Multigrain and Seed Biscotti

I was browsing some older cookbooks recently. There are so many really great new cookbooks that come out every season that it’s easy to forget some of the beloved ones waiting patiently on our shelves, for us to return to them. Before electronics came on the scene, I used to curl up every night under the cover with an actual book or two, before dozing off to bed.

The downside was that I always ended up bookmarking recipes that I wanted to make, and I’d get excited, and start running up and down (in back and forth) in my mind, about how I’m going to gather the ingredients when I wake up the next morning. Recently one that I came across was a recipe for Multigrain Biscotti in a cookbook from the ’90s that had nearly two dozen ingredients in it. But they sounded so good, I made a little (okay…not-so-little) shopping list, for the next day, using that list as a bookmark, planning to make them the next day.

Long story short, after baking them off, the biscotti didn’t quite fit the flavor profile and texture that I was hoping for. I wanted the grains and seeds to come to the forefront, and I wanted the cookies to be very crisp, but not heavy and dense.

Like anything you bake, there’s often a wide range of variations to consider to get something to the right texture. I like biscotti very crunchy, so I made sure to have some cornmeal in there. And any spices or seasoning should be singular; I save the spice mixtures for pain d’épices and mincemeat, to keep the flavors focused on the nuts – and in this case – the seeds, too. Some insist on keeping them almonds-only.

That’s fine with me, although you’d be missing out on Chocolate Biscotti and Cornmeal Biscotti, as well as the delicious biscotti I’ve had in Italy with pistachios, hazelnuts, and pine nuts. However, the recipe that initially caught my eye for these biscotti had two cups of pine nuts in them. At $50 a pound, or around €100 a kilo, I’d agree with those people that think you should stick with almonds, which I did.

So I made a few batches of these biscotti to get them where I wanted them, playing around with a combination of grains and seeds, and yes, almonds. I had to do a bit of shopping to gather the ingredients, which I suppose is the price we grain-lovers pay for liking things with a lot of seeds in them. (‘Everything bagel’-lovers struck it rich when someone figured out that they could market the mélange of seeds and seasonings already mixed together.) The upside to going the DIY route is that you can customize the seeds to your liking, which I did.

I also tried them with honey (it was okay, but not worth making people haul out, and measure, another ingredient), anise seeds in place of the cinnamon (nice, but they took the focus off the grains and seeds), orange zest (which was nice in the background, but kept it subtle), whole-wheat flour mixed with all-purpose flour (which was fine, but again, not worth asking people to buy another ingredient for), and roasted buckwheat groats in place of the millet. They were interesting in the mix, but I missed the bird seediness of the millet.

Be sure to use a good serrated bread knife for cutting them. They’re not hard to slice but the edges can crumble off, which may happen to the first few until you get the right touch for slicing them. Once you get into the rhythm, you’ll be good to go. And go and go, and go, as I did.

The final biscotti came out really well, which was a relief because I now have a few hundred biscotti on hand, so am keeping the coffee pot at the ready. Sweet wine, like vin santo, marsala and sherry are also quite handy served alongside, to dip the crisp cookie in. With so many biscotti around, I guess I’d better keep some wine handy, too. (Which is never a bad idea.)

Multigrain Biscotti
Print Recipe
about 60 cookies
You're welcome to change the mix of seeds and nuts if you keep the quantities the same. If you want to make the shopping list a little shorter, you can use 2 tablespoons of another one of the seeds in the recipe to replace the flax seeds or millet, although I like the crunch of millet. Be sure the zest the orange before juicing it, to add to the dough. I used almonds, but hazelnuts shelled unsalted pistachios (no need to toast those, and best to leave pistachios whole, before using) or another favorite nut, would work in place of the almonds.
1 1/4 cups (185g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (70g) cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda (free of lumps)
3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (135g) almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup (50g) unsalted pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup (55g) unsalted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup (25g) sesame seeds
2 tablespoons (25g) flax seeds
2 tablespoons (25g) millet
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3 tablespoons orange juice
zest of one orange
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the almonds, pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds, as well as the flax seeds, and millet.
3. In a small bowl, mix together the eggs, orange juice, zest, and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until the dough comes together; you'll likely start using a spatula but eventually using your hands to get the dough into a cohesive mass. Divide the dough in two and roll each half on a lightly floured countertop until each is 12-inches (31cm) long. Place the two logs of dough evenly spaced on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, until they are light golden brown and feel firm to the touch.
4. Remove from the oven and let cool 10 minutes. Lower the temperature of the oven to 300ºF (150ºC.) Using a very sharp serrated knife, slice the logs into 1/3-inch (1cm) cookies. Place the cookies cut side down on the baking sheet. (You can either bake these in two batches on the one baking sheet or use an additional baking sheet and bake them all at the same time. No need to line the second baking sheet with parchment paper.)
5. Bake the cookies in the oven, flipping the cookies over on the baking sheet midway during baking. If using two baking sheets, turn the cookies midway during baking, and rotating the baking sheets midway during baking, putting the one that was on the lower rack of the oven on the upper rack, and vice versa. This second baking will take about 25 minutes.
6. The biscotti are done when they are gently browned on each side and feel dry on both sides when you touch them. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Storage: The biscotti will keep for up to two weeks if stored in an air-tight container at room temperature.

Serving: Serve with coffee, tea, sweet wine, or alongside a favorite fruit compote, ice cream or sorbet. Since they don't lean heavily on the sweet side, they can be served with goat cheese, or another tangy soft cheese spread, as an appetizer.

Multigrain and Seed Biscotti

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  • Lee Rosenthal
    October 14, 2019 3:45pm

    Can these be frozen?

    • October 14, 2019 3:49pm
      David Lebovitz


  • Barbara
    October 14, 2019 4:00pm

    Love anything with lots and lots of seeds so will be making these very soon. Reminds me of a muffin at Farmer and the Cook in Ojai that’s full of millet, poppy and pumpkin seeds and dates. I make them all the time too.
    Thanks for all your testing and taking us along for the ride.

  • Sara
    October 14, 2019 5:13pm

    I guess this is sacrilege but my daughter has a nut allergy and I love biscotti. Do you have a recommendation for a substitute or else another recipe that will pair so beautifully with coffee?

    • October 14, 2019 5:39pm
      David Lebovitz

      You could perhaps try a mix of seeds to make up for the 1 cup of nuts. If you try it, let us know how they turn out.

    • Sofi
      October 15, 2019 8:48am

      Hey Sara,

      My little one has a nut allergy too- I upped the sesame seeds and added a little dark chocolate and good dried figs to make up the 1 cup of almonds. Slightly different flavour profile, but still with that earthy crunchy base of biscotti- worked well Hope that helps, and thank you David, brilliant base recipe and when my son grows up I can’t wait to try the more earthy original!

      • October 15, 2019 1:00pm
        David Lebovitz

        Thanks for letting others know your substitutions. Another possible addition is roasted cocoa nibs, which will lend a little chocolate flavor, but are nice and crunchy. They’re available in well-stocked supermarkets and online.

        • rose
          October 18, 2019 7:21pm

          ooh nibs! great idea esp with toasted buckwheat

    • rose
      October 18, 2019 7:20pm

      pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, millet seeds, poppy seeds, toasted buckwheat and coconut flakes are all nice additions.

  • Margaret
    October 14, 2019 6:32pm

    These look delicious — you mentioned using a mixture of whole wheat and all purpose flour. Did that turn out ok? What about using all whole wheat pastry flour? Thank you.

  • Carol
    October 14, 2019 6:41pm

    Can this be baked in a mini loaf pan?

  • October 14, 2019 6:55pm
    David Lebovitz

    Margaret: I didn’t find it made that much difference in flavor. Not enough to make someone go out and buy a bag of whole wheat flour just to make the recipe. But if you have some on hand, I did try it with about one-third whole wheat flour in place of the all-purpose flour.

