A tradition in Australian and New Zealand kitchens, these chewy ANZAC biscuits date back to WW1. They are a simple sweet biscuit made from oats, coconut and golden syrup and are so quick and easy and perfect served with a cup of tea or coffee. Plus this version uses a simple substitution to make them both dairy-free and vegan.
ANZAC biscuits are one of those things that takes basic pantry ingredients and turns them into the most delicious accompaniment to a cup of tea.
This recipe was developed during WWI when our grandparents and great-grandparents had to make the most out of the little they had. ANZAC biscuits were designed to last, with no eggs and just basic ingredients, making them safe to eat after being sent overseas to support the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Today, funds from biscuit sales every ANZAC day still go to supporting returned servicemen.
We take our biscuits pretty seriously in Australia and we have strict laws that govern how the word ANZAC can be used, and one of those is that these biscuits can only be called so as long as they do not ‘substantially deviate from the traditional recipe and shape’ and must never be called cookies.
So in saying that, this recipe stays true to the traditional ingredients but with a few small adjustments to make them dairy free.
This is the perfect simple recipe that doesn’t require a lot of ingredients. Each plays an essential role in ensuring the classic flavour and texture you will expect from a chewy ANZAC biscuit with a simple swap to make them dairy-free and vegan.
- Rolled oats – its important for the texture of these cookies to use old fashioned rolled oats, don’t use quick cooking oats.
- Plain flour – also known as all purpose flour.
- Brown sugar – for a rich caramel flavour and soft, chewy texture. You can use white sugar instead if you prefer for a crunchier biscuit.
- Desiccated coconut – you want to make sure to use desiccated not shredded coconut as shredded contains extra moisture that can impact your biscuit texture.
- Golden syrup – essential to an ANZAC biscuit for the caramel flavour. Golden Syrup is a common ingredient in Australia and the UK but can be difficult to find in the US so you can substitute it with light molasses or honey if you must but they wont technically allowed to be called ANZAC biscuits anymore!
- Dairy free butter – in place of regular butter we use a dairy free alternative that makes these biscuits dairy free and vegan. My favourite is Nuttelex as it has a great buttery taste without being greasy. As this is an Australian product, the closes US alternative is Earth Balance.
- Bicarbonate of soda – also known as baking soda in the US.
How to make chewy ANZAC Biscuits
These biscuits really couldn’t be easier to make, and they are perfect for beginners. You’ll need a large mixing bowl, a smaller microwave safe bowl, a spatula and a large baking tray.
The first thing you want to do is melt together the dairy free butter and the golden syrup together in the microwave. Once they are melted together, give it a stir and then sit the bowl aside until it has cooled to room temperature. You don’t want to use it while it’s still hot otherwise the biscuits will spread too much.
Add all of your dry ingredients to a bowl and mix them together. In another small bowl add the bicarbonate of soda and the water together before adding to the dry ingredients along with the melted butter and golden syrup mixture.
Mix everything together with a spatula until a dough forms.
Use a tablespoon or a cookie scoop to make balls and place them evenly on a large baking tray lined with baking paper. Make sure they have enough room to spread out.
Bake for about 15 minutes depending on how soft or crisp you like your cookies. They will still appear soft when you pull them out of the oven but will firm up as they cool. While they are soft you can use a spoon to gently shape the cookies back into circles if they have spread a little unevenly.
My Grandfather was a WWII veteran and when I was growing up he always made sure that ANZAC day was recognised not only as a day of remembrance but a day of family and community getting together, and of course a morning service was always followed by many freshly baked treats and a coffee or tea.
I love making these biscuits. They are part of an Australian identity and even more than that they are something that everyone I know genuinely loves to eat. It’s really just a bonus that they become a little reminder about our past.
And while it’s ANZAC day on the 25th of April, you really can (and should) make and enjoy these biscuits anytime of year.
Golden syrup can be difficult to find in some places, so you can use honey as an alternative however it’s important to note that honey is thinner and runnier than golden syrup, so using it can affect the texture and taste of the Anzac biscuits. If you do use honey instead of golden syrup, you may need to add a little more flour to achieve the right texture. However, if you want that classic Anzac biscuit taste, stick to golden syrup – it’s worth it.
Anzac biscuits were designed to last a while so they will stay fresh for about a week, longer than most other cookies, if stored correctly. To keep them fresh, store them in an airtight container at room temperature. You can also store them in the fridge or freezer if you want to extend their shelf life but let them come back to room temperature before eating.
Yes, you can! If you want to you can chill the dough in the fridge overnight. To store the dough, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminium foil and keep it in the fridge or freezer. When you’re ready to bake, let it come to room temperature and shape into balls before baking.
More classic Australian recipes:
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup plain flour
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup desiccated coconut
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup
- ½ cup (125 grams) dairy-free butter
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- Pre-heat oven to 160°C or 140°C fan forced and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, melt dairy-free butter and golden syrup together in the microwave or in a small pot on the stove. Once it is melted, set aside and allow it to cool to room temperature before proceeding.
- In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, and coconut together and mix with a spatula ensuring there are no lumps. Make a well in the center.
- Add bicarbonate of soda and water together in a small bowl and stir, then add straight away into the melted dairy-free butter and syrup mixture. Add this then to the dry ingredients and mix until everything comes together.
- Roll about a tablespoons worth of mixture into balls and place on a baking sheet a few centimeters apart to allow for spreading. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until tops are golden. The biscuits will still be soft when you pull them out but will harden as they cool. If you want crispier cookies, bake for another 5-10 minutes as desired.
Nutritional information is provided as a guide only and is calculated using automated online tools, therefore we cannot guarantee the accuracy. We encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe.