Cheese Biscuits

April 25, 2011

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

Frequently on Tuesdays, Kristen shows up to our photo shoot bearing an armload of goodies from Bluebird Coffee Shop. All of the baked treats from this tiny gem of a place in the East Village of Manhattan are delicious, but our little cadre has pinpointed a couple of particular favorites: the doughnuts (more on those later this week from Amanda), and the cheese biscuits -- impossibly tender and almost melting within, the subtle bite of cheddar woven throughout. The other week, Amanda and I went to visit Adam Baumgart in his pastry kitchen in the basement of Bluebird, and he taught us how to make both of our top picks, sharing his tips and tricks along the way. This is Adam’s recipe for his heavenly biscuits.

Merrill Stubbs

Makes: 10 to 12 large biscuits


  • 3 1/2 cups minus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 9 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cold unsalted butter (use a good brand, like Plugra, with a high butterfat content)
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
In This Recipe


  1. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and put it in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes. In the meantime, cut the butter into chunks and leave out at room temperature (you want it malleable, but not soft).
  2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat it to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the chilled dry ingredients, the cheese and the butter in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for a few minutes, until the chunks of butter are no bigger than a large pea – or a small bean. (In the oven, the water in the chunks of butter creates steam, which in turn will creates lovely pockets of air within the biscuits.)
  3. Add the buttermilk to the bowl and mix on low just until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a floured board, dust your fingers with flour and gently knead it a few times. Quickly and carefully pat the dough into a large rectangle about 1/2 an inch thick.
  4. Dip a 3-inch round cutter with sharp edges in flour and then cut the biscuits using an even downward motion, without twisting the cutter. Transfer the rounds of dough to the baking sheets, leaving an inch or two of space between them. When you’ve cut the first batch of biscuits, gently pat the dough into another rectangle and cut a few more -- discard the dough or add the funky leftover shapes to the baking sheets after the second batch is cut (if you shape the dough a third time, the biscuits will be tough).
  5. Beat the egg with a splash of water (if you’re feeling fancy, you can then pass it through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of any clumps of egg white that might burn). Brush the tops of the biscuits lightly with egg wash and bake for about 20 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the biscuits are a deep golden brown. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets but serve them while still warm!

More Great Recipes:
Biscuit|Bread|Buttermilk|Cheese|Make Ahead|Vegetarian

Reviews (70) Questions (10)

