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Anzac biscuit

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ANZAC biscuit
Alternative namesANZAC bikkies, Anzac slice[1]
Associated 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.[2][3] Anzac biscuits have long been associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) established in World War I.[4]

It is thought that these 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.[5][6]

Anzac biscuits should not be confused with hardtack, which was nicknamed "ANZAC wafers" in Australia and New Zealand.[7]

Anzac biscuits are an explicit exemption to an Australian ban on commercial goods that use the term "Anzac", so long as they are sold as "biscuits" and not "cookies".


The origin of Anzac biscuits is contested between Australia and New Zealand, similar to the dispute over pavlova. The actual recipe for the biscuit has been found long before the formation of the ANZAC Corps, and many of the first recipes for Anzac biscuits differ from the modern version.[8][9]

The earliest known recipe combining the words 'anzac' and 'biscuit' is a recipe from 1916 for "ANZAC GINGER BISCUITS" which was published on 4 June 1916 in the Perth edition of The Sunday Times.[10][11] 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.[12][13] 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".[13] 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".[5][14] Another early recipe for the Anzac biscuit dates back to 1921 in an Australian newspaper called The Argus.[15] These early recipes did not contain desiccated coconut which is present in many modern Anzac biscuits.[15][13][16] The first recipe for an Anzac biscuit containing the desiccated coconut is recorded to be from the city of Adelaide in 1924.[17][18]

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.[19]

Current popularity[edit]

Today, Anzac biscuits are manufactured commercially for retail sale. Because of their historical military connection with the ANZACs and Anzac Day,[20] 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.[21]

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;[22] misuse can be legally enforced particularly for commercial purposes. Likewise similar restrictions on naming exist in New Zealand law.[23][24] There is a general exemption granted for Anzac biscuits, as long as these biscuits remain close to the traditional recipe and are both referred to and sold as Anzac biscuits and never as cookies.[22] This traditional recipe dates back to the 1920s, however there was much variation with recipes, with some including ingredients no longer considered traditional, such as eggs, fruit or jam.[1]

Similarly to the use of the term Anzac, the Anzac biscuit is protected by regulations, regulating any commercial usage of this product so that it remains true to its traditional values.[22] Primarily, such regulations pertain to the recipe,[25] in which its commemorative value stems from its recipes in history,[1] as well as the name of the product.[25] While it is legally acceptable to substitute ingredients in a recipe to cater to dietary requirements, there is a commercial disallowance for any substantial modification of the recipe such that they deviate too far from traditional Anzac biscuit recipes.[25] Variations of recipes posted on social media or written in cookbooks that merely include Anzac biscuits are excluded from regulations.[25]

As a result of the aforementioned restrictions to the Anzac biscuit recipe, the Subway chain of restaurants dropped 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.[26]


  1. ^ a b c "Anzac biscuits to make for Anzac Day or a commemorative event". Australian Government, Department of Veterans' Affairs. Retrieved 9 July 2022.
  2. ^ "ANZAC biscuit recipes". Australian War Memorial website. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  3. ^ nicola (12 April 2011). "Origins Of The ANZAC Biscuit". National Army Museum. Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  4. ^ "Blundells Bikkies". National Capital Authority. Australian Government. Retrieved 25 April 2024.
  5. ^ a b ANZAC Biscuits, archived from the original on 6 February 2005, retrieved 26 July 2017
  6. ^ "ANZAC Biscuits The history & recipe". Digger History website. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  7. ^ "ANZAC biscuit recipes". Australian War Memorial website. Archived from the original on 28 April 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  8. ^ Fuss, Eloise (23 April 2018). "Who made the first Anzac biscuit?". ABC News. Retrieved 21 April 2023.
  9. ^ Huckstep, Anthony (21 April 2020). "Historic biscuits: 'Where the pavlova divides us, the Anzac unites us'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 21 April 2023.
  10. ^ "The Sunday Times, Perth, Western Australia, June 4, 1916". Sunday Times. 4 June 1916. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  11. ^ "ANZAC Biscuits but not as you know them… | Australian War Memorial". www.awm.gov.au. Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  12. ^ Fuss, Eloise. "First printed recipe for Anzac biscuits very different to modern recipe". The New Daily. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  13. ^ a b c Reynolds, Allison. "The real origins of the Anzac biscuit revealed". The Advertiser. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  14. ^ Fuss, Eloise (23 April 2018). "Anzac Day 2018: Who made the first Anzac biscuit?". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  15. ^ a b "Australia strikes a blow in the battle for the Anzac Biscuit". The Sydney Morning Herald. 30 January 2014. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  16. ^ "ANZAC Biscuits". www.weber.com. Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  17. ^ "Anzac Day 2018: Who made the first Anzac biscuit?". ABC News. 23 April 2018. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  18. ^ Fuss, Eloise. "Who made the first Anzac biscuit?". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  19. ^ Jenny Tabakoff (2014). "Battle of the Anzac biscuit". stuff. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  20. ^ "Find out about Anzac Day – and how to make Anzac biscuits". Metro. 25 April 2022. Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  21. ^ "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.
  22. ^ a b c "Protecting the word Anzac". Australian Government – Department of Veteran Affairs. Archived from the original on 15 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  23. ^ "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.
  24. ^ "Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981 No 47, section 17". New Zealand Government: Parliamentary Council Office Legislation website. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  25. ^ a b c d "Use of the word 'Anzac' Guidelines" (PDF). Australian Government: Department of Veterans' Affairs. October 2020.
  26. ^ 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.