Wheat-Free Dunking Rusks


In keeping with our South African heritage I would like to share my recipe for homemade wheat-free rusks.  For those who don’t know what a rusk is, think along the lines of a biscotti biscuit, but bigger and chunkier.  It is a twice baked biscuit, first the batter is baked in cake form then cut into chunks and then left in a low temperature oven to dry out until hard. 

Why dry?  Well there lies the secret to how to eat them, served with a cup of tea or coffee then dunked….it is all in the timing of the dunk though, leave it in too long and the rusk will get soggy and break off into your cuppa.  Many a South African childhood has been spent calculating the perfect dunking time, if all else fails then a teaspoon to scoop out the bits from the bottom is all that is needed.

When we lived in Cape Town, I used to buy my rusks from either a supermarket or a home industry shop, therefore not having a need to make my own.   Now, between living in the UK and following a paleo lifestyle, I have been forced to take matters into my own hands and bring out the Ouma in me (Ouma is Afrikaans for Granny and traditionally the bakers of great homemade rusks).  I have to say, my family are loving my homemade version, had I known just how easy they are to make I probably would have attempted to make them years ago (although I can’t say my cooking skills were that good back then).

Rusks are perfect for a breakfast on the run and ideal if you are planning a camping trip.  Pack them in an airtight container and whip them out with morning coffee or bedtime tea around the camp fire, I guarantee that you will fast become the most popular person on camp. 


Whip up the wet ingredients then add the dry ones, combine well and transfer the batter into a lined roasting/baking tray and bake until golden brown


Remove the tray from the oven and leave to cool down slightly, just enough to be able to cut into chunks


Lift the paper out of the baking tray, lay it on a flat surface and cut into rectangles of about 10cm x 4cm in size


Line up the rusks on a parchment lined baking tray (I used a silicone mat) with a little space between each


Turn the oven down to 80ºC and bake for a further 4 hours.  My family prefer a rusk that is soft in the center, if you prefer a harder one then leave them in for a few more hours or turn the oven to 50ºC and leave them in overnight.  Once dry and hard, remove from the oven, cool and store in an airtight container.




I am often asked about where and how to purchase certain of the ingredients that I use in my recipes.  To make things easier I have linked the products to Amazon UK for for both easy purchase or visual reference (products may be purchased either through this link, or directly in the recipe links) .  I do earn a tiny percentage from your purchases which is used to fund to the running cost of this website.  xx Don

Wheat-Free Dunking Rusks
Yields 28
Wheat-free, processed sugar free, dairy-free
Write a review
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
5 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
5 hr
  2. 3 eggs
  3. 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  4. 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  5. 1 tin coconut milk
  6. 1 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
  7. 1/2 cup raw honey/maple syrup OR a coconut sugar added with dry ingr
  9. 2 cups almond flour or ground almonds
  10. 4 Tbsp coconut flour
  11. 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  12. 1/2 cup flax meal
  13. 1 Tbsp psyllium husk powder
  14. 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  15. 1 Tbsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
  16. 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  17. 1/2 Tbsp ground nutmeg
  18. 1/3 Tbsp ground ginger
  19. 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  20. 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
  21. 1/2 cup chopped pecan nuts
  22. 1 cup raisins
  23. 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  24. 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC
  2. In a large bowl whisk all the wet ingredients together until light and fluffy
  3. In another bowl combine the dry ingredients and stir until well mixed
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredient bowl and mix together
  5. In a parchment lined roasting tray/dish (35cm) spoon the batter in and spread it out evenly (I used my La Creset oven dish)
  6. Bake for 40min until golden brown and firm in the middle
  7. Remove from the oven and turn the oven down to 80ºC
  8. Lift the paper and the cake out of the baking tray and leave to cool for 10min
  9. Cut into approx 10cm X 4cm rusks
  10. Place the rusks on the baking tray, leaving a small space between each rusk
  11. Bake for 4 hours until hard and dry leaving the oven door slightly open.
  12. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely
  13. Store in an airtight container
  1. For a drier harder rusk, turn the oven down to 50ºC and leave overnight - I like to pop a pair of oven gloves over the door to keep it slightly open allowing moisture to eascape
  2. *recipe updated and improved on 2nd September 2016
Eighty 20 Nutrition


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22 thoughts on “Wheat-Free Dunking Rusks

    1. Hi Margaret, I’m not sure what you mean, is the recipe not coming up at the end of the post? If not, please let me know by email and I can return email you a copy?