70 Reviews

Rachel M. February 16, 2018
These are really, really lovely. I've never been a big biscuit fan because I tend to find them too dry, but am absolutely in love with these. I know it's been quite a while now, but some people asked about making before/freezing and I just thought I would share my experience. I made a double recipe (which you'll want to do in separate batches if you do -- it was too much for my mixer to handle) and froze them, sans egg wash. When I was ready to bake I brushed on the egg wash and let them go at least 5 minutes longer in the oven and they turned out great. I will say I lost a lot of butter out of them, much moreso than when baking immediately, which was only a problem in terms of it burning on the oven bottom. Thanks for this great recipe!
nutcakes August 29, 2015
These are keepers. And I love how it makes so many at once and no trouble at all. Love using a mixer that is a new method I also saw Ina Garten use. Going to put these into rotation. Also I subbed a bit of cheddar out for some Parmesan cheese, subbed a cup of AP flour for white whole wheat and they were excellent with the fresh tomato soup I just made.
Erica S. January 28, 2015
Just a little twist, I added a table spoon of Dijon mustard and chopped parsley and they are one of the best biscuits I've ever made!
Gabriella January 21, 2015
"Could you make the biscuit dough in advance then cut them out and bake the following day?"<br />^^^<br />please answer!
Author Comment
Merrill S. January 21, 2015
Because of the yeast, I'd cut them and freeze them and then bake from frozen, but this is a good question for our Hotline.
nutcakes August 29, 2015
What yeast? Am I losing my mind?
nutcakes August 29, 2015
Oh a tip for making in advance, even a day is to freeze them raw and bake from frozen, adding a few minutes to the baking time. Biscuits isn't something you usually want to sit before baking.
Joycelyn May 7, 2017
Your recipe does not have yeast in the ingredient list. Could you please explain what you mean when you say, "because of the yeast, I'd cut them and freeze them and bake from frozen." <br />Thank you.
Marivic R. December 20, 2014
Could you make the biscuit dough in advance then cut them out and bake the following day?
Simon December 6, 2014
This looks like a great recipe but I am a bit annoyed at the writing of the recipe. Hopefully my comments will be taken with a grain of salt and used to improve the recipe process at Food52 to make the site even better!<br /><br />I may be stirring the pot here but do we live in a day and age now that bakers don't have a digital scale in their kitchen? "x cups minus tsp", "x tbsp plus tsp" but without any weight based measurements is pretty frustrating especially as I don't live in the good ol' US of A where kosher salt is preferred - the rest of us use table salt and don't measure our butter in tablespoons (never heard of anyone measuring butter in *tea*spoons). As an international based reader of Food52 it would be good if some consideration is given to and audience who don't use the same measurements to at least give bakers a good chance of getting in the "ballpark" of your intended recipe.<br /><br />Rant over! Happy baking all :)
Pat G. March 24, 2015
Oh, how I agree Simon. Maybe some one could weigh the ingredients for us. Quite happy to have decimal or imperial please! Love Food52 but find this off putting.
Author Comment
Merrill S. March 24, 2015
There is a wealth of conversion resources available online that can help you figure out the weight equivalents if you'd like them. Please understand that it would be a huge undertaking to provide both weight and volume measurements for every recipe on our site (the majority of which come from American home cooks who may or may not have digital scales). Currently, we do not have the resources to do this, although we hope to in the future!
Pat G. March 24, 2015
Thank you Merrill, I am looking forward to that and I will attempt to convert! Could I use yoghurt instead of buttermilk do you think?<br />
Author Comment
Merrill S. March 24, 2015
Hmm, not sure, as I haven't played around with this recipe much -- sorry I can't be more helpful! You might want to ask the same question on our Hotline in case others have experimented.
reneej August 24, 2015
yes, please add ingredient weights. ;-)
BocaCindi July 5, 2017
Can't make all of the people happy all of the time, Merrill. 😉. I have a digital scale for some things, but mostly use cups, tablespoons, etc. like most American home cooks. I think digital is far superior, but it's not here yet.
Mary V. May 8, 2014
Would love to know where that biscuit cutter was purchased.
Marie March 13, 2014
These look great!
wendy January 26, 2014
can you make these without cheese?
Author Comment
Merrill S. January 28, 2014
I'm sure you can, yours. might want to adjust some of the other ingredients to make up for the loss of fat, but I haven't tried this so can't give you specific guidance. This would be a great question for our Hotline!
Author Comment
Merrill S. January 28, 2014
Sorry, "yes," not "yours!"
Ralph June 25, 2014
Hi Wendy. Did today added some heavy cream to replace the cream and added Diced Garlic Scapes for use in biscuits and gravy.
Burf November 19, 2013
