Recipe for Raisin Buns / Krentenbollen

Yes, you need that many raisins, so stick to the recipe!

I have been making raisin buns for quite a while now, and I think I have tweaked and tried the recipe to my satisfaction. Raisin buns are called ‘krentenbollen’ in Dutch, although they are usually made with a combination of raisins and currants (‘krenten’ means currants (for a lecture on the difference between currants and raisins, see end of this post)). I usually make double the amount of this recipe. The buns keep wonderfully well in the freezer and you can give them a quick ‘pick me up’ in the microwave, have some fresh butter at hand (also good without though) and away you go. But nothing can beat eating them slightly warm, fresh from the oven of course. The following recipe is a slightly ‘tuned down’ version of the one I use myself, because I work with prefermented dough and different types of flour etc. But if you want to try raisin buns for the first time, this recipe is a great point to start.

Before you start!

You need to prepare a so called ‘sweetener’ which gives the raisin bun dough it’s distinctive and pleasant taste. For this you mix 40 grams of sugar with the zest of 1 unwaxed lemon and one unwaxed orange. You can store this mixture in your fridge, it will keep for a long time. You also have to wash and soak your raisins. First wash them and then leave them for 10 minutes in warm water. Rinse with cold water and leave to dry on a plate for two days (cover them against dust). If you do not want to wait two days, or you forgot, just drain them well and roll them lightly in flour before using. The amount of raisins used is usually the same as the amount of flour used. It seems like a lot, but you need this amount to get a good raisin bun so you do not ‘have to bicycle from one raisin to the next’ as we say. As you make them more often, you will come to your own preferred amount.

Note: if you use American bread flour you probably need 3 to 5 % more milk than we use with our European flour.

Ingredients for the Raisin Buns

makes 12 raisin buns

400 g bread flour / all purpose flour / French type 55 flour

40 g fresh yeast or 14 grams instant yeast

8 g salt

50 g fresh dairy butter

1 egg yolk

220 g milk

10 g sweetener (sugar and lemon/orange zest mix, see ‘before you start’))

400 g raisins, washed and soaked (you can also use a mixture of raisins and currants)

Making the Raisin Buns
Make the dough with all the ingredients (except the raisins) and with 170 g of the milk. Then gradually add the rest of the milk and kneed the dough until well developed. If you are using fresh yeast, first dissolve it in some of the milk, before adding it to the other ingredients. With a KitchenAid type mixer, mix for about 8 to 10 minutes, by hand it will take about 15 minutes of good kneading. Make sure the dough is not too sticky or too dry. Aim for a bit tacky, which means that when you poke the dough with your dry finger it should stick for a second but then peel of as you remove your finger. Leave to rest for 5 minutes.

Then add the raisins and ‘pinch’ them through the dough very carefully by hand, so they are evenly distributed. If you are lucky enough to own a spiral mixer, you can use that instead and it will only take one minute to add the raisins. If not, just do the work by hand.

Shape the dough into a ball, transfer to a greased bowl, cover and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
Now press the dough down with both hands into a flat disc, roll it up tightly, cover it and again leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 equal parts and make rolls. Leave to rest for about 10 minutes. Now press the rolls with your hand until slightly flat and round the dough again into a smooth ball.

I always weigh each piece of dough before shaping to make sure they are all the same size and bake evenly.

Place the rolls on a baking tray covered with a baking sheet (we use our reusable thin fiber baking mats).
Preheat your oven to 200ºC /390ºF. Now the rolls are ready for their final proofing. Loosely cover them with plastic wrap. Depending on your room temperature and the temperature of the dough this should take at least 1 hour, but more likely 1.5 hours or even more. Just be patient and check regularly. When you think it has risen enough, use your finger to carefully make a very small dent in the dough. If the dent remains, the bread is ready to bake, if the indentation disappears, the dough needs a little bit more time (10 to 15 minutes).

When ready place the buns in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on your oven. They should have a nice golden brown shine. You can brush the tops with some melted butter while the buns are still warm, this way they also stay softer and get extra taste. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Eat with fresh butter!

Note: The difference between raisins and currants
Dark raisins: These are the most common variety found in most markets, usually made from Thompson seedless grapes. Although they start as green grapes, the fruit naturally darkens as it dries.

