“Melkkos” A South African Classic


The mere thought of “Melkkos” takes me way back.  Back to a rainy winters night, me barely tall enough to see the top of the stove and my dear Mom standing there stirring the pot religiously.  I can only imagine that “IS IT DONE YET?” must have been written all over my face as the smell that was coming from that pot was nothing short of  heaven.  To say I loved the stuff would be an understatement of note.

“Melkkos”, which directly translates to Milkfood, is a South African classic and more particularly an Afrikaans tradition of sorts.  On a cold and rainy winters day my tastebuds automatically send signals to my brain that causes “Melkkos” and “Pannekoek” to occupy my mind all day.

There are many variations of the recipe, and two main variations of the dish as far as I am aware. “Melkkos” is the one I grew up with and will be showing you today. It is made by rubbing butter into flour which then gets cooked in milk.  It produces a smooth porridge of sorts, with a few lumps here and there.

“Melksnysels” is the other variation I managed to track down.  I have never cooked it or eaten it though, my guess is that it is a regional thing.  It is made by making a dough out of flour, egg and a little milk which then gets rolled flat and cut into strips (similar to making pasta by hand), which in turn gets cooked in milk.

A couple of us food bloggers were having a chat on Twitter a while back about traditional foods and I mentioned to my friend Colleen Grove over at Browniegirl Blog that my Mom used to infuse the milk with dried orange peel when making “melkkos”.  We soon got flooded with messages from our followers asking for recipes as they all remembered it from childhood but had no clue how to make it. Colleen and I decided then an there to do a double post about the wonders of a steaming bowl of “Melkkos”.

Here is a link to Colleen’s post,  lets get on with mine!

Ingredients: (Serves 3, maybe 4)

  • 6 cups (1.5 litres) full cream milk
  • half a cup of sugar
  • 1 and a half cup white bread flour
  • 70 grams butter (Mom’s recipe said 2 tablespoons, I modified slightly)
  • a pinch of salt
  • Zest of one orange (Mom used to use dried orange peel to infuse the milk with, but I didn’t have any on hand so I improvised and it worked great)
  • a cinnamon stick


Add the milk to a pot (using this ancient one that I “borrowed” from my childhood home when I left for college adds to the taste I am sure of it) add your cinnamon stick and bring that up to a medium high heat, do not let the milk boil.



While that is heating up, add the flour and a pinch of salt to a mixing bowl.



Then pop in the butter and start rubbing it into the flour with your hands.



Basically you just flatten the butter and keep coating the wet bits with flour until all the butter has been soaked up by the flour.



When it is ready you will see it look like yellow crumbs of varying sizes.



Add your sugar and stir it in with a wooden spoon.  Again, using this ancient spoon with the one edge chipped off just adds to the awesomeness.



By this time your milk should be heated up, turn the heat down to medium and add the flour mixture to the pot.  Keep stirring as this mix could easily burn due to the sugar content.  Caylee from The Love Bites Blog can tell you all about burnt sugar when making “Melkkos”.



Let the heat at a light simmer and remember to keep stirring.  There is a camp that love the taste of a “slightly” burnt pot of “Melkkos”, but let’s not go there right now, you can experiment in your own time! At first it will still be very runny, but as the flour cooks the mixture will thicken, I’d say the process takes about 15 to 20 minutes.  After the first 10 minutes add your orange zest and get back a stirring.



You will have to adjust the mix to your liking though, add a bit more flour and butter if you would like it to be less runny. There you have it, serve with a bit of cinnamon sugar and sit back and feel the winter blues fade away.



Author:Fritz Brand

Passionate Foodie, Blues Man, Photographer, Technology Geek and all round cool dude.

25 Responses to ““Melkkos” A South African Classic”

  1. August 15, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    Awesome post, I loved seeing the difference in our recipes…mostly in the method really. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to cook virtually with you Fritz. xx PS I love your le creuset bowl…. :)

    • Fritz Brand
      August 15, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

      Ag it was only a pleasure Colleen! Was fun :) Thanks I really dig that little bowl too!

  2. August 15, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    Oh Fritz – this looks awesome. I must admit I have never tasted this …. I think it’s time hey! Great post – I see your le Creuset collection is growing! Love it xxx jan

    • Fritz Brand
      August 15, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

      Thanks Jan! What? That is unacceptable! Please have a go and tell me what you think! And yes, my collection just keeps on growing, it is a disease I tell you! That lil pot we got as gifts from Le Creuset at the cooking thingy a while back though, I was innocent :)

  3. August 15, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    My family love melkkos!! We and especially BlondieGirl makes it quite often!! It is one of the most comforting food on earth!

    • Fritz Brand
      August 15, 2011 at 9:41 pm #

      Tis amazing stuff hey :) To be honest I have forgotten about it for a while, not to worry though, back on track!

  4. August 16, 2011 at 8:26 am #

    I made melkkos last night using this recipe, leaving out the zest (too crazy for me, haha). It was incredible. I think it just might be my favourite, favourite meal. It brings back the warmest memories of res and first year. In the beginning they let us dish it up ourselves, but they soon realised that girls were going back for third and fourth helpings (the bowls were small, okay) and they only served us one in the end. We were all outraged; it was the only thing keeping us warm in the Stellenbosch winter. The thought of making our own didn’t even cross our minds.

