Light and fluffy pumpkin fritters (pampoen koekies) with caramel sauce. This recipe handed down to me by my grandmother is nostalgia on a plate and will become a family favorite in no time.
Whenever my Ouma (Afrikaans for grandmother) brought a tray of these delicious pumpkin fritters out after lunch, I jumped up and down like only a little girl in love with her gran’s cooking could. I was obsessed with the light and fluffy fritters covered in rich caramel sauce. And now, years later, I feel no different.
These phenomenal pumpkin fritters (or as we call them in Afrikaans, Pampoen koekies), really are all they are hyped up to be. I once cooked a fellow food blogger friend a batch and he proceeded to eat close to 20. In one sitting. They are rich, sticky, buttery and absolutely drool-worthy.
My gran used to serve these fritters with this caramel sauce and I remember it being a light coloured but incredibly rich sauce. I also added a pinch of salt flakes as the salty caramel works so well with the pumpkin. These fritters are an absolute crowd pleaser and you’re guaranteed to love them.
- Pumpkin. I make my own pumpkin puree but canned pumpkin will also work.
- Baking powder.
- Milk. Coconut or almond milk can be substituted.
For the caramel sauce
The fritters can be served covered in cinnamon sugar but this caramel sauce is what my gran always served them with.
- Vanilla extract.
- Golden syrup. Honey or maple syrup can be substituted.
How do you make pumpkin fritters?
The batter is incredibly simple and very much the same as a pancake batter. Flour (you can use 1:1 gluten free flour if you wish), sugar and baking powder are mixed with pumpkin puree, egg and milk to form a smooth, thick batter. Spoonfuls of the batter are fried until golden and crisp before being drenched in delicious caramel sauce.
Can you freeze pumpkin fritters?
The fritters will lose their texture when frozen so its not recommended. They are best served fresh and warm but you can make them a few hours ahead and keep them covered, in a low-heated oven for up to 2/3 hours. You can also pour over the caramel sauce ahead of time to allow the fritters to soak up the sauce. You can also refrigerate the fritter batter covered for up to 2 days ahead of time.
- Pumpkin sheet cake with Chantilly cream
- Soft Pumpkin Dinner Rolls with Sage Butter
- Spicy Miso Coconut Pumpkin Soup
My gran's pumpkin fritters | Pampoen koekies
For the fritters
- 1 cup pumpkin cooked and pureed
- 1 cup flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoon caster sugar
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup milk
- pinch of salt
- oil for deep frying
For the Caramel Sauce
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 cup cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp butter
- ½ cup golden syrup
- 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
For the fritters
- Combine all the ingredients and mix until you have a smooth batter.
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and fry spoonfuls of the batter until golden brown and cooked throughout, approximately 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from the oil and allow to drain on kitchen paper.
- Continue until all the fritters are cooked.
For the Caramel Sauce
- Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and allow to cook over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes until the sauce is thick and glossy.
- Pour the syrup over the fritters and serve.
Can sweet potatoes be used a a substitute?
Yes, they can.
Hi! I‘m kind of late to the party but I was wondering if these can be eaten cold. My daughter wants to take them to school for the class brunch. we love these!
They could but they’re definitely better served warm.
Worked a charm even with our toddler old helping out! Printed and on the fridge…
Hi, what can I use instead of golden syrup? I live in Germany. Can I just leave it out?
Maple syrup or honey.
Oh, this was fantastic!
Everybody loved it, my uncle doesn’t like pumpkin, but he ate a lot of them.
There was a little-bit of sauce/syrup left over, so we used it on dessert or cookies.
Last night, I made baby sweet potatoes by baking them in a little vegetable oil in the oven (with their skin on), until they are thoroughly cooked, with a little bit of Himalayan Salt sprinkled over. Afterwards, I just fried them in a pan for a minute or so, just to get the skin crusty. I remembered the Pumpkin Fritter’s delicious sauce, so I made it quickly and it worked fantastically with it!
It was ssooooooooo YUMMY! Thank you very much for sharing this recipe! It was awesome.
I have 4 boys and a husband who don’t eat pumpkin This was the first time they all ate it and enjoyed it. Really good! But super sweet You can’t eat this regularly It is so much better than the American pumpkin pie type thing. Also it’s almost better when it cools down a bit
Such a great recipe! It instantly became a family favourite!
