South African koeksisters take a long time to make but the taste is worth every minute. Here is a recipe for them.

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Koeksisters Recipe

3 from 7 votes
Pin Recipe
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
1 day 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 30 minutes
Course Cake
Cuisine South African
Servings 36
Calories 156 kcal


  • 4 cups white sugar
  • cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 2½cm piece of ginger
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar

For the dough

  • 4 cups flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup milk
  • 60 ml butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 liter vegetable oil for frying


  • Put together all the syrup ingredients.
  • Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes and cool down.
  • Refrigerate overnight to get ice cold.
  • Divide into two bowls.

For the koeksisters

  • Combine dry ingredients and rub butter in until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
  • Beat the eggs and milk together and add to the dry ingredients.
  • Mix with a fork and add water to make a soft dough.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead until smooth.
  • Return to the bowl, cover and chill for at least 30 minutes or longer.
  • Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle of about 0.5cm thick.
  • Cut lengthwise into strips about 4cm wide and and 8cm long.
  • Keep 1cm at the top of each strip intact and cut into three strips.
  • Plait loosely and press the ends together well. Place on a tray and cover with a damp cloth.
  • Fry a few together in deep oil at medium heat (approximately 170°C/350°F) for a few minutes on each side.
  • Use draining spoon and dunk into one bowl of syrup. Use a different spoon to press them under for half a minute or so.
  • When the syrup starts warming up, use the second bowl while cooling the first off in the freezer for a while.
  • Place on a rack so excess syrup can drip off while the koeksisters cool down.


Calories: 156kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 2gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 98mgPotassium: 31mgFiber: 1gSugar: 23gVitamin A: 61IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 36mgIron: 1mg
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