• White or golden raisins: These are also called muscats and are generally made of white muscat grapes which are seeded, specially oven-dried (rather than by sun), and treated to retain their light color. Some golden raisins are dried Thompson seedless raisins which have been kept light by the use of sulfur dioxide.

• Sultanas: More popular in Europe, these raisins come from a seedless yellow grape and are usually softer and sweeter than other varieties. The American variety of sultana grape is the Thompson seedless.

• Currants: Although there is a gooseberry relative known as the currant, the dried currant raisin is actually made from Black Corinth grape called Zante. They are tiny, seedless, and very sweet but do bear a resemblance to the currant berry. The name confusion comes not only from the currant raisin’s similar appearance to the currant berry, but also due to the similarity of the sounds of the fruit names, ie., currant sounds like Corinth, the variety of grape. Tiny dried currants are extremely sweet and aromatic. (source Wikipedia)

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38 Responses to Recipe for Raisin Buns / Krentenbollen

  1. Stu Flavell says:

    Making krentenbollen has become a regular feature in the rhythm of our kitchen. We have settled on using all-purpose flour for our rolls, as it gives a softer finish. Overall, the recipe has been quite reliable and has given me a lot of confidence in baking.

    Tonight we tried a slight variation. We had a supply of rum- and brandy-soaked fruit left over from making holiday stollen: cherries, raisins, cranberries and chopped apricots. We wrung them out, leaving them just about as damp as our raisins usually are. We then mixed the fruit into the dough in lieu of raisins. The result was a festive variation the usual treat. I was happy to find such a tasty use for the leftover fruit.

    Thanks for sharing your explorations.

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Stu, we also mix and match a lot with our fruit, dried sour cherries are very nice in the krentenbollen!

  2. Henny DeRegt says:

    Could you give me this recipe in cup measurements please? Thank you.

  3. Freda says:

    Do you know what the nutritional values are? Total fat, cholesterol, calories etc. for each bun?

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Freda,

      Sorry, we cannot exactly help you with that except that there is between 3 to 4 grams of fat in each bun. The average raisin bun has about 260 kilo-calories per 100 g. We are not exactly the calorie counting types I’m afraid.

  4. Julia de Ruig says:

    Good evening Marieke, today l beaked your krentenbollen and they were absolutely delicious! In the beginning l did not believe how on earth will l incorporate THIS amount of raisins into THAT amount of dough :-) but l managed. Everything worked perfectly. Big thank you for your lovely recipe. Julia

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Julia,
      So glad you liked it. Yes, when making the krentenbollen for the first time, you will think this cannot be right, but like you discovered, when you stick with it, you get a very good ratio of dough to raisin, just like they are meant to be.

      Happy bollen baking!


  5. Boots Weckerle says:

    I am making Krenten Bollen for the first time. Should the milk be warm (105 degrees) when I add the east?

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Boots,

      Yeast should never be too warm or it will not get active or even die. The aim is to get a final dough that is around 77 degrees (25 Celsius) for optimum proofing of the krentenbollen. So a room temperature milk or slightly warmer would be OK. Also see our tips on dough temperature for more background information: www.weekendbakery.com/posts…mperature/.

  6. Albertine Lubbe says:

    I just love this recipe and I have printed this and keep this in my recipe folder. I am going to make this coming week-end and will gell you how the ‘Krentenbollen’ turned out. I hope good.
    A friend of mine bakes Krentenbrood and I love her bread, but there is one thing that this bread is difficult to spread. The bread falls apart and the ‘krenten’ just do not stick to the bread, they just fall out. What would be the reason? Pleas let me know why?

    You will get my reaction after I make the ‘Krentenbollen’.

    WIth tanks, Albertine.

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Albertine,
      Thanks for your comment. Hope the krentenbollen will be a success. It is hard to say what your friend is doing, not seeying her at work. Maybe she uses a bread baking machine and judging by the bread falling apart bit it sounds like there is not enough gluten development and the bread is therefor more like cake. This could be due to not enough kneading, maybe in combination with a very low gluten flour.

      Let us know how your krentenbollen turned out!

      Happy baking!


  7. Stu Flavell says:

    I am thoroughly enjoying working from this website. As someone who lived in Amsterdam for a few years and ate my share of krentenbollen (with peanut butter–a lot), I am really happy to have this recipe. Could I try prefermenting this by using 100g each of the water and flour in the recipe with a smaller portion of yeast, akin to that in the white roll recipe elsewhere on this site?


