Home » Recipes » My South African Koeksister Recipe

My South African Koeksister Recipe

The humble koeksister

lekker koeksisters

A South African desert often sold at flea markets and church fundraiser’s.

Wikipedia’s definition: a syrup-coated doughnut in a twisted or braided shape (like a plate or braided hair ). My definition: Koeksisters are deep fried dough dipped into a cold syrup.

So without further ado here is my koeksister recipe



Koeksister’s Dough

  • 2 Cups cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. baking powder
  • 4 tbsp. of butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • Oil for frying


Syrup for the Koeksisters

  • 1 kg of sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of water
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Juice of one lemon



Syrup – Important:
Do this the night before as you want the syrup super cold

  1. Dissolve sugar in water
  2. Add spices and lemon juice and bring to a boil
  3. You can mix in a teaspoon or two of cream of tartar in place of the lemon juice
  4. Put the syrup in your fridge over night to cool


  1. Sift flour salt & baking powder
  2. Rub in butter and mix until pliable
  3. Mix with egg and water, adding the water a little at a time, knead well.
    • Don’t be stressed if the dough gets very sticky and clumps just continue to work the dough and it will ball up nicely
  4. Leave the dough to rest at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours under the inverted mixing bowl

Make the Koeksisters

  1. Roll out the dough to about 5 mm thick. Your Koeksisters will puff up in the frier.
  2. Cut into strips 5 cm long 2 cm wide.
  3. Cut each strip into 3 strips but not through the top, now plait (braid) the dough and pinch it at the end. Alternatively you can loosely twist 2 strips.
  4. Deep fry the dough until golden brown – remove and drain quickly as you are going to dip the hot Koeksisters into your cold syrup.
  5. Keeping syrup cold and the koeksisters hot when dipping is key to get the right amount to syrup drawn into the koeksisters to get that sweet pop that all sane South Africans love and crave.
  6. A good trick to keeping the syrup cold is to place the syrup bowl into a container of iced water

Now munch!

Check out a few Flickr albums of cooking up these treats:

Video: Koeksister recipe