Cheddar chive biscuits are an elevated savory version of your classic favorite buttermilk biscuits. Tender and flaky and best serve hot with lots of butter. Learn how to make biscuits from scratch with this homemade step-by-step recipe.
Honestly, one of the great pleasures in life is a warm, tender, straight-out-of-oven buttermilk biscuit my mom makes on Christmas morning. Either slathered with honey butter or a vessel for sausage gravy...or both! It is downhome southern comfort in one bite and there is nothing like it!
I have helped my mom makes hundreds of biscuits in my life growing up. From cutting in the cold butter with a pastry cutter till my hands are sore, to gently folding in the buttermilk, using the same old biscuit cutters that have been in our family for years that I love dearly, and gently placing them in the same cast iron skillets that have been past down in my family for generations. You can say biscuit-making is in my blood.... along with sweet tea. 😉
But today, we are taking that classic recipe and adding cheddar cheese and chives to give it this elevating savory twist that you will not be able to get enough of! These are perfect to serve on their own for breakfast or brunch, as a breakfast sandwich, dunking in a bowl of white chicken chili when it's cold out, or honestly just straight up by themselves with butter as a snack. Anyway is the perfect way to consume - so let's get baking!
You will need just a couple of pantry staple ingredients for cheddar chive biscuits.
- Flour - I always use King Arthur brand flour for all my baking recipes
- Baking Powder - make sure you have fresh baking powder - like within the past 6 months. I write the date on the lid so I don't forget to replace it every 6 months, even if it isn't used all the way (and it usually isn't). If you have old baking powder, this will affect the rise of the biscuits - they will not turn out as tall and tender as they should.
- Baking Soda - same as the baking powder - this needs to be fresh!
- Salt & Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
- Butter - make sure your butter is cold! Take it straight out of the fridge before needed. Read below in the "Biscuit Making Tips and Tricks" for ways to keep this cold throughout this process. Using cold butter will help ensure we get those beloved flaky layers in the biscuits we all love!
- Cheddar Cheese - shred your own from a block on the second finest grate on a cheese grater! Do not use pre-shredded bagged cheese for this! It is worth a little bit of extra effort - trust me!
- Chives - fresh and finely minced
- Buttermilk - link for how to make your own at home
- Egg & Flaked Sea Salt - for topping before baking
You will need a couple of tools that will make this recipe just a bit easier.
- Pastry Cutter - this will help cut the fat into the dough making it ultra tender and flaky
- Food Processor - alternatively, you can also use a food processor to chop up the butter in the flour. This way is a little faster - both work and just a personal preference. I do both
- Cheese Grater - for grating your own cheese (we will be using the second grate for this recipe)
- Rolling Pin
- Cast Iron Skillet - the key to cooking these biscuits
- Pastry Scraper - I use this to slice the biscuits for this recipe (a knife can also be used), but also to clean off the countertops after.
To use a pastry cutter or a food processor for this recipe? It is a personal preference and I have done both! I grew up only using a pastry cutter and cutting in the fats by hand in a large bowl. But I have also used a food processor to make it a little faster. If using a food processor though - only use it to cut in the butter into the flour! After that, transfer it to a large bowl and add the rest by hand so that the dough will not be overworked and tough. Do not add the cheese, chives, and buttermilk to the food processor, and use that to mix! It will overwork it and will not result in tender tall biscuits.
Step 1 - Preheat oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2 - Mix dry ingredients. Mix flour and spices ingredients together in a large bowl.
Step 3 - Cut in cold butter. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the cold butter until the dough has pea-sized clumps in it and is crumbly.
Step 4 - Add wet ingredients and cheese. Hand-grate cheddar cheese on the second finest grate hole. Add to flour mixture along with minced chives and buttermilk. Gently mix with a spatula until the dough has just come together. Do not over-mix! It will still look a little dry and crumbly - that is ok!
Step 5 - Prep Dough. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and gently bring it together in a rectangle (roughly 6 ½"x9" and about ½" tall) with your hands and a rolling pin.
Step 6 - Cutting biscuits. Slice the rectangle in thirds, and stack each rectangle on top of the other. Gently roll out into a rectangle again till about the size of a 5 ½"x9" about a ½"-¾" tall. Cut down the middle of the dough longways and then into 4 horizontal slices - making 8 small square biscuits.
Step 7 - Baking biscuits. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper with the biscuits close together. Whisk the egg in a bowl and brush over the top of the biscuits using a pastry brush. Sprinkle with flaked sea salt. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 13-15 minutes.
Step 8 - Serving biscuits. Remove from the oven and enjoy immediately hot and fresh.
Biscuit-Making Tips and Tricks
It can be easy to mess up homemade biscuits. Here are a couple of tips that will help you in your baking process.
- ONE - do not overwork the dough! This is the most important tip! To keep homemade cheddar chive biscuits tender and soft - so the key is you CANNOT overwork the tender dough. Bring together the dough with your hands and use gentle pressure with the rolling pin. You do not want to be squeezing, pressing, rolling hard, and bringing the dough together a bunch. This will result in dense biscuits that will not be tender and rise tall. The dough will be crumbly throughout the process and that is ok and correct.
- TWO - use cold fats. Using cold butter will help the biscuits have a tender flaky texture. When the cold butter pieces hit the hot heat of the oven, the water in the butter will evaporate leaving pockets of air that will create the flaky layers we love. If the butter gets too warm throughout the process this will hinder this from happening. It is important that your butter and buttermilk be straight out of the fridge and that you work quickly with the dough. If it has been out a while, pop the biscuits in the freezer for 10 minutes after you have brushed it with an egg wash before baking to help them chill again.
- THREE - cutting the fats into small pieces. You want to make sure the biscuit dough resembles a crumbly texture with pea-sized butter pieces cut into the dough before adding the buttermilk. By having small pieces of fat in the dough, you are ensuring a tender and flaky biscuit every time. Using a pastry cutter or a food processor will make this easy to do.
Frequently Asked Questions
Bake and cool biscuits. Place on a baking sheet and place in the freezer for 30 minutes to flash freeze. Put the frozen biscuits in a freezer-safe ziptop bag sealed airtight for 6 months. To thaw - move to fridge for 24 hours before use. Pop in the microwave for 10-20 seconds to gently warm back up to serve if desired.
Keep leftovers stored in an airtight ziptop bag in the fridge for 3 days. Pop in the microwave for 10 seconds to gently warm back up.
Using a cast iron skillet to bake biscuits is what has been done in my family for generations. It gives it the perfectly baked bottom and just overall better flavor - while I have no way to prove that, it's just what has been done for generations and I continue to do the same. Since these biscuits are square, if you do not have a cast iron skillet to fit them, using a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for this recipe will also work.
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