Biscuits have been entrenched in British culture and tradition since the 19th century, when the first designated biscuit factory was opened in Reading.

From cracking open a pack to share with friends and family to dunking them leisurely in your mug of tea, many will agree that biscuits are delicious and comforting. And while shop-bought biscuits are nice enough, there’s something extra special about homemade versions.

If you’re new to baking, biscuits can be a great place to start because they’re easier to manage than cakes. Plus, the smell of freshly-baked biscuits wafting through your home is just an added bonus!

So, to get you inspired – and your mouth watering – here are eight brilliant biscuit recipes.

1. Shortbread


There have been hundreds of polls ranking the nation’s favourite biscuit – and in almost all of them, shortbread takes first or second place.

Its sweet, buttery taste and crumbly texture make this traditional Scottish biscuit incredibly moreish – and they’re surprisingly simple to make. Many recipes contain only flour, butter, and sugar, and there’s no leavening ingredient, like baking soda or powder.

Aside from being delicious, shortbread is also unusually historic, and its origins can be traced back to medieval times. While in the past shortbread was reserved for special occasions like Christmas or Hogmanay, these days there’s no reason why you can’t make a batch on any old afternoon! Plus, shortbread makes a lovely personalised gift too.

If you’d like to make traditional Scottish shortbread, why not try this recipe by Daring Gourmet? Or, if you want to jazz it up, this ginger shortbread recipe by Olive adds a zingy, peppery twist. Or these rosemary shortbreads with lemon icing by Tesco which are a sophisticated take on classic shortbread – and look super stylish too!

2. Custard creams

With their golden yellow colour, delicious custard flavour, and creamy filling, custard creams are one of the nation’s most beloved – and nostalgic – biscuits.

While grabbing a packet from the shop might seem like the easiest option, whipping up a batch of homemade custard creams isn’t difficult, and they’re delightfully different from shop-bought ones.

There are many recipes for custard creams, but almost all contain custard powder, which is an easy, eggless way to make custard. Not only does this speed up the preparation process, but it also means these biscuits are suitable for vegans, provided you swap the butter for a plant-based alternative. For more on this, check out our article, Dairy alternatives – tips for replacing milk, butter, cheese, and more.

To make your own custard creams, just beat your biscuit dough until it’s light and fluffy, then shape it into small balls and place these on a lined baking tray. Press down to flatten slightly, then bake for 10 minutes, until the edges start to brown. While they’re cooling, whip up your buttercream filling, then pipe onto one biscuit and sandwich together with another!

Try this recipe from Movers and Bakers if you’d like to get started.

3. Biscotti


While the previous recipes have been quintessentially British, not all the best biscuits come from the UK!

Italy in particular is known for its sweet treats, and two of its biscuits appear on this list. Just like shortbread, biscotti can be traced back to medieval times. The word biscotti means ‘twice baked’ and these biscuits were originally more like hard bread that was meant to last through long journeys and hard times.

The medieval recipe was rediscovered in the 1800s in Prato, Tuscany, and thankfully, what would have been a rather dry and uninspiring recipe was improved upon. Flour, sugar, eggs, pine nuts, and raw almonds were added to the mix, and today, these hard, crunchy biscuits are perfect for dunking in lattes, cappuccinos, or any other form of coffee (or tea, if you prefer!).

Today there are countless variations of biscotti, and while traditional versions always contain pine nuts and almonds, you can also use a wide variety of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits.

Why not try this cranberry and pistachio biscotti recipe by AllRecipes? Or, for something a little different (and perhaps a bit more decadent) you might like to give this coffee and hazelnut biscotti recipe by Bon Appetit a go.

4. Ginger snaps

Ginger snaps

Ginger snaps are another iconic British biscuit. But there are many variations of them around the world, like Norwegian pepperkaker (‘pepper cakes’), which are thinner and crisper, and of course, gingerbread, which has a cakier texture.

Ginger snaps are said to have originated in Cornwall and became popular all over the UK when a manufacturer started selling them by mail order in 1886.

Crisp on the outside, slightly chewy on the inside, and with a delicious fiery flavour, ginger nuts are a biscuit tin staple. Though the ginger adds a real kick, these biscuits are sweet, warming, and truly irresistible – and their dense texture makes them perfect for dunking! Firm, not crumbly, they also have a satisfying snap when broken – hence the name!

There are many different recipes for ginger snaps, and while some add other spices, like cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom, the traditional variation sticks to just ginger. Ginger snaps are really easy to make yourself, usually requiring only seven ingredients.

This ginger snap recipe by Great British Chefs takes only 40 minutes to prep and bake, and the biscuits are wonderfully crunchy.

