Oat-free, gluten-free ANZAC biscuits

Oat-free, gluten-free ANZAC biscuits

ANZAC biscuits that are safe for a coeliac, it is possible! These ANZAC biscuits are not only gluten free but also oat free. It means more people can enjoy them, and if you substitute butter for a non-dairy spread they are also vegan. Perfect!

Why no oats?

In Australia oats are considered a no-no for coeliacs. This has to do with a few things, first the similarity between the gluten protein, found in wheat, rye and barley and the avenin protein, found in oats. Avenin causes similar effects to gluten in about 10% of coeliacs. Because of this, Coeliac Australia recommends only those who have done an oat challenge under a doctor’s supervision can safely consume oats.

Uncontaminated oats are very popular with coeliacs overseas. They are oats that are not grown or processed in the same space as wheat, rye or barely. However in Australia oats are not permitted to be called gluten free.

There are a few work arounds for this and you’ll see wheat free oats and uncontaminated oats in the supermarket. Some will be gluten free, some are a gimmick. I have seen products that list ‘may contain rye or barley’ so they are pointless even for a coeliac who passed an oats challenge. The bottom line is, do the challenge and do your research.

A stack of five gluten free oat free ANZAC biscuits.
Quinoa flakes look almost the same as oats in these gluten-free ANZAC biscuits

Do ANZAC biscuits need oats?

Absolutely! Well, they need something with the same texture that makes ANZAC biscuits the way they are. Crunchy while also deliciously chewy. When I was living in London I’d often liken ANZAC biscuits to flapjacks, which are a staple in the UK. If you haven’t had one before it’s a slice made of oats, combined with butter and golden syrup. It’s a stodgy sugar hit and they are really delicious.

What can you replace oats with in ANZAC biscuits?

Since arriving back in Australia I’ve been thinking about oats and how I’ll share my favourite recipes. I want to make sure they are suitable for everyone following a gluten-free diet. My main idea, and most successful so far is quinoa.

Quinoa is a versatile grain and you can buy it from the store either raw or in puffs. I had hoped to use quinoa puffs in this recipe as I think they will have the best result. Quinoa puffs are a little tricky to come across but I did manage to buy a packet from Coles in Sydney. The packet said “perfect addition to homemade gluten free muesli, snacks or bars.”

However, when I got home I saw the back of the packet said “may contain wheat, gluten, tree nuts, milk, peanuts, sesame, soy, sulphites.” Yikes!

Oat free gluten free ANZAC biscuits cooling on a wire rack.
Let your ANZAC biscuits cool a while on the baking tray before moving to the cooling rack.

Quinoa, cooked or flaked?

After the failure of the quinoa puffs I proceeded with my ANZAC experiment. I tried two batches, one with quinoa flakes (coeliac-safe), and the other with raw quinoa that I then cooked (also safe).

The cooked quinoa and quinoa flakes are very different ingredients, especially for baking. Cooked quinoa is very moist, which affects the consistency of the dough and the cooking time. The quinoa flakes on the other hand are very very dry, making the dough much more crumbly.

I made two batches, one with flakes and one with cooked. Working with them at the same time allowed me to compare both using the biscuit dough and how it cooked. Both doughs required extra attention and tweaking compared to the regular gluten-free oat ANZAC biscuit recipe.

The batch with flakes required additional water to help it bind. The cooked quinoa batch needed extra flour and a longer cooking time to dry it out and get that proper crunch.

The gluten-free winner

By a mile the quinoa flakes are the far superior substitute for gluten-free oats to make Aussie coeliac-safe ANZAC biscuits. Most importantly, the taste of these biscuits is just the same as an ANZAC biscuit. But even better the texture is so similar and the look – quinoa flakes look so similar to oats in these biscuits.

If you want to know what the cooked quinoa ANZAC biscuits tasted like… terrible! I’m not sure why but they were so bad! The batch was identical as I mixed everything but the quinoa together, then split the dough to add the quinoa. I think the texture and the moisture in them was what ruined it. They didn’t come out crunchy, even with a long bake, because the batch was too moist. The small cooked quinoa pieces were also not pleasant as a texture.

