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Recipe: ANZAC Biscuits

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I don’t think the 25th of April of any year has gone by in our house without the oven pumping out a few batches of ANZAC biscuits.

It sometimes seems as much of a tradition as the Dawn Service or march, but what’s the actual story behind these biscuits? How did a concoction of rolled oats, coconut, golden syrup and a few other ingredients become synonymous with arguably our country’s most defining battle?

According to, the biscuits were developed by wives, mothers and girlfriends of servicemen, concerned for the nutritional value of the food being supplied to their men. Their challenge was to produce food that could remain edible for the unrefrigerated transportation period of two months.

The answer? A biscuit with all the nutritional values possible based on a recipe using rolled oats which were used extensively in Scotland, especially for a heavy porridge that helped counteract the extremely cold climate.

The ingredients they used were rolled oats, sugar, plain flour, butter, golden syrup or treacle, bi-carbonate of soda and boiling water. All these items did not readily spoil. At first, the biscuits were called Soldiers’ Biscuits, but after the landing on Gallipoli, they were renamed ANZAC Biscuits.

Nearly a century on and the ingredients remain unchanged and as popular as ever. Why not whip up some yourself with this original recipe provided by Bob Lawson, an Anzac present at the Gallipoli landing?

Bob Lawson’s ANZAC Biscuits

What you need

  • 1 cup each of plain flour, sugar, rolled oats, and coconut
  • 4 oz (125g) butter
  • 1 tbls treacle (golden syrup)
  • 2 tbls boiling water
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda (add a little more water if mixture is too dry)

What to do

1. Grease biscuit tray and pre-heat oven to 180°C.

2. Combine dry ingredients.

3. Melt together butter and golden syrup. Combine water and bicarbonate soda, and add to butter mixture.

4. Mix butter mixture and dry ingredients.

5. Drop teaspoons of mixture onto tray, allowing room for spreading.

6. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool on tray for a few minutes before transferring to cooling racks.

Source: Robin McLachlan, Anthea Bundock & Marie Wood, Discovering Gallipoli: research guide (Bathurst, NSW: Times Past Productions for the Australian War Memorial, 1990)

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2 Responses to Recipe: ANZAC Biscuits

Roslyn says: 25 April, 2012 at 12:26 pm

My mother made the world’s best ANZACs – crunchy on the edge and just a bit chewy in the middle! I can’t compete with that so I make the ANZAC biscuit cake that Fast Eddie did on TV a few years ago

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