Biscuits are prized for their flakiness and dramatic rise. Often they’re made with buttermilk, which historically was leftover after churning butter. The theory is that its acidity, combined with a small amount of baking soda, will result in a more dramatic rise and a tangy flavor.–Julie Van Rosendaal and Jan Scott

What’s the difference between using milk vs. buttermilk when making biscuits?

Often, biscuits are made with buttermilk. This is because the acid in buttermilk reacts with baking soda, giving your biscuits a loftier rise, with more crunch and a sturdier texture. And they’ll have that classic buttermilk flavor. Milk biscuits should have softer insides but are still satisfyingly flaky, while not rising as significantly. Visually, biscuits made with milk won’t darken as much in the oven, either.

Five irregular shaped cheddar biscuits with golden edges, on a wooden cutting board.

Cheddar Biscuits

5 / 5 votes
Everyone should know how to make Cheddar biscuits. With cheese baked inside, these are perfect for serving alongside soups and stews or for splitting and stuffing with pulled pork. The recipe is easily doubled to serve an even larger crowd.
David Leite
Servings8 to 12 biscuits
Calories259 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time35 minutes


  • Biscuit or cookie cutter (optional)


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 1/2 to 1 cup grated Cheddar, (depending on just how much you like cheese)
  • 3/4 cup 2% or whole milk, or substitute buttermilk (either low-fat or full-fat), plus more as needed


  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl or the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and mix with a fork, a pastry cutter, or your fingertips or pulse in the food processor until well combined and crumbly. If using a food processor, dump the mixture into a bowl.
  • Add the cheese and toss to combine, using more cheese if you’re into an intense Cheddar biscuit experience. Add the milk (or buttermilk) and stir just until the dough comes together. It may be necessary to add a little more milk (or buttermilk), 1 tablespoon at a time, just until the mixture comes together in a shaggy dough.
  • For wedge-shaped biscuits, pat the dough into a circle about 1 inch (2 1/2 centimeters) thick on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Cut the circle into 8 wedges and separate them so that they are at least an inch apart. For round biscuits, pat the dough into a circle or square about 1 inch (2 1/2 centimeters) thick on your work surface and cut it into rounds with a biscuit or cookie cutter, rim of a glass, or end of an empty can. Move the biscuits to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Gently reshape any dough scraps and cut more biscuits.
  • Bake the biscuits for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden. Let cool slightly. Best when served warm.

Adapted From

Gatherings: Bringing People Together with Food

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Serving: 1 biscuitCalories: 259 kcalCarbohydrates: 26 gProtein: 6 gFat: 15 gSaturated Fat: 9 gMonounsaturated Fat: 4 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 40 mgSodium: 130 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 1 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2014 Julie Van Rosendaal | Jan Scott. Photo © 2014 Julie Van Rosendaal. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

These biscuits rock! The ingredients were readily available, and the recipe was a cinch to put together. I used 6 ounces of shredded Tillamook extra-sharp Cheddar cheese and buttermilk. I divided the dough into 8 wedge-shaped biscuits and baked them for the full 20 minutes. The result was a crunchy biscuit with browned flakes of Cheddar. The perfect addition to our scrambled egg breakfast.

I love all kinds of biscuits. And these Cheddar biscuits are easy peasy! I used the food processor for the first part of the recipe. When adding the cold butter, it’s important that it’s not incorporated completely into the flour. There should be little pieces of butter. This way, the butter melts between the layers of flour in the oven, rendering the biscuits flaky and tender.

I served these for breakfast on Valentine’s Day, warm from the oven, and my husband was thrilled. The cheese added flavor but was still quite subtle. The biscuits needed some preserves—marmalade or any jam would work well. I’ll definitely add this recipe to my biscuit list.

I mean, seriously, who doesn’t love biscuits and Cheddar—and, by default, Cheddar biscuits? Mine had a lovely texture, a delicious smell, and tasted excellent both without embellishments and when dipped in spaghetti sauce. In fact, I’m pretty sure this is my new go-to biscuit recipe, as it was both husband- and dog-approved.

