It’s probably not reasonable for me to equate my general ability to excel at life with the ability to make a fluffy, fresh batch of biscuits faster than you can say “pass the butter!” but now that I have this recipe for easy Drop Biscuits in my arsenal, I’m beginning to wonder if there really is anything I can’t do. Drop biscuits give you that kind of swagger.
A good biscuit is like a good pie crust in exactly one important way: it feels pretty fabulous to be able to make a good one. You take a bite, the flaky layers melt in your mouth, and you think I DID THAT. Sing my praises, pass me another. Please, thank you, bye.
Sure, there are other similarities between the two. You must keep the butter cold; some ingredients overlap.
What I want to talk about now is where the similarities end.
You see, unlike pie dough, making an amazing batch of homemade drop biscuits doesn’t require grandma-level expertise, additional hours of refrigeration, counter-flouring, rolling, trimming, shaping, or (if your pie dough goes anything like mine does at times) four-letter words.
Unless the word you are referring to is MMMM, in which case that terminology certainly applies to these easy drop biscuits!
Biscuits are a no-frills, homey item that despite (or perhaps because of) their modesty will forever and always delight me when they appear on my plate.
Thanks to this easy drop biscuits recipe, you can bring that same sense of surprise and delight to any meal. They’re ready in about 30 minutes and require zero refrigerating or shaping. You can add yummy additions like cheese and herbs if you are feeling fancy or enjoy them in their perfect simplicity.
What Is a Drop Biscuit (and How Is It Different Than Other Biscuits)?
- Drop Biscuits. The biscuit dough is scooped from the mixing bowl and “dropped” right onto the baking sheet, then baked. The biscuits are mound-shaped, lightly crispy on the outside, and buttery and soft on the inside.
- Rolled Biscuits. The biscuit dough is turned out onto a floured surface, then patted or rolled into a large, rough rectangle. From here, the biscuits are either stamped out with a biscuit cutter or cut into squares with a knife, transferred to a baking sheet, and then baked. The biscuits are more uniform and the layers more pronounced.
Both drop biscuits and rolled biscuits are melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Drop biscuits are WAY EASIER and faster too. At home, drop biscuits are my go-to, and I know you’ll love being able to whip up a batch too.
I’m also pleased to report that this is a recipe for healthy drop biscuits (as far as the spectrum of biscuits goes, anyway). They’re still plenty tender and indulgent, and I bet that if you keep this tidbit of wholesome information to yourself, no one will be the wiser.
Plus, once you realize how quickly easy drop biscuits come together, you’re likely to find yourself making them much more frequently. Whenever something appears on my table more often, I appreciate the healthy touches (and the virtuous justification of extra servings).
How to Make Drop Biscuits from Scratch
- Butter. Keep it COLD for the most tender, flaky biscuit (see “Tips to Make the Best Drop Biscuits” below for more information).
- Whole Grain Flour. One of my favorite ways to make my favorite baked treats a little bit better for us is to replace part of the all-purpose flour with a whole-grain flour. For this whole wheat biscuit recipe, I used whole wheat pastry flour, which is especially light and tender. Whole wheat pastry flour is available in most grocery stores, though if you don’t have it or can’t find it, you can use white whole wheat flour instead. Regular whole wheat flour would be my last recommendation. It’s much heavier and has a more pronounced “wheat” taste, so be aware of that prior to baking. If you don’t have any of these items available, you can make these biscuits with regular all-purpose flour instead.
- Baking Powder. Helps the biscuits rise to fluffy perfection.
- Greek Yogurt. I replaced half of the butter you’d find in traditional drop biscuit recipes with Greek yogurt to lighten them up. Not only did this trick work, it triumphed! You could have served these to me and told me they were your grandma’s drop biscuits (or ones made by the Pioneer Woman herself), and I would have believed you. In addition to contributing to the tenderness of the easy drop biscuits, the tang of the Greek yogurt was reminiscent of buttermilk, a classic ingredient used in many biscuit recipes.
- Milk. Thanks to the yogurt, you can use either regular milk or buttermilk. I recommend whole for the most tender, melt-in-your-mouth biscuit possible, though any milk you prefer or have on hand will do.
- Honey. A delicious and natural way to sweeten the biscuits.
- Dice the butter, and place it in the freezer to keep it as cold as possible.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients.
- Cut in the butter until the mixture become crumbly (see tips below for more on this step).
