Here are three things you NEED to know about ANZAC biscuits.

1. The typical ANZAC (that’s the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) biscuit recipe was created during WW1 so wives could send these biscuits to their soldier husbands abroad. The lack of eggs means they keep well during transport.

rolled into balls, waiting patiently to be cooked

2. The term ANZAC is protected under Australian law (stick with me here, this gets interesting) and shouldn’t be used without permission from the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs… There is an exemption granted for ANZAC Biscuits, as long as they remain true to the original recipe and are referred to and sold as ANZAC Biscuits and never as cookies.

Yep. They take this stuff really seriously. They even made Subway drop them from the menu for not making them to the original formula – you can read about it in full here.

3. They are deliciously, lovely, chewy goodness.

Now, this recipe fits the bill of the traditional ANZAC biscuit – except for the sultanas. So in risking having the Department of Veterans Affairs come down on me, please understand it’s an optional, voluntary extra. My mum used to do it, and I think it’s a welcome addition to the traditional biscuit. Try it. I dare you.

P.S. As it’s my mum’s recipe and I’m just the messenger shall we all agree she is legally responsible? Good. I feel better now.

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
1 cup caster sugar
¾ cup desiccated coconut
½ cup sultanas
125 grams butter
1 tablespoon of golden syrup
1 teaspoon of bi-carb soda
2 tablespoons of boiling water


  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Put the oats, flour, sugar, coconut and sultanas in a large bowl, mix.
  2. Pop the kettle on. Then put butter and golden syrup in a saucepan and get it to a high simmer (almost boiling). The butter should be completely dissolved
  3. Put two tablespoons of boiling water in a mug, dump in your teaspoon of bi-carb, give it a quick stir, then pour it into the hot butter mixture. As the whole thing starts to froth up, as it will rather quickly, remove from heat and pour the saucepan full of frothing liquid into the bowl with the dry mixture. It’s pretty cool. I even took a picture. Simple things…
  4. Then eat the cookie dough. No, no, that’s not right.
  5. Make into balls, press down a little. Leave room for them to spread, and bake each tray for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool on tray for 5 minutes then move on to wire rack. Makes 30.
pouring butter mixture into bowl
low and behold the power of bi-carb soda!

Healthy? 100-ish calories an ANZAC biscuit

Gluten free: I’ve made them with GF flour mix and it worked fine.

Storage: In an airtight container.

Warning: The type of coconut you buy in American supermarkets is not desiccated coconut. American supermarket coconut is very moist, dessicated is dried (which is what you get in Australia and the UK). While in the US I made these with the moist version of coconut and the biscuits still worked, but spread a heap and are super chewy. At least that’s what happened to me. They’re not really ANZAC biscuits anymore in the true sense. American’s can buy dessicated coconut from healthfood stores, or dry coconut via this method.

1. My mum

16 comments on “Mum’s ANZAC biscuits”

  1. Aha! I had these biscuits while in NZ and loved them, but when I made them at home they spread like crazy…must have been my strange American shredded coconut! I’m going to try these again with real desiccated coconut and see how it goes. Thanks for solving the ANZAC mystery for me!

  2. You are so right about just eating the dough – I make extra just so I can nosh away while I bake! Yummmm!

  3. In the US, the coconut flakes sold in most supermarkets are sweetened and kind of wet looking. Desiccated coconut is available at health food stores, more upscale stores (like Whole Foods), and Indian grocery markets.

    • Hi Laura, glad you liked the post – I think you’d be fine using gluten free flour (I can’t remember if I have or not). All the gluten free ANZAC recipes I’ve seen just swap out the flour for a gluten free mix and leave everything else the same. They’re so chewy and well binded anway. I’d make sure the flour mix had a bit of xanthan gum in it though.

  4. Hmm, I wonder if toasting my regular grocery store coconut would dry it out a bit more? I think I will be making these today! I cant get enough of coconuty oatmeal cookies!

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