Fantastic and easy thank you. Your grans legacy will live on!
Absolutely delicious. Everytime I make them, everyone wants the recipe.
That’s so great to hear. 🙂
I added a quarter teaspoon ground allspice. Delicious!
This recipe was just what I was looking for! It turned out amazing and tasty! My husband was extremely excited about these fritters as he hadn’t had them like this since he was a young boy. I would’ve specified what sugar to use for the caramel. I used white sugar, and it came out fine, but I’m pretty sure it would’ve been even better had I made it with brown sugar.
Thanks for an amazing recipe! Definitely going to use it again!
Wow what a beautiful recipe. So tasty and delicious. The best Pumpkin fritters I have ever made. Thanks so much for sharing your granny’s recipe, she is an amazing chef
Honestly so delicious, works really well and is super easy. I used coconut sugar instead. My 2 year old loved them! THANKS!
Love the idea of using coconut sugar Kari!
Family and friends love this! They will be requesting pumpkin fritters for every gathering for the next 20 years!
Thanks Jenny, I’m so happy to hear that.
Best pumpkin fritters ever. The sauce can be used to pour over ice cream etc.
So happy you loved it. That sauce is SO good!
Loved reading your story, brought back memories to my childhood.
Thanks so much.
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
These look soooo delicious Alida! I’d have a hard time resisting just my share!
Thanks so much Mary Ann! 🙂 They are such a treat.
Thank you soo much for the lovely recipe it was a hit I made it for our iftari at the time of breaking our fast the best recipe thank you
So glad to hear that!
Alida, I read the recipe of the Pumpkin Fritters. I make Ricotta Fritters, I like anything that’s a fritter. My question is would I be able to make these like one or two days in advance. Your Grandmother’s Fritters sound delicious, you know anything our Grandparents made is always good!!!! Thanks for giving this recipe!!
I’ve never made them so far in advance but you could definitely try. Perhaps just re-heat slowly in the oven, covered, to make sure they are thoroughly heated.
Oh my pumpkin goodness! Just joined a catamaran in the caribbean and was looking for yummy dessert ideas and came across this recipe from South Africa 🙂 Just made it for the boys to see their reactions and they were fighting over the last few with caramel sauce dripping all over the place! This is by far the best pampoen koekie recipe I have ever tasted. Mmmm felt like I was home for a while 🙂 thank you for sharing
So glad you liked them! 🙂
These look beyond amazing! Pumpkin and caramel together!? Sign me up!
Glad you like the look of them! 🙂 They really are too good to be true.
You could use corn syrup or honey. Golden syrup is often sold in little cans, so if you can find it, that would be great as that will give the authentic flavour you’re looking for.
What would you substitute for the golden syrup, as I don’t think we have that in the US?
What a lovely idea!
can i add chocolate chips? maybe the small ones? Or would that mess them up when frying.
I’m sure you could, I’ve never done that before so not sure how they would turn out once fried, but maybe give them a go and see?
The caramel sauce is amazing, but if you want something not quite as sweet, try these fritters with apple butter or pumpkin butter. Delicious!
I have made these several times and they are so delicious and addicting. I’d like to make them for a party, wondering if the batter can be mixed ahead of time and chilled until ready to fry?
You know, I’m sure you could. Just watch out for the baking powder as it gets activated the moment the wet ingredients are added. My gran used to make this and keep it warm in huge trays covered with foil before hand.
What kind of pumpkin do you use? Butternut squash my boyfriend is from South Africa and we would love to make these.
Butternut squash is perfect in this!
I was wondering if you could just use the pumpkin in a can? These look and sound delish!! Thank you
Allison, I’ve never used pumpkin from a can but I’m sure it should be fine as long as it’s not too wet.
Castor sugar is also known as superfine sugar and golden syrup is similar to honey except it’s different in flavour.
Barbara S. Van Dyck
And made from corn
What is castor sugar and what is golden syrup
Hi, don’t be sad for Ouma, be happy with your memories of her as she is not sad.
Any chance of a Vegan equivalent? I have just been given a half Pampoen and although I have been in S.A. for 40 years I have not eaten it since the first time 40 years ago,
I lost so many kilo’s through “durchfallen” that today i am still as skinny as a rake..
durchfallen: German. through fall: English literal translation. durchfallen is a much more descriptive word.
