocketed in recent years.
What is a Stroopwafel?
A stroopwafel is a treat consisting of two thin waffles, cemented together with a sticky filling – often caramel.
Stroopwafels are pressed with a distinctive pattern and may come decorated in more high-end bakeries. Traditionally, stroopwafels are plain and should be eaten with a hot drink.
The contrast between the crisp waffle and the gooey inside is often what makes so many visitors fall in love with the treats.
The Origin of Stroopwafels
The origins of stroopwafels can be traced back to the 19th century in the city of Gouda, located not far from Amsterdam. You’ll likely have heard of Gouda, even if it’s only because of the city’s delicious cheese.
Stroopwafels were first made by bakers who just wanted to use up leftovers to make a street, easy treat. The wafers consisted of crumbs and spare batter and were shaped into two rounds, sealed together with spare treacle to act as syrup. The bakers had found a great way of effectively repurposing ingredients that might have otherwise gone to waste.
The first recipe for stroopwafels as we know them today dates back to 1840, but they are likely to be far older than this due to bakers using their leftover method for years prior.
However, for over one hundred years stroopwafels remained quite unpopular. It wasn’t until the late 1900s that bakeries were able to expand and become widely accessible. More and more people were able to get their hands on the stroopwafels and realise their deliciousness.
The little wafers began to win over the nation, winning in the biscuit market due to their sweet taste and unique texture.
What’s in a Stroopwafel?
Stroopwafels may seem simple at first glance, but their delicious taste lies in the careful assembly of high-quality ingredients. The waffle dough typically consists of flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and yeast. The dough is pressed in a hot waffle iron and two circular waffles are needed to make one stroopwafel.
The filling of a stroopwafel is the most irresistible part of a stroopwafel, however. A usual filling is made from caramel syrup, cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter, heated and mixed to combine together.
The filling is spread between the two layers and then they are sandwiched together. As the syrup cools it seals the waffles together and creates a delicious contrast in textures.
How Do You Eat a Stroopwafel?
Stroopwafels are more than just a light snack to enjoy, there is a ritual to eating them. Many visitors to Amsterdam don’t catch on to the traditional way of eating a stroopwafel but it’s actually pretty simple – you’ll spot many locals eating them this way.
For the authentic experience, place your stroopwafel atop your mug of warm coffee or tea, letting the heat soften the caramel filling.
The caramel will become even more gooey in texture and the waffle will get softer. The treat will be warm and even more delicious than if you’d just bit straight into it from the package!
Where to Find Stroopwafels in Amsterdam
If you’re in Amsterdam and eager to experience the magic of stroopwafels, you’re in for a treat. These delectable snacks are available throughout the city, whether you’re exploring charming local markets, bustling shopping streets, or dedicated pastry shops.
Here are a few of the best spots to enjoy an authentic stroopwafel:
Albert Cuyp Market
The Albert Cuyp Market is an iconic market which is a treasure trove of Dutch culinary delights, and stroopwafels are no exception. You can watch as skilled bakers prepare these treats right before your eyes, filling the air with the intoxicating aroma of freshly baked waffles.
Foodhallen is an indoor market which is heavenly for food lovers. You’ll find a variety of stalls offering many Dutch delights and there are plenty offering authentic and modern-take stroopwafels. Foodhallen offers many modern twists on classic foods and celebrates the Dutch culture.
Van Wonderen Stroopwafels
Van Wonderen Stroopwafels has carved a name for itself as a stroopwafel haven. With its inviting aroma and vibrant displays, the shop entices both locals and travellers. Whether you opt for a classic recipe or indulge in their imaginative toppings, Van Wonderen Stroopwafels is a great location to explore the delight of stroopwafels.
Be aware that Van Wonderen can be quite expensive – in fact they were the most expensive stroopwafels I saw on my recent trip to Amsterdam but they are very worth it! The bakery has recently blown up on social media for serving such delicious stroopwafels and so the queue is ofetn out the door!
There are 10 Stach stores across the city of Amsterdam. The brand operates small, deli-like grocery stores that sell freshly baked items and local branded food and drink. Stach sells stroopwafels in batches of up to 10 at a time and they are advertised as being best served with coffee.