    Carol: Not sure what the would do – why would you do it? (Mini-loaf pans are pretty small, so you’d need a lot of them…) I’m curious! : )

    • Carol
      October 14, 2019 8:56pm

      These crackers remind me of rainforest crisps (which are loaf shaped crackers) but with more of the multigrain and seed goodness. So I was curious if baking in mini loaves would be possible. Also the loaves make it easier for me to store extra in the freezer and take out to cut and bake later.

      • Chefrockyrd
        October 18, 2019 2:38pm

        Carol, there is a recipe for those crisps floating around. And they are similar to David’s recipe. You bake it in a loaf, then freeze it and when able slice it very thin and bake the slices a second time like biscotti. I used a long narrow loaf pan with good results rather than those tiny loaf pans. They are very good especially with goat cheese spread on them.

  • Allyn
    October 14, 2019 8:08pm

    Mine have just come out of the oven after the second baking. They spread out a lot during the first baking, so I’ve ended up with long, slender biscotti. I don’t know why they spread . . . I used gluten free flour? Jumbo eggs? Maybe a little more orange juice than called for? Anyway, the end result tastes great and looks just fine, and I know that my gluten-free friends will enjoy them as much or more than I do.

    • October 14, 2019 8:21pm
      David Lebovitz

      There’s very little liquid in this recipe so not sure why yours spread. I haven’t used gluten-free flour so that may be the cause? If you used jumbo eggs or increased the orange juice, those may contribute, although extra-large eggs wouldn’t make them spread considerably as they’re just slightly larger than large eggs. Many biscotti recipes do spread so if that happens, it’s usually fine, as you found out :)

  • Ellen N.
    October 14, 2019 9:21pm

    Hi David,

    Thank you for sharing so many incredible recipes.

    Your passion fruit pound cake is cooling on my counter as I type.

    Your marshmallow fluff fudge and sea salt caramels have made me the star of Halloween in our neighborhood.

    These multi-seed biscotti look delightful. I plan to bake them soon.

    In the U.S., jumbo eggs are larger than extra large eggs, so they are considerably larger than large eggs.

    Is there any way to talk you in to leaving the comment sections open for longer? Sometimes I don’t make the recipe until after your next post.

    • October 14, 2019 10:04pm
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks and glad you are enjoying the recipes! I didn’t realize “jumbo” eggs really existed and thought the previous commenter was referring to extra-large eggs. Due to spam, I have to close comments after 30 days, otherwise it’s a full-time job sorting through all the spambots (or however the spam arrives.) In my experience, most comments are answered in the first few days that people might have, which are usually about freezing something, or ingredient substitutions. So hopefully readers can find any questions they might have already answered. But since I post a number of times during that 30 day period, comments on recent posts remain open.

  • Georgia
    October 14, 2019 9:46pm

    Is there a substitute for cornmeal? (Allergy!)

    • October 14, 2019 9:58pm
      David Lebovitz

      I think you could use regular all-purpose flour (or whole wheat flour) in its place.

    • Fernanda
      October 15, 2019 4:06pm

      Hi! They look awesome, will be doing soon, but with sweetener instead of sugar. Do you have any idea how the recipe would turn out if all the white flour was replaced with whole wheat? Thanks!

    • Deanna
      October 16, 2019 9:35pm

      Maybe a coarse semolina?

    • vicki
      October 19, 2019 7:33pm

      I used wheat farina (cream of wheat) in place of the cornmeal with good results.

  • Abby
    October 15, 2019 3:45am

    I put this exact mix of seeds in the rye and cocoa gougeres from Tartine (go San Francisco bakeries!) and it was so delicious, can’t wait to try these biscotti too

  • Terrie Chrones
    October 15, 2019 7:47pm

    Thank you for the clarity. You test and test so I’m always surprised at how many people ask for variations. I guess because cooking is an art with variantions. Yet for me, baking is precise so I won’t mess with all your testing – just make them!

    • Leslie B.
      October 20, 2019 4:32am

      Thank you, David, for so many delightful years of terrific blogging, recipes and sharing your life. I’ve made dozens of your recipes and always look forward to the latest post. Hope you don’t get tired of it! Have you ever used fewer eggs in your biscotti? An old a Gourmet magazine recipe uses just one yolk with cohesive, crunchy results. Just curious.