I recently made these for a dinner party with family and they were to-die-for. I served them sprinkled with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar as my three year old cousin is diabetic. Everyone loved them! I doubled the recipe and came out with about 50 and between the 8 of us they were gone within minutes. My little brother and I were eating them as is straight from the pan! The best pumpkin fritter recipe I have ever tried. Thank you for posting this recipe!
Ah wow, so glad you liked them so much. I have to say, they are definitely in my top 5 things to eat! Love them!
Isn’t it lovely to be able to cook from your gran’s cookbooks?
Loved the stories about your gran. I have many fine cooking memories about my grandmother as well and often think about her while I cook.
Thanks so much!
Loving Life Naturally
Amazingly beautiful! I love your photography <3
Oh, what a lovely recipe! Pleased to have found your blog via El.
So glad you liked it Andie. And thanks for the note about the substitutions. (Caster sugar is also referred to as Super Fine sugar, if I’m not mistaken)
These were incredible! I made them for a family party and they were talked about for weeks afterward. I have a certain love for pumpkin spice so I added it to both the batter and the sauce and it was gorgeous. Like some other people, I couldn’t find caster sugar or golden syrup in my local stores so I substituted Truvia baking sugar (no calories yay!) and caro syrup respectively. Devine even with the substitutes!
Thank you for sharing this recipe!
Peter, I used butternut for this version but I’ve also used ‘boerpampoen’ which is a round, orange-fleshed pumpkin. I think almost any pumpkin will work for this. You could even try it with sweet potato.
what types of pumpkin do you use
I have a useful note for anyone who doesn’t have golden syrup or caster sugar!
As I made these, I did some research on caster sugar. I just ground granulated sugar in my coffee grinder, since caster sugar is basically a finer-grained sugar. Don’t grind it TOO much, or you’ll get powdered sugar!
And for the syrup, instead of 1/2 cup golden syrup, I used 1/4 cup honey and 1/4 cup pancake syrup (log cabin syrup). It may not have tasted as yummy and caramely as this recipe, but was still gooey and tasty! Hope this helps anyone!
And the pumpkin fritters were BEYOND delicious! Thank you for this wonderful recipe!
Thanks for this great tip Mar!
Do you think I could use applesauce instead of the pumpkin?
Shanna, I think apple sauce might be too runny so you’ll have to use lots of flour and that might result in a tough fritter.
Perhaps after draining the applesauce in a coffee-filter lined strainer?
This recipe looks incredible and what a legacy for your gran to leave. Wow, show stopper. Pinned and Pinned!
what is pumpkin cooked? is it a puree?
Yes, cooked and pureed.
I want to make these but what is golden syrup? I’ve never heard of it.
Susan, golden syrup is a syrup similar to maple syrup but with the consistency of runny honey. I’m sure you’ll be able to find it or something similar at a grocery store.
Love the pictures…
I’d love to try these but I have a couple of quick questions. What is golden syrup? And can I use regular sugar instead of caster sugar? Thanks!
Candy, golden syrup is a British product, similar to maple syrup but with the consistency of runny honey. I’m sure you’d be able to find it in a grocery store. It often comes in little tins.
Golden Syrup is not widely available in the United States. It is an invert sugar (which kind of gives it it’s gooey-ness) and the only widely available invert sugar syrup is corn syrup (a cheap knock-off of golden syrup) It works well in this recipe, and although maple syrup or honey gives the sauce a different consistency they work ok too with 1/4 c honey and 1/4 c maple syrup.
Golden syrup is found in stores like Wholefoods, Kings, maybe Trader Joe’s not sure. I grew up using it on pancakes and serving with a slice of lemon. It is in a green can. We never used maple syrup since I grew up under the British system.
Thanks for your comment Peggy!
These look SOOOOO good!
Thanks Lori! 🙂
Omg, saw these on FG and had to visit. Your memories are so beautiful with your grandma and these fritters are gorgeous and of course who could stop at 2-3…btw love your pictures. I am pinning …
Thanks for your lovely comment Asha! x
This takes me back to SUnday afternoon spread on the ‘platteland’! It is close to pudding and your pictures is devine! WEll done and thanks…my mom sometimes also made it with sweet potatoes 🙂
Sweet potato sounds like a great idea!