Mandazi, a popular Swahili delicacy, is a great snack from East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania). Mandazis are often in triangular or circular shapes. 

Think of mandazi as a type of doughnut but with a unique taste and flavor due to the ingredients used during preparation. In fact, they’re commonly referred to as African donuts. 

You can have mandazi with your coffee or tea, serve it as dessert, or snack on it throughout the day. They are also an excellent addition to brunch.  Try them with yellow beans for lunch!

In Kenyan homes, mandazi is the second most popular breakfast accompaniment after bread.

Today, I’ll take you through how to cook mandazi.


  • All-purpose wheat flour, 4 cups (Main ingredient)
  • Baking powder, 2 teaspoons
  • Warm milk, 1 cup
  • Warm water, 1 cup
  • Sugar, ½ a cup
  • Vegetable oil, ¼ cup
  • Cardamom powder 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch of salt
  • Vegetable oil

Steps to cooking mandazi

  1. In your first bowl, mix some wheat flour, baking powder, cardamom powder, sugar and salt. We mentioned the reason for mixing all the dry ingredients in our previous article, how to make pancakes.
  2. In your second bowl, beat the egg, add milk, water and vegetable oil (1/4 a cup is enough).

TIP: To give your mandazi some essence, you can add vanilla essence and grated orange peels to your dry ingredients.

  1. Start adding the wet ingredients in your second bowl to the first bowl while stirring. It’s important to do so gradually so it can be easy to mix it uniformly.
  2. Once all your ingredients are balanced in one bowl, start kneading it until all the ingredients have uniformly mixed and your dough is formed.      
  3. Put the dough on a flat surface and continue kneading for about 15 minutes until it becomes smooth dough. It should be neither sticky nor hard. 
  4. Place the dough back into your bowl, cover it and let it rest for 30 minutes to an hour to allow it to rise.             
  5. Divide the dough into 6 equal portions (they can be in ball shape). 
  6. Take one portion, spread it on a flat surface to make a circular shape. A rolling pin will come in handy for this. 
  7. Cut the circular dough you’ve spread into 4 sections.
  8.  Put your deep frying saucepan on medium heat and add the cooking/vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot, put the pieces of dough you had cut. Depending on how big your pan is, you can have 3 or 4  of them in there so they can cook well without sticking together.  
  9. Give them about 2 minutes. They will almost double in size and turn golden brown. 
  10. Turn the other side for another 1 or 2 minutes and then remove them from the heat.
  11. You can put them on a paper towel to drain the oil. 
  12. Repeat the procedure for the rest of the dough.   

Serve these soft mandazi the way you prefer and with accompaniments of your choice. Some like them hot while others prefer them warm. My family loves them warm!

I’ve bitten my fingers while eating mandazi, more times than I’ve used them to point at something.

Wairimu Kimani.