5. Viennese whirl

Viennese whirl

Despite the Austrian-sounding name, Viennese whirls are actually another British creation – though they’re said to have been inspired by Austrian spritzgebäck pastries.

While some people think of Viennese whirls more as cakes, the fact that they’re made from shortbread puts them decidedly in the biscuit category. However, they definitely look fancier than your average biscuit!

With a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread sandwiched together with buttercream and either raspberry or strawberry jam, every bite is a treat. They may look elaborate, but Viennese whirls are surprisingly easy to make, and you can whip up and bake a batch in under an hour – so they’re perfect for impressing last-minute guests!

You just need to make your shortbread dough, then, using a piping bag with a large star-shaped nozzle, pipe each biscuit on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, and while your biscuits are cooling, whip up your buttercream filling, before sandwiching them together with jam.

If you’d like to make your own Viennese whirls, why not try this traditional recipe from BBC Good Food? Or Tesco’s Black Forest Viennese whirl recipe adds a cherry and chocolate twist.

6. White chocolate chip cookies

White chocolate chip cookies

There are few people who don’t like cookies – especially when they’re homemade and still warm from the oven!

Whole milk or dark chocolate chip cookies are often the most popular, white chocolate chip cookies are perhaps even more sweet and indulgent – and a bit more special.

It’s always disappointing to bite into what you hope will be a chewy cookie, only to discover it’s a dry, crumbly mess. But the great thing about white chocolate chip cookies is that it’s incredibly easy to create the perfect texture: crispy on the outside, yet soft, chewy, and gooey on the inside, packed with oodles of melted white chocolate chips.

They’re also super quick to make. For example, these white chocolate chip cookies from Dessert for Two are ready in under 20 minutes!

Another good thing about white chocolate chip cookies is that they’re really easy to adapt for different dietary requirements. To make vegan white chocolate chip cookies, try this recipe by Baked by Clo, or this recipe by My Gluten-Free Guide if you’re gluten-free.

7. Jammie dodgers

Another beloved British biscuit that’s made from shortbread is the jammie dodger, a biscuit that was first introduced in 1960.

Named after the character Roger the Dodger from The Beano comics, jammie dodgers are supposedly the most popular children’s biscuit in the UK. But plenty of adults love this classic biscuit too – and for good reason.

Traditional jammie dodgers are round shortbread biscuits that are sandwiched together with jam (usually raspberry, but occasionally strawberry), and feature a heart cut-out in the centre. Burton’s Biscuits is the creator and current producer of the jammie dodger, but you can easily make your own batch at home that’s just as (or even more) delicious.

To make traditional jammie dodgers, try this recipe from Culinary Ginger, which takes just 25 minutes to prepare and bake. Or, for something a bit different, why not try this peanut butter jammie dodger recipe by Great British Chefs? Stirring in some smooth peanut butter to your dough adds a nutty, creamy flavour, and the biscuits look and taste so much more special than the shop-bought versions.

8. Amaretti biscuits

Amaretti biscuits

If you’re a fan of the almondy taste of marzipan and the light, airy texture of macarons, then you might like to have a go at making amaretti biscuits.

Basically Italian macarons, amaretti biscuits are perfect if you don’t like overly sweet things because the addition of almond paste or ground almonds gives these biscuits a captivating yet subtle hint of bitterness.

While French-style macarons are notoriously tricky to master, amaretti biscuits are easy to make. Plus, unlike other biscuits, they’re naturally gluten-free too.

Just whip up some egg whites with ground almonds or almond paste, sugar, Amaretto, and bicarbonate of soda until soft peaks have formed. Then, pipe balls onto lined baking sheets and bake until they’re crisp and golden,

Amaretti biscuits are also really versatile. They can be eaten by themselves (each biscuit is perfectly bite-sized!), but they’re also delicious crumbled up and sprinkled over ice cream, or layered with yoghurt and fruit to make a luxurious parfait.

To make traditional Amaretti biscuits, you might like to try this recipe by Great Italian Chefs. Or to make a vegan, eggless version, check out this recipe by The Guardian.

Final thoughts…

Whether you’re a fan of classic British biscuits like jammie dodgers, ginger snaps, and shortbread, or prefer Italian sweet treats like amaretti biscuits or biscotti, we hope this article has stirred your appetite!

Baking biscuits is easier than baking cakes, but no less enjoyable, and the results are just as delicious. If you’d like to improve your baking skills, our article, 8 technical baking skills you can learn from home, is worth a read.

Or, if you’re pressed for time and would like to make some sweet treats without using the oven, why not try making one of our 7 best no-bake dessert recipes?