Sometimes, I call Red Lobster, give a phony name, and wear a disguise while I pick up a dozen of their biscuits. Never again! These were great!! I reduced the salt as others had suggested. Also, being a yankee, I didn't have anything like a sharp biscuit cutter, so I patted the dough into a rectangle and made 12 squares, cut with a sharp knife. None of that rolling/re-rolling business, and I could never throw away scraps.
Barb April 26, 2014
I love that idea! I'm doing this next time I make biscuits.
za'atar November 18, 2013
I made these as drop biscuits rather than rolling them out - everyone loves them! The second time I made them I reduced the salt by half and that seemed to better suit our family's taste preferences, but I'm sure it depends on the kind of salt and cheese that is used. Can't wait to make these again!
steffiweffi October 20, 2013
I must have made these 4-5 times! I love them! I like to freeze a couple so I have a go-to breakfast in a pinch. I just reheat them in the oven for 5-10 minutes and they taste amazing!
Author Comment
Merrill S. October 20, 2013
So glad you like them!
The F. September 9, 2013
In the oven as I type this and will be served with Merrill's lentil, sausage, kale soup!
Sarah B. August 12, 2013
Super easy and quite delish! I used habanero jack (Whole foods carries it) because I had it on hand. I paired these biscuits with the summer corn chowder - also found on Food52 - the combination of spicy and rich/sweet was just awesome. Will make again!
Megan July 18, 2013
I've never found a biscuit recipe that I go back to more than once...until now! These biscuits are perfect, I've made them with cheese and without, and can't wait to try different things with them. I usually get 12 out of the batch and I freeze 6 - they bake up out of the freezer beautifully! Sometimes they fall apart very easily, sometimes not - I'm sure it's something that I am doing or not doing, but I'm not an accomplished enough baker to figure that out yet! Thank you for this keeper!
Mary July 13, 2013
Just made these lastnight. Very easy. Still tasted great this morning warmed up with butter.<br />
Arthur I. May 14, 2013
Biscuits are staples here in the South!
Sigita March 6, 2013
Just made these to go along with some soup for a snow day lunch. Very easy and tasty. I did decrease the salt a bit - great texture and egg wash makes them very beautiful. Made a generous dozen of large biscuits . I froze half of the unbaked cut outs for use on another day. Would make amazing sandwiches - crunchy on the outside - light on the inside.
rochelle123 February 10, 2013
I followed the recipe exactly and was very pleased with the results. The flavor and texture were great. I will definitely make these again.
Joleensta February 1, 2013
I have always been intimidated to make biscuits. I have to say these turned out great! I added a touch of mustard powder and paprika and cut into small square biscuits. They went perfect with sliced beef and a bit of horseradish mayo for mini sandwiches.
Author Comment
Merrill S. February 4, 2013
Sounds like a great combo!
hanachocho December 26, 2012
Delicious! Reduced the salt to 2 tsp., but followed every other step and ingredient. Tasted like Cheez-its in biscuit form.
SJR October 27, 2012
We are baking the second pan of biscuits as I am writing this comment. We also chose to add freshly diced jalepeno to the biscuits. I went along with others' advice & only put in 2 teaspoons of salt (instead of 2.5 teaspoons); however, I believe it needs the full 2.5 teaspoons because they need to be saltier OR I will simply use salted butter. Also, we used finely shredded cheese, but next time we will use regular grated cheese so that the cheese is more noticeable. Great recipe - will make again! We look forward to eating them with our fantastic chili this weekend.
Sarah G. December 25, 2011
The saltiness may have something to do with the kind of kosher salt used - i would guess that perhaps Diamond crystal salt was used in the original recipe?
Steven W. December 21, 2011
I made these biscuits last night with a couple of minor modifications. I only used 8 T of butter and added 2 T of shortening. I also only used 1 1/2 cups of cheese (that was all I had). I loved these! My daughter thought they were a bit salty and my wife thought they were a bit buttery. The texture was soft and tender and the rise was very good. I started with 3/4" cuts. The egg wash gave them a delightful "crunch" texture. I did add 1/4 t of garlic powder to the egg wash.... Overall, I though these were excellent and will try them again.
Jessie G. November 14, 2011
these really are too salty ... otherwise good - nice texture and very easy to throw together
warholamm November 6, 2011
My first attempt at biscuits was with this recipe. In trying to keep gluten out of our diet, I substituted rice flour and as you can imagine the biscuits turned out dense. Yummy, but dense. In order to salvage the biscuits, I cut them in small pieces, brushed some butter on the top, and stuck them back in the oven. What came out were the best tasting 'cheese straws' I've ever had! I will be saving this recipe to try my hand again at biscuits but also to make more tasty gluten free crackers.
tessa022707 October 19, 2011
Just finished making these for two friends recovering from surgeries....husband and teenage son (okay I confess, me too) got ahold of I nedd to make another batch...thanks for this recipe, especially with soup and stew season here! Yum!
boulangere June 5, 2011
