Complete guide on how to prepare pap from scratch

Pap is a traditional South African staple food. If prepared correctly, it tastes great and leaves you feeling full and satisfied. This is a relatively simple dish which you will be able to make in no time.

It is simply maize meal porridge that is relatively stiff. The texture and stiffness of pap depend on your preference.

Pap can be prepared in several ways, depending on what it will be eaten with. Here are some of the different ways to cook pap.

How to make mielie pap

The simple mielie pap recipe below can serve up to four people. The total time needed to cook mielie pap is up to 15 minutes. The primary tools required are a wooden spoon and a heavy aluminum pot.


  • 2 cups maize meal
  • 3 cups of water


  1. Mix 1 cup of maize flour with half a cup of cold water to make maize paste.
  2. Then, boil 2 cups of water in a saucepan for five minutes or until it starts to bubble. Add the maize paste and stir.
  3. When the porridge begins to bubble, cover the saucepan with a lid. Let it cook over medium heat for close to five minutes.
  4. Open the saucepan and add a cup of maize flour. Remember, at this point, you are the one who decides how thick or stiff the pap will be. So add the flour gradually and stir to avoid lumps.
  5. Let the pap simmer for about three to five minutes. Then, stir one last time and serve.

How to make slap pap


  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 cups of maize meal
  • One tablespoon of butter
  • Salt


  1. Mix one cup of maize with a pinch of salt and half a cup of milk.
  2. Boil the remaining one and a half cups of milk. Add the maize-milk paste and stir to avoid burning the milk. Let the maize-milk porridge simmer over low heat for ten to fifteen minutes.
  3. When the pap is runny and soft, you can add butter. Serve while still hot.

How to make stiff pap


  • 3 cups of flour
  • 4 cups of water
  • One tablespoon of salt


  1. Boil water in a pot. Then, add a pinch of salt and 2 cups of flour and stir. Add the remaining 1 cup slowly and stir until the mixture becomes one big lump.
  2. Keep stirring and turning after every three to five minutes, and at this point, set your stove to medium heat.
  3. Switch off the heat after 30 minutes. Allow the pap to continue cooking in the pots warmth for another 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Serve warm with stew.

How to make stywe pap


  • 2 cups maize meal
  • One tablespoon butter
  • Boil three cups of water in a large cooking pot. Add one cup of maize meal. Cover with a lid and let it cook over medium-low heat for about eight to ten minutes. During this time, do not stir at all.
  • Salt


  1. Boil three cups of water in a large cooking pot. Add one cup of maize meal. Cover with a lid and let it cook over medium-low heat for about eight to ten minute. During this time, do not stir at all.
  2. Open the lid (after the 8-10 minutes). Stir for a minute and then add one cup of maize meal.
  3. Using a wooden stick, mash the maize meal porridge to the sides of the pot for about two minutes. By doing this, you will remove lumps.
  4. Cover the pap again and let it cook over low heat for up to 15 minutes.
  5. Open the pot and stir. If the pap is too stiff or dry, you can add some hot water and stir.
  6. Finally, add a tablespoon of butter and a pinch of salt. Stir and serve warm.

In South Africa, pap is served with wors, lamb chops, potjiekos, and other stews. Pap is also a popular dish during braai ( South African barbecues). Here is how to make braai pap.

How to cook braai pap

This putu pap/ krummelpap recipe is 4 generous portions


  • 2½ cups (400 gram) Maize Meal
  • 2½ cups (600 ml) boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
  • A knob of butter


  1. Pour water mixed with salt into a pot with a thick base and a lid and bring the mix to boil.
  2. Add the maize meal to the boiling water and then close the lid without stirring.
  3. Reduce heat. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes and taste the raw mix.
  4. Remove the lid and stir well with a wooden spoon or a large kitchen fork.
  5. Cover the pot, reduce the heat, and let it steam for about half an hour, but be careful not to burn it.
  6. Fluff with a fork or wooden spoon a few times during cooking.
  7. The meal is ready and you can enjoy with homemade tomato sauce as a side dish.

Pap is an excellent source of carbohydrates and iron. The secret to cooking the best pap is to avoid lumps and overcooking. Also, you can incorporate other ingredients such as coconut milk or cheese to make it more flavorful.

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