Anzac biscuits are a sweet and crunchy treat from New Zealand and Australia. In this gluten free Anzac biscuits recipe, I’ve taken the classic Australian and Kiwi recipe and made it safe for those with celiac disease. These are also accidentally vegan Anzac biscuits, as they have no butter and are dairy free. Learn how to make this easy homemade snack, and why you should never call them Anzac cookies!
Here’s something I found pretty neat: Australia usually takes second place for number of visitors to this site. (Hello there! So glad you found your way here!)
Unfortunately, I’ve never traveled to Australia. I’m not very familiar with culinary specialties across the continent, but I decided to learn more. What are some foods that are well-known in Australia, but not common in the U.S.?
One thing that I came across was Anzac biscuits. I had some gluten free flour on hand that I’ve been wanting to try, so these GF Anzac biscuits were born. I think you are going to love how simple these are to make.
You can make these sweet biscuits crispy or chewy. American readers may be happy to learn these are Anzac biscuits without golden syrup. (Because golden syrup is hard to get in regular grocery stores in the U.S., let me tell ya!)
Additionally, these are just a smidge healthier than your typical Anzac biscuit. I substituted the sugar in the classic recipe for an erythritol-based sweetener.
Before I go any further though, let’s make sure we begin at the beginning. First up, what exactly IS an Anzac biscuit?
🍪 What are Anzac biscuits?
Anzac biscuits come to us from Australia and New Zealand and were named for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). Authentic Anzac biscuits are made with common pantry ingredients in Australia and NZ: flour, oats, sugar, butter, baking soda, and golden syrup. Dried shredded coconut is often included as well.
Anzac biscuits became popular during World War I (WWI). Some sources claim that homemade Anzac biscuits were sent to soldiers abroad because they don’t spoil easily. Other sources claim the biscuits were eaten by Australians and Kiwis to raise money at home during WWI.
Whatever the exact historical connection, Anzac biscuits are often enjoyed on Anzac Day, observed on April 25. This is a national day of remembrance in New Zealand and Australia, honoring all servicemen and women who served and died. It was originally created to honor those ANZAC members who served in the Gallipoli Campaign in WWI.
“Anzac” is actually a protected term under Australian law, and misuse can result in fines (if marketing goods). An exemption is granted for Anzac biscuits, though they must never be called cookies! That is considered un-Australian.
📋 Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
One Gluten-free Anzac Biscuit has 133 calories, 15.8 grams net carbs, and 1.1 grams protein.
Why make this vegan Anzac biscuit recipe? Anzac biscuits are definitely an energy-dense (not nutrient-dense) food. However, if you want a treat, these offer a few advantages:
- Wheat free: These Anzac biscuits have no wheat, and are a great option for those with wheat allergy. They are also compatible with other wheat free diets (though these are not a very low carb biscuit).
- Gluten free: These are the best Anzac biscuits for those with celiac disease and NCGS, because they are gluten free. Some foods that are wheat free are not also gluten free. This recipe is both.
- Almost sugar free: Unlike your typical Anzac biscuit, these are low sugar. I’ve replaced most of the added sugar in the classic Anzac biscuit recipe with Swerve. (There’s still a small amount of added sugar in the molasses and maple syrup in the recipe.)
- Butter free: I’ve made these Anzac biscuits with coconut oil and no butter. While (like butter) coconut oil is high in saturated fat, it packs a little more coconut flavor into the biscuits. Plus, the swap makes these Anzac biscuits vegan (which is great if that is what you’re looking for).
- Tasty: People don’t generally eat biscuits, cookies, etc. looking for nutritional benefits. We eat them because they taste good! IMVHO, these crisp Anzac biscuits definitely fit the bill for a delicious-tasting snack.
What are Anzac biscuits made of? Here is what you need to make this recipe:
- Dry (old fashioned) rolled oats
- Flour (we’re using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1:1 Baking Flour)
- Unsweetened desiccated coconut (finely shredded)
- Granular Swerve (a 1:1 erythritol-based sugar substitute)
- Melted coconut oil (our vegan substitute for butter)
- Maple syrup plus light molasses (our less refined and easier to find swap for golden syrup)
- Baking soda
- Dried ginger (optional)
Use oatmeal that is certified gluten free if you need a GF recipe. Though oats naturally contain no gluten, they are often contaminated with gluten-containing grains during processing. I’ve seen recipes for quinoa flakes in place of the oats in Anzac biscuits, but I have not tested this substitution.
BTW, the recipe for traditional Anzac biscuits has shifted through the years. One of the earliest recipes for Anzac biscuits, in a 1916 Australian newspaper, contained no oats at all.
The 1916 recipe is titled Anzac ginger biscuits. In honor of the original, I’m giving you the option to include some ginger in this gluten free recipe.
We liked the little flavor kick that the ginger provides, similar to a ginger snap cookie. Feel free to skip it if you dislike ginger.
I’ve been dying to try Bob’s 1:1 GF flour in something. This gluten free flour blend is primarily made of white rice flour, brown rice flour, and potato starch. IMVHO, it works well as a white flour substitute, though the baked goods end up a bit crumblier.
To make our gluten free Anzac biscuits less crumbly, it's important to get the right ratio of dry to wet ingredients. (Just follow the recipe!) Biscuits that fall apart work well as a makeshift granola.
You’ll need a large dark baking sheet, parchment paper, and a small saucepan for this recipe. Oh, and an oven, of course!