  • Alicia A
    October 16, 2019 1:21am

    Sounds like they’ll be good with a cup of Darjeeling for me.

  • Keyan Kaplan
    October 16, 2019 2:08pm

    Any chance that buckwheat, almond, sorghum or another gluten-free flour will do the trick here? These look amazing and are calling me. I actually have most of the ingredients on hand!
    Thanks for your wonderful work.

    • Jan
      October 18, 2019 3:04pm

      Hi David,
      I was in Italy a couple of years ago and took a cooking class. Touristy stuff. We made almond biscotti with whole toasted almonds. When we sliced it after the first baking, we easily cut through the almonds. Think that would work with this recipe?

      • October 18, 2019 3:07pm
        David Lebovitz

        Sure, although I thought that coarsely chopping them into slightly smaller pieces would keep them in balance, flavor- and texture-wise, with the seeds and other ingredients. But you could keep them whole.

  • Mary Ellen
    October 16, 2019 6:06pm

    These cooked up perfectly. Thanks for perfecting and sharing.

  • October 17, 2019 7:35pm

    Ciao David,

    I made these today and took half to a girl’s lunch and they were a major hit. I was a little dubious when the dough was so wet making it a little difficult to make a roll but they came out exactly as you described and are delicious.
    My husband is also happy as he is diabetic but with all the nuts he can enjoy a few.
    This is a keeper–thank you!

  • MU
    October 18, 2019 2:28pm

    I love this recipe. I got to thinking, what I made these w/o sugar as a savory cookie. I’m not to give it a try and see how it turns out. If it’s a thing, I may try it with cheese. I’ll let you know.

    • MU
      October 18, 2019 2:31pm

      Sorry for the confusing comment. I am going to try the savory version. I swear I was not high when I wrote it.

  • Michael Miller
    October 18, 2019 4:07pm

    When making mandelbread, I lessen the crumbling when slicing, by spraying the logs with a little water before cutting….It helps.

  • Adele
    October 18, 2019 4:07pm

    For diabetics, maybe use almond or coconut flour instead of wheat. Also use substitute sugar.

  • Sharon
    October 18, 2019 4:56pm

    Please tell me there is a way to make these with gf flour??

    • Allyn
      October 31, 2019 8:45pm

      I used King Arthur’s gluten free flour, and they turned out just great!

  • Marianne
    October 18, 2019 5:49pm

    David! Twenty years! Many thanks for your kindness, generosity, humor and delicious contributions to my baking and cooking explorations.

  • rose
    October 18, 2019 7:23pm

    And so you’ve gone to seed… well, so be it! This looks nutty and delicious – can’t wait to try!

    • rose
      October 18, 2019 7:28pm

      Just remember that the first biscotti I ever made was from the first Chez Panisse cookbook and they blew my mind! Homemade biscotti are far superior to the stale pucks I remember buying at coffee shops in the 80’s – which inspired me to make my own. These should be excellent!

  • Penny
    October 18, 2019 7:39pm

    Congratulations! You have done
    a phenomenal job for 20 years.
    Enjoy your blog very much and
    loved your book.

  • Alicia Keenon
    October 19, 2019 3:50am

    You mention that the almonds are toasted. What about the other seeds and the millet? Roasted or raw? Me sense would be to toast all except the flax. Our will it get too burny on the second bake?

    • October 19, 2019 1:17pm
      David Lebovitz

      Unless noted, nuts and seeds in recipes usually are untoasted which is the case here. I don’t toast the seeds because they get toasted when sliced and baked. The almonds do get toasted as they’re larger and benefit from being lightly toasted in advance, as well as the second baking.

  • Maria
    October 19, 2019 4:15am

    Room for Dessert – in digital format?

    Hello. I hope you will consider rereleasing this favourite in a digital format, such as Apple Books. I’ve been replacing my cookbook collection with iBooks and would very much like to this one available. Thank you in advance for your time. (And of course your teaching, your recipes, and wonderful blog.)

