Anzac biscuit

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ANZAC biscuit
ANZAC biscuits.JPG
Alternative namesANZAC biscuit
Place of originAustralia, 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.

The 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] Today, Anzac biscuits are manufactured commercially for retail sale.

Anzac biscuits should not be confused with hardtack, which was nicknamed "ANZAC wafers" in Australia and New Zealand.[3]


During a speech to the East Otago Federation of Women's Institutes, Professor Helen Leach, of the Archaeology Department of the University of Otago in New Zealand, stated that the first published use of the name Anzac in a recipe was in an advertisement in the 7th edition of St Andrew's Cookery Book (Dunedin, 1915). This was a cake, not a biscuit, and there were no mixing instructions. A recipe for "Anzac Biscuits" appeared in the War Chest Cookery Book (Sydney, 1917) but was for a different biscuit altogether. The same publication included a prototype of today's Anzac biscuit, called Rolled Oats Biscuits. The combination of the name Anzac and the recipe now associated with it first appeared in the 9th edition of St Andrew's Cookery Book (Dunedin, 1921) under the name "Anzac Crispies". Subsequent editions renamed this "Anzac Biscuits" and Australian cookery books followed suit. Professor Leach also said that further research might reveal earlier references to the name and recipe in Australia or New Zealand.[4]

Rather than being sent to the front lines for the soldiers to eat as some people think, ANZAC biscuits were commonly eaten at galas, fetes and other public events such as parades, where they were sold to raise money to support the war effort. At the time they were often called "soldier's biscuits", and the fundraising that was organised by the Patriotic Funds accumulated 6.5 million pounds to support New Zealand troops in the war.[5]

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 license.

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.[6]

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;[7] misuse can be legally enforced particularly for commercial purposes. Likewise similar restrictions on naming[8] are enshrined in New Zealand law[9] 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.[7]

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.[10]


Notably, Anzac biscuit recipes omit eggs because of the scarcity of eggs during the war (after most poultry farmers joined the war effort) and so that the biscuits would not spoil when shipped long distances.[11]


  1. ^ "ANZAC biscuit recipes". Australian War Memorial website. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  2. ^ ANZAC Biscuits, archived from the original on 6 February 2005, retrieved 26 July 2017
  3. ^ "ANZAC biscuit recipes". Australian War Memorial website. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  4. ^ Allyson Gofton,"The Anzac Biscuit Myth", [archived version of defunct page] Retrieved 15 February 2015
  5. ^ "The Real ANZAC Biscuit Story". NZ Army Museum. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ a b "Protecting the word Anzac". Australian Government – Department of Veteran Affairs. Archived from the original on 15 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  8. ^ "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.
  9. ^ "Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981 No 47, section 17". New Zealand Government: Parliamentary Council Office Legislation website. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  10. ^ Fewster, Sean (22 September 2008). "Subway dumps Anzac biscuit from the menu". The Advertiser. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  11. ^ "ANZAC Biscuits The history & recipe". Digger History website. Archived from the original on 19 July 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2008.