Made several dozen of these last week. Perfect in every possible way.
nasreenSeattle May 29, 2011
Baked a batch of these yesterday - delicious! I used them for fried egg sandwiches this morning - sliced them in half, spread a little greek yoghurt mixed with paprika and granulated garlic, added an egg over-medium. They were gone in a trice.
chava May 18, 2011
About 20 years ago, before Starbucks, before Dunkin Donuts, there was a coffee bar in a stationery store on 33rd Street, called Philip's (after the owner's son). It was on my way to work, and each morning I would say "I am not going to stop for a cheddar-jalepeno scone," "I am not going to stop for a cheddar-jalapeno scone."<br />If you add chopped jalepeno to this fabulous recipe, you have...well, a cheddar-jalapeno scone.
fitsxarts May 10, 2011
these rock! i added some chopped ramp greens and they were extra delicious. and beautiful too!
Gmarkb May 8, 2011
I made these this morning. I'm not much of a baker, but they turned out lovely. Salty, but not too salty. I too didn't have a biscuit cutter so I used my stainless steel cocktail shaker. Worked like a charm. Thanks so much for the recipe. I will make these again and again. Cheer!
kellyrossiter May 6, 2011
I made these this afternoon and I loved them. I didn't find them too salty at all. I've made lots of different biscuit recipes over the years and this is the one I will go back to. I learned something too about using a cutter rather than a glass, which is of course what my mother used, so I did too. Not having a biscuit cutter I pressed the dough into a rectangle and then with my sharpest knife cut it into triangles. The great benefit of this is that there aren't any ends to roll out again, the whole recipe gets used the first time without toughening the dough. Love the website, the fantastic recipes and the beautiful photos.
Author Comment
Merrill S. May 6, 2011
Thanks for the lovely comment, and so glad you liked these! I often use the knife trick when I'm making biscuits -- good to know it works for this recipe!
Ausra May 4, 2011
made them last night and there were truly amazing; Maybe a bit too salty, even 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt was a bit too much for me; but that might be because our Wegman's cheddar is saltier than usual; also, I thought that if I put the already prepared biscuits into the fridge for 10-15 minutes right before baking them, they might rise a bit more when they bake; anyway, great recipe!
MWetzel May 7, 2011
I agree, lighten up on the salt. Otherwise really easy really good really simple.
MWetzel May 7, 2011
OOPS doubled on my Really Simple Really Easy.
KitchenKim May 3, 2011
Can I use White Lily flour to make these biscuts?
Author Comment
Merrill S. May 3, 2011
We used all-purpose, but White Lily should work fine.
KitchenKim May 3, 2011
Thanks Merrill! I will bake them for my book group tomorrow night - although I will make mini-biscuits instead. I thought they would go nicely with some fresh fruit, a good bottle of wine, and perhaps some chocolate delicacies as well.:)
Stephmax May 1, 2011
I made these for dinner tonight, they were extremely salty. I was wondering if anyone else had this experience. I would reduce the salt to 1 tsp next time. Other than the saltiness, they were easy to make and I think will be perfect with less salt.
Author Comment
Merrill S. May 2, 2011
Someone else mentioned that. We didn't find ours to be too salty, but maybe it's just a matter of taste. Was your cheese particularly salty? Glad you enjoyed them otherwise!
smd1227 March 18, 2012
For those finding these a little too salty. The recipe calls for kosher salt, if you're using table salt, it will be too much. Also, make sure you're using UNsalted butter. As Merrill wrote super-fatted Plugra is wonderful. I always buy Keller's. <br /> <br />I didn't have enough sharp cheddar (I used extra sharp), so I added some shredded Gruyere DELICIOUS!!!
Sydney April 30, 2011
I made these for my friend's art show last night but I reduced the size to a 1 1/2 inch. cutter, baked them at 375/380 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown and they were AHHHmazing hors d'oeuvres with red pepper jelly. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe!
Author Comment
Merrill S. May 2, 2011
I bet those were beautiful, and delicious!
Darlene C. April 29, 2011
Made these for breakfast this morning. Yum! My usual breakfast of poached egg and toast pale in comparison.
rlsalvati April 29, 2011
Yum, these are delicious. As with wssmom, we had these with leftover Easter ham. Baking on the fly, I used yogurt in place of the buttermilk. I love the idea of adding the leftover bits to the baking sheet after the second batch is cut!
Author Comment
Merrill S. May 2, 2011
Great substitution!
AppleAnnie April 28, 2011
Thank you, I have always wanted to learn how to make these wonderful biscuits. I have had something similar with a little bit of chopped scallion mixed in.
Author Comment
Merrill S. May 2, 2011
mcs3000 April 26, 2011
Will make these soon. Looking forward to the donuts. Thanks, A&M!
wssmom April 26, 2011
These are so for dinner tonight along with the ham we didn't have for Easter! Thanks!
Author Comment
Merrill S. April 26, 2011
wssmom April 27, 2011
Not only did we have them with the ham we didn't have for Easter, we had the leftover ham we didn't have for Easter on them later!