Boerenjongens (Brandied Sultanas) Recipe

Ingredients for boerenjongens recipe

The Spruce / Teena Agnel

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Yield: 4 small jars
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
277 Calories
0g Fat
43g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 277
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 10mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 43g 16%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 36g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 2mg 8%
Calcium 33mg 3%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 276mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Boerenjongens is a specialty from the Groningen province in the north of the Netherlands. It is made with sultanas (a type of raisin), brandy, and spices.

It's traditionally served on special occasions, such as Christmas or country weddings. In fact, its popularity at old country weddings, where the bride would serve it to guests from a large silver, earthenware or glass vessel, earned it the name of bruidstranen ('bride's tears'). Boerenjongens are often enjoyed as a drink in a glass with a little fork or spoon to scoop out the brandy-soaked sultanas. Today, the sultanas are often scooped out and added to ice creams, desserts, and cakes.

This recipe is more than just a Dutch version of rum raisins. In fact, the Dutch have been making and trading brandy for so long that the English word for brandy comes from the Dutch brandewijn ("burnt wine", which refers to the distillation process). The art of distillation can be traced back to the ancient civilizations, but by the Middle Ages, the frugal Dutch used it as a means to preserve wine. The brandy itself was often used for fruit preservation.


  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) brown sugar

  • 1 cup (250 milliliters) water

  • 1 lemon, zest only

  • 3 1/3 cups (500 grams) sultana raisins

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 stick cinnamon

  • 1 whole clove

  • 4 1/4 cups (1 liter) brandy

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Boerenjongnes brandied sultanas recipe
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  2. Add the sugar and water to a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.

    Add the sugar and water to a saucepan
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  3. With a sharp knife, pare off 2 very thin strips of lemon peel (try not to get too much of the pith, which will add a bitter taste).

    Pare off lemon peel
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  4. Add the lemon zest to the saucepan, along with the sultanas, honey, vanilla, and spices.

    Add lemon zest
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  5. Cook on a low heat until the fruit has swelled and softened.

    Cook on a low heat
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  6. Bring to the boil, and then using a slotted spoon immediately scoop the sultanas into a couple of sterilized jam jars.

    Put in jars
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  7. Now reduce the remaining liquid until it thickens.

    Reduce liquid
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  8. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Remove the lemon zest and spices.

    Remove from heat
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  9. Pour the liquid over the sultanas. Add the brandy.

    Pour liquid in jars
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  10. Seal the jars tightly, shake and store in a cool, dark place for at least six weeks before consuming. They're even better after three months and will keep unopened for a year. Once opened, keep chilled.

    Seal jars
    The Spruce / Teena Agnel
  11. Enjoy!

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel


  • Sterilize jam jars and lids by washing them in warm, soapy water, rinsing thoroughly and then allowing them to dry in a warm oven (250 F / 130 C).
  • Use lots of small jars instead of one large jar to give away some boerenjongens as holiday gifts to friends and family.