A traditional South African treat, koeksisters are wickedly sweet and make for a delicious tea time treat. So roll up your sleeves, follow this easy recipe and get ready to work that dough!

Ingredients – dough:

2 cups cake flour
2 tablespoon baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 large egg
4 tbsp butter/margarine
½ cup of water
oil for frying

Ingredients – syrup:

1kg sugar
1 ½ cinnamon sticks
½ tsp ground ginger
1 ½ cups of water
juice of one lemon

Method – dough:
  1. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.
  2. Rub in the butter and mix until pliable.
  3. Mix this with the egg and water (adding the water a little at a time).
  4. Work the dough well. If the dough appears to be lumpy and sticky, continue to work the dough until it will ball up.
  5. Let the dough rest at room temperature for about three hours (under an inverted mixing bowl).
Method – syrup:
  1. Prepare the syrup a day before (it needs to be very cold).
  2. Dissolve sugar in the water.
  3. Add the spices and lemon juice to this and boil together. Leave the syrup cool in the fridge overnight.
To prepare the koeksisters:
  1. Roll out the dough (thickness 5mm).
  2. Cut the dough into strips of 6cm long, 2cm wide.
  3. Cut each of these strips into three strips (not all the way through, leave the strips connected at the top).
  4. Plat each strip, pinch together at the end of the strip.
  5. Deep fry until golden brown.
  6. Remove and drain quickly – dip the hot koeksisters in the cold syrup (that was stored in the fridge up to now).
  7. The secret is to keep the syrup cold and the koeksisters hot, this way it will draw just the right amount of syrup.
  8. You can keep the syrup cold by keeping the syrup bowl in another container filled with iced water.




  1. laurike says

    Can I please have the contact details in regards to the person who took the koeksisters photo?
    I really would like to buy the photo.

    Kind regards,

  2. El says

    Hi! These look delicious. Wanted to surprise my South African husband with them. He’s homesick and been living in the U.S. for the last several years. Thought it’d be a nice treat.

    What kind of oil is best for frying these in? And approximately how long does it take for them to cook through? I also wanted to know how long you keep the syrup at a boil. Thanks!

  3. Marion says

    Made these for the very first time for my daughter’s international day presentation (we live in France) and they have come out beautifully!! I particularly love the syrup with the addition of the lemon juice as I find the very traditional syrup too sweet. A very easy recipe to follow and much easier to make than I thought it would be. Definite thumbs up!

  4. Carrie Landsberg says

    Have tried many recipes. Was intrigued by this one..One question..2 TABLESPOONS of baking powder, can this be right? Just asking, before I boob.. Thanx

  5. Alex says

    This recipe is sooooooo easy to follow me and my 11 year old brother (I’m 12 btw) have made them twice once for my class( they loved them) and once for my family my South African dad said they almost tasted like the ones he bought as a kid in South Africa. They didn’t taste the same because we used gluten free flour instead of regular flour.


  1. […] and make for a delicious tea time treat. So roll up your sleeves and get ready to work that dough!Easy Koeksisters Recipe | Traditional South African Treat …Follow this easy recipe to make wickedly sweet koeksisters – a traditional South African treat.Mary […]

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