4 Reasons Your Biscuits Aren’t Rising to the Occasion

By the editors of Cook's Illustrated

Your biscuits will always bake up flaky, buttery, and tall with these cooking tips.

Nobody feels particularly confident about his or her culinary skills after baking up a batch of lumpy, leaden, lopsided biscuits. The good news is the recipe is usually to blame, so your failures have no bearing on your ability to bake. Which is where we come in, to help you put those sad, squat, doughy days behind you with our foolproof recipe for unfailingly light, fluffy, tender, flavorful, and perfectly shaped biscuits. We have a few helpful hints that will guarantee your success.

ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT: FOOD PROCESSOR

A food processor is an integral piece of equipment when it comes to making biscuits, as it helps distribute the chilled fat quickly and evenly among the dry ingredients. We put 9 different models through rigorous tests; our current test kitchen favorite is the easy-to-use, classic Cuisinart Custom 14-Cup Food Processor (available on Amazon).

4 COMMON BISCUIT MISTAKES—AND HOW TO PREVENT THEM

1. THE FAT ISN’T COLD ENOUGH, AND THE OVEN ISN’T HOT ENOUGH


Make sure you chill the butter for 30 minutes (it will cool faster when cut into pieces). Doing so ensures that the fat doesn’t melt and produce greasy, leaden biscuits. Then heat the oven to 500 degrees; the high heat produces maximum steam, which encourages the biscuits to rise as high as they possibly can.


2. YOU’RE NOT USING A FOOD PROCESSOR

Using a food processor distributes the dry ingredients evenly. It also mixes in the fat quickly, keeping it cold until the biscuits bake.


3. YOU’RE ADDING THE FAT ALL AT ONCE

Scatter the fat over the dry ingredients and pulse until the mix resembles coarse meal. If you add it all at once, the texture of the dough will be off.


4. YOU’RE ADDING THE LIQUID TO THE FOOD PROCESSOR

Don’t add the liquid to the food processor: Stirring the buttermilk into the dough by hand prevents over-mixing. Stop stirring when the dough forms a uniform texture.

RECIPE FOR MEMBERS: Tall and Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits

Ready to bake? Our rustic buttermilk biscuit recipe produces extra-fluffy, moist, tender rolls with crisp, golden-brown tops.

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