South African rusks – health rusks are your new fave snack



South African rusks - health rusks

I’m lucky to have many lovely South African friends. They are a generous, fun, good-natured bunch and you get used to the accent. Actually, you never really get used to the accent. But once they introduce you to South African rusks, you won’t mind.

When a friend offered to bring some ‘South African rusks’ over for morning tea one day, I was fascinated. Especially as I thought she was quite mental for bringing me baby rusks to eat with my cuppa. Turned out that South African rusks are quite different to the Farex version. They are more like an Italian biscotti – twice baked, hard biscuits that are sort of savoury-sweet.

Turned out, rusks are the perfect thing to eat with your morning cuppa.

Made for sharing

This recipe is a project. It makes a lot of health rusks, but they will keep in an airtight container for many weeks and they are very good for sharing. Rusks actually get better with ‘age’, so that’s a good thing, right? You can always halve the recipe if the quantities overwhelm you. 

I’ve also made these using Weet-Bix (I save the crumbs leftover after a box is finished). I’m pretty sure that makes these very inauthentic ‘South African rusks’, but it’s also makes them all kinds of delicious. You can substitute the more traditional bran flakes if Weet-Bix isn’t your thing.

Weet-Bix is totally our thing: Healthier Weet-Bix slice recipe

We’ve taken to eating a couple of these health rusks for breakfast with a big mug of milk or tea for dunking. There’s something very calming about dunking.

South African rusks

South African rusks - health rusks

Makes eleventy billion health rusks
Takes about 20 minutes
Bakes 3 hours plus overnight resting time

3 cups spelt flour*
3 cups wholemeal flour
7 tsp baking powder
2 tsp sea salt
1 ½ cups brown sugar, loosely packed*
1 cup sunflower seeds
3 cups Weet-Bix or all bran flakes
1 cup LSA mix*
½ cup shredded or desiccated coconut
500 ml buttermilk or plain yoghurt
200 ml olive oil
300 g butter*
3 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat fan-forced oven to 160ºC.
Melt butter and allow to cool.
Crush the Weet-Bix into flakes
Mix all of the dry ingredients together.
Mix all of the wet ingredients together.
Mix the wet and dry ingredients together to make a dough.
Divide the dough in half and flatten into two roasting pans that have been greased and lined with baking paper.
Cut the dough into rusk shapes (approx 2 cm by 4 cm rectangles) and place the pans into oven to cook for 1 hour at 160°C, with fan force.
Once cooked, take the rusks out of the oven, allow to cool slightly and break into rusks. Place the rusks back into the pan, turned over and leaving room between each rusk for air to circulate. You can achieve this easiest by leaving a few rusks out. They taste yummy just a they are.
Return to the pans to the oven and bake for a further 2 hours at 90°C, no fan-force.
After 2 hours, turn the oven off and leave the South African rusks to sit overnight so they really dry out. Bit like a pav…
In the morning, have lots of yummy rusks for breakfast, dipped in coffee, tea or hot milk. Put the rest of the rusks into airtight containers to store for up to 3 weeks.
This recipe makes lots and lots of rusks – give some away to friends. They will like you very much.


  • You can just use another 3 cups of wholemeal flour if you don’t have spelt. Plain flour also works, of course.
  • Reduce or leave out brown sugar to taste. You can also substitute a non-refined sugar like coconut.
  • LSA mix can be found at most supermarkets or health food stores. If you can’t find some, you can substitute almond meal, or make your own by pulsing linseed, sunflower seeds and almonds in a food processor until fine.
  • Substitute coconut oil for the butter, but note that it will change the flavour.
  • You can mix this recipe up to please yourself – instead of LSA or sunflower kernels, add raisins, dried apricots or even choc chips.
What’s a favourite ‘traditional’ food like South African rusks of yours?

Written by Bron Maxabella

Bron is the founder of Mumlyfe and is so happy to welcome you here. Bron has been writing in the Australian parenting space as Maxabella for more than 10 years and is mum to three mostly happy kids and wife to one mostly happy husband. Mostly happy is a win, right?

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  1. Megan

    Eleventy billion… BWAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! No, ja… seriously… I’ve pinned your recipe to have a go at making them gluten free. I hope it works out as well as my buttermilk recipe that I freed from gluten.


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