South African Crunchies

South African Crunchies

South African crunchie

It’s my goal to veganize all the recipes I grew up on. My granny was the baker and her cookies were always so good. These crunchies took me back to my childhood. Although they are not AS crunchy as hers were, they are pretty authentic South African crunchies.

What is a crunchie?

South African crunchie

First things first, a crunchie is a cookie or biscuit (as we call then in South Africa), made from oatmeal, flour and golden syrup. It’s like the name suggests, a biscuit with a crunch. However, I’ve had softer ones and super crunchy ones before. My favorite is a semi-crunchy biscuit.

Crunchies were probably a staple cookie in homes back in the ‘good ‘ol days’ but now it’s tough to find a good crunchie in the supermarkets.

If you’re in SA, these are my favorite store bought ones.

An easy bake

These South African crunchies are an easy bake. If you’re new to baking or afraid of baking, give these a go. You only need 8 ingredients to make these yummy babies. They take a total of 45minutes from start to baked and need some time to cool off and harden.

Vegan crunchie recipe

Are crunchies healthy?

While traditional South African crunchies aren’t the healthiest, I decided I wanted to make these on the healthier side. Golden syrup is usually an ingredient in all crunchies. While golden syrup is vegan it’s also an invert sugar which means highly processed. If you want to make this recipe with golden syrup and regular sugar, you are welcome to do so :).

3 Simple steps to making crunchies

  1. In a bowl add your flour, oats, salt, and desiccated coconut.
  2. On the stove dissolve the sugar in 4 tbsp water and bring to the boil. Once boiling remove from heat and add the bicarbonate of soda immediately. This will bubble the mixture.
  3. Stir the sugar mixture into the dry mix, add the agave and coconut oil. Mix again and press into an oiled baking tin. Bake for 35 minutes.

Traditional vs fun

These crunchies are traditional as is, but if you want to add something fun, why not? Any dried fruits will work well and you can even add seeds/ nuts. I’m a traditional crunchies fan and apricot would be my next favorite.

These crunchies are:

  • Vegan
  • Crunchy on the exterior and softer on the inside
  • Adaptable – go ahead and have fun
  • Easy to make
  • Sweet but not overly sweet
  • Super delicious
  • Can be gluten-free

If you are looking for another South African biscuit recipe, be sure to give these popular rusks a try.

Without further ado, here is my easy recipe for South African vegan crunchies.

Vegan crunchie recipe

South African Crunchie

This is a vegan version of the South African Crunchie. These biscuits/cookies are easy to make and have a total of 8 ingredients. Cookies with a crunch and loved by all.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Course baking
Cuisine South African
Servings 12 biscuits
Calories 264 kcal


  • Oven


Dry mix

  • 1 1/2 Cups Rolled oats Can use gluten free
  • 1 Cup dessicated coconut
  • 1 Cup All purpose flour or Bob's gluten-free all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Wet Mix

  • 1/2 Cup organic cane sugar or coconut sugar for refined sugar-free
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 Tbsp raw agave nectar or 100% pure Maple Syrup
  • 125 ml cocout oil melted


  • Preheat oven to 320F or 160C. Crunchies can burn quickly so I prefer to use a cooler oven.
  • OIl a square/rectangle baking tin/dish. My baking dish is 8.5in x 6.5ic or 22cmx16cm. A slightly bigger dish would work too as your crunchies won't be as thick.
  • In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.
  • In a pot, add the sugar and water. Bring to the boil on high. Once the sugar has dissolved and is bubbling remove from heat. Immediately add the bicarb and whisk. The mixture will 'fluff' up.
  • Add the sugar mix to the dry ingredients, stir and add the agave and oil. Mix well with a spoon or spatula.
  • Using a spatula press the mixture firmly into the baking tin. DO NOT touch with your hands, hot sugar will burn you.
    South African crunchies
  • Bake for 35 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven.
  • Cool for 10 minutes and cut into slices. Do not remove from baking tin.
    Vegan crunchie recipe
  • Remove from dish after 30 minutes and store in an air tight container as soon as they have cooled to room temperature.


It’s important to press the mixture firmly into the baking tin or they will crumble. 
Time everything. 
Calories based on 1 biscuit = recipe makes 12. 
Cut while warm otherwise they will break when they have hardened. 
Store in an airtight container to prevent them from going soft. 
Keyword crunchie recipe, South African Crunchie, vegan biscuits, vegan cookies, vegan crunchie recipe, vegan South African foods

Let me know if you give these yummies a try by rating them below and sharing on Instagram. Tag me @the_hungry_herbivore

Until next time, happy cooking 🙂

Xoxo Amy

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Hi Amy,
    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I grew up eating crunchies and am excited to make them with my kids. I was wondering if there is an alternative to coconut or if it’s best to just leave it out due to a food allergy! I’m also thinking of using date sugar instead of coconut sugar and avocado oil instead of coconut oil. Will let you know how they turn out.


    1. You’re so welcome 🙂 Let me know how they came out without the coconut oil. Was the date sugar sweet enough? Also my childhood favorite. I remember my gran used to burn a few batches though so that was always fun haha! xx

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