South African Rusks: A Delicious snack or breakfast

Rusks, or ‘beskuit’ in Afrikaans, form a huge part of South African tradition and are almost always found in the pantry of any South African household.

Rusks are a type of ‘cookie’ that is dehydrated (twice baked in the oven) until crunchy, similar to the Italian Biscotti.

In the past, rusks were originally a way of preserving bread, especially when travelling long distances without refrigeration.

Today, however, they are a delicious snack or breakfast staple for South Africans.

Overview of ingredients

South African Rusks

Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time8 hours
Total Time9 hours
Course: Savory
Cuisine: South African
Servings: 40 rusks
Author: Samantha


Wet Ingredients

  • 500 gram butter
  • 500 ml buttermilk If you don't have buttermilk, it's easy to make yourself. Just add 2 TBS lemon juice to 500 ml milk.
  • 3 tsp vanilla essence 3 tsp = 15 ml

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 kg Self Rising Flour
  • 3 cups All Bran Flakes crush the flakes in a grinder or with a big wooden spoon
  • 1 cup Brown sugar substitute: honey / maple syrup
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • cups Pecan nuts Or add any type of nut that you prefer. Cranberries, walnuts, sesame seeds work great also.
  • 1 TBL Cinnamon *optional


Wet Ingredients

  • Melt the butter with the buttermilk on the stovetop. Do not allow to boil. Add vanilla essence and whisk vigorously for 1 or 2 minutes.
  • Allow 15-20 minutes for the mixture to cool. While the mixture is cooling, start working on the dry ingredients.

Dry Ingredients

  • Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Wet + Dry ingredients

  • Preheat the oven to 180 °C (350 °F)
  • Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. You can mix by hand (more work but doable!) or with a large stand mixer.
  • Make sure all ingredients are well incorporated and that a smooth dough forms.
  • Place the dough mixture in a baking tray.
  • Bake at 180 °C / 350 °F for 40 – 50 minutes.
  • After 40 minutes, remove rusks from oven and allow them around 30 minutes to cool.
  • Slice the rusks and return to the baking tray (I found it easier to use two baking trays and to lay the rusks flat for best drying).
  • Turn the oven down to 170 °F (80 – 100°C)
  • Allow to dry out for 6-8 hours.
  • Enjoy your rusks dipped in coffee or tea!


Once rusks are completely cooled, store in a airtight container at room temperature. Rusks stay fresh for 1 month. 


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