I love them! That’s the long and short of it. But since this a blog, I’ll say a bit more about how I came up with my own cheese biscuit creation.
A Red Lobster Origin Story
Yes, my recipe is very much inspired by Red Lobster’s famous biscuits. For kid Sho, a trip to Red Lobster was all about the “Cheddar bay biscuits” awaited me. Sure, I liked shrimp in all the ways (that scampi!), but I was focused on diving into the basket of warm garlic buttery biscuits as soon as they hit the table. They were soft and fluffy and mildly cheesy and I’d try, with varying levels of success, to secure leftover or bonus biscuits for my doggy bag. Today, my trips to Red Lobster are few and far between but I still find it hard to resist cheese biscuits where ever I find them.
Local Bakery Inspo
Last year, I discovered Erie Bakery in Rutherford NJ and it quickly became my weekly “treat yo self” stop before work. They have great sweet baked goods, but the showstopper for me was their amazing cheesy ham and leek biscuit. I loved the crunchy exterior and tangy flavor. That sprinkle of flaky salt on top…SMH. Amazing.
Once I switched jobs and was no longer able to get my weekly fix, I was determined to develop my own cheese biscuit pulling from my years as a casual connoisseur. After several rounds of tinkering I landed on a biscuit with cheddar, scallions and a hint of smoky heat from chipotle powder. I love that the crust has a bit of crunch and the insides are both cheesy and fluffy. I dabbled with a garlic butter glaze, but it didn’t test as well with my friends so I left if out and kept things simple. I love all my recipes, but this one holds a special place in my heart.
In my early years of biscuit making, I would often end up with burned bottoms before the tops were brown. Why though?! Recently, I made a simple change that solved the problem. I moved the oven rack higher so the pan is further away from the heat. Now the biscuit tops get a chance to brown in the time it takes for the bottoms to cook. Yes, it seems obvious, but it’s a detail missing from many biscuit recipes!
These Cheesy Chipotle Biscuits also use a special technique I first shared in my Heavenly Blueberry Lemon Scones. It replaces the traditional step of cutting the butter into small pieces and incorporating them into the biscuit dough “just enough”. After a few too many flat and tough biscuit batches, I can assure you it’s hard to determine when the dough is mixed “just enough” but not overhandled. Instead, I choose to melt the butter and mix it with very cold buttermilk to form small solid bits of butter. You then simply stir the mixture into the dry ingredients and scoop out the dough onto the baking sheet. There is minimal manipulation of the dough, which prevents glutens from developing and the butter from melting. Fluffy, tender, golden biscuits, here we go!
Better With Cheddar
Of course, cheddar was my choice cheese given my Red Lobster biscuit beginnings. After playing around with various cheeses, I’ve found that sharper varieties work best to delivery a pronounced cheese flavor. I really like Tillamook Sharp Cheddar. For this recipe, you use a finer grate size so the cheese can be more evenly dispersed throughout the dough. This helps keep the biscuits fluffy. If you can, avoid using pre-shredded cheese as they contain cellulose or other anti-caking agents that keep the cheese from melting nicely.
Chipotle chile powder could be swapped with smoked paprika or another dried chili powder.
Scallions/green onions can be replaced with chives or even finely sliced leeks.
Buttermilk substitutions abound online, but I haven’t tried any in this recipe. I imagine any of these options could work.
My First Cooking Video!!
My friends, Christina and Brian, helped me make this video back in February before Covid-19 stole the show. I really wanted people to see and believe how easy it is to make great biscuits at home -even if you don’t consider yourself a baker!
I hope to make more videos in the future. Let me know if you give these biscuits a try!
Cheesy Chipotle Biscuits
You, Yes, you can make delicious cheese biscuits with crunchy edges and fluffy centers in less than an hour!
The sharper the cheddar, the better here.
As written, this is a mildly spicy biscuit (fine for most kids and sensitive palates). Feel free to increase the chipotle powder in the biscuit or sprinkle more on top if you want more heat!
- ½ stick (56 g) unsalted butter
- 6 oz (170 g) sharp Cheddar cheese
- 2 scallions/green onions
- 2 cups (260 g) all purpose flour
- ¾ tsp fine salt
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp white sugar
- ½ tsp chipotle chile powder (for hint of heat)
- 1 ¼ cup (300 ml) buttermilk (keep cold)
- medium bowl (to mix the dough)
- small microwave safe bowl (to melt butter)
- parchment paper
- baking sheet
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- cutting board
- mixing spoon
- Move the oven rack to the top ⅓ position of the oven. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Measure out and mix 2 cups flour, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp sugar, 1 Tbsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp chipotle powder in the bowl a fork.
- Melt ½ stick of butter in the small bowl microwave. You can cover the top of the bowl with a piece of parchment paper topped with a plate to prevent spatter and butter loss in the microwave. Set it aside to cool slightly while you proceed.
- Finely grate the cheese (use second smallest size if you have a box grater). Thinly slice the scallions (you should have about ¼ cup). Add both to the dry ingredients in the bowl and mix everything together well with your hands.
- Pour out 1 ¼ cup buttermilk into the measuring cup and slowly stir in the melted butter with a fork. Continue stirring for about 1 minute and you’ll see small clumps of butter form. Science!
- Stir the buttermilk-butter mixture into the dry ingredients with a spoon until it’s just mixed and you don’t see any dry flour. Use the spoon and ¼ measuring cup to portion the dough into 12 biscuits onto the baking sheet leaving about 2 inches of space between.
- Bake the biscuits for 8 minutes in the pre-heated oven then rotate the pan and continue baking for another 7- 10 minutes until the tops are lightly browned.
- Once they are done, move the biscuits to a cooling rack or kitchen towel to cool fully… or for as long as you can wait. Enjoy!
Freezing biscuits: You can freeze scoops of dough on parchment then store them in freezer bags. They bake up great from frozen dough and will just require a few additional minutes in the oven. You can also wrap and freeze baked biscuits. I like to reheat them for 15 seconds in the microwave then finish them in the toaster oven. So good!