Coconut and Oat Crunchy biscuits recipe (Crunchies)

south african crunchies

This home made South African Coconut and Oat crunchy biscuits recipe makes golden bars of buttery, sweet, crispy deliciousness that is best enjoyed with a cup of milk for breakfast or with tea for a mid-morning or afternoon pick me up.

Growing up, my aunt Josephine’s oat crunchies biscuits recipe was a staple that she always made for special occasions and family gatherings. For as long as I can remember it has been one of our family favorite crunchy oat biscuits, and nothing I’ve tasted elsewhere even comes close to the snap and moderately sweet golden syrup flavor.

Her oat crunchy biscuits are so easy to make and even easier to eat that you can make up a batch any time.

One of my colleagues at work has claimed that these oat crunch biscuits are addictive because once you’ve had one, you only want more and more. Homemade oat crunchies is one of those easy to make South African snacks that you wonder why it’s taken you so long to make it for yourself.

South African crunchies

The oat crunchie recipe ingredients are remarkably ordinary. Rolled oats, coconut, fine granulated sugar and flour are moistened with melted butter, golden syrup and bicarbonate of soda. After baking, the end result is extra-ordinary. The aroma of the butter and syrup cooking together is heavenly and it becomes even more delectable as it hits the oats and coconut during baking. Your home will smell amazing!

When I lived in the UK I once bought something called flapjack, while I waited to take a train home from work. It looked like a South African cookie but the flavor and texture were disappointing. I never did acquire the taste for the soft, chewy flapjacks and much prefer our South African oats crunchies biscuits.

south african crunchies

How to make crunchy oat biscuits

  • Use good quality lightly salted butter.
  • Use thick spoonable Golden Syrup, not the runny kind.
  • Don’t let the butter and golden syrup boil with the bicarb for longer than a minute as it affects the color of the end result and makes it dark instead of golden.
  • You may be tempted to bake the crunchies for longer than 20 minutes before cutting, but don’t do it. Baking for too long will make it too dry and crumbly and difficult to cut and flip.
  • Always flip the cookies after slicing and return to the oven to ensure the bottom is crispy as well. To make this easier, place another cookie sheet of the same size or larger, over the cut cookies and flip it over. Separate the cookies and place the sheet back in the oven to finish crisping up.
  • Allow the cookies to cool completely before packing away. That’s if you can resist snacking on them.

The first time that I made Aunty Josie’s oat crunchy biscuits recipe in Dubai, was for a year end afternoon tea that I was hosting for my department. Aside from coconut and oat crunchy biscuits, I also made a few other recipes that you can find by clicking the links below.

south african crunchies

south african crunchies

Coconut and Oat Crunchy biscuits recipe (Crunchies)

Razena Schroeder
This home made South African Coconut and Oat crunchy biscuits recipe makes golden bars of buttery, sweet, crispy deliciousness perfect for a pick me up.
4.16 from 13 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Cookie
Cuisine South African
Servings 30
Calories 231 kcal


Dry ingredients

  • 120 grams medium dessicated coconut approximately 375 ml or 1 1/2 cups
  • 210 grams cake or fine sponge flour approximately 375 ml or 1 1/2 cups
  • 300 grams fine granulated sugar approximately 375 ml or 1 1/2 cups
  • 270 grams rolled oats approximately 750 ml or 3 cups, not easy cook or quick cook oats

Wet ingredients

  • 440 g cold butter cubed
  • 30 ml Golden Syrup 2 tablespoons, I use Lyle's as it is thick and gooey
  • 2 ml bicarbonate of soda less than 1/2 tsp


  • Heat the oven to 170C or 150C fan / 340 F / Gas mark 3.
  • Combine the coconut, cake flour, sugar and oats in a heatproof bowl and whisk a few times.
  • Heat the butter and golden syrup in a medium size pot on medium high, then add the bicarbonate of soda when the butter mixture starts bubbling.
  • Allow the mixture to bubble for exactly one more minute, then add the hot liquid to the dry ingredients. (I time this to ensure the bicarb doesn’t make the end result too dark).
  • Mix the ingredients thoroughly until the flour is incorporated and the oats and coconut are evenly coated.
  • Empty the cookie mixture into an oven tray and ensure it is smooth, even and compact. You can use the bottom of a flat measuring cup to do this.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and cut into squares or fingers. To make this easier, place another cookie sheet of the same size or larger, over the cut cookies and flip it over.
  • Separate the cookies and place the cookie sheet back in the oven to continue to bake on the other side for another 10 minutes to crisp it up.
  • Remove from the baking sheet and let cool completely on cooling racks then pack into a pretty airtight cookie jar or tin.


Calories: 231kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 2gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 125mgPotassium: 64mgFiber: 2gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 367IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 10mgIron: 1mg

Disclaimer: Nutritional information for the recipe is an approximation and varies according to the ingredients and products used.

Keyword easy baking, easy holiday baking, simple recipe
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  • Reply
    Nick du Preez
    October 10, 2023 at 4:43 pm

    I made these for a work function and now South African cuisine is famous in the Netherlands.

    Will probably use a bit less butter next time but I like being a little flexible on the recipe.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      October 11, 2023 at 11:41 am

      I find that it is best to use really cold butter for this recipe. Soft butter tends to make it feel a bit greasy.

  • Reply
    Carine van der Linde
    July 4, 2020 at 6:12 pm

    Delicious but had to bake it much much longer than instructed. Also struggled to cut it as it came out of oven- very fragile. Would rather cut it once slightly cooled.

  • Reply
    Nayna Kanabar
    August 30, 2018 at 11:10 am

    These look delectable and so easy to make . I am definitely going to try them.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      September 4, 2018 at 9:14 pm

      They are definitely so worth it!

      • Reply
        August 16, 2020 at 8:53 pm

        Really nice and easy recipe. Had to bake for much much longer, maybe the butter is too much. Also couldn’t cut them and flip them. They would just break apart. But really tasty.

        • Reply
          Razena Schroeder
          August 16, 2020 at 8:55 pm

          If you bake them too long they do become too hard and crumbly when they cool. The trick is to follow the recipe and remove after 20 minutes. Slice then cool and flip and bake on the other side as indicated to crisp up.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth O
    August 29, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    These sound so delicious indeed. I love how easy they look to make and the calorie content is also quite low. Brilliant recipe!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      September 4, 2018 at 9:13 pm

      Not completely guilt free as it contains butter and golden syrup but it is still a good source of nutritious energy.

  • Reply
    Monidipa Dutta
    August 28, 2018 at 10:34 am

    Those bars look really yummy. I as usual like the nutritional facts that u mention. I am not in country now else I would have taken the recipe to make it.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      September 4, 2018 at 9:12 pm

      You can always print the recipe once you are back home and in your own kitchen 🙂

  • Reply
    Geraline Batarra
    August 28, 2018 at 7:42 am

    Wow, this cookie recipe looks really delicious and looks so easy to prepare. I will try to make this for my kids, thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      September 4, 2018 at 9:11 pm

      This was hands down my favorite when I was a child so I’m sure your kids will love them too. Let me know what they think when you do 🙂

  • Reply
    Jennifer Prince
    August 28, 2018 at 6:08 am

    Ooh! Those bars look oh so good. I’d love to try to make them for my family for a quick breakfast on the go!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      September 4, 2018 at 9:10 pm

      I made this for a party at work a few years ago and one of my colleagues said these cookies are totally addictive because after having one he wanted to keep eating them 🙂

    4.16 from 13 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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