A gluten free ANZAC biscuit made with quinoa flakes.
A perfect gluten-free ANZAC biscuit made with quinoa flakes

Troubleshooting ANZAC biscuits

ANZAC biscuits can be a pain, very often your bake won’t look anything like the recipe you followed. Let me tell you now that is absolutely fine. So long as they taste good, ANZAC biscuits can look very different. In fact, there are two main types of ANZAC biscuits. One is the super thin, very chewy, very dark biscuit, almost like a brandy snap in consistency. The other is a thicker, drier, more crumbly biscuit that looks more like a cookie. Both are good, and a few tweaks can help you edge closer to the type you prefer.

A wet mix will generally give you the thin flat chewy biscuits and a dry crumbly mix will give you the other.

Mixture is too dry

Quinoa flakes are super dry so if your dough is so dry it won’t even stick together don’t fret. Add one teaspoon of water at a time to improve the consistency. Remember, this is gluten free so a crumbly dough is fine and totally normal. It might not stay together after spooning out but should stay together after pressing in your hands.

Mixture is too wet

If you’re concerned the mixture is too wet you can do a few things. My first instinct is to test the batch. Spoon out and shape one biscuit and cook it in the oven. If it’s a spreading disaster bigger than the palm of your hand, then add some flour. Add in five grams of flour at a time, sprinkling it across the mixture so you can mix it in more easily.

Wet ingredients didn’t froth up

If your mixture of butter and syrup didn’t froth up when you added the bicarbonate of soda this is most likely because the bicarb soda is out of date. If you’re got a spare packet open that up and try with a new batch of butter and syrup. Otherwise, run down the street and grab a fresh one.

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Gluten-free, oat-free ANZAC biscuits.

ANZAC biscuits are an important part of Australian culture. These biscuits are coeliac safe by using quinoa flakes instead of oats in addition to gluten-free flour.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Baking
Cuisine Australian
Servings 12 biscuits


  • 1 Mixing bowl
  • 1 Spoon
  • 1 biscuit tray
  • 1 small saucepan


  • 75 g plain gluten-free flour (half a cup)
  • 50 g quinoa flakes (just under half a cup)
  • 42 g desiccated coconut (half a cup)
  • 80 g brown sugar (half a cup, NOT pressed)
  • 60 g butter non-dairy also works
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup 15mL
  • 1/2 tsp teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tbsp water


  • Preheat the oven to 150°C fan-forced. If you don't have a good biscuit tray line your tray with non-stick baking paper.
  • In a bowl combine the flour, quinoa flakes, coconut and brown sugar.
  • In a saucepan put the butter, golden syrup and water and heat gently until melted and combined. Add the bicarbonate of soda and mix – at this point it will bubble and become frothy!
  • Pour the frothy butter mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined.
  • Using a tablespoon scoop out the mixture into balls. The mix will be a bit crumbly but don't worry. Place on the trays, about 5cm apart (my tray fit 6 biscuits). Press with a fork or your fingers to flatten slightly.
  • Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Important! Once they're out of the oven they will be soft. Set them down on the tray for 5 minutes, this will allow them to firm up.
  • After five minutes transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Note, depending on the accuracy of your measurements and the flour you use you will end up with either a slightly wet or slightly dry mixture. Don’t fret, both work! A slightly wetter mixture has more butter and syrup and will result in a thinner flatter biscuit with a chewy texture. A slightly drier mixture will give a more compact, crumbly biscuit that doesn’t spread on the tray. 
Both are great so it’s very much to your preference. If it looks too wet just add a little more flour gradually and mix through thoroughly.  If it seems to dry add water sparingly, 5mL or one teaspoon at a time.
Keyword ANZAC, biscuits

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8 thoughts on “Oat-free, gluten-free ANZAC biscuits”

  • 5 stars
    This biscuit recipe is great – my GF teenage son loved them!! We have been wondering how to substitute out oats – this is fabulous. We made a double batch. Thankyou

    • Thank you so much for your five star review Kath!

      I’m so glad to hear your GF son loved them, I hope the rest of the family do as well! 🙂

      Kati x

  • 5 stars
    Great recipe. Turned out really well. No-one else here to share them at the moment so I had to taste test a few by myself!

    • Thank you so much Susan for the 5-star review!

      As a former scientist I fully endorse your repeated testing to ensure quality. 😁

      Kati x

  • 5 stars
    I made a double batch… They were perfect. And absolutely delicious!
    I’ll definitely be making them again. The whole family loved them.

  • 5 stars
    So happy to have found this recipe! I have missed Anzac biscuits since becoming Celiac.
    The recipe is perfect. I will definitely be making these again!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed these Lyn! Agreed, they are something I missed when going gluten free, it’s great to have them again. 🙂

      Kati x

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