Flaky, buttery, sky-high biscuits are one of life’s simple joys. When I learned that I would need to be gluten-free for rest of my life, biscuits were one of those simple joys that I was not willing to give up. So, I set to working on gluten-free biscuit recipes!
Over the years, I’ve made some truly awesome gluten-free biscuits, but of all those biscuits, these may be my favorite.
In developing this recipe, I used every trick in the book to make my gluten-free biscuits just as good as the gluten-y ones I remember. All those tricks came with a big payoff!
3 Tips for Mile-High Gluten-Free Biscuits
- Replace the buttermilk with sour cream and a touch of heavy cream. This results in a light texture, a very tender crumb, and a lovely flavor.
- Treat the biscuit dough like a pie crust. Work with very cold butter and cold hands. Also, turn and fold the dough to create distinct flaky layers.
- Bake the gluten-free biscuits in a cast iron skillet with very little room in between each biscuit. The biscuits have almost no room to expand sideways and must puff up high instead. I like using a 9-inch cast iron skillet.
Since this recipe is made entirely by hand, if your hands tend to run warm, soak them in cold water for a minute, then dry them thoroughly before mixing.
Speaking of mixing, I find the best way is to rub the butter and flour between your fingers making a motion that mimics snapping.
Also, don’t skimp on the resting time when making these biscuits. Gluten-free flours benefit greatly from resting since they can take longer to hydrate than wheat flour. Also, working with very cold, well-chilled dough makes those biscuits even flakier.
This combination of techniques and ingredients produces a biscuit that is flaky, buttery, and slightly tangy. They are a complete pleasure to eat on their own, drizzled with honey, or topped with strawberries and whipped cream, shortcake-style.
If you’d like to use this biscuit for a savory recipe, like biscuits and gravy or a pot pie, just reduce the sugar to 2 teaspoons.
How to Make Fluffy Gluten-Free Biscuits RecipePrint
I used Better Baker Gluten-Free Flour Mix to develop this recipe. For best results, use this flour mix.
- 3 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour with xanthan gum (see Recipe Note)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons very cold butter, cut into small pieces, plus more to grease the pan
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream, plus extra to brush the tops
1 Whisk flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt together.
2 Work the butter into the flour mixture: Scatter the butter over the top of the dry ingredients. Using only your fingers, work the butter into the flour using a snapping motion (like snapping your fingers).
Try to work quickly and don’t be afraid to leave some larger chunks of butter (up to the size of a hazelnut) in the mix. When the mixture looks like gravel, you’re ready for the next steps.
3 Add the sour cream and heavy cream: Add the sour cream to the flour mixture and sprinkle the heavy cream over top. Using only a fork, mix the liquids into the flour. The dough will look ragged and shaggy, but it will come together.
4 Fold and shape the dough: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and use cold hands to gently knead the dough a few times until it comes together in a rough ball shape.
Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out into a thick rectangle. Fold it into thirds, like folding a letter. Turn the dough one quarter and roll it out again. Fold it once more into thirds.
5 Wrap the dough tightly in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
6 While dough is resting, preheat oven to 400F and generously grease a 9-inch cast iron skillet with butter.
7 Cut out the biscuits: Unwrap the dough and roll out into a rectangle roughly 1 inch thick. Using a well-floured 2- to 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut out as many biscuits as possible. Push straight down to cut your biscuits. Twisting the cutter impedes the rise. (If you don’t have a biscuit cutter, you can use a sturdy glass, or use a knife to cut square biscuits).
Once you’ve cut as many biscuits as you can, gather the scraps together, roll them out again, and cut more biscuits.
8 Bake the biscuits: Transfer the biscuits in the greased skillet and brush the tops with a little cream. The biscuits should be fairly tightly packed together with just a little space in between. It's fine if the biscuits touch.
Bake for 22 to 26 minutes until the biscuits are puffed and the tops are golden brown.
These biscuits are best enjoyed hot and fresh from the oven. Leftover biscuits will keep well for up to three days and can be reheated in the microwave or toaster.
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