Cheddar Bay Biscuits
Tender, light, biscuit, with mega cheesy, buttery flavor, and delicious, golden-brown crispy exterior, that is oh so easy to make.
This cheddar bay biscuit copycat recipe is reliable, delicious buttermilk biscuits without the fuss of cutting in butter, and taste like the Red Lobster biscuits, but are super easy to make at home!
These biscuits start with a half dozen pantry staples like butter, sugar, and salt, and then are amped up with some spices and cheese. I have tested this recipe over and over to make it as simple and easy as possible, while still producing superior results.
I love to cook, but biscuits can be tricky. Cutting in butter is tricky. And getting the right rise on the biscuits so you get that tall, fluffy, result you want with that crispy exterior. But I take all the “technique” out of it, and make it eazy peazy. You still get everything you want from a buttermilk biscuit, without the tricky bits.
Making it easy starts with these being drop biscuits instead of cut out biscuits. You just scoop, drop, and bake! Perfect. So let’s get to it.
What You Need For Cheddar Bay Drop Biscuits
- Flour: All-purpose flour
- Leavening Agents: Baking Powder and Soda. “Leavening” means
In this recipe you need both baking soda and baking powder. The baking soda will react with the acid in the buttermilk and gives the biscuits a crispier, browner, exterior, with a light, fluffy interior. And the baking soda also helps to eliminate the metallic taste from the baking powder. The baking powder helps the biscuits rise, and get tall and awesome! Don’t skip either one of them.
- Sugar and Salt: These both add flavor to these biscuits. It is really important you not miss either of these ingredients. If you skip the salt, your biscuits will be fairly flavorless. Not good.
- Buttermilk: The buttermilk is super important. it adds a rich, buttery flavor to the biscuits, some tanginess, and reacts well with the baking soda. If you do not have buttermilk, you can use a substitute. Like milk and vinegar. But if you have buttermilk, use it!
- Melted Butter: You want salted butter for this recipe. And you want to melt it. I will tell you why this works well later!
- Butter Topping: Extra butter to melt and brush over the top, and season with herbs, garlic powder, and salt.
Then you add the flavor:
- Cheese: The sharp cheddar cheese adds a ton of flavor, but you can add a nice mix of cheeses if you want. I like a shredded sharp cheddar and jack cheese blend.
- Dry Ground Mustard: Adds amazing flavor, by really letting the cheese flavor stand out. It won’t taste like mustard.
- Cayenne: Don’t worry, it won’t make these spicy, it just adds some flavor.
How to Make Cheddar Bay Biscuits
In truth, this recipe is really simple, it only requires that you add the ingredients in the right order. Honestly, it is that simple.
- Oven Temp: Set the temp to 475 degrees. And make sure you preheat. You don’t want your biscuits to sit forever after being mixed to wait for the oven to heat up.
- Mix Dry Ingredients: Whisk all the dry ingredients together. This accomplishes the very important task of not having to over-mix to fully incorporate. Over-mixing can make for a tough biscuit. So be sure to whisk all those dry ingredients together.
- Add Wet Ingredients: Start by adding the buttermilk, and then the butter. DO NOT STIR between. You want the buttermilk to be cold! And the butter to be hot and melted. That way, when you combine them together, the butter will clump, and give you the same basic results as cutting in butter, but way easier. You want this clumpy butter because it is going to produce better biscuits. The lumps of butter turn into steam, and the steam acts as a leavener, (along with the other leaveners in the recipe) to make the biscuits rise even high and give you a tender interior. You can mix them together before adding them to the wet ingredients, or add the buttermilk first, and pour the butter right into it.
- Bake: Baking these biscuits is quick. Honestly, it is one of the fastest ways to add a nice bread side to a meal because the whole thing comes together in just half an hour. You can bake it for between 12-15 minutes. You basically want the biscuits to be golden brown on the bottom, and on the craggy bits on top.
- Brush With Butter: Because you bake the biscuits in that nice hot oven, they get a great crispy exterior, that can handle being brushed with water without getting soggy. You want to brush these with the butter mixture as soon as they come out of the oven. The butter adds a lot of flavor, so taste it and don’t skimp on the seasonings.
Tools for Making Buttermilk Biscuits
- 1/4 Dry Measure: You need this to scoop out the dough onto the pan. You can also use a big spoon and eyeball it, but the best results are when you have even sized scoops. Just don’t overfill them. A scant measure is best here. However, I tested this recipe with 12 and 8 biscuits made from the dough, and they both worked awesome, producing a crisp exterior, and soft interior. Grease your spoon or measure so they drop right out.
