Koeksusters (koeksisters), are a proudly South African oh so yummy treat.  They certainly don’t fall into the healthiest option of snacks, as these braided or twisted dough shapes are deep fried in oil and then immersed in a sugary syrup.  They are well worth the effort to make and are always appreciated when added to a gift basket.  They can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge or freezer; actually they can be enjoyed straight from the freezer without defrosting.  Perfect.




1000ml white sugar
500ml water
1ml salt
10ml golden syrup
1ml tartaric acid
2ml cream of tartar
10ml fresh lemon juice
3ml lemon essence


500ml cake flour
10ml baking powder
3ml salt
30ml butter
1 small egg
150ml milk
Oil for frying



  1. Place the sugar, water and salt into a pot and stir until the sugar dissolves and slowly bring to the boil.
  2. Boil for 8 minutes and remove from the heat and add the syrup, tartaric acid, cream of tartar and the lemon juice and mix well.  Place in the fridge overnight.
  3. Stir in the lemon essence the next day before using the syrup.


  1. Sift the dry ingredients together.
  2. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Whisk the egg and milk together and add to the dry ingredients and mix to form a soft dough.
  4. Place in an airtight container overnight.
  5. Roll out on a floured surface and cut into 7mm strips.
  6. Plait 3 strips together or roll 2 strips into koeksuster forms.
  7. Fry in hot oil until golden brown.
  8. Immediately place in the ice cold syrup and drain on a wire rack.



10 thoughts on “Koeksusters

  1. In India, there is similar dish called Gylab Jamul which the deep fried dough balls are immurged in sugar syrup. I love the look of this sweet more. What a lovely golden treat 🙂

  2. Being South African and surrounded by koeksusters, I can tell you they are only for the serious sugar addicts. I can’t eat them; but sugar-lovers I know can’t get enough of them.

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