Beautiful biscuits: cream (no shortening), and a gentle hand.

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Beautiful biscuits are elusive to many bakers. My first-ever biscuits some 40 years ago were rocks. Phrases like “cut in the shortening” or “stir only until moistened” were not part of my vocabulary or skill set when I was a teenage baker.

How was I to know that my dough, stirred smooth into a batter and dropped on the cookie sheet, would yield biscuit rocks of family legend? Biscuits my dad talks about to this day?

Thankfully, King Arthur Flour has a guaranteed recipe for biscuits. These guaranteed recipes are perfect for beginning bakers, and for those who just need a bit of baking success to yield picture-perfect treats that will boost their confidence.

This guaranteed biscuit recipe veers off the usual biscuit-making path. There’s no need to cut in shortening, and you’ll use two ingredients – cornstarch, and heavy cream – to make delightfully tender biscuits with great taste. The cornstarch lowers the protein of the flour, which produces a more tender biscuit. The heavy cream provides the fat that helps create the flaky layers in great biscuits.

Let’s get started with these Guaranteed Biscuits.

Measure out the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Portion the ingredients around the top of the flour to help you keep track of the dry ingredients you’ve already used.

Whisk or stir together King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and sugar. I like to use the same fork I’ll use to stir in the cream.

Stir in enough heavy cream to moisten the dough thoroughly. You’ll probably use 1 cup in the summer, 1 1/4 cups in the winter, and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons at the turn of the seasons.

I like to use a fork to mix and push the clumping dough to the side of the bowl. Mixing with a spoon only encourages over-mixing, which means tough biscuits later!

Add any additional liquid to the dry bits that remain in the bottom of the bowl. My fellow baker, Susan Reid, likes to gather her biscuit dough by placing the dough chunks onto a piece of parchment paper, then folding it over to continue to gather the dough and create the flaky layers.

Gather the dough with a bowl & dough scraper or your open hand used like a flat scraper. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat the dough to an 8″ circle; or use a rolling pin to flatten the dough.

Once you think the dough is the right size, test by placing an 8″ round pan over the top of the dough.

Use a pastry & biscuit cutter to cut rounds. Be sure to push the cutter straight into the dough and lift straight up! Somewhere I learned to twist the cutter as I raise it out of the dough, but this doesn’t help create tall biscuits; it actually hurts, as it compresses their edges, making it harder for them to rise.

Using a 2 3/4″ cutter will yield about 8 biscuits; using a 2″ cutter will yield about 15 smaller biscuits.

The first cutting of dough will yield the most tender biscuits. This looks like a stone inukshuk, but stacking the pieces instead of kneading the dough will help keep the layers when you roll or press out the dough and do the second cutting.

Place the cut biscuits on a cookie sheet. My fellow baker, Frank Tegethoff, says for beautiful biscuits,  flip them over as you place them on the baking sheet.

This recipe calls for a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. We love our new  King Arthur Flour pans, as there’s no need to grease or line with parchment. Those distinctive ridges provides air circulation all around, for better browning, more even baking, and perfect release.

Before you bake, place the pan of biscuits in the freezer for 30 minutes. This will improve the biscuits’ texture and rise. Preheat your oven to 425° while the biscuits are chillin’.

Bake the biscuits for 20 minutes, until they’re golden brown.

This recipe suggests you add extra flavor to the biscuits by brushing them with melted butter before baking.

Enjoy your biscuits as a snack with butter, jam, or honey. They can also be used as a base for strawberry shortcake. I top hot chicken pot pie or stew with cut biscuits, then bake to make a one-dish meal.

Happy 81st Birthday to my Dad, who uses nearly every family gathering to mention my first batch of biscuits. Once he tastes biscuits made from this recipe, he’ll forget that long-ago batch!

Please read, rate, and review our recipe for Guaranteed Biscuits.

comments

  1. penandra

    This recipe is almost identical to the recipe that I use for biscuits except for the cornstarch . . . . I hadn’t though of adding that, and I know that it will make them so much more tender! Can’t wait to try this. When I make up a batch of biscuits and keep them in the freezer to have on hand for a weeknight meal. While it’s not alot of work, when I’m rushed in the evenings, biscuits seem overwhelming. But, if I can just pull them out of the freezer and pop them in the oven, they are a delight! (Also a delight on Sunday morning when I just want to get my cup of tea made and sit and read the paper!) Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Abayommi Williams

      When the recipe calls for cream – I am to understand you are not talking about regular milk. Is evaporated can milk thick enough? Please define.
      Love this website.