    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Stu,

      Great to hear. Yes, you could very well do that and add prefermented dough to the final dough. We do this ourselves sometimes too and it works for this recipe too. The difference it produces is (for us) a little less detectable than for the white buns, because there’s so much going on already in a krentenbol.

      Happy baking!


      • Stu Flavell says:

        I now bake krentenbollen! I have successfully executed this recipe a few times and the results have been irresistible. As someone who has been baking breads that take 18-36 hours from start to finish, mastering a yeast bread project that takes about three hours, start to finish, is very satisfying.

        • Weekend Bakers says:

          Hi Stu, thank you for your kind words. We like, we love krentenbollen. You eat them often as breakfast with a slice of cheese, or simply with butter. With a good recipe, good ingredients, even a straight dough bread can be great!

  8. Lisa says:

    Ik heb deze krentenbollen al vaker gebakken, erg lekker. Wat ik zelf erg lekker vind, is een beetje kaneel door het deeg. Ik deel het deeg in 2 helften en doe door één helft kaneel zodat ik krentenbollen met en zonder kaneel heb.

  9. Joyce says:

    Mine are just out of the oven and they look and taste amazing, just like the real thing! The dough seemed a bit sticky to me at first but it all turned out well :)One question though, they seem to develop a bit of a crust, even after I’ve brushed them with butter… Any tips on how to improve this the next time I bake these? Thanks for the recipe!

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Joyce,
      Thank you for trying our recipe. It depends a bit on the humidity of your surroundings too but the surest way of getting a soft exterior is to but the buns in a (plastic) bag while they are still a bit warm. The warm air will soften them.

      Happy bun baking!


  10. Karryn Persson says:

    Hi we have just returned back home to Sweden after spending a week in Holland for the Tulip Festival, we ate these buns everyday, so I have decided to try and bake them, will let you know how they turn out. In Holland we found that you could buy these buns in different sizes, we liked the very large ones. So I’m hoping that your recipe for 12 is the same as the large buns we bought back with us. best regards Karryn.

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Karryn,
      Hope you had a great time in our little country and the tulips were doing their best to enchant you. I do not know what size the buns you bought would have been exactly, but I am guessing you would come close if you make 8 bigger ones of about 150 grams each. I find the recipe works best using fresh yeast and the type of flour you use also makes a difference of course.
      If you use bread flour they will be denser, using a lighter (type 55 flour) works great, types like Italian 00 and Manitoba (if available) will also give very good results.

      Happy krentenbol baking!


  11. Jessica says:

    Thanks for yet another great recipe!
    The krentenbollen are in their final proof right now, and I can’t wait to taste them.
    I do have one question: in the ingredient list you talk about 270 GRAMS of milk, but later in the instructions you talk about ML. Is that right? Or should I be using ML the whole time??

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Jessica,

      You are right, thank you for noticing. The 270 g is correct so it is best to stick to that. I already corrected it in the text. But as there is not that big a difference between 270 g and 270 ml of milk you can use both. Depending on what milk you use 100g milk will equal around 97 ml (because of milk solids) when you use water it makes practically no difference 100 ml is 100 g.

      Hope your raisin buns will be great!


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  14. Henry Poole says:

    Krentenbollen are my wife’s favorite treat. We just returned to the U.S. from a visit ‘home’ (for her) to The Netherlands. She packed as many packages of Kerentenbollen in the carry-on luggage as would fit and by the time we landed there was only one package left! I bake as a hobby and will try out your recipe for her in the near future…she has a very discerning taste so success on my part will not be easy.

    Henry & Joke
    Warner Robins, GA

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Henry & Joke,
      Hope you had a great visit over here and you will give the krentenbollen recipe a try. Maybe the recipe needs some tweaking because of the flour you use (most of the time American flour asks for a bit more water than our European) but Home baked and fresh can never be a bad thing!

      Groetjes uit Holland,

      Ed & Marieke

  15. Jan Rendek says:

    Loved them when I studied in NL.
    Now I prepared them using your recipe for my colleagues in the office in Bratislava, Slovakia. And they loved them too :-)

    Thank you!

