These dairy-free English Digestive Biscuits are delightfully wholesome, gently sweet, and have the perfect lightly crisp texture. Think of them as graham crackers for grown-ups to enjoy with tea or coffee. Store-bought English Digestive Biscuits are often vegan-friendly, but recipes for making your own usually contain dairy. Many home bakers opt to use butter, which creates more of a shortbread. These are closer to the traditional British favorite. We originally shared this recipe over 15 years ago, but today are giving it a big update!
Special Diet Notes: English Digestive Biscuits
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.
- ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups stone ground whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup non-hydrogenated shortening (like Spectrum or Nutiva)
- ¾ cup powdered confectioners' sugar
- ¼ cup cold unsweetened dairy-free milk beverage, or as needed
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Add the shortening and whisk until coarse crumbs form. Add the sugar and enough milk to make a stiff dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead just until smooth.
- If you have time, return the dough to your bowl, cover and refrigerate the dough for 1 hour. This resting time will make the biscuits more tender and crisp.
- After the dough has chilled, preheat your oven to 350ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Roll the dough out until it is a bit more than ⅛ inch thick. Cut it with a 2½-inch biscuit cutter or into your desired shapes.
- Place the biscuit dough cut outs on your prepared baking sheets. Prick the biscuits evenly with a fork.
- Bake the biscuits until pale gold, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let them cool completely.
- The biscuits will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for about 1 week.
Brown Sugar Option: If you prefer that slight molasses flavor, you can substitute ½ cup brown sugar for all of the powdered sugar.
Oat Option: If you like the rustic texture of oats in English digestive biscuits, pulse ½ cup rolled oats in your spice grinder or food processor a few times. There should still be some coarse bits remaining. Substitute the oats for ½ cup of the whole wheat flour (reduce the whole wheat flour to 1 cup.)