- Parchment Paper: I tested this recipe with a silpat silicone mat, with cooking spray direct on the pan, with double pans, and with the parchment paper. Parchment produced the best results by far, and gave a nice crispy bottom, while maintaining a fluffy interior.
- Rimmed Baking Sheet: USA Pans are the best rimmed baking sheets I have ever owned, bar none. So if you are in the market for a baking sheet, this is the one to buy. But any rimmed baking sheet will work.
- Pastry Brush: You need a pastry brush to brush the baked biscuit tops with melted butter.
Substitutions and Variations
Ok this recipe has been tested over and over with different mix-ins to try different flavor profiles. While we love the cheddar bay biscuits the best, if this isn’t your thing, here are a few other options:
Classic Buttermilk Drop Biscuits: Eliminate the dry mustard, cayenne pepper, cheese, and the herbs from the melted butter topping. This will give you a classic buttermilk drop biscuit. And you can eat it with butter and jam, or anything else you want! These are delicious.
Basil Parmesan Buttermilk Drop Biscuits: Start with the Classic Drop Biscuits listed above, and stir in 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil, or 1 tablespoon of dried basil.
Cheddar Dill Drop Biscuits: Start with the Classic Drop Biscuits listed above, and stir in 1 cup grated cheddar cheese, and 1 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill, or 1/2 tablespoon of dried dill.
Rosemary and Gouda Drop Biscuits: Start with the Classic Drop Biscuits listed above, and stir in 1 cup grated gouda cheese, and 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary, or 1/2 tablespoon of dried crushed rosemary.
Tarragon- Gruyere Drop Biscuits: Start with the Classic Drop Biscuits listed above, and stir in 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese, and 1 tablespoon of minced fresh tarragon.
Great Mix-in Ideas:
- Any fresh herb: Mix in 1-2 Tablespoons of Fresh Herbs. Examples: rosemary, thyme, sage, chives
- Ground black pepper: 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
- Scallions: 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
- Bacon: Thinly slice crispy strips of bacon, and fold into the dry ingredients before adding to the wet ingredients.
Tips for Great Drop Biscuits
Mix dry first, then wet. This will result in better biscuits, and is still super easy.
Use COLD buttermilk. This will help the butter turn lumpy, and give you the same impact as cutting in butter.
Do NOT over-mix. Lumpy, clumpy, etc. is what you want. Do not over-mix of your biscuits will be tough instead of tender.
Make sure oven is totally pre-heated. That hot heat in the beginning creates a steam effect in the biscuits, giving them a tall rise and allows them to be crispy on the outside.
Storage and Refreshing Biscuits
If you do not eat all of the biscuits you make in one go (inconceivable), you can store them in an airtight container for 3-5 days. When you are ready to eat them. You can refresh them by putting them on a baking sheet, and heat in the oven.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
The biscuits will not be as tender, but will still be amazing.
If you love Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits, or you just want an excellent cheese biscuit with tons of flavor this is the recipe for you. It is simple, takes pantry staples, and is absolutely delicious.
And so much more!
Cheddar Bay Biscuits
- 2 cups All-purpose Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon Ground Dry Mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1 cup Buttermilk
- 1/2 cup Butter Melted
- 1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese + Jack shredded
Herbed Garlic Butter Topping
- 4 Tablespoons Butter salted
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar, dry mustard, cayenne pepper, and whisk together.
- Once dry ingredients are whisked together, stir buttermilk and melted butter together. And add it to the dry ingredient mix. Stir together.
- Then fold in the sharp cheddar and jack cheese blend.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Drop big dollops (1/4 cup size) of the biscuit mixture onto the baking sheet. It should make 12 biscuits. Space them about 1 1/2 inches apart
- Bake for 13-15 minutes, until tops are starting to turn golden brown.
- While the biscuits bake, melt butter topping butter, and stir in the garlic powder, dried parsley, and salt.
- Remove biscuits from oven, and brush tops with the herbed garlic butter mixture. Transfer to a wire cooling rack, cool slightly, and serve warm.
To reheat/refresh day-old biscuits, heat them in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes.
Our recipe card software calculates these nutrition facts based on averages for the above ingredients, different brands, and quality of produce/meats may have different nutritional information, always calculate your own based on the specific products you use in order to achieve accurate macros for this recipe.
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