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Koeksisters Recipe

Traditional Koeksisters Recipe


From the syrup, to the crisp exterior and comfortingly doughy interior, a koeksister really the perfect bite.

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  • Prep Time : 60 mins |
  • Cook Time : 3 mins
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For The Syrup

500 ml white sugar
375 ml water
15 ml lemon juice

For The Dough

250 g flour
2 Tbsp (30 ml) baking powder
Pinch of salt
20 g cold butter
150 ml milk

750 ml cooking oil, for frying

To Make The Koeksister Syrup

Put the sugar and water into a small saucepan and place over a medium heat. Stir to dissolve.

Once the sugar is dissolved, simmer gently, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Take the pot off the stove and stir in lemon juice.

Pour the syrup into a wide (preferably metallic) bowl and place in the freezer to chill. Ensure that it doesn’t freeze solid though.

To Make The Koeksister Dough

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together.

Break the butter up into small pieces and rub into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Pour in the milk and use a knife to mix the ingredients together to form a dough. Once the dough starts coming together, turn out onto a clean, lightly floured surface and knead gently for a few minutes to form a smooth dough.

Return the dough to the bowl, cover with cling film and allow the dough to rest for at least 15 minutes, but you can leave it for up to an hour.

When the dough is ready, pour the oil into a medium-sized saucepan and place on a medium-high heat (you’re looking for your oil to be about 180 ºC).

While that is heating, divide your dough into twelve balls. Cut each ball into three strips and braid, ensuring that your edges are well-sealed. If they are not well sealed, they may pop open when cooking.

Carefully place each koeksister into the oil – don’t fry more than three at a time – and leave for 3 – 5 minutes or until an even golden brown and cooked through.

Get your ice cold syrup out of the freezer, and when your koeksister is ready, remove it from the hot oil and plunge it straight into the cold syrup.

Place the bowl of syrup, along with the submerged koeksisters, back in the freezer while you get on with frying the next batches of dough.

Only remove the soaking koeksisters when your next koeksisters are ready. Remove and drain on a cooling rack over a roasting tray to catch the excess syrup.

Serve when cooled with a pot of freshly made tea and some good gossip.