South Africa Recipes Recipes from South Africa South African Cuisine


Koeksisters (or Koeksusters) are a traditional South African dessert. They are a syrup-coated doughnut that is twisted into a braided shape (like a plait), prepared by deep-frying the dough in oil and then dipping the fried dough into cold sugar syrup. Very rich and sweet.



  • 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


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


To pepare the Syrup. (Should be prepared the day before as the the syrup needs to be very cold)

  1. Dissolve the 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 tarter in place of the lemon juice
  4. Put the syrup in the fridge to cool over night

To prepare the Dough:

  1. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together
  2. Rub in butter and mix until pliable
  3. Mix with egg and water, adding the water a little at a time. Knead the dough well. If the dough becomes very sticky and lumps, continue to work the dough and it will ball up. 
  4. Leave the dough to rest at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours under an inverted mixing bowl.

Instructions for preparing the Koeksisters:

  1. Roll out the dough (about 5 mm thick)
  2. Cut into strips 5 cm long 2 cm wide
  3. Cut each strip into 3 strips leaving the strips connected at the top). 
  4. Plat the dough and pinch together at the end.
  5. Deep fry the “plaits” until golden brown – remove and drain quickly as you are going to dip the hot Koeksisters into your cold syrup.
  6. Keeping the syrup cold and the Koeksisters hot when dipping is key to getting the right amount of syrup to draw into the Koeksisters. (Keep the syrup Cold by placing the syrup bowl into a container of iced water).

Visit some interesting South African Websites at: (South Africa Travel Site) (South Africa Info)

4 Responses to “Koeksisters”

  1. Short order cook Says:

    This is a very sweet dessert.


    Can you tell me whether your koeksisters can be frozen, and if so, at what stage and for how long?

    Thanking you in advance

  3. Alida Wilken Says:

    its a good african koeksister recipe,that am gonna backed

  4. Homechef Says:

    @ Veronica: Yes, koeksisters can successfully be frozen. Not entirely sure of shelf life when frozen though, but quite confident it can last up to a month. Bring back to room temperature by thawing naturally (do not defrost in microwave)