Wheat-Free Dunking Rusks

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

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Wheat-Free Dunking Rusks
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94 ratings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 5 hours

Total Time: 5 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: 28

Calories per serving: 227.51 kcal

Fat per serving: 18.11 g

Saturated fat per serving: 8.0 g

Carbs per serving: 14.28 g

Protein per serving: 5.21 g

Fiber per serving: 3.61 g

Sugar per serving: 7.35 g

Sodium per serving: 148.64 mg

Trans fat per serving: 0.0 g

Cholesterol per serving: 17.14 mg

Wheat-Free Dunking Rusks


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 400g tin coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup raw honey/maple syrup OR a coconut sugar added with dry ingredients
  • 2 cups almond flour or ground almonds
  • 4 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup flax meal
  • 1 Tbsp psyllium husk powder
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 Tbsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tbsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecan nuts
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 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


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 escape.

Nutrition label for Wheat-Free Dunking Rusks
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43 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

  9. Thank you for this great recipe. My daughter is allergic to gluten and other grains, so she is often restricted by what she can eat. I made these last night and also added some dried cranberries and other nuts – she had one for breakfast this morning and loves them. Super easy to make and yummy. I will be making them again – and we do live in South Africa!

  10. Dear Donna
    I have been searching high and low for a recipe like this! I am traveling this week but cannot wait to try these once I am back in SA ??

    1. I’m so glad you have found it, its really is a family favorite and I hope you enjoy them. Let me know what you think?

  11. I am unable to print your Wheat free Dunking Rusk Recipe for some reason?
    Pleeese email me a printable copy.
    From South Africa

  12. Hi Donna
    As a newbie to rusks and to gluten free I am thrilled to say I made your recipe and it turned out great even with the subs…I subbed out some almond flour for rice flour and dates for honey and added more seeds as I didn’t have all the nuts and a few chia seeds and choc chips for the fun of it. Thanks I will be sharing x

    1. How fantastic Karin! Thanks for sharing with us. Yes, this recipe is so sturdy it can easily handle changes and substitutions. Another similar recipe to this is Fruit and Nut Nordic Bread which also is very changeable. Have fun playing xD

  13. Hi, can I leave out the Apple Cider Vinegar or what can I replace it with?
    I cannot digest this easily.
    Can I also replace 2 cups of almond flour for Rice flour?
    Coconut milk with Almond milk?

    1. You can leave out the ACV, it is used to help the batter rise and also counteracts the bicarb taste. You may want to sub with lemon juice instead. I have never used rice flour but the recipe is really durable so it should be ok, will you let me know if it works? Any kind of milk will work just as long as it has a high fat content.

  14. Hi Donna. Tx for the recipe. I made them and they are good. I added a bit of salt and made up the almond flour with half a cup of gluten free flour that was at it BB date – and cranberries and chopped dates to make uo the raisins.
    You don’t say what the consistency the dough should be but mine looked very runny so I added a bit more dry ingredients. I dried them overnight and they are nice and crisp. Good recipe! Theyre going on holiday by the sea… With me

    1. Thank you so much Hilda for letting us know your changes. Yes you are correct I should mention the consistency, it should be almost a lumpy cake batter consistency, I’l update my recipe to reflect that. Hope you enjoy your time by the sea (I’m rather jealous as it is freezing cold here in the UK)

  15. Hi, how much coconut milk is one tin? I live in America and don’t know how much is in a tin for you.

    1. Hi Cara, it is a tin of 400ml, sorry for the delay in replying as I’ve been away in South Africa for a few weeks.

  16. Thank-You Donna, you have just rescued my husband from years of failed attempts at homemade health rusks (the most recent attempt was almost life threatening ?) made these yesterday and they come out perfectly, I substituted almond flour for 2/3 macadamia & 1/3 chick pea flour, as that is all I had in the pantry & still delicious! So happy to have stumbled upon this recipe will be making these a staple in our home & can’t wait to go through your blog for more deliciousness, we are huge advocates for 80:20! Thank you Kelly (& Alan)

    1. Hi Kelly, thank you so much the feedback, you have totally made my day! I really hope your hubby enjoys them and thanks for the letting me know the subs that you used. I love hearing alternatives and I’m sure the other readers will appreciate it. Big hugs xxD

  17. I’m so excited to find this recipe! I stayed in a guesthouse in Cape Town for a short time back in 2016 and absolutely loved the homemade rusks that were topped up in a jar in my room every day. Coming from Australia, I’d never encountered these before but since returning home, I’ve been looking for something similar here. Recently Aldi had a South African food promotion and had Ouma brand rusks, but I have to say, reading your ingredients, I can’t wait to get cracking and make my own. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I love that they are wheat and dairy free and will also suit my son in law who is vegan xx

    1. Hi Sue, thank you for your lovely message, I really hope you enjoy them and please let me know what you think of the recipe? Much Love D

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