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A Guide to Biscuits

By Andrea Geary Published

Learn about the differences between classic, drop, cream, and (our new invention) “dream” biscuits.

How do you define a good biscuit? Not everyone will give the same answer. Some may prefer the ultraflakiness of a classic biscuit, while others might opt for the more subtle layers of a cream biscuit, the slightly irregular interior of a drop biscuit, or the fluffy, cake-like interior of our new “dream” biscuit. Find out the differences among these types of biscuits and how to make them.

Classic Biscuits

Technique: Combine the dry ingredients, and then cut in cubes of cold butter, which will crumble evenly throughout the flour. Next, stir in cold milk or buttermilk. Roll out the dough and cut out rounds with a sharp biscuit cutter before baking.

Results: Flat top; distinctly flaky, layered interior

Recipe Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

How do you get tender, flaky biscuits with truly distinctive layers? It's a pressing issue.

Recipe Ultimate Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

For layered, ultraflaky biscuits, you’ve got to know when to fold them and when to hold them.

Cream Biscuits

Technique: Replace the butter and milk with heavy cream, which is added to the dry ingredients. Cream’s generous butterfat content will make the biscuits plenty rich and tender. This formula makes a pretty stiff dough, so you’ll still have to roll and cut.

Results: Flat top; subtly layered interior

Recipe Quick and Easy Cream Biscuits

With high rise and light texture, biscuits made with a simple combination of heavy cream, flour, baking powder, and salt beat out more complicated recipes.

Drop Biscuits

Technique: Cut the butter into the dry ingredients, but add extra buttermilk or milk so that the dough has a wetter consistency. Drop scoops of the soft dough onto a baking sheet and bake.

Results: Craggy top; slightly irregular interior

Recipe Best Drop Biscuits

Drop biscuits are the no-nonsense alternative to traditional rolled biscuits. Only one problem—they're often not very good.

By creating a cream biscuit that can be dropped, we invented a fourth style that’s the easiest biscuit imaginable to make.

Drop Biscuit + Cream Biscuit = Dream Biscuit

Technique: Use less cream than in cream biscuits; warm it to create a dough that is loose enough to be dropped.

Results: Subtly craggy top; fluffy, cake-like interior

Recipe Easiest-Ever Biscuits

We combine two classic methods (and break a cardinal rule) to make tender, fluffy biscuits that come together in record time.

Essential Equipment for Making Biscuits

Equipment Review Bench Scrapers

Bench scrapers aren't just for pastry—we use ours for a wide variety of kitchen tasks.

Equipment Review Rolling Pins

Tapered or straight, with handles or without, made from silicone, metal, or wood—what works best when you’re ready to roll?

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.