Digestive biscuits are a crunchy and lightly sweetened product, popular in the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Some love them for snacking but they are also a handy ingredient for making the base of a cheesecake.
As this product isn’t so common in the United States, you may be looking for an alternative option. Keep reading, we’ve pulled together a list of our favorite digestive biscuit substitutes so that you can get through the day without the original ingredient.
What are the best substitutes for digestive biscuits?
If you’re looking to replace digestives in dessert recipes then you can use Graham crackers, BelVita, Marie biscuits, Hobnobs, shortbread, ginger biscuits, or Oreos. Although not a perfect match, they are all delicious crushed and incorporated into a cheesecake base. If you’re looking for a biscuit to snack on with a hot beverage then we suggest Marie biscuits or shortbread.
1. Graham crackers
Once you open a pack of Graham crackers, you’ll soon learn that they look a lot different from digestive biscuits in color and shape. They also have a crunchier texture and a sweeter, nuttier flavor. But as a crushed mix for the bottom of a cheesecake, they are the go-to ingredient in American kitchens. In the United States, you will find this ingredient in practically any grocery store’s cookie aisle.
BelVita is a breakfast biscuit made of oats, rye flakes, and wheat flour. They are available in many parts of the world including America, making an excellent replacement for digestive biscuits.
Their texture and flavor are a much better match compared to Graham crackers. But keep in mind when buying a pack at the store they come in a range of flavor variants so choose an appropriate one. For example, cranberry orange may not work well in your next lemon cheesecake.
Golden oat is a great all-round option that should fit into most recipes well. For those that need a snacking alternative, belVita is also a good choice.
3. Marie biscuits
Marie biscuits are a generic product and the most basic option you will find on this list. They are crispy and don’t have a lot of sweetness. Use them as an cheap option for dunking into hot drinks.
Marie cookies are well suited to baking, making a handy base for a cheesecake. The texture crumbles easily so if you don’t have a food processor, then place them in a bag and grind with a rolling pin until you’re happy with the consistency.
Marie cookies aren’t as popular in the US as they are in places like Australia, South Africa, or England. But you can still find them online, at British specialty stores, or visit World Market if there is one near you.
HobNobs are another British creation, made from whole wheat and rolled oats to make a crunchy, mildly sweet biscuit. They are a popular “dunking” product in the United Kingdom, enjoyed with tea.
Hobnobs are quite similar to digestives and can be used in all the same cooking applications. The main differences are that HobNobs use rolled oats as a main ingredient rather than wheat flour. They are crisper and drier in texture so if you use them as a cheesecake base, we suggest adding a little extra butter.
If you’re making a no-bake cheesecake, then why not try shortbread as a digestive biscuit substitute. They make a rich, crumbly crust that will taste good with most other flavors. Shortbread are already quite high in butter so you won’t need to add as much as you would to digestives.
6. Ginger biscuits
Ginger biscuits, also known as ginger snaps or ginger nuts, are a crispy cookie with plenty of ginger zing. For those that don’t enjoy the taste of ginger then this suggestion won’t be ideal. Depending on the brand, they are also a lot tougher to bite through.
But ginger biscuits are another useful option as an ingredient in dessert. Their hard texture softens nicely when used in a biscuit cake or chocolate ripple log cake. As a cheesecake base, they add a yummy ginger flavor to the dish which pairs well with key lime, lemon, or chocolate. Ginger biscuits also work well in a traditional New York style cheesecake.
Tip: although the brands vary a little in texture, they are usually dense so grinding them will take longer and more effort than what’s required when using digestive biscuits.
Oreos are a great option if you’re looking for something completely different than digestive biscuits. This product includes a creamy filling and the ratios are perfect for a cheesecake base, without the need for adding butter.
These biscuits add chocolate-flavor so they may not be the best choice if you’re making a lemon cheesecake. For this option, we would prefer using Graham crackers, belVitas, or Maries.
Commonly asked questions
When can I eat digestive biscuits?
Digestives can be eaten as a snack anytime and are most commonly consumed with a cup of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. Brits commonly dunk them into a hot beverage to soften their texture.
What can I make with digestive biscuits?
Digestive biscuits are delicious eaten on their own, but they can also be ground into a crumb and used as a pie crust or a base for cheesecake. They also soften nicely when combined with cream and liqueurs and can be added in chunks to trifles.
How do I store digestive biscuits?
To keep digestives fresh, store them in an airtight container in the pantry or any cool, dry area. The sugar content keeps them from going off – they will usually last several weeks through to several months before the texture starts to degrade.
Fast facts about digestives
- Two doctors from Scotland invented digestive biscuits back in the 1830s to assist with digestion.
- Their texture is firm but much softer than other products like water biscuits or crackers.
- The biggest manufacturer of digestive biscuits is McVities; they produce a range of digestives including a chocolate-topped version.
Digestive biscuits are easy to find in some parts of the world but they’re not so common in the United States. If you need to replace them in a desert then try Graham crackers, BelVita, Marie biscuits, Hobnobs, or shortbread as your best options. Ginger snaps or Oreos are also great alternatives as dessert bases, but their flavor is significantly different; consider carefully what other ingredients you’ll use so as to avoid any awkward tasting desserts.
What are you hoping to use your digestive biscuit substitute for? Please let us know in the comments below.