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until dough forms.
- Scoop, then drop the batter onto the baking sheet (you’ll have about 9 large or 12 smaller biscuits). Bake for 10 to 13 minutes at 450 degrees F, until golden. ENJOY!
Easy Drop Biscuits–Recipe Variations
- Herb Drop Biscuits. Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, or chives.
- Cheese Drop Biscuits. Fold in 1/2 cup of shredded cheese gently at the end. Cheddar or Parmesan are my favorites, especially combined with herbs.
- Vegan Drop Biscuits. **Not tested** but here is my best guess: Since you’d need these to be dairy free (which thus translates to drop biscuits from scratch without milk, butter, or yogurt), my thought is that you could try using a vegan/non-dairy version of each of these three ingredients. I’d suggest a vegan buttery substitute (like Earth Balance), coconut milk, and a non-dairy coconut yogurt. If you decide to play around, I’d love to hear how it goes!
- Gluten Free Biscuits. Check out my recipe for Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake! A shortcake is very similar to a biscuit. Simply omit the sugar to make it savory instead of sweet. You could also try making this same drop biscuit recipe with a 1:1 gluten free all purpose baking blend like this one.
Tips to Make the Best Drop Biscuits
- Work with Cold Ingredients. This especially applies to the butter. Cold butter will steam when it hits the hot oven, and that steam is what creates a biscuit’s signature fabulously flaky texture.
- Don’t Stress about the Size of Your Butter Pieces. Cutting in butter used to stress me out. Then I attended a baking workshop and learned this life-changing tip: keep the butter pieces large-ish. Some pieces can be the size of small peas or your pinky fingernail. Bigger pieces = more steam to escape. Others may resemble tiny pebbles.
A Note on Self-Rising Flour
Self-rising flour is all-purpose flour with baking powder and salt already added to it. While many drop biscuit recipes use self-rising flour, I don’t routinely stock it, so I chose to make this biscuit recipe from scratch with all-purpose flour instead, with the hope that it would be more accessible.
If you’d like to play around with making this drop biscuit recipe with self-rising flour, you could try swapping it for 100% of the flour called for in this recipe (both the whole wheat and the all-purpose), omitting the salt, then reducing the baking powder to 1 1/2 teaspoons (do not make the drop biscuits without baking powder, or they won’t fully rise).
Since the only ingredient you are really saving by using self-rising flour is the extra bit of salt (and since I haven’t actually tested this method), personally I’d recommend following the recipe as it is written.
How to Store and Freeze Drop Biscuits
- To Store. Store biscuits in an airtight storage container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To Freeze. Individually wrap biscuits and store them in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Remove and thaw as desired.
Recommended Tools to Make Drop Biscuits
- Rimmed Baking Sheets. A well-loved tool in my kitchen.
- Mixing Bowls. These are stackable, which makes for easy storage.
- Small Whisk. This will help you from splashing ingredients all over the counter.
- 1/4 cup butter - cold
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour - or swap white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour*
- 1 tablespoon baking powder - I recommend aluminum free
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup whole milk - or buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt - I used nonfat
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Grated parmesan and finely chopped fresh chives - try adding a pinch of garlic powder to the dry ingredients with this one!
- Shredded sharp cheddar and ground black pepper
- Shredded gruyere and finely chopped fresh rosemary or thyme
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Dice the butter into small pieces and place it in the freezer while you prepare the other ingredients.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt. (If adding any herbs, garlic powder, or black pepper, do it here.)
- Scatter the cold butter pieces over the top. With a pastry blender (or my favorite, your fingers), cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Some pieces may be the size of small pebbles and others as large as peas.
- In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the milk, Greek yogurt, and honey until smoothly combined. Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients a little at a time, stirring lightly between additions. (If adding cheese, add it slowly as you add the milk.) Stop stirring as soon as the dough holds together. It will be very moist and seem wet.
- Drop the batter by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet. I like to use a muffin scoop for this—you’ll have 9 large or 12(ish) more moderately sized biscuits total. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, until the tops are golden and spring back lightly when touched. Enjoy warm.
- For mix-ins, use about 1 tablespoon fresh herbs and 1/2 cup shredded cheese.
- *Whole wheat pastry flour will yield the most tender biscuit. My second choice would be white whole wheat flour, which is a tiny bit less tender but has a mild flavor. Regular whole wheat flour works too, but the wheat taste will be more noticeable.
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