Why it's illegal for shops to change the recipe for Anzac biscuits


Anzac biscuits are a staple of Australian and New Zealand culture and the earliest printed recipe dates back almost 100 years.

The recipe for Anzac biscuits is so protected that those who tamper with the traditional formula face huge fines and possible jail time.

So why is a biscuit recipe held so sacred?

One of the reasons the biscuits became so popular during the First World War was due to the ingredients being readily available and non-perishable. Anzac biscuits were able to survive the long journey to reach our troops and they were also used in fundraising efforts.

Anzac biscuits were best kept in tins to keep preserve the chewy goodness. Source: Getty file

The treats became synonymous with the date April 25th – the day Australian troops landed in Gallipoli in 1915, which is why we tend to eat them around Anzac Day.

So why is it illegal to mess with the recipe?

The Australian War Memorial states the official recipe printed in 1926 for the mouth-watering snack is made up of:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 tbls golden syrup
  • 2 tbls boiling water
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda

The only approved variation including the addition coconut was added in 1933 when The Country Women’s Association of New South Wales (CWA) released a new recipe. The CWA is backed by an act of NSW parliament.


The use of the word “Anzac” in any commercial form requires permission from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and breaches carry hefty fines.

“For serious breaches of the Act, a penalty of up to 12-months’ imprisonment may apply. Under the Crimes Act 1914, a penalty of up to $10,200 for a natural person and $51,000 for a body corporate may be imposed by the Court, instead of imprisonment.”

So for foodies out there wishing to experiment with the cherished recipe, no matter how good their intention, they will have to find a new name for Australia’s most well known bikkie.

The government also advises the word “biscuit” should not be replaced with “cookie” when it is linked to Anzac.

Referring to these products as ‘Anzac Cookies’ is generally not approved, due to the non-Australian overtones,” the DVA’s website stated.

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