    Jan Rendek

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Jan,
      How wonderful that ‘our’ krentenbollen are liked all the way in Bratislava! Thank you so much for sharing. Makes us :)

      Greetings from Holland,

      Marieke & Ed

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  17. Jim Wheeler says:

    Hi, I made the Krentenbollen today. I had some issuesa and maybe you can help me. I followed the recipe as closely as I could.I used King Arthur unbleacked flour, Red Stat Platinum yeast, and equal grams of raisins to flour. They seems to be doing ok until after 14 minutes in a 390 degree oven they were notbrowned like your picture and a lot of raisins sticking out every where. I switched to the convection mode in my oven at the same temperture and they browned a little in 5 more minutes but the center never achived a nice egg yellowish fluffy crumb. What do you think I did wrong? I remember these as a kid and they were much lighter fewer raisins and look like your picture on the web site. they did taste mighty good though!!

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Jim,
      First of all ovens are tricky things to compare. Maybe yours works a little different and you need to set it a bit higher next time. These are the things you always have to figure out and ‘tweak’ to make the recipe work for you.
      Incorporating the raisins so they do not stick out has to do with shaping technique. First of all you have to make sure the raisins are equally divided throughout the dough, at this point of course some will stick out here and there, but when it comes to the part of making the rolls, this is where you must make sure (almost) all of them are covered by the dough. When you master the technique of tightly rolling the balls, first with rather a lot of pressure with your cupped hands and gradually releasing the pressure, you will see that the raisins that are on the outside also get covered with a film of the dough. The yellowness of the crumb also has to do with how yellow to orange in color your yolk is and also a bit with the orange lemon zest sugar. It is no problem making these with less raisins if you prefer of course. And last but not least, for fluffiness it is also essential you make absolutely sure they are very well risen to their full extend. So when your dough and/or surroundings are colder this could take quite a while longer than the times given in the recipe.

      Hope this is helpful and you will give it another try.


  18. Nor says:

    Sounds really good, but when it comes to recipes, I understand cups, tblspoons and tspoons, etc, grams are not my bag. So it would really help to have this in my language.

  19. Carla says:

    Hello Marieke,
    Your website is a source of inspiration for a novice baker like myself (and many others I’m sure). Next weekend I will give this krentenbollen recipe a try; also in memory / honour of my granddad. Your story about the amount of raisins brought back happy memories of my grandparents.
    My granddads reply to my granny’s request if her “oliebollen” (dutch new years treat) were filled enough with currants and raisins would be: Yes dear, I don’t need my bike! And my granny knew then that they were alright. Lovely to read that you use a similar expression!

  20. Marieke says:

    Hello Donna,

    So nice to hear from you. Thank you for your kind words on our site.
    The krentenbollen are a real favorite with our family. I hope they work out for you too with this recipe. Of course you have different ingredients, especially the flour and how much moisture it needs to get a good dough. But I would love to hear how they turn out! I call my krentenbollen raisin buns because I do not actually use ‘krenten’ in them but the more juicy raisins.
    Fun to hear that you eat the pindakaas and the chocolade pasta! No hagelslag (another ‘Dutch’ treat)? I would be curious to hear what you think of Holland now. Things change so quickly and it’s rather busy everywhere. People I know who moved years ago and visit cannot get used to it anymore. In the US you usually have a lot more space.
    But we still have enough room for baking and for our little stone oven. Although it is our dream to one day have a wood fired one, maybe in a large garden, to make bread and pizza!

    Have fun with the baking!


  21. Jan & Donna Kohler says:

    Hello Marieke,

    What a great website you have! I found your website from The Fresh Loaf and your postings. When I saw the spelling of your name I thought you were Dutch. What fun to find someone from Holland. My husband was born and raised in Baarn and immigrated to the U.S. in 1981. We met in California and lived in Holland for 3 years, 1990 to 1993, in Soest then Amersfoort. As an American it was a great experience for me. I loved the Dutch breads and visited the bread museum in Hattem.

    We started making no-knead bread a couple of years ago, much better than the grocery store breads and much cheaper than the artisan bakeries. After starting Jan took over and makes our bread every week and slices and freezes. He makes a very nice no-knead bread with cranraisins, nuts and cinnamon, just had a piece for breakfast with peanut butter and Dutch chocolate paste that we buy from a baker that comes every 6 weeks.

    We just printed out the Krentenbollen recipe and Jan is started to make them. I remember the raisins in Holland were different, had some sand and were tougher. The raisins we get are pre-washed so we will skip that but are soaking just to make them softer, they are already pretty soft but Krentenbollen needs soft raising.

    Thank you for such a great site!

    Donna Kohler