    • Maria
      October 19, 2019 4:20am

      Forgot to state congratulations on the 20th anniversary!
      – may I add RIPE FOR DESERT too?


    • October 19, 2019 1:20pm
      David Lebovitz

      Glad you like those books! The publisher didn’t want to give me the disks when the books went out of print, and the price to buy them was prohibitive. So I updated the recipes and published my favorites from those books in my book Ready for Dessert, which is a mash-up of the two books.

  • Chris Moore
    October 19, 2019 5:06am

    David, these look delicious! THANK YOU for all the time, money and curiousity that you took to give us a grest recipe! Can’t wait to try!

  • MichelleO
    October 19, 2019 6:00pm

    I have followed you religiously for many years since I found you. Love your writing & your recipes. Thank you for your dedication & loyalty to spectacular food. Somehow time does fly. Congratulations & Thank You!

  • Mie
    October 21, 2019 3:13pm

    I made these biscotti yesterday, half the recipe cause I want to keep them fresh. I had hazelnut, sunflower seeds, walnuts on hand. They are wonderful. I would say the mixture is a little dry and I had to work and “knead” a few times before it formed into a loaf. I got 24 out of it and enjoyed them this morning with my French press. The aroma of orange zest is great! I would definitely try the other biscotti recipes from you!

    • October 21, 2019 3:21pm
      David Lebovitz

      Glad you liked the biscotti! If the mixture is too dry, you can dampen your hands with a bit of water and knead that in the next time. I wouldn’t add too much water, but a small amount could be kneaded in to help them come together, if necessary.

  • Julie Wernert
    October 21, 2019 3:39pm

    Made these yesterday and the recipe is spot-on. Crispy, crunchy, and dunk-able! The millet is a great add. Thanks for always bringing us such great stuff!

  • Michele Romeo
    October 25, 2019 2:23am

    Made this just as written and the outcome was just perfect! Thanks for crafting another great recipe.

  • Carolyn
    October 30, 2019 6:51pm

    I’m always confused by recipes that call for variations of cornmeal and the different variations. I have fine ground cornmeal and polenta in my pantry. Would the polenta be a good substitute for the stone-ground cornmeal?

    • October 30, 2019 7:22pm
      David Lebovitz

      Cornmeal is generally a standard size, however polenta comes in different sizes, from coarse to fine. You could use any size of polenta in this recipe; a coarse one would yield very crunchy (but possibly a little crumbly) cookies, whereas one that’s more finely ground will make the cookies more uniform in texture.

  • October 31, 2019 9:30pm

    Two questions before I dive in to these: When you used honey, did you use 3/4 cup as you did for the sugar? Would subbing oat flour for the wheat work ? Thanks for sharing so many great recipes over the past 20 years!

    • October 31, 2019 9:43pm
      David Lebovitz

      I just reduced the sugar when I tried it with honey, then added a few tablespoons of honey to compensate. (Honey is about 50% sweeter than sugar so I used that as sort of a barometer.) The biscotti spread a little more with the honey as well, but not all that much. I’ve not tried these with oat flour so can’t say, but if you give it a try, let us know how they turn out.

  • Wendy
    November 6, 2019 8:28pm

    Really like the recipe. I used pistachios instead of almonds and 2 T toasted fennel seeds instead of flax seed as love fennel, especially with orange and they had just the right ‘seediness’. Next time may try salted pistachios for the sweet/salt combo and may add some dried cranberries for sharpness. I like that they are not too sweet.

  • Janine Novak
    November 10, 2019 10:56am

    Hello, what is the role of baking soda in this recipe and can it be omitted?

    • November 10, 2019 2:04pm
      David Lebovitz

      It helps the cookies rise a bit, and brown (and crisp up).

  • pat
    November 12, 2019 4:21pm

    Fabulous. I wouldn’t change a thing, although I know I will depending on whether or not I have all the ingredients at the right time. But this recipe – spot on. Enjoying one right for breakfast with my coffee.Too yummy!