      Peace

    2. MaryJane Robbins

      Yes, you’ll want to use a higher fat cream when your recipe calls for it. The difference in fat makes a big difference in texture and flavor. You could use evaporated milk in any recipe calling for regular milk though. ~ MJ

  2. fran16250

    These look awsome! I too have been the brunt of many jabs about my baking snafus. I ususally remind my family how few and far between they are and remind them of how lucky they are that I often bake them many wonderful things. After all, nobody’s perfect! I usually have half and half in the house, could that be substituted for the heavy cream?
    I have a tin of bakewell cream from KAF. The recipe on the back of the tin makes wonderfully high biscuits.
    Half and half won’t make the biscuits as nice and tender, as the cream has more fat.

    Reply
  3. deniseebr

    Wow! What perfect timing! I was just saying to my husband last night that I need to get biscuits to store in the freezer so I can bake as many as I need. With 2 teenagers, we’re often running on crazy schedules. Even though we try to eat together as often as we can, there are times we’re running in different directions. This recipe looks so yummy. My mouth is watering just thinking about them and I just finished lunch! LOL! I think I’ll try this tonight!

    Reply
  4. Rose Fox

    Any suggestions for non-dairy versions of this recipe? I have a dairy allergy (not just lactose intolerance) and I’ve had the hardest time making really good biscuits without butter or cream.

    We did not test this recipe with any non-dairy alternatives. But, please feel free to experiment with your favorite non-dairy alternatives and let us know how they turn out! kelsey@KAF

    Reply
  5. Missbread

    KAF you read my mind! I was looking for a good biscuit recipe.
    It’s gray and rainy here, so I’m planning on biscuits and sausage gravy for dinner. Can’t wait to try the biscuits. Thanks!
    What time is dinner? Biscuits and sausage gravy is the BEST! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  6. Becky

    Wow, these look SO good! Too bad I didn’t buy any cream at the store yesterday, cause I’m planning to make biscuits (via another recipe) next week. Hmm, I might have to change plans : )

    Reply
  7. Geeful

    Alton Brown’s tip is to arrange them on the baking pan so they’re touching. That helps them rise even more. I have some bratwurst stew in the crockpot; I’m totally making these tonight!

    Reply
  8. milkwithknives

    Ahh, cream INSTEAD of butter! I’d heard of cream biscuits before but just thought you used cream instead of milk or buttermilk. My goodness, these do look like a good alternative for those of us who are “cut in the butter” challenged bakers. And cream always goes on sale before Thanksgiving, too.

    Actually, I have been in the habit of using the Hi Maize flour whenever I make biscuits. Works like crazy. Good to know about the regular cornstarch trick in case I ever run out of the Hi Maize. Do you suppose tapioca or rice flour could fill the same role? We always have those in our pantry for noodle making.

    Neither tapioca nor rice flour is a resistant starch. They will work for tenderizing, but not for adding fiber. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  9. sallybr

    My husband is the biscuit maker in our home, and he is soooo partial to his family recipe, that I’ve never been able to try a different one (we’ve been married almost 11 years)

    I might have to sneak this one when he’s not paying attention… :-)

    Reply
  10. emdh

    I love to try new biscuit recipes so am anxious to see how these turn out. One quick question before I bake — if I keep KA Pastry Blend Flour on hand, would that be the same as the AP plus the cornstarch? (I’ve got a few bags that are expiring soon so might want to use it instead.) Thanks!
    Emilie

    Pastry flour or Perfect Pastry Blend are both 100% wheat flours, both softer than All-Purpose. You could use either of these, for both the flour and cornstarch amounts, in this recipe for tender biscuits. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  11. lishy

    I can bake a lot of things really well, but biscuits were never one of them. I adore biscuits and always had difficulty making good ones. Until this recipe. It is the only one I make anymore. I love them, and since one of my hubby’s favorite things is sausage gravy and biscuits, it is great to finally be able to make the biscuits as good as the gravy. I have some heavy cream just waiting for this now. Biscuits with butter and jam for breakfast. With chicken pot pie filling for dinner. I love adding black pepper and cheese for savory applications. Yum, and thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply
  12. twizzler

    Can I make these bisuits earlier in the day and then tame them to where I am eating Thanksgiving dinner and reheat. If so, what temperature and how long? Thanks!