🔪 How to Make Gluten Free Anzac Biscuits
Let’s make gluten free Anzac biscuits! This is a pretty easy one, I promise.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the oats, flour, ginger (if using), coconut, and Swerve. Set it aside.
Melt the coconut oil in a small pan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the molasses and maple syrup.
Whisk the baking soda into the mixture in the pan. It will foam up and double in size. Quickly remove it from the heat and pour it into the flour mix.
Stir the wet and dry ingredients together. You should have a fairly cohesive mixture without having to add additional water.
Line a large, dark baking sheet with parchment paper. With clean hands, roll ⅛ of the dough (about 2 tablespoons) into a ball.
Flatten the dough firmly between two hands and place it on the lined cookie sheet. (Is it more aptly named a biscuit sheet here?) Leave the dough rounds thicker for chewy Anzac biscuits and thinner for crunchy Anzac biscuits.
Shape the rest of the dough and place it on the lined baking tray. Leave some room on the sheet between the biscuits as they do spread a little. We’re ready to bake!
️⏲ Cooking Time and Temperature
How long to bake GF Anzac biscuits? Bake vegan Anzac biscuits in the top third of the oven for a total of 7-8 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175C).
They will come out of the oven very soft. Let them sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before eating.
They start out chewy and will crisp as they cool. They’ll become fully crunchy in a few hours. To keep your GF Anzac biscuits chewy longer, make them a little thicker and bake for a shorter time.
Crunchy Anzac biscuits will last about a week in an airtight container. No refrigeration is needed. (Good luck not eating them before that time!) They also freeze well.
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). Let’s keep it real. It doesn’t matter that these biscuits are plant based, gluten-free, and made with (some) organic ingredients. At the end of it all, they’re still a snack food, not a healthy meal.
When I make these delicious Anzac biscuits, it is really hard not to eat 3-4 (or more!) in a sitting. They have that irresistible combination of sweetness plus a fatty mouthfeel shared with many foods that tend to get overeaten.
Cupcakes, cookies, donuts, brownies, all of those tasty things in bakeries... It’s super hard to stop at just one or two for many of us.
This recipe makes 8 Anzac biscuits. If you live with several people, you probably won’t have leftovers. If you live by yourself, you can freeze leftover biscuits so they aren’t sitting on the counter tempting you.
In truth, I find it’s easiest to avoid the temptation entirely by limiting my baking activities. That said, I still enjoy the occasional treat, whether for a holiday, or because I want to celebrate my Aussie and Kiwi readership. 😊 I’m happy to share this allergy-friendly option for those who need it and want to indulge!
Yes, you can make Anzac biscuits with no coconut. You’ll need to increase the other dry ingredients or decrease the liquid ingredients if you don’t use coconut in this recipe.
To make Anzac biscuits keto, you’ll need to use substitutions for the oats, flour, and sweetener. Try a combination of coconut flour and almond flour in place of the oats and Bob’s GF flour. Swerve is low-carb friendly, but you’ll need to use a liquid keto sweetener in place of the molasses and maple syrup.
Make this gluten-free Anzac biscuits recipe sugar free by using a liquid sugar-free sweetener in place of the maple syrup and molasses. I have not tested any other liquid sweeteners in this recipe, but I think it would be a worthy experiment!
According to the Australian War Memorial website, hardtack biscuits were used as paper for letters, paint canvases, and even Christmas cards! Keep in mind that these hardtack biscuits are NOT the same thing as Anzac biscuits. Anzac biscuits have a shorter shelf-life and are not as hard as hardtack biscuits. Anzac biscuits were used mainly as food.
According to the Anzac Day Commemoration Committee, Anzac biscuits were bound with golden syrup instead of eggs so they would last longer. Another reason is that eggs became scarce due to poultry farmers joining the service in WWI.
This is a contentious issue! Originally, they were packed in tea tins to keep them crisp. Crunchy biscuits lasted longer.
👩🏻🍳 Other Vegan and Gluten free Recipes
Are you looking for more gluten free and vegan recipes? You may enjoy these:
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
Vegan and Gluten Free Anzac Biscuits
- 6 tablespoons rolled oatmeal, dry
- 6 tablespoons gluten-free flour (Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour)
- 6 tablespoons unsweetened, shredded coconut flakes
- ¼ cup Swerve, granular
- ½ teaspoon ginger powder (optional, but recommended)
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon light molasses
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix the oats, flour, ginger (if using), coconut, and Swerve. Set it aside.
- Melt the coconut oil in a small pan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the molasses and maple syrup.
- Whisk the baking soda into the mixture in the pan. It will foam up and double in size. Quickly remove it from the heat and pour it into the flour mix.
- Stir the wet and dry ingredients together. You should have a fairly cohesive mixture without having to add additional water.
- Line a large, dark baking sheet with parchment paper. With clean hands, roll ⅛ of the dough (about 2 tablespoons) into a ball.
- Flatten the dough firmly between two hands and place it on the lined baking tray. Leave the dough rounds thicker for chewy Anzac biscuits and thinner for crunchy Anzac biscuits.
- Shape the other 7 vegan biscuits and place them on the lined baking tray. Leave some room on the baking tray between the biscuits as they do spread a little.
- Bake the gluten free biscuits in the top third of the preheated oven for a 7-8 minutes at 350°F (175°C).
- Let the Anzac biscuits cool at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before eating. They'll start out chewy and crisp up as they cool, becoming crunchy biscuits in a few hours.