These buttermilk bran rusks might be my new favourite rusk recipe. They are easy to make and have a light texture. The All-Bran flakes and wholewheat flour make them a little healthier. They are perfect to fill a biscuit tin and have on hand to dunk into your tea or coffee.

Bowls of ingredients to make buttermilk bran rusks

Rusks are a classic South African twice-baked treat. They are one of the things people miss the most when they emigrate. Over the years I have had so many ex-pat readers tell me how much they love and miss rusks. This is another one to add to your repertoire.

What better way to celebrate our heritage month than with a rusk recipe? All my rusk recipes have become very popular on my blog over the last decade. You can find them all here:

Muesli rusks with oats & raisins

A classic buttermilk rusk recipe

Rusks and teax

Most rusk recipes make large batches and I kind of get the rationale behind that. If you are going to all the effort of drying them out in your oven for four hours, you may as well make a large quantity. I have included the ratios for a half batch with this recipe.

Buttermilk rusks contain few ingredients. The buttermilk and butter bind everything together. You can add half a cup of sunflower or chia seeds to this recipe if you like and often do. I wouldn’t add more than that in case they crumble too much.

I used Kerrygold butter in this recipe, a top-quality Irish butter brand. The butter is made from the milk of grass-fed free-roaming dairy cows. It is creamy,  delicious, and perfect for these buttermilk bran rusks. Kerrygold products do not contain any artificial additives and only use natural ingredients “Because Taste is Everything”

Buttermilk and bran rusks amde with Kerrygold butter

How to make Buttermilk bran rusks:

  • The batter for classic rusks is quite dense, so it’s best to make these by hand.
  • Mix the dry ingredients together to ensure the baking powder is well incorporated. Then add the wet ingredients.
  • Add the wet ingredients together and mix until combined.
  • Rusks are first baked in a moderate oven for 30 minutes before cooling and then cutting.
  • Once the rusks get cut, they are then placed onto a large, paper-lined baking tray to dry out at a low temperature.

Buttermil and bran rusks being made - step-by-step photos

Baked rusks in a tin

I have tested three recipes and made a total of five batches of rusks in the last week. I find baking finger rusks at around 175C – 180C for a shorter time (ie 30 minutes) is the best temperature for them. If you have much thicker rusks, it is better to bake at 160C for a little longer to prevent over-browning. I cover the rusks with a loose piece of foil for the last 10 – 15 minutes to prevent over-browning.

I prefer not to let rusks dry out in the oven overnight. It’s too long and unnecessary. Drying them out for 4 – 5 hours at 90C – 100C (fan forced if possible) does the trick.A rusk being dipped into tea

Recipe – makes 1 large tray – double up to make a large batch


Buttermilk bran rusks

My best light-textured buttermilk bran rusks. A South African classic.

  • Author: Sam Linsell
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes + 4 hours drying
  • Total Time: 6 hours
  • Yield: 1 large tray
  • Category: tea time
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: South African


200gms (1 ½ cups) cake flour (or all-purpose flour)

200gms (1 ½ cups) of wholewheat flour

4tsp baking powder

150gms (1 ½ cups) All-Bran flakes (lightly crushed)

200gms sugar (3/4 cup)

250gms salted Kerrygold butter

250ml (1 cup) buttermilk

2 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

In a large bowl add the flours and baking powder and whisk to combine. Add the All-Bran and sugar and mix.

Melt the butter and allow it to cool slightly. Add this to the dry ingredients along with the buttermilk and vanilla. Mix well to combine.

Line a baking (or small roasting) dish on the biggest side with baking paper. A 28cm x 20cm dish or similar rectangular dish will work well here. Spread the mixture into the tin and lightly press it into all the corners.

Bake for 30 minutes until light golden brown. Cover with a  piece of tin foil from about halfway through the baking to prevent over-browning.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

Cut the rusks into fingers of the desired thickness. Place them on a large, lined baking sheet. Space them out to allow them to dry.

Place in a low oven of around 90C-100C, preferably fan-forced, and dry for 4 – 5 hours. Turn the rusks over halfway through. Turn the oven off and let them stay inside overnight. When tested they should be dry right through before turning off the oven,

Keywords: rusk, buttermilk, bran, South African, Classic Rusks, rusks, recipe

A few other South African Heritage recipes:

Classic South African unbaked milk tarts

Earl Grey tea milk tart  -Baked milk tart 

Orange malva pudding

Pear & ginger malva pudding

Malva pudding with cranberries & ginger

My grandmother Betty’s crunchy recipe

Easy peppermint crisp pudding

Traditional South African bobotie with fragrant yellow rice

My best baking recipes

A few other recipes using Kerrygold butter & cheese

The best cheese & onion quiche

My perfect cheese scones 




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  1. Do you keep the oven door slightly open for the drying out process?

  2. Sam

    Hi Bernelee, I don’t keep the oven door ope. I have a fan oven so prefer to use that here. 100C for a shorter period vs 50C overnight. but any way that works is fine as long as they dry out properly.

  3. Ingrid Wilson

    Hi Sam I use a very similar recipe to yours except that mine has eggs in it- would it make a difference if I leave them out?

  4. Sam

    Hi Ingrid, there are no eggs in my recipe and I prefer that they are lighter as a result. You could add eggs. Whatever you prefer.

  5. Do you add a cup of canola to the recipe as written or leave out the butter? Thank you.
    I normally make your lovely Mueslie rusks recipe.

  6. Sam

    Hi Mariette I’m a little confused by this question. The recipe does not have any canola in it. Just melted butter and buttermilk. I’m not sure where you see the canola added. Thanks Sam

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