Doughnut balls


How to make South African donuts is a relatively easy process, and you don’t need any special equipment to make them.

How to make South African donuts
By Arnold Goodway – Flickr: Koeksisters

Recipe for making traditional South African doughnuts


  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons of instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 cup of warm water
  • Oil for frying


In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt.

Gradually add the warm water and mix until a smooth dough is formed.

Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let the dough rise in a warm place for about an hour.

Once the dough has risen, heat the oil in a deep frying pan or pot. Divide the dough into small balls and carefully drop them into the hot oil. Fry the doughnuts until they are golden brown on both sides, turning them over as needed.

Remove the doughnuts from the oil and place them on a paper towel to drain off any excess oil.

Serve the doughnuts hot with your choice of toppings or fillings.


Now that you know how to make traditional South African doughnuts, let’s move on to another popular South African treat: koeksisters or koesisters.

Koeksisters: A South African Sweet Treat

Koeksisters are a traditional South African confectionery made from deep-fried dough that is soaked in a sweet, sticky syrup.

They are a popular treat that is often enjoyed at tea time or as a special occasion dessert.


Koeksisters are thought to have originated in the Netherlands, where they are called “koekjes” or “small cakes”.

The Dutch settlers brought the recipe to South Africa, where it was adapted to use local ingredients. Koeksisters became popular among the Afrikaner community and are now considered to be a national dish.


Koeksisters are made from a simple dough that is made with flour, eggs, butter, milk, and baking powder. The dough is then rolled out into thin strips and braided or twisted. The braided dough is then deep-fried until golden brown.


The syrup for koeksisters is made with sugar, water, and lemon juice. The syrup is simmered until it is thick and sticky.


Koeksisters are traditionally served cold and drizzled with additional syrup. They can also be dusted with cinnamon or coconut.

Koeksister variations

There are many variations of koeksisters.

Some recipes call for the dough to be flavored with cinnamon, ginger, or nutmeg. Other recipes call for the syrup to be flavored with fruit juice, such as orange or pineapple.

Cultural Significance

Koeksisters are a popular treat that is enjoyed by people of all races and backgrounds in South Africa.

They are often served at weddings, baptisms, and other special occasions. Koeksisters are also a popular treat for children.


Here are a few tips for making koeksisters:

  • Use cold dough to make it easier to braid.
  • Fry the koeksisters in hot oil until they are golden brown.
  • Soak the koeksisters in the syrup for at least 10 minutes.
  • Dust the koeksisters with cinnamon or coconut before serving.

Here’s how to make them.


  • 4 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of butter or margarine
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of milk
  • Oil for frying
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
  2. Add the butter or margarine and rub it into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and add the milk. Gradually add this mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until a smooth dough is formed.
  4. Knead the dough on a floured surface for a few minutes until it’s smooth and elastic.
  5. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for about 30 minutes.
  6. Roll out the dough on a floured surface until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into strips that are about 3 inches long and 1 inch wide.
  7. Take each strip of dough and make a cut down the center, leaving one end attached. Twist the two pieces of dough around each other and press the ends together to form a twisted braid. Repeat this process with the rest of the dough.
  8. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or pot. Fry the koeksisters in batches until they’re golden brown on both sides.
  9. While the koeksisters are frying, make the syrup. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, water, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes until it thickens into a syrup.
  10. Once the koeksisters are done frying, remove them from the oil and immediately dip them into the syrup. Let them soak in the syrup for a few minutes, then remove them and place them on a wire rack to cool.
  11. Serve the koeksisters cold or at room temperature.

South African doughnuts and koeksisters are both delicious treats that are easy to make at home.

Whether you prefer your doughnuts sweet or savory, or your koeksisters sticky or less syrupy, these treats are sure to delight your taste buds.

So why not give these recipes a try and experience a taste of South Africa in your own home?