    Yes, you could definitely lightly reheat these biscuits before serving. Reheat foil-wrapped biscuits in a 300° F. oven for 10 to 12 minutes. kelsey@KAF

    Reply
  13. pasfrk

    sorry to tell you this, but even if every batch of biscuits turns out great from now on, your dad will still remember the first rock hard batch! I know because I haven’t been able to make a decent biscuit/bread recipe and they just have too much fun reminding me of it. lol Am going to try this recipe and hope I can manage it.

    Reply
  14. Pamela in Fairfax, VA

    I made a batch last night for dinner. They were wonderful. I was out of KA AP flour and did not want to try this recipe with the KA white whole wheat, so I used White Lily that I had on hand. Neverthless my biscuits rose to the occasion. This is a keeper.

    Reply
  15. lnfb

    We have a side by side fridge – there is no way to get a sheet pan into the freezer. Any suggestions? This isn’t the only recipe that I’ve hesitated to make due to lack of freezer space.

    Does a 9 x13 inch pan fit in your freezer? I would transfer the biscuits to 9 x 13 inch (or a smaller pan that fits in your freezer) for the 30 minutes. The biscuits might need to sit side-by-side for the freezer duration, but then space them back out onto cookie sheets before baking. Might take a few more steps, but I think you could make it work! kelsey

    Reply
  16. stanville

    I have several quarter sheet pans specifically to use to freeze stuff on–line with wax paper or freezer paper, freeze in individual servings, and peel off and individually wrap and transfer to big freezer when solid. Freezer in the fridge freezes faster than in the chest freezer.

    Reply
  17. svanzutfen

    I was thinking about the Zo (thinking, not owning) and got an email tempting me with a free shipping deal from KAF. Then, while realizing I needed some new pans another KAF email — advertising a discount on their pans. Planning to make stew and biscuits for dinner, I clicked over to the Baking Banter blog, and saw this post. Are you all reading my mind over at KAF? Anyway, good news for my wallet – no purchases necessary as my kitchen is always stocked with King Arthur’s AP flour and I had cream on hand. Thank you for this! I have been wanting to make my first biscuits and had printed this recipe out awhile ago. Tried it tonight and cut my biscuits into squares as suggested on the recipe page for the inexperienced round-shaper. Looking back, I think my dough was a bit too dry, but my family had enthusiastic seconds and I believe my young toddler said her first sentence as they came out of the oven — “I want one!”

    Reply
  18. Des

    are these “biscuits” same as scones? Possible to make scones using same recipe (maybe add in raisins as well)?

    Very similar, Des – in fact, cream scones are made like this. Add a couple of tablespoons of sugar, if you like; and shape into wedges for more of a scone look. Raisins or currants are, of course, always welcome! You could also sprinkle some coarse sugar on top, if you’re so inclined… PJH

    Reply
  19. aaronatthedoublef

    Looks good. Can I mix up a couple of batches and then freeze them and bake them as I need them?

    Thanks,

    Aaron
    Absolutely! Just freeze them individually, then bag up and use when needed. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  20. apsmith51

    I have another biscuit recipe that I am famous for baking. Decided to try this recipe and now this is THE ONE!! Amazingly tender. Can’t wait to make some up and freeze them for use as we want them.

    Reply
  21. wendynowell

    I have been looking for a “no-fail” biscuit recipe! I can bake all sorts of other breads but biscuits have always failed on me… Will try this this weekend… And I love that you can freeze them for future use!

    Reply
  22. verojohns

    These look amazing! I’m trying to add more fiber to my baking and have some whole wheat pastry flour on hand. Will these turn out light and fluffy with the WWPF? I make killer buttermilk pancakes useing wwpf mixed with AP flour – was wondering if straight wwpf would work here?

