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Cookies vs. Biscuits: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 19, 2023
In the U.S., cookies are sweet, baked treats, while biscuits are savory, flaky breads; elsewhere, "biscuits" often means what Americans call "cookies."

Key Differences

Cookies, in American English, are sweet, baked confections that come in various flavors and textures, from soft and chewy to crisp and crunchy. Biscuits, in the same American context, are savory, flaky breads typically served with meals.
In many parts of the world outside the U.S., especially in British English, the term "biscuits" denotes what Americans refer to as "cookies." The diversity in naming these treats is a testament to the varied culinary traditions and linguistic nuances across regions.
When an American asks for biscuits, they're usually expecting a buttery, soft accompaniment to their meal, while in the U.K., a request for biscuits would likely yield a sweet treat perfect for tea time.
Both cookies and biscuits have ancient origins, with each evolving over time to fit cultural preferences and occasions.

Comparison Chart

American Meaning

Sweet, baked treats of various flavors and textures.
Savory, flaky breads served with meals.

British Meaning

Sweet, baked treats similar to American cookies.


Can be chewy, soft, or crisp.
Typically soft and flaky in the U.S.

Main Ingredients

Often contains sugar, butter, eggs, and flavorings.
In the U.S., primarily flour, butter, and leavening.

Serving Occasion

Commonly as a snack or dessert.
In the U.S., often with meals like breakfast or dinner.

Cookies and Biscuits Definitions


Dessert items that can be soft, chewy, or crunchy.
Some people prefer their cookies soft, while others like them crispy.


Soft, round breads made from a simple mixture of flour, butter, and a leavening agent.
Gravy and biscuits make a hearty, traditional meal.


Sweet, baked confections varying in flavor and texture.
My grandmother makes the best chocolate chip cookies.


In British English, baked sweet treats akin to what Americans call "cookies."
Tea and biscuits are a classic British combination.


Small, flat baked treats typically made with flour, sugar, and fats.
The aroma of freshly baked cookies filled the house.


Edible items that can be savory or sweet, based on regional interpretations.
Whether savory or sweet, biscuits are enjoyed by people worldwide.


Sweet biscuits in British terminology.
I ordered cookies at the cafe, and they served me what looked like biscuits.


In the U.S., savory, flaky breads commonly served with meals.
Fresh biscuits with butter and jam are a breakfast staple in the South.


Edible delights often containing mix-ins like chocolate chips, nuts, or raisins.
Oatmeal raisin cookies are a classic favorite for many.


Can be both soft or hard, depending on cultural context.
In the U.S., biscuits are soft and bread-like, while in the U.K., they're hard and sweet.


Plural of cookie


A small cake of shortened bread leavened with baking powder or soda.


A small, usually flat and crisp cake made from sweetened dough.


A thin, crisp cracker.


(Slang) A person, usually of a specified kind
A lawyer who was a tough cookie.


(Computers) A collection of information, usually including a username and the current date and time, stored on the local computer of a person using the World Wide Web, used chiefly by websites to identify users who have previously registered or visited the site.


Variant of cookie.


(dated) cooky


Can you find cookies at a British tea time?

Yes, but they'd be referred to as biscuits during British tea time.

Are American biscuits typically sweet?

No, American biscuits are typically savory and often served with meals.

What do Americans refer to as cookies?

Americans refer to sweet, baked confections of various flavors and textures as cookies.

Can cookies be savory?

While cookies are predominantly sweet, there are savory cookie recipes that exist.

In the U.K., what are biscuits similar to?

In the U.K., biscuits are similar to what Americans call cookies, which are sweet baked goods.

What are common ingredients in cookies?

Common ingredients in cookies include flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and various flavorings or add-ins.

How are British biscuits and American cookies similar?

British biscuits and American cookies are both sweet and can have similar ingredients and textures.

How are biscuits different from cookies in the U.S.?

In the U.S., biscuits are savory, flaky breads, while cookies are sweet treats.

Is the term "cookie" used in British English?

While "biscuit" is the predominant term in British English, "cookie" can be used for certain American-style treats.

Are British biscuits always hard and crunchy?

While many British biscuits are crunchy, there are also softer varieties available.

Do all cookies have a crunchy texture?

No, cookies can vary in texture from soft and chewy to crisp and crunchy.

Are cookies and biscuits served at the same occasions in the U.S.?

Not typically. In the U.S., cookies are often snacks or desserts, while biscuits are served with meals.

Can you use biscuit dough for other dishes in the U.S.?

Yes, biscuit dough can be used in various dishes, from pot pies to casseroles.

What can you typically spread on American biscuits?

Butter, jam, gravy, and honey are common spreads for American biscuits.

Can you make biscuits without butter?

While traditional biscuits often contain butter, there are recipes that use alternatives for different textures or dietary needs.

Do cookies always contain chocolate chips?

No, cookies can have a variety of ingredients, and many don't contain chocolate chips.

Why are biscuits served with gravy in the U.S.?

Biscuits and gravy is a traditional Southern dish, where the savory biscuits complement the rich gravy.

What's a popular British biscuit?

The Digestive and the Bourbon are examples of popular British biscuits.

Which is typically sweeter, cookies or American biscuits?

Cookies are typically sweeter than American biscuits.

How are cookies typically stored?

Cookies are usually stored in airtight containers to maintain their freshness and texture.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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