This recipe took about 15 minutes of prep time, and the wedges required exactly 20 minutes in the oven before the tops were golden, so it took 35 minutes from start to finish—excellent for a meal accompaniment. I used 47 grams or 1.6 ounces Beecher’s Flagship Aged White Cheddar. This caused a fight in my house about whether white Cheddar is real Cheddar, but in the end, everyone ate several biscuits, so I think the white Cheddar prevailed.

The recipe says you can use buttermilk or regular milk. We are a skim milk family, so I duly added it then scratched my head in frustration as the very dry dough did not come together. It literally crumbled in my hands and seemed doomed to be a dry disaster. The edges split apart a little when pressing into the round, but no major dough cracks occurred. I think you can tell when you get the right milk-to-dry ingredient ratio because the dough holds together without being soggy. You need higher fat content milk—like 2%. Skinny skim is not going to cut it for the best biscuits ever. In order to remedy the situation, I added 1/4 cup half-and-half. My 3/4 cup skim milk plus 1/4 cup half-and-half concoction resulted in delicious, soft, moist wedges.

I love biscuits. And this Cheddar biscuits recipe was handy, as I had company, and it seemed to be the perfect thing to serve for breakfast. I used 8 ounces butter instead of 4 ounces, and it made for incredibly moist, flaky, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth biscuits. I used Old Canadian yellow Cheddar. I used a food processor to combine the mixture and a round cookie cutter to make 12 biscuits. I served them with butter and homemade apricot preserves.

I am a biscuit purist from the Deep South and Cajun Country, depending on whose geography is at play. A biscuit for me is just that—a biscuit. No gimmicks, no additions, no fancy-schmancy names. That said, the method for these Cheddar biscuits is easy. The kitchen smelled delicious, and the taste was spot-on.

These took about 20 minutes to mix and get on the baking sheet, followed by 20 minutes in the oven. I cheated and made a 6-by-9-inch rectangle and cut that baby into squares. There was method in the madness—I fried up some bacon that I’d cut into small pieces and sprinkled it on top of a biscuit, then dropped a sunny-side-up egg on top of that. With an unadulterated biscuit on the side for the taste test, it was time for breakfast. They were both good.

This recipe makes biscuits that are reminiscent of those we used to get at every party we attended down here—cheesy hot bites that often included some hot sausage. I think this recipe would be grand made in bite-size portions and served with drinks. A “real” biscuit loves sausage and cheese, too, only it would be sliced thinly and stuffed inside. I used white Cheddar. Next time I will try these biscuits rolled instead of patted into shape and will use a glass to cut circles.

These Cheddar biscuits are the perfect complement to a hot bowl of soup. They’re easy to mix up and were perfectly done in 20 minutes. I shaped the dough into a round on the parchment-lined baking sheet and cut it into 8 wedges. Very easy and less waste than cutting out biscuits because there are no scraps to re-roll. I used 2 1/2 ounces Kerrygold aged Cheddar and enjoyed the subtle tang it added to the biscuit. The recipe made 8 biscuit wedges, and I served them with chowder. Yum!

These cheesy breads were quick and easy to pull together and were a nice addition to a weeknight meal of leftover pork roast and green beans. They smelled wonderfully of caramelized Cheddar, just like the little bits that fall off of a grilled cheese sandwich in the pan. I went all out and used a whole cup of grated, aged Cheddar.

Mine didn’t puff up as much as biscuits are supposed to, but my biscuits tend to have that problem, so I’m not sure if that issue was due to the recipe or my mishandling of the dough. They seemed more like savory scones than biscuits to me, but that may be because I cut them in wedges rather than using a biscuit cutter.

