Anzac biscuit

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ANZAC biscuit
ANZAC biscuits.JPG
Alternative namesANZAC biscuit
Associated national cuisineAustralia, New Zealand
Main ingredientsRolled oats, flour, desiccated coconut, sugar, butter, golden syrup

The Anzac biscuit is a sweet biscuit, popular in Australia and New Zealand, made using rolled oats, flour, sugar, butter (or margarine), golden syrup, baking soda, boiling water, and (optionally) desiccated coconut.[1] Anzac biscuits have long been associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) established in World War I.

It has been claimed that biscuits were sent by wives and women's groups to soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil easily and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation.[2][3] However, this information has been contradicted with the claim that Anzac biscuits were never sent to soldiers and were instead eaten by Australians and Kiwis at home in order to raise funds for the war.[4] In general, it is unclear which of these two competing claims is true. However, evidence has been found which suggests that soldiers were sent homemade biscuits during World War I, suggesting that they could likely have been sent Anzac biscuits.[5]

Anzac biscuits should not be confused with hardtack, which was nicknamed "ANZAC wafers" in Australia and New Zealand.[6]


The earliest known recipe combining the words 'anzac' and 'biscuit' is a recipe from 1916 for "ANZAC GINGER BISCUITS" which was published in the Perth edition of The Sunday Times.[7] However, this recipe contains no mention of oats present in modern anzac biscuits. The first recipe for something called "Anzac Biscuits" appears in an Australian publication, the War Chest Cookery Book (Sydney, 1917), but this recipe was also for a different biscuit from what we know as the modern Anzac biscuit.[8][5] The same publication, the War Chest Cookery Book (Sydney, 1917), also included the first two recipes for biscuits resembling modern Anzac biscuits, under the names of "Rolled Oats Biscuits" and just "Biscuits".[5] The first recorded instance of the combination of the name 'Anzac biscuit' and the recipe now associated with it was found in Adelaide dating to "either late 1919 or early 1920".[2][9] Another early recipe for the Anzac biscuit dates back to 1921 in an Australian newspaper called The Argus.[10] These early recipes did not contain desiccated coconut which is present in many modern Anzac biscuits.[11][5] The first recipe for an Anzac biscuit containing the desiccated coconut is recorded to be from the city of Adelaide in 1924.[12][13]

In 1919 in New Zealand a recipe for Anzac Crispies in the eighth edition of the St Andrew's Cookery Book had similar ingredients to modern Anzac biscuits.[14]

Current popularity[edit]

Today, Anzac biscuits are manufactured commercially for retail sale. Because of their historical military connection with the ANZACs and Anzac Day, these biscuits are still used as a fundraising item for the Royal New Zealand Returned Services' Association (RSA) and the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL). Special collectors old-style biscuit tins with World War military artwork are usually produced in the lead up to Anzac Day and sold in supermarkets, in addition to the standard plastic packets available all year. The official RSL biscuit is produced by Unibic under licence.

A British (though still Australian-produced) version of the Anzac biscuit, supporting the Royal British Legion, is available in several major supermarket chains in the UK.[15]

Legal issues[edit]

The term Anzac is protected under Australian law and cannot be used in Australia without permission from the Minister for Veterans' Affairs;[16] misuse can be legally enforced particularly for commercial purposes. Likewise similar restrictions on naming[17] are enshrined in New Zealand law[18] where the Governor General can elect to enforce naming legislation. There is a general exemption granted for Anzac biscuits, as long as these biscuits remain basically true to the original recipe and are both referred to and sold as Anzac biscuits and never as cookies.[16]

This restriction resulted in the Subway chain of restaurants dropping the biscuit from their menu in September 2008. After being ordered by the Department of Veterans' Affairs to bake the biscuits according to the original recipe, Subway decided not to continue to offer the biscuit, as they found that their supplier was unable to develop a cost-effective means of duplicating the recipe.[19]


  1. ^ "ANZAC biscuit recipes". Australian War Memorial website. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b ANZAC Biscuits, archived from the original on 6 February 2005, retrieved 26 July 2017
  3. ^ "ANZAC Biscuits The history & recipe". Digger History website. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  4. ^ "The Real ANZAC Biscuit Story". NZ Army Museum. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d Reynolds, Allison. "The real origins of the Anzac biscuit revealed". The Advertiser. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  6. ^ "ANZAC biscuit recipes". Australian War Memorial website. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  7. ^ "The Sunday Times, Perth, Western Australia, June 4, 1916". Trove. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  8. ^ Fuss, Eloise. "First printed recipe for Anzac biscuits very different to modern recipe". The New Daily. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  9. ^ Fuss, Eloise. "Anzac Day 2018: Who made the first Anzac biscuit?". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  10. ^ "Australia strikes a blow in the battle for the Anzac Biscuit". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  11. ^ "Australia strikes a blow in the battle for the Anzac Biscuit". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  12. ^ "Anzac Day 2018: Who made the first Anzac biscuit?". ABC. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  13. ^ Fuss, Eloise. "Who made the first Anzac biscuit?". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  14. ^ Jenny Tabakoff (2014). "Battle of the Anzac biscuit". stuff. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  15. ^ "Anzac Tea Dance to raise funds for The Royal British Legion". British Legion website. 27 January 2009. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  16. ^ a b "Protecting the word Anzac". Australian Government – Department of Veteran Affairs. Archived from the original on 15 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  17. ^ "Anzac Traditions and Rituals". New Zealand Government: Ministry for Culture and Heritage mini-site. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  18. ^ "Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981 No 47, section 17". New Zealand Government: Parliamentary Council Office Legislation website. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  19. ^ Fewster, Sean (22 September 2008). "Subway dumps Anzac biscuit from the menu". The Advertiser. Archived from the original on 21 January 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2020.