    1. Fantastic Danielle enjoy, please let us know who they go and if you made any changes? Us South Africans can never be too far away from either a rusk or biltong….

  1. Hi Donna.
    I baked these last night and had them drying in the oven today. It took a little longer than the 4 hours to dry but my oven is a bit funky that way. The house smells lovely thanks to the spices. As for the rusks themselves they baked perfectly and is a hit with D’s son too.

    1. Hey Kotie, thanks for letting us know…so glad you like them and glad you are able to make T a little of your SA heritage xx D

    1. Hi Debby, yes I’m sure you could, maybe add another tbsp of psyllium husk for extra binding and moisture absorption. Will you let me know how they turn out? Dxx

  2. Best Rusk I have ever eaten- Thanks Donna

    Rusk was one of the hardest things to give up since I tried avoiding gluten and dairy in my diet and I tried various recipes that doesn’t use flour and dairy. This one is the best!

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this with us Rentia, it really makes my day to see this. I really appreciate it so much xxD

  4. Donna I so agree with you about rusks and biltong being a part of South Africans brought up this way. I currently live in Sydney and having lived away from SA for 20 years, those are the two things I have regularly longed for and eaten whenever possible. Having adopted a more Paleo eating plan myself over the last two years has meant rusk eating has all but disappeared from my treat list. So Finding your recipe fills me with much delight. I can’t wait to try it. Thank you.

    1. That’s awesome Mark, thank you for leaving this lovely message! I did mention it in my blurb above, how you prefer your rusk (hard or soft) should determine your drying time. Leave overnight in a low oven for a really dry version. xxD

  5. Hi Donna, Made these over the weekend. They look similar to yours and taste great however I could not get the rusks to be hard as I like them, despite leaving them in the oven overnight and for a few hours more. I did make two substitutes though – walnuts for pecans and Xilitol as the sweetener. Do you think either may be responsible?

    1. Hi Mark, the subs should not have made a difference, but do note they will never end up like “auma’s rusks” which are really hard and dry. Being the nature of the ingredients, they will dry out but not to that extent. I do know that other readers have used cassava flour (but for the sake of my South African readers who battle to get hold of it, I don’t use it) I would assume that makes them easier to dry out better. Failing which a dehydrator/biltong maker (mine has shelves) should really give it a good drying.

    1. I’m glad you are enjoying them Mark. It is so funny how fussy and personal South African’s are over their rusks – my guys prefer soft rusks but some people really want them bone dry – I could write a book about the rusk preferences (lol)

  6. Hi Donna,
    Your recipe looks so nice, I am looking forward to making these.
    Would I be able to substitute the eggs for something else I am allergic to eggs.
    Kind regards

    1. Hi Vivienne, I really don’t see any reason why you can’t sub with your preferred choice of egg replacement. Obviously you will need to ensure that it is the same proportions to the number of eggs in the recipe so it does not crumble and turn into a granola instead.

  7. Hi Donna,
    Many thanks, I have Googled egg substitutes, I see applesauce as a substitute, do you think that will work as enough of a binding agent

    1. Hey Vivienne, I don’t really know to much about egg substituting, but I have in the past worked with chia seeds as an egg replacement and it seemed to work really well. I’m not sure if you have used them before or know how they work? Mix 1 Tbsp of chia to 3 Tbsp of water, then soak for about 10min until a sticky gel like substance has formed, then mix as per the recipe – again I have not tried this but it should work as there is also psyllium husk which will also help with binding. Please let us know how it goes?

  8. Your rusks sound delicious. I have been making rusks for years but am now gluten and wheat intolerant, sob sob. Have tried so many recipes for gluten free rusks but all awful!!! Ground almonds so expensive here in SA is there any other substitute??
    Thanks so much for your help
    Pam Myburgh

    1. Hi Pam, so glad you have found my recipe – regarding your question, I’m guessing you could sub the two cups of almond flour with adding an extra cup of flax meal, extra 1/2 cup of coconut and an extra 1/4 cup of sunflower and pumpkin seeds (I have not tried this so it’s just off the top of my head) – taste it before baking and check if may need more honey. It is a really durable recipe and can handle a few tweaks and changes so don’t be scared to fiddle with it. Please let me know if you make the changes and how they turned out? xxD

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