These easy cheddar drop biscuits use a shortcut method to make them light, tender, and crumbly with melted butter and pantry staples. All you need is a mixing bowl and a few minutes.
We spent last week on vacation in the Colorado Rockies, high on a mountain that looked out over Breckenridge. After being cooped up in our Kansas City home since March, it was awesome to get a little change of scenery. We still kept ourselves pretty much isolated in the Colorado rental house, but it felt totally fun to be cooped up in a house that wasn’t our house. I was reminded too how much fun it is to cook in a kitchen that’s not my kitchen. I know that a lot of people want to take the week off from cooking when they’re on vacation, (and I usually plan to do that) but then I get into a new space and all I want to do is cook!
My list of vacation recipes was short and sweet. Recipes that didn’t require any special equipment or ingredients and that I could do in short bursts between playing with the kids and sipping local brews on the deck with Frank.
I certainly never imagined I’d be the sort of person who would whip up a batch of biscuits on a weeknight, but a tip I found in an old copy of Cooks Illustrated has changed that. It’s the very same method used in the topping of Summer Berry Cobbler – all the details are below.
Here’s how to make these super easy, no-special-tools-needed Cheddar Drop Biscuits.
What Makes these Biscuits Easy
Traditional biscuit recipes use very cold butter so that little pieces stay intact until the biscuits are in the oven. Those little clumps of butter are the secret to buttery, tender biscuits. In this shortcut version you melt the butter. Then whisk very cold buttermilk into the hot butter. When the two combine, it causes the butter to seize up, creating the very same little clumps of butter that will bake into the biscuits.
Here is what the mixture looks like right after cold buttermilk is added to hot butter. It looks lumpy and curdled, but that’s exactly what you want. This method saves a lot of time and takes tons of guesswork out of the process of making drop biscuits.
The second thing that makes these biscuits weeknight friendly is that they are drop biscuits. No rolling out or shaping the biscuits. Just make the batter and use a cookie dough scoop or measuring cup to drop the batter right onto a baking sheet. The baked biscuits are rustic and delicious.
- All-Purpose Flour – Just use regular AP flour for these biscuits. If you have a kitchen scale, measure the flour by weight. Otherwise, be sure to properly measure your flour by using a spoon to transfer it to a measuring cup and then leveling it with a knife. Don’t compress the flour – using the right amount is key to the light texture of these biscuits.
- Unsalted Butter – It’s a good idea to use unsalted butter for consistent results. If all you have is salted butter – no worries – just skip the added kosher salt.
- Buttermilk – It’s hard to beat the subtle tangy flavor and ability to make tender biscuits you get from buttermilk. See below for lots of other ways to use it up if you’ve bought a jug of it. If you don’t have buttermilk, check the recipe for my go-to substitute.
- Cheddar Cheese – For the best flavor, buy a block of cheddar cheese and grate it yourself. But pre-grated cheese will work fine in a pinch.
- Chives – I love the herb flavor of chives in these biscuits. You can skip them or use finely chopped green onions or parsley.
- Baking Powder, Kosher Salt – Standard baking items you’ll need for the biscuits.
What to Serve with Cheddar Drop Biscuits
- Slow Cooker Corn Chowder
- Creamy Dijon Chicken
- BBQ Pulled Chicken
- Instant Pot All American Chili
- Homemade Pesto
Ways to Use Leftover Buttermilk
- Crispy Baked Cornflake Chicken
- Light and Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes
- Banana Bread Bundt Cake with Chocolate
Easy Cheddar Drop Biscuits
- Mixing Bowl
- sheet pan
- 2 cups (250 g) All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 stick (8 Tbsp) Unsalted Butter
- 1 cup Buttermilk, very cold
- 3 oz Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup Chopped Chives
- 1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted
- Heat oven to 450 F.
- Spray a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray or line it with parchment paper.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
- Melt 1 stick (8 Tbsp) butter in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stovetop.
- While butter is still hot, slowly pour in cold buttermilk while whisking. (The mixture will look slightly curdled or separated which will help to keep the biscuits light; even if your mixture doesn't look curdled - don't worry - just proceed with the recipe as written.)
- Pour butter-buttermilk mixture over dry ingredients and stir gently until just combined. Stir in cheese and chives. Do not overmix - stop stirring as soon as no dry spots remain and the cheese and chives are evenly distributed.
- Spray a 1/4 cup measuring cup or cookie dough scoop with nonstick cooking spray. Scoop out biscuit dough and drop it onto the prepared sheet pan.
- Brush tops of biscuits with the 1 Tbsp melted butter.
- Bake biscuits until golden brown, ~12 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
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