For cheese, I used Cabot “seriously sharp” 14-month aged white Cheddar. (A loosely packed cup of cheese = 4 1/2 ounces.) This produced 8 wedge-shaped biscuits that were about 2 1/2 to 3 inches at their widest point and 3 1/2 to 4 inches long. I used full-fat buttermilk for the milk component. These were mixed by hand, not in a food processor. The biscuits were slightly overdone on the bottom at 20 minutes, so a few minutes less (2 to 3 minutes) at 425°F would be optimal, at least with my oven.

I don’t know why, but I always think of biscuits as being more of a project than they are. This recipe proved me wrong. Due to a last-minute emergency, I had to split the recipe between 2 nights. I measured the dry ingredients into the food processor one evening, which only took a few minutes, and I finished with the cheese grating, ingredient blitzing, and biscuit shaping the next day. So easy and doable on a weeknight.

I used 1 cup (4 ounces) smoked Cheddar and had a hard time getting my dough to hold together in order to shape it. I added an additional 1 tablespoon buttermilk, which seemed to do the trick. The wedges were still a little fragile to pull apart, but I was able to do so. The biscuits looked perfectly golden after 19 minutes in the oven.

The smell of melting cheese wafting through the house was delightful. I couldn’t wait for them to cool down to try one, so I broke off a small piece fairly soon after they came out of the oven. The texture was a bit more crumbly than other biscuits I’ve eaten, so I think I should’ve used a little more buttermilk to hold them together better. The flavor, though, was excellent. We enjoyed them with soup the next evening. While biscuits are typically best fresh, and these were no exception, they were still very good when kept for a week at room temperature.

Biscuits usually come together quickly, and these Cheddar biscuits were no exception. What we liked about this recipe was the crisp, crackly crust, and fluffy interiors with just a hint of Cheddar. I used 1/2 cup sharp white Cheddar, and they weren’t very cheesy. I’d add the full cup and maybe use a yellow Cheddar the next time. The 20 minutes baking time was spot-on. I always use a 2-inch biscuit cutter and this recipe made a generous 10 biscuits.

This is a perfect biscuit recipe. Perfect in the sense that it takes no time at all to make, requires only basic ingredients, and involves no rolling or fussiness of any kind. It’s also perfect in the sense that the biscuits are satisfying, buttery, and ultra flaky. I ate these biscuits alongside shrimp and grits, and I felt that I’d been making them all my life! They’re just perfect and so easy. Can’t mess with that.

I used aged (18 months) Australian Cheddar, though I don’t think there’s any reason to use aged—I’d just go with my personal favorite next time. I added about 3/4 cup cheese to the batter. In my opinion, that’s the smallest amount of cheese there should be in these biscuits. Next time I’ll go for a full cup. I opted for round biscuits, which I formed using the top of a glass jar. The biscuits were about 2 inches wide. This yielded exactly 8 biscuits. The 20 minutes was perfect timing, but the bottoms were starting to get pretty darn golden—I’d suggest checking them at 18 minutes.

This straightforward Cheddar biscuits recipe is a real winner. I used about 3 ounces sharp grocery store Cheddar, which translated to a fat cup when shredded. I liked the idea of cutting triangles from a disc, as if making scones. This recipe made 8 large, beautiful biscuits dotted with pretty flecks of cheese. I’m thinking I need to sneak down to the kitchen and have one right now!

These biscuits are great. They’re easy to make and taste good. I could imagine making them again and adding some spice or even some chipotle. I used pre-shredded, sharp Cheddar cheese from Whole Foods and buttermilk. I decided to make round biscuits. I patted the dough out to an inch thickness and used a biscuit cutter. They were about 3 inches in diameter, and the yield was 10 biscuits.

I have to admit, I went into this recipe thinking I wasn’t going to like them. I come from a Southern family in which my grandmother made biscuits from scratch every day. As the granddaughter who won her biscuit cutter because I was the first to succeed at Grandma’s biscuits, I thought there would be no way these biscuits would merit a testers’ choice. Wow, was I wrong! How could a dough that’s not kneaded nor rolled produce an acceptable biscuit? I even halved the recipe thinking these weren’t going to be very good but the recipe halved nicely, yielding 4 tasty gems.

