Koeksisters the traditional Afrikaner Recipe

4 years ago written by

Koeksisters (or Koeksusters) come in two cultural flavours. The Afrikaner Koeksister is this recipe, then there is the traditional Cape Malay Koeksuster that is slightly thicker and softer, rolled in coconut and a bit spicy.

Personally, I prefer the Afrikaner version but either will do!



  • 500ml water
  • 1kg Sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Sliced rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • 5 to 10 ml ( 1 to 2 t ) glycerine

TIP: It is always wise to make two mixtures, as the mixture warms up while baking and you’ll need another cold mixture to replace the warm one. This is to ensure the koeksister is crispy.

Method: Make syrup the night before baking

Slowly dissolve the sugar in the water.

Add the cream of tartar, bring the syrup to boil and then simmer the syrup for 5 minutes. Add the lemond rind, juice and the glycerine before removing the syrup from the heat. The glycerine makes the koeksisters look shiny and YUMMY.

Cool the syrup overnight in refridgerator.


  • 500g flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 55g butter, chopped info fine pieces or grated
  • 1 egg
  • 250 to 375 milk and water.

Cooking Oil for baking.


Sieve all the dry ingredients together and rub in the butter with your fingertips. Beat the egg and add 250ml milk and mix it with the dry ingredients.

Keep adding water if the dough is too thick, stiff or cracked. Knead the dough until bubbly and soft and then leave it under a damp cloth for about an hour.

Roll out to a 1 cm thickness. Cut the dough into rectangles roughly the size of a business card (about 2″x3″) and pinch it at the end. Alternatively, cut the dough into strips the size you like them and plait the koeksisters. You can cut the offcuts in little niblits and bake them too.

Heat about 7-10cm of oil to 180-190 degrees centigrade. Test it by dropping in some bread – if it goes golden brown then the oil is ready.

Remove the syrup from the fridge: To solve the problem of keeping the syrup cold,  as you plunge all your hot koeksister in the cold syrup, you’ll need to keep it cold, you can put the syrup  aside in a bowl of ice.  That is why I suggest making two bowls.

Fry the koeksisters for one to two minutes, or until they turn that yummy golden brown, on both sides.

Lift your koeksisters out of the syrup with a ladle with holes in so the excess syrup drips back in, and then pop them onto a wire rack to cool down. Make sure your syrup is kept cold or replace the syrup with a colder bowl while baking.


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