Vetkoek – which literally means ‘fat cake’ in Afrikaans – is a proudly South African pastry. The ‘vet’ part of its name probably comes from the fact that it’s deep-fried in cooking oil (‘fat’).

vetkoek recipe

Vetkoek is also called “AMAGWINYA” (pronounced Magunya) and is a popular meal for many people living in townships where it is served plain and hot and is sold by a wide variety of spaza shops, hawkers at taxi ranks, roadside vendors, and fast food shops located throughout South Africa.

Vetkoek is a dough which is light and crisp on the outside, whilst soft and bread-like on the inside. It can be served with deliciously cooked mince (ground beef)…or turned it into a dessert with wallops of syrup, honey or jam and cheese.

They have the lightest, crispiest exterior with a beautiful soft bread-like interior.

Feel free to make it plain and fill it with mince, chicken or vegetables.

5 from 1 reviews
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: South African
Serves: 4
  • 2 Cups Cake flour
  • 2Tsps Instant Dried Yeast
  • 1 Tbles White Sugar
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbles Vegetable Oil
  • ¾ - 1 Cup Warm Water
  • Oil for Deep Frying
  1. In a large mixing bowl, sieve the flour and combine the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Mix well.
  2. Add the water and the vegetable oil and mix into a soft, smooth dough.
  3. Place the dough on a floured surface and gently knead for 5-10 minutes. You may need to add a little more flour to the dough to prevent it from sticking to your fingers. I mixed everything in the food processor for about 5 minutes.
  4. Cover the mixture with a tea towel and allow it to rise for about one hour. The dough should roughly double in size.
  5. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface divide it into equal portions. (depending on the size you prefer I made smallish ones each weighing about 40gr) , roll each portion to a smooth ball, lay them in a tray lined with parchment paper cover them with a clean kitchen towel let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
  6. Heat a large pot of vegetable oil over a medium flame for deep frying. Test the temperature of the oil by dropping a little batter in. If it sizzles, you’re ready to start frying.
  7. When the oil is ready, lift a risen ball carefully and place it into the warm oil –with the risen side (top) going in first, which will cause the flat side (bottom) to rise and puff out to make a round Vetkoek. Allow to colour on the one side for about 5 minutes and turn. Fry for a further 5 minutes, or until golden brown.
  8. Make sure to turn them frequently until golden brown.
  9. Drain on towel papers, slice open with a knife fill with your favourite filling or our delicious mince curry and enjoy them warm.
Serve with our delicious Mince Curry
Tip: If you fry it in very hot oil you will end up with a very dark brown, burnt, undercooked vetkoek. Fry them in medium hot oil for the perfect golden brown colour. Keep turning the vetkoek in the hot oil to ensure that it puffs up nicely!