    I made the melkkos in my Le Creuset dish, thinking that the thick bottom would help in not burning. It didn’t burn. High five to me being all mature.

    This really is the perfect comfort dish. Better than any mac and cheese. It is perfect for winter nights that the Boyf is on a business trip, in front of the TV with Katy.

    And oh, Katy loves this too.

    • Fritz Brand
      August 16, 2011 at 10:17 am #

      Hi Cayleekins

      I’m so glad I could help evoke all these feelings and memories in you with this post. I get all misty eyed about the stuff too!

      Well done on not burning it this time *noddy badge* and yea it probably is either number 1, or very high on the list of winter comfort foods.

      Glad Katy approves! Cheers!

  5. August 16, 2011 at 8:39 am #

    this is one dish I have never eaten :)

    • Fritz Brand
      August 16, 2011 at 10:15 am #

      Hi Tandy, time to make a plan then!

  6. September 11, 2011 at 3:51 am #

    Never heard of this before, but it looks amazing!! Can’t wait for it to cool down here so I can try it! And I love your little blue pot :)

    • Fritz Brand
      September 12, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

      Hi Stefanie. Thanks, please do give it a try and let me know what you think. I love that little pot too!

  7. April 11, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    Finally a proper explanation of what melkos is!! It looks delish, cant wait to try the recipe. thanks for clearing up the confusion. :)

    • Fritz Brand
      April 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

      Glad you like it Prudence, please let me know how it turns out for you!

  8. Janine
    June 15, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

    My fiance doesn’t like the melkkos with lumps, do you perhaps have a recipe for lump-less melkkos?

    Kind Regards,

    • Fritz Brand
      June 15, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

      Hi Janine

      The recipe above doesn’t cause huge lumps, I think if you take your time and whisk in the butter and flour mixture when you add it to the milk you should be OK, but I haven’t tried it myself. I like some tiny lumps, so I just chuck the whole lot in and start stirring.

      I believe there is another way of making melkkos, where you add some water to the butter and flour mixture and mix that through before you add it to the milk. This will cause much bigger lumps to form, which some people enjoy. I haven’t tried that either, but will probably give it a go the next time I am making melkkos. Could that be the version your fiance is referring to?

      Please let me know if that helps, if not I’ll try to come up with a lump-less version at some stage :)

  9. Janine
    June 15, 2012 at 11:38 pm #

    Hi again,
    Thanks for the quick response. My fiance can’t stand the lumps, he is a fussy eater and was raised with English style food, so I am trying to get him used to my cooking (I’m Afrikaans). An old teacher said she will email me a lumpless recipe tomorrow. Will post it on here once I get it. Hopefully it will be the right recipe..
    Enjoy your evening!

  10. October 9, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    Hi All,

    Also try searching for boeber. That appears to be one of the origins of the dish. The Boere of old could probably not find the spices out in the back of beyond and made their own variation, not to be sneezed at.
    The dish probably originated in Malaysia. Eaten by the Muslims during or after Ramadan.
    And then get some ready mix at your favourite spice shop. Make it and taste the flavours of the Far East. A whole new world will open for you.

    I like eating, which is why I am thick…

    • Fritz Brand
      October 9, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

      Hi Ziets

      Thanks, I’ve heard of Boeber, but haven’t tried making it yet.

      Will give it a go, I need to explore some more spices.


  11. Willem Fraser
    January 14, 2013 at 6:47 am #

    I love Melkkos and have it regularly. My Mother-in-Law is an expert and have a very intricate recipe using sago and flour. Traditionally we have this with cinnamon but it is fab with apricot jam. And, for me personally, having some of it cold the next morning for breakfast is tops.

    Lately I have been eating it with Aromat and liberal helpings of grated cheese – this puts it in a different category. Try it you will like it.

    Born and bred Afrikaner South African – still living in RSA

    • Fritz Brand
      January 14, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

      Hi Willem

      Yea I also love eating it cold for breakfast the next morning.

      Mmmm that sounds weird but somehow good, will definitely give it a bash.

      Thanks for the tips.

  12. May 19, 2013 at 7:46 am #

    Hallo there. I’ve been making Melkkos since forever. This is my special treat saying I LOVE YOU to my dear son Eugene. Every winter he gets countless bowls of Melkkos. When he was a batchelor, I used to take him a whole pot full of melkkos and he will eat it for breakfast and the next evening too. I still take lots because I’ve got a lucky packet son (13 years) and he loves it just as much. Really a comfort food. For the people who do not like the lumps, sometimes I make it without the flour but add cooked macaroni. Then the beaten egg whites. They can then avoid eating the macaroni if they so prefer. Yummy.

  13. Derek
    October 9, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

    Hi, and your recipe looks freat. I love Melkkos, and used to get it at boarding school, where I used to line up for 2nds and 3rds. Always said that if I find someone who can cook good melkkos, I will marry them. LoL. Thats not a proposal, bye the way

    • Fritz Brand
      October 9, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

      Hi Derek

      Thanks! Yea one, or two bowls just doesn’t cut it with this stuff hey?

  14. Karin SA
    April 27, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

    Hi all, thank you for the comments. I was searching for melkkoss recipe with the lumps – Melkkos is truly one of those “ouma” recipes that cannot be replaced; like koeksisters. For those who have not tyet sampled the SA Koeksister, do so, it is one of the old favourites like melkkos.

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