Simple Mandazi Recipe with Lemon

Simple Mandazi Recipe with Lemon
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Mandazi is one of the most common snacks in the East African region and especially Kenya. Originating from the Swahili cuisine, the snack comes in an array of flavors depending on the ingredients used. With ingredients such as eggs, milk, water, sugar, coconut, wheat flour, lemon, and some of the spices used for pilau seasoning, you are placed at a spoilt for choice status for your refined taste buds.

Mandazi are also known as African donuts but there are those that refer to them as mandasi. Although entirely different from mahamri, some people believe they are one and the same. Besides making wonderful snacks, mandazi are excellent for breakfast and can also fit well in the list of African desserts. The best accompaniments for mandazi are white tea (chai) or white coffee.

Mandazi Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • I have seen people ask whether yeast can be used in place of baking powder. Yes! This works but it is important to note that the flavor will be slightly different.
  • “I am surprised mandazi can be made without sugar.” This is a reaction I got from a lady that encountered this recipe somewhere. Mandazi can be made without sugar and the taste is absolutely incredible. However, it does not hurt to adjust the recipe for that extra sweet flavor.
  • What is the ideal thickness for flattened mandazi dough? Medium-sized is the best for fleshy and soft mandazi. For this particular recipe, I make both medium-sized and thin pieces because I enjoy a bit of crunchiness.
mandazi recipe

Simple Mandazi Recipe

This mandazi recipe is great if you prefer soft mandazi without sugar. It is my favorite because I barely notice the absence of sugar. The taste is incredible and wholesome. Follow the steps diligently for best results. We have also embedded our video that demonstrates how to make mandazi step by step.
4.75 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine East African
Servings 5


  • Mixing Bowl
  • Rolling Stick
  • Sauce Pan


  • 3 cups all-purpose wheat flour and ¼ extra
  • tbsp Baking Powder
  • 3 Eggs
  • ½ cup Milk
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon, cardamom or nutmeg
  • tbsp grated lemon peel
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil or butter optional
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 3 tbsp sugar optional


  • In a mixing bowl, combine 3 cups flour, baking
    powder, salt, spice and lemon peel
  • Add eggs and milk to the bowl. Alternatively, combine
    milk with beaten eggs and add the mixture to the bowl.
  • Use a cooking stick to mix all the ingredients
  • When the ingredients are properly mixed, use
    your hands to knead.
  • Transfer the dough to a flat surface to make the
    kneading process easier. Begin by spreading several pinches of flour on the
    surface to prevent stickiness. Keep adding the extra flour to the dough in
    small bits until you achieve the desired texture. Your final outcome should be
    neither sticky nor hard.
  • Use butter or oil to grease the mixing bowl.
  • Place the dough there and use a cling film/ plastic wrap to cover the bowl
  • Let the dough sit for at least 20 minutes in
    room temperature. You can set aside for up to 2 hours.
  • Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place
    it back on the flat surface. 
  • Use a knife to divide the dough into manageable
  • Use your hands to turn each piece into a ball that is suitable for
  • Use a rolling stick to flatten the dough pieces
    each at a time and cut into smaller desired shapes.
  • Heat cooking oil in a large sauce pan and add
    several pieces gently without overcrowding. The enough oil for proper frying
  • Let the pieces cook on medium heat until they
    are well browned on both sides. The bottom side will cook for a few minutes
    before you turn so that the one can cook.
  • Use a mesh or spiral skimmer to remove the
    pieces from oil and place them in large culinary basket. You can also place
    them in a large bowl or plate but spread a cloth first so that it can absorb
    excess oil.
  • Repeat the last three steps for the remaining
  • Once you are done, let cool and service with tea
    (Chai) or white coffee.



Did you know that if you use sugar in your mandazi recipe you can actually eliminate salt? The difference is barely noticeable.
Keyword mandazi, Mandazi Recipe, mandazi recipe kenya

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