I am not entirely sure how to describe these little morsels – think doughnut minus the hole and without the sweet topping; yip, that is about right, well sort of.

Vetkoek is a proudly South African pastry which literally translates to fat cake, which doesn’t sound very appealing but I think it would traditionally have meant the method of cooking in “fat” (oil).  Most recipes are very similar, some using more or less yeast while others include or exclude sugar and oil in the dough.  I have taken from all the recipes I have used through the years and give you my version below.

Vetkoek are usually served with a curry mince (ground beef) and then if you still have space, as pudding with syrup or jam and cheese – very versatile yumminess.  They have the lightest, crispiest exterior with a beautiful soft bread like interior.



4 cups flour
2tsp instant dry yeast
2tsp sugar – I use brown
1tsp salt
2tbsp oil
2- 2½ cups warm water

Oil for deep frying


  1. Combine all the dry ingredients in a big bowl.
  2. Add the oil and then water bit by bit until you get the consistency of a soft bread dough.  The mixture must still be quite sticky.
  3. Place the dough on a floured surface and gently knead for 5 minutes.  You may need to add a little more flour over the top of the dough to prevent it sticking to your fingers.
  4. Place the dough in a clean bowl and cover with a cloth and set aside in a warm spot until the dough is double in size.
  5. Softly flatten the mixture on a lightly floured board and cut out circles with a cookie cutter or a glass.
  6. Depending on the size cutter you use, you should get approximately 18 vetkoek out of the dough.
  7. Allow the dough to rest for another 15 minutes.
  8. Deep fry a few vetkoek at a time until golden brown over a medium/low heat.  The vetkoek should turn themselves in the oil, if not, turn manually.


82 thoughts on “Vetkoek

  1. They look yummy! They reminded me of Ollie bollen, a dutch thing that we used to eat at the hague. Those are sweet and are a winter treat. The ranslation would be oil balls… nt figure friendly, that’s for sure 😉

    • This is a perfect make ahead of time meal for when you know you are going to be busy like you are now with the house – I am just not sure how I can send it all over to you and still have it fresh – tell you what, I am on my way, I will make you a fresh batch of everything when I get there. 🙂 xo

  2. I LOVE THIS!! Thank you for sharing a distinctly South African recipe Mandy, this is great! I already know these would be loved in this house, and I can’t wait to try them. Hubby’s gonna see this and make them as soon as he can, I just know it.

    Have a great day Mandy, thanks again! xoxo

      • We made them today!!! OMG Mandy, fantastic!! We finished them a little while ago and tried them while they were still warm. Unbelievably perfect for this house. I’m so excited to have this recipe. Thanks again Mandy!

  3. Yep know them well. Have you published ‘koeksisters’ yet Mandy? Seriously I have never cooked them myself, can you use the ready made dough that you can buy in Grocery store? Laura

    • I bet you would go crazy for these Kim! Always well thank you my dear, I hope the same with you! I have been trying to get some shots of the kitties for you but with the weather that has just started warming up, they are running around and playing and are moving to quickly for me to get any shots. Hang in there and I will do a post on their antics for you. My darling Pete is coming home next week Wednesday for nearly a week – I am SO excited! Then I will be off to Johannesburg (where your friends are teaching) for a few days for a wedding and to see the family. Thank you for always checking up on me – you are a very special person. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to you in MN. xo

  4. Deep fried cakes. Oh, Mandy. What’s not to love? And who wants holes in their cakes anyway? All that means is there’s less cake for you to enjoy while someone else gets the “hole”. It’s just not fair!

  5. Thank you so much for this recipe, I’ve been searching for a real vetkoek recipe and i always find recipes that requires eggs which i dont like and they dont have the same taste as yours. Made them last night and i cant remember how many i ate….yummmmmy

    • Hi Elelwani, welcome and thanks for stopping by. I am thrilled you found a recipe you like! This is a winner and I make it regularly. Thank you too for your feedback. 🙂 Have a super evening. 🙂

  6. I just made these today, came out brilliantly.i followed the recipe to the T with the exception of adding of adding a few tsps more of sugar.. I was happy with the not too much oil outcome,so they were not a guilty pleasure but a true pleasure. Thanks Mandy!

    • Hi Daisy, thank you so much for stopping by to tell me how well your vetkoek turned out. This recipe always works out well. It has been a while since I made any, think I will rectify that this week. Have a lovely afternoon. 🙂 xo

  7. Pingback: Koeksisters and Vetkoek | In Harmony

  8. Good day

    The vetkoek is an original cape malay dish actually. It is normally filled with some mince curry, chicken mayonnaise or just a helping of butter! Its delicious and filling and I’m actually preparing some as I came across your recipe..I use my own recipe but its exactly the same..

    Enjoy the vetkoek and may you enjoy many more!!

  9. Pingback: .: The Banting Chef :. - Urban Angels

  10. I was so surprised to see one of our county’s recipes here and delighted that you have tried it, if you are keen try them with avo and cheese in summer or apricot jam /jelly and cheese we sometimes do chicken Mayo and can u believe it hamburgers or egg and bacon with cheese, thy are so versatile and yours looks 100% amazing and would make any South-African proud 🙂

  11. Pingback: South African Vetkoek Recipe | Biltong Blog

  12. I have just seen this. Coming from Africa we love these and my Afrikaans roots died out a long time ago so been looking for the right recipe. In your ingredients the list reads

    2 – 21/2 cups of warm

    Oil for deep frying

    I don’t think 2 cups of oil is enough for deep frying, is it or is there something missing?
    Many thanks

    • Hi Debbie, my apologies, it should read 2 – 21/2 cups of warm WATER and the quantity of oil would be dependent on the size pot you use. I place enough oil in a pot so that the vetkoek have sufficient space to turn without touching the bottom. I have an aunt who shallow fries her vetkoek in a frying pan. Hope you enjoy these as much as you used to. Have a lovely day. 🙂 xo

  13. Pingback: South African Vetkoek Recipe. Delicious, easy and quick to make.

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