I used a food processor, and the dough came together in 8 minutes. I only had pre-shredded Cheddar cheese which worked well and saved time. I measured out a heaping 1/4 cup, weighing 35 grams, which was the perfect amount. I only had milk in the house and used that. Since I have a round biscuit cutter, that’s what I used. These baked to a golden brown in 17 minutes. The biscuits are tender with a hard crust, not the fluffy, soft biscuits I’m used to. But the cheese was a perfect addition. A lot of times, quick biscuits have an odd flavoring in them, like onion powder or garlic. These were great with no seasoning. I served them warm with butter and I will serve them again and again. (Just don’t tell my Grandma!)

Yes. That was the word I heard when I served these freshly baked Cheddar biscuits warm from the oven. You have no idea how many times I have crossed my fingers and hoped for lovely biscuits and fallen short. Partly a lack of dough confidence, partly (maybe) overworking the dough, and certainly overthinking it. Even with really well-respected recipes, I’ve always come up just a little short of the kind of biscuit I’d hoped to make. And since biscuits (and scones and dumplings) were completely foreign in my childhood, I had no heritage to draw on.  But I was game.

I took any extra stress out of this recipe by doing a little prep ahead of time, so I could come home and turn on the oven and finish the recipe. I pre-measured the flour and put it with the baking soda and salt in the food processor. I cut the butter and put it back in the refrigerator to keep it chilled. When I walked in the door, I turned on the oven, grated the cheese (I used a whole cup lightly packed aged English Cheddar, which weighed 100 grams or 3 1/2 ounces), folded parchment paper to fit a quarter-sheet pan, and assembled the dough. Because overworking had been a problem for me in the past with this type of dough, I just lightly patted the biscuit dough into a circle and sliced it into 8 wedges, setting them gently apart by using an offset spatula. They were finished in exactly 20 minutes. Wow. Just wow.

It’s hard to believe that this simple-to-make recipe with only 6 ingredients yielded the best tasting cheese biscuits I’ve ever made. My family loved these. The biscuits were perfectly light, fluffy, and irresistibly good. It was hard to stop at just one.

From start to finish, I had these mouthwatering Cheddar biscuits on the breakfast table in under 30 minutes. I measured the ingredients directly into my stand mixer and the process of mixing and measuring took less than 5 minutes. I used 3/4 cup grated New York sharp Cheddar cheese. I patted out the mass of dough by hand, and I used a glass Ball jar with a 2 1/2-inch wide opening to cut my biscuits into 10 circles about an inch thick. I got these into the preheated oven right away while the dough was still nice and cold, and the biscuits rose beautifully and were starting get golden brown by the 15-minute mark, but I expected that as my oven runs somewhat hot.

The extra special touch that I’ve always wanted to try—I stole the idea from Bobby Flay—was grinding some black pepper over the top of each biscuit. It was brilliant! I’ll be storing the remaining biscuits at room temperature for breakfast tomorrow with bacon and eggs. I may even make an egg, bacon, and cheese biscuit sandwich—one of my favorite breakfast treats that’s so much better homemade!

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I am making these delicious smelling biscuits right now at 220 degrees C… After 7 minutes the tops are starting to turn dark brown… I lowered the temp 20 degrees and put a foil cover over them to hopefully save them… Wish me luck

    1. William, always a great idea to cover with foil if things are cooking faster than you would like. If you have an oven thermometer, you may want to check if the temperature is a bit hot. Our testers did find the cheese on the biscuits browned nicely and the biscuits had a crunchy bite. Please let us know how they turned out.

  2. 5 stars
    Last night I made these biscuits with 2 tbsp of sugar & 3% milk. Cheesy & Delicious, I have to try it with buttermilk.
    I made it in 2 layers, biscuit, cheddar, biscuit. I used my frying pan egg poacher to build them with.