    Not as light and fluffy, no. Unlike pancakes, which are basically flat (as in “flat as a…”), these need to rise. I’d try half and half first, see how you like them, then go from there. PJH

    Reply
  23. sewingchar170

    Can I use the Hi-maize flour in place of the corn starch in this recipe and still get the lightness?

    It haven’t tried it, but Hi-maize should fulfill the same function, plus add fiber… I’d say go for it. :) PJH

    Reply
  24. dawgpatch3

    Two questions…can the sugar be left out and do I have to make any adjustments with oven temp. or baking time if biscuits are frozen?

    Yes, you can leave out the sugar. The recipe calls for biscuits to be frozen for 30 minutes before baking; by that time, they’re frozen pretty solid. But if you’ve had them in the freezer for awhile, you may want to add 5 minutes or so to the baking time. PJH

    Reply
  25. hdrakep

    I have been making cream biscuits for many years. My mother made wonderful old fashioned biscuits (and pie crust dough) but I never mastered either. Thus, my use of an alternative recipe. The first cream biscuit recipe I used called for self-rising flour, heavy cream, and sugar (optional). I didn’t always have self-rising flour, so was quite happy when America’s Test Kitchen came out with a recipe using regular flour. It is quite similar to yours except for the corn starch. However, unlike your recipe, they say the dough actually benefits from a little extra handling. I had always used my mother’s adage about not handling the dough for the most tender biscuits. But that one tip made a big difference in how high (much higher) my biscuits rose during the baking. Is it the cornstarch in your recipe that accounts for the difference?

    No, cornstarch is there for tenderizing, not rising. If you like the ATK method, I say stick with it – all of us bakers do things a tiny bit differently. For me, I can feel the difference in the dough when it’s handled more rather than less – it gets tough. I’d rather have a slightly lower-rising biscuit that’s more tender; perhaps others prefer a higher-rising biscuit that’s a bit tougher. Each to his own, eh? PJH

    Reply
  26. suelynn

    I made biscuits with cooking oil because my Daddy always wanted a sopping biscuit. I can’t wait to try these. Can I use the Hi Maize flour instead of all-purpose?

    Sure, give it a try – your results may be slightly different (possible lower rise), but should be quite acceptable. PJH

    Reply
  27. meedee

    My family just loves these biscuits plus my buttermilk biscuits. These are so easy to fix. They are very tender and soft. Now I have two favorite recipes. Thank you KAF!

    Reply
  28. "Barb in Oklahoma"

    I was eager to try this recipe, but have no cream on hand, so I’m using 1 cup buttermilk and 1/4 c.melted cooled butter to make the biscuits richer. I put the “square” dough in the freezer, but took it out when half way frozen and then cut through the dough and got a nice sharp cut. Then placed it back in the freezer to finish while I heated the oven. The biscuits rose perfectly, nice and high, and tender inside. I am very picky and passionate about biscuits, but I would definitely use this recipe again for it’s sheer ease. I may go with a whole milk and butter combo next time, because that much cream, lets face it is much more expensive than using real butter, for some reason.
    Thanks for sharing your changes. Happy baking!

    Reply
  29. Jean DeKraker

    I had some remarkable biscuits with rosemary recently. I started looking for recipes that I might adapt. I like the looks of this biscuit but I’m reluctant to make anything with cream. any suggestions on a less caloric substitute? also, any recommendations on how much rosemary? thanks, Jean

    Unfortunately one of the building blocks to a great biscuit is a great fat. Either cream, butter, shortening or lard; lower fat options (like margarine, light cream) can be used, but it will alter the flavor and texture of the biscuit. Also, I would suggest to add about 1/4 cup of chopped rosemary to start with to your recipe!-Jon

    Reply
  30. Kellie G

    Three quick questions:

    I see a comment about using Pastry Flour — what about Cake Flour? Could you use that in the recipe in the place of the flour/cornstarch as well?
    Cake Flour can be a bit too low when it comes to protein. Biscuits should be flaky and not crumbly, so you don’t want so little gluten they can’t retain their shape. I’d use some AP flour if you wanted to try cake flour: go 50/50. You could replace the cornstarch with cake flour, too, but it will alter the texture and prevent them from being so velvety.

