Go Back
Koeksisters presented
Print Recipe
4 from 1 vote

Traditional Koeksisters - My Way

A koeksister is a traditional South African confectionery made of fried dough infused in syrup. These traditional koeksisters - done my way, is not as sweet as the ones you generally buy. Yet, they are full of flavour and still syrupy, so you're not missing out on anything.
Prep Time50 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: South African
Keyword: Baking, dessert, koeksisters, Snack, traditional south african
Servings: 30



  • 2 ½ cups Sugar
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 25 ml Syrup
  • ½ tsp Cream of Tartar


  • 1 ½ cup Flour
  • 20 ml Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 5 tsp Butter
  • 150 ml Milk
  • ¼ tsp Nutmeg

To Fry

  • +/- 750 ml Cooking Oil


Make the Syrup First

  • Bring to a light simmer the sugar, water and cinnamon stick. Stir frequently. Once it has come to a simmer, gently boil it for 8-10 minutes without stirring. Make sure that it's not rapidly boiling, the syrup will become too thick and may crystallize.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, vanilla essence, syrup, and cream of tartar.
  • Place into fridge to cool down.

Prepare the Koeksister Dough

  • While the syrup is getting on, start preparing the dough. Sift together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Gently work the butter into the flour with your fingertips.
  • Add the milk and very gently stir. If you overdo this the dough will become tough. I used a knife to gently work the milk into the dough until it was combined.
  • On a floured surface, roll out the dough until it's approximately 5mm thick.
  • Using either a sharp knife or metal dough cutter cut the dough into strips (I did mine in 1 cm strips).
  • The most critical part of the recipe is to ensure that you plait it tight enough and seal the ends by tightly pinching the individual strips together. Watch our short YouTube video to assist you in correctly plaiting the koeksisters.

Frying the Koeksisters

  • Once you have successfully plaited the koeksisters, gently drop them into medium warm oil. As mentioned before, the oil shouldn't be too hot. Drop a small piece of dough into the oil, it's ready when it floats to the surface within 4 seconds. If it fries right away your oil is too hot. Fry in small batches so it's easier to control.
  • As the koeksisters come out of the hot oil, immediately dunk into the cold syrup, leave for a minute or so and then place onto the wire rack.
  • Once most of the syrup has dripped off, place in an airtight container and keep in the fridge.


Keep koeksisters in fridge for up to 5 days.
Freeze once cooled for up to 3 months.