Croissanterie Hans Egstorf
Croissanterie Hans Egstorf is a quaint little bakery which serves many fresh treats. Croissanterie Hans Egstorf is the oldest bakery in the city of Amsterdam and is well-loved by locals and visitors. The bakery is infamous for its sourdough bread, handmade croissants and of course, delicious stroopwafels. The company takes pride in its stroopwafels as they follow the original recipe, making them the most authentic they can be.
Vegan Stroopwafels in Amsterdam
Unfortunately, while stroopwafels are delicious, they don’t suit many individuals with dietary requirements. I’m allergic to eggs and so often have to search far and wide to track down vegan alternatives of baked treats across Europe.
Queen’s Stroopwafels is one of the best bakeries to try a vegan stroopwafel. It is one of the only bakeries that I could find that offered more than just the original stroopwafel and I was very impressed with the quality of them.
They are served fresh and made to order meaning they come gooey and warm – giving the same effect as resting it on your hot mug. You also get to see the process of stroopwafels being made which I found very interesting.
The bakery also offers the traditional stroopwafel so if you’re with someone who wants an authentic treat then they certainly can.
Other Ways to Enjoy Stroopwafels
Amsterdam is a very creative city with a great ‘can-do’ attitude. The people have an inventive spirit and are willing to give anything a go. While you have to enjoy a classic stroopwafel, with no toppings or additions at least once during your trip, it can be hard to resist all of the modern twists that the Dutch people have given their beloved treats.
Let’s take a look at some of the most inventive (and delicious) takes on the stroopwafel:
Toppings, toppings and more toppings…
One of the most simple upgrades that the stroopwafel has had over the years is the addition of toppings. Many bakeries now serve the baked treats with all sorts of sweet treats on top.
The most popular topping that I saw while in Amsterdam was a half-chocolate dip with sprinkles or sweets on the top. Hazelnut flakes were also popular.
While stroopwafels are delicious on their own, the toppings really do make them so much better! If you’ve got a sweet tooth then you’ll absolutely love a stroopwafel with toppings.
Some bakeries will make their topped treats right before your eyes while others will have them pre-prepared behind the counter. I’d recommend trying to go for the former as they’ll be way more fresh!
Stroopwafel Ice-Cream Sandwiches
Your mouth will be watering at just the thought of a stroopwafel ice-cream sandwich. Swapping out the traditional wafers for stroopwafels was a fabulous idea and many coffee shops and bakeries know it! A stroopwafel ice-cream sandwich is a perfect treat to have while having a summer stroll around the city.
Stroopwafel in Other Desserts
Stroopwafels have also managed to venture into many other desserts over the years. Many restaurants now serve cheesecakes topped with stroopwafel pieces, tiramisu with stroopwafel included and milkshakes.
You might also spot drinks such as lattes or iced coffees with stroopwafels as a topping with caramel sauces.
Stroopwafel Making and Tasting Experience
If you’re in love with stroopwafels and are looking for activities to fill your time in Amsterdam then I highly recommend doing an experience around the baked treat.
Located outside the city in Voldendam, this experience is a great way to fill a few hours and great excuse to get out of the city centre.
The experience offers an opportunity to see, taste and assist in making the delicious treats and take some away with you.
Operating from a newly renovated bakery, the Volendam: Stroopwafel Experience with Tasting is an authentic experience that would be perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth.
There is a shop on the upper floor where you can admire the beautiful creations of the Dutch bakers and buy many stroopwafel variations to take home from the Netherlands to friends and family.
Downstairs you will watch a demonstration from a skilled baker on how to make stroopwafels and give a hand in the process. You’ll then get to try the sweet treat for yourself.
Conclusion: Stroopwafels in Amsterdam
Stroopwafels are more than just a delightful treat – they’re a piece of Dutch culture that bridges the gap between the past and the present.
They had a humble beginning in a small bakery, starting off as being made from scraps and have grown to be a much-loved treat across Amsterdam that is sold on nearly every corner.
Most bakeries across the city will sell stroopwafels with many modern takes being made on them. Vegan stroopwafels can be slightly harder to find as most bakeries strive to be authentic but there are a few very good locations to buy them such as Queen’s Stroopwafels.
The best way to eat a stroopwafel is warm and gooey, whether that’s fresh out of the press or over a hot drink. You can find them for as cheap as €1.50 making them even more hard to resist!
If you ever find yourself in Amsterdam then you have to try a stroopwafel – even if it’s just a plain one!