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Cape Malay Potato Koeksisters

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Soft and spicy Cape Malay Potato Koeksisters

The best is dipped into the sugar syrup and rolled in coconut. ♥ ♥

A koeksister, koeksuster or koesister is a South African pastry based on donut dough, braided, and generously coated with syrup.  There are two kinds of koeksisters: the Afrikaner version and the Cape Malay version.

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Cape Malay Potato Koeksisters

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.3 from 3 reviews
  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Baking Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 60 1x
  • Category: Cake, Cupcakes, Cookies and Tarts
  • Cuisine: South African


A koeksister is a traditional Afrikaner confectionery made of fried dough infused in syrup or honey. It should not be confused with the similar-sounding Cape Malay koe'sister, which is a fried ball of dough that's rolled in desiccated coconut.


Units Scale
  • 3 cups Self Raising flour
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3 tsp heaped aniseed
  • 1 tsp fine cinnamon
  • 1 tsp naartjie peel (English it’s a satsuma)
  • 3 potatoes mashed
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 2 jumbo eggs or 3 X-large eggs
  • Little oil the palm of your hand
  • 200 ml milk
  • 200ml boil water
  • 1 pkg yeast


Boil the potatoes and mash smooth while still hot, use the potato water as well.

Beat sugar, butter & eggs with a hand beater.

Sift flour, salt, spices, and yeast. Mix through.

And milk and boiled water, and mashed potatoes.

Mix well with a wooden spoon.

Mix into a soft dough.

You can add more flour if needed or more oil in hand palm.

Lightly oil top of dough and cover with plastic wrap or lid of a bowl.

Leave in a warm place to double in size for one hour.

On a lightly flour surface, roll dough into two sausages.

Cut into equal size portions and shape like a koeksister.

Leave on a floured table to double in size for about 10 minutes, lifting koeksister gently with a palette knife.

Fry in moderately heated oil until golden brown on both sides.

Take care that the oil is moderately hot in order for koeksister not to absorb oil.

Drain on absorbent paper and allow to cool.

Dip koeksister in sugar syrup over low heat.

Roll in coconut.

How to prepare the syrup:

2 cups of sugar
1 cup of water

Mix the sugar and water and simmer it over low heat until syrupy.


Koeksister can be frozen for up to 3 months before the syrup. Thaw at room temperature and sugar as normal.


Add two pieces of stick cinnamon and two cardamom pods while boiling the syrup.

Add citric acid OR a small piece of butter to prevent sugar from crystallizing.

Prepared, tried, and tested by Feriel Sonday 


  • Serving Size: 2
  • Calories: 86
  • Sugar: 4
  • Sodium: 138
  • Fat: 2
  • Saturated Fat: 1
  • Unsaturated Fat: 1
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 15
  • Fiber: 1
  • Protein: 2
  • Cholesterol: 17
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In the Cape Malay community, koesisters are synonymous with Sunday mornings and although one can eat them at any time, we feel that a Sunday without koesisters is not Sunday. Although a favorite on Sunday mornings, they are also a welcome addition to any morning or afternoon tea.

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15 thoughts on “Cape Malay Potato Koeksisters”

    • Hi Vanessa. Thank you for your note and inquiry. I will ask Feriel who submitted this recipe to answer your questions and revert back to you once I hear from her. Thanks for reading my blog and wising to try out this recipe.

  1. Ive tried the koeksister recipe on Sunday. I only made 1/2 a batch. They r simply delish. I also added 1 cardom pod, crushed the seeds. Yum, yum. As for next time I’ll make a full batch and freeze it for convenience. Thank you for sharing

    • Claire, strange combo maybe but a very popular sweet treat in the Cape Malay region in South Africa. You will find a link to the more traditional SA version at the end of the post.

    • Rachael, yes they are sweet but this specific one not overly sweet due to the aniseeds, ginger and made with potato. This is the Cape Malay version. You will find more koeksister recipes, see link at end of post. These are the more traditional South African versions and they are sweeter than this one. A lovely treat nonetheless


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