How To Make Koeksisters

Koeksisters, South Africa’s sticky doughnut treat that’s deliciously sweet, sticky, crunchy and drenched in syrup, laced with cinnamon, lemon, and ginger.

Absolutely perfect for snack or teatime and even breakfast. Learning how to make koeksisters is fun and easy for the whole family to enjoy.

The traditional Koeksister recipe uses brown sugar and self-raising flour. Deep frying in fresh oil gives a much better taste.


  • 9 oz of brown sugar
  • 1/4-pint water, cinnamon
  • 1 oz butter
  • 1 egg
  • 6 oz self-raising flour
  • Oil for frying


  1. Dissolve the sugar in the water. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon with a piece of lemon then bring to the boil then allow to cool, discarding the lemon.
  2. Add the butter, beat in the egg, and get it creamy. Sift the flour and mix with the butter/sugar and mix until smooth.
  3. Roll into a 9′ square and cut into 18 pieces (3′x11/2′). Cut two slits in each piece but leave them joined at the top, so it looks like a thing with three legs.
  4. Plait the legs in and pinch the ends to seal.
  5. Heat oil to 350 F and fry for 4-5 minutes, dip in syrup and serve hot.

Tip: Make syrup the night before and leave in the fridge in two containers half in each container. When dipping keep one container in the fridge cold and use the other container to dip. It makes for better coverage and works better if the syrup is cold. They are best when eaten fresh. It is best to eat them fresh as the sugar can crystallise if frozen.

Store them in the fridge in an airtight container. Be careful when sharing them out as they will disappear quickly when the family taste them. They are a real treat to have and make.