Jaarsma Bakery

Review by: Michael Stern

Probably the most famous things made at Jaarsma Bakery are Dutch letters – giant-size pastries in the form of the letter S. They’re swell, and no one should visit Pella without eating at least a monogram; but Dutch letters are only a hint of the glories to be found on Jaarsma’s shelves. To the left as you enter are racks of sunny-yellow angel food cakes made into circles and loaves. To the right are cases filled with dozens of beautiful pastries, many with such enchanting names as krackelings, goat’s legs, almond bankets, and figure 8s.

Above the pastries on the top shelf are two kinds of bread, both of which are irresistible. One is apple bread, a gnarled loaf with a frosted top. It is more pastry-like than bread-like — something Paul Bunyan might have with his morning cup of coffee. The other favorite is cinnamon bread – a soft, swirled loaf with veins of moist cinnamon sugar folded inside. Civilized persons buy these loaves, take them home, and use a knife to slice them. We buy one of each, hit the road, and tear at them in the front seat like hungry wolverines.

Directions & Hours

  • Monday: 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

What To Eat

apple bread

Dutch letters

Goat Legs



Jaarsma Bakery Recipes


What do you think of Jaarsma Bakery?

One Response to “Jaarsma Bakery”

Becky Schultz

December 27th, 2007

I grew up near Pella and try to get to Jaarsma whenever I can. The pastry cases are piled high with traditional favorites you won’t want to miss. The Dutch letters are my favorite. They come in only one letter, an “S.” Flaky pastry surrounds a delicious almond paste filling. They’re baked a very light brown and sprinkled with sugar. We recommend getting a dozen, because they keep well and can also be frozen. Other favorites are old-fashioned creme horns, with creamy filling guaranteed to end up everywhere and various coffee breads, dusted generously with sugar and almonds.

The staff is friendly and efficient, and an imposingly long line melts away quickly. Visitors should try to come during the annual Tulip Festival the first weekend in May. People dress in traditional Dutch costumes to welcome thousands from all over.


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