    Also, if I wanted to parbake half of the biscuits and freeze them (instead of freezing the dough and having to roll out later), how long would you suggest to bake before removing from oven? I was thinking about half the time or until they’d completed rising without browning. Or would it be better to freeze the cut dough and let it bake the full 20 mins? I’m scared I won’t get the rise out of it if I freeze the dough.
    You would do best to freeze the biscuits when they are cut individually. You do not want to par-bake biscuits as you might for yeast doughs. The rise will be better from frozen, actually, as the butter will stay in layers and not melt as quickly into the dough!

    It’s only two of us, So we can only eat a couple each at one sitting. Being able to pop a couple of biscuits into the oven in the am for about 10 mins would be great this fall and winter to hand the kiddo something warm to nom on before school started. We just need to test the theory this summer.

    Lastly, I saw another suggestion to add 2 TBSP sugar and fruit to turn them into scones. What about blueberries? Would they be too wet?
    The berries would definitely add moisture to the biscuits, but they will turn out like scones. Any berry is fine, as long as you cut them into fairly small pieces and fold them gently into the dough when you add the cream/liquid. For this size recipe, I would start with 1 cup of berries and see how they turn out. Best, Kim@KAF

    Reply
  31. Old One

    I made my first batch of these biscuits a few days back, made one change, and came up with what I would term ’round scones’ rather than soft, tender and well risen. The taste was wonderful, though.

    No salt diet, so I omitted the salt completely. I used an 8 inch round bright aluminum pan, and it held seven of the eight bisccuits (scones) I came up with. The eighth one was just pressed together bits left over from the cutting process. The seven in the pan were nestled (not jammed) together, atop one of your rounds of parchment paper. The lonesome eighth sat in a small dark metal round pan. That one browned nicely in the prescribed baking time, but the pan of seven needed an additional ten minutes.

    I otherwise followed the recipe meticulously, mixing with a fork and piling the moistened chunks on wax paper, then folding the paper up around the dough to form a ball and turned it out and pressed it down with the bottom of the eight inch pan until the dough was the same size circle as the pan.

    I used one of your metal cookie cutters, pushing straight down, no twisting, turning or rocking motion, then inverted them into the pan. My oven has been tested and is true to the settings. I froze them all for 30 minutes while heating the oven.

    Question: No salt a problem with the lack of rising? They rose only a slight bit, nothing like your photos.

    Thanks, and forgive me for being so lengthy.

    Old One

    The reason the picture biscuits look higher is because we did not press the dough too thin. This recipe does not rise all that much. If you want them to be higher do not flatten the dough as much.

    Reply
  32. cramers

    First time making these this morning and they turned out great.
    Had never made biscuits from scratch before and this recipe was quick and easy.
    After cutting the biscuits I gathered up the scrap pieces of dough and
    made a final “franken-biscuit”. Even it was good!
    Thanks for a great recipe.

    Reply
  33. vicsens

    I have been making these biscuits since coming across the recipe on your site about a year ago. They are without a doubt the best biscuits I have ever made or tasted! When I mix these up I always make a double batch so I can have a supply in the freezer for quick biscuits any time. Thank you KAF for this easy, delicious recipe. I so appreciate all the tips and information I’ve gained from the blogs – they have made me a better baker.

    Reply
  34. member-a101pat

    I am so excited to try this recipe. I left a comment asking about flour, however I forgot to ask another question, so I will list my questions here:
    1 instead of Unbleached All-Purpose Flour can I use the Glutenfree Multi-purpose flour?
    2. instead of cream what would be the measurements using 2% milk?
    3. Instead of handling the dough can a stand alone Kitchen Aid mixer work just as well?

    Looking forward in your response.

    Pat

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hello Pat, we have not tried this recipe with gluten free flour but we do have several gluten free biscuits on our website. I would suggest to check them out. Also, this recipe really needs the cream as it provides the majority of the flavor and tenderness from the fat. If you were to use 2% milk, the measurement would be the same but expect the biscuits to be less tender and flavorful. You can use a mixer to make this dough, but you need to be careful not to over-mix the dough. It is pretty easy to do so in a mixer. Jon@KAF

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