Step up your brunch game with these cheddar beer biscuits! Perfect as an easy breakfast recipe or as a side dish to your favorite soups, chilis, and stews.
There's something about pulling apart a flakey, buttery biscuit that just makes the world a happier place.
And when you wrap a good beer, fresh chives, and some sharp cheddar cheese up into that biscuit? Bliss. Pure breakfast-y, carb-y, biscuit-y bliss.
We're skipping a traditional biscuit ingredient (milk) and swapping in cold beer to add some richness and depth to these cheddar biscuits.
We'll also use a bit of fresh cracked black pepper here - it gives the biscuits a bit of a bite and helps the flavor of the cheddar cheese really pop. Fresh chopped chives also lend a bit of brightness (and some beautiful spots of color) to this biscuit dough.
Our basic order of operations
- Cut some very cold butter into your dry ingredients with your hands or a pastry cutter. The goal here is to work the butter into small pieces that will melt in the oven (that's what gives us those gorgeous, flakey layers!) The mixture should look a bit like coarse sand.
- Mix in some shredded cheddar cheese and a handful of chopped chives, then stir in your cold beer to form a shaggy dough. The dough will still be a bit crumbly here - that's ok!
- Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, pat it into shape, then cut rounds with a biscuit cutter. Bake until golden brown and enjoy!
Pro Tip: Use a kitchen scale!
Measuring flour by volume (with cups) is notoriously unreliable. If you have a kitchen scale, we recommend following our weight (gram) measurements in the recipe below for best results.
Four rules for great homemade biscuits
- Make sure your butter and beer are very cold. Small pieces of butter melt away in the oven to form beautiful, flakey biscuit layers. Use cold butter and beer to ensure the butter stays cold and piece-y (instead of melting into the dough while you mix it!) We recommend cubing up your butter as the very first step here, and popping it in the fridge or freezer until you're ready to cut it into your dough.
- Use an aluminum-free baking powder! Baking powder made with aluminum can give biscuits a slightly bitter, metallic taste.
- Work quickly. The heat from your hands will warm up the biscuit dough as you work with it. Mix and cut the dough quickly, and try to handle it as little as possible in order to preserve those nice pieces of butter!
- For extra-flakey layers, fold the dough over on itself a few times. The key to a great biscuit is stack after stack of flakey, pull-apart-y, buttery layers. Gently pat the dough out, then fold it in half and gently pat it into shape again. Do this 2-3 times for extra height and maximum flakiness!
Riffs and Substitutions
These biscuits are pretty forgiving! A few easy swaps we love:
- Swap the cheddar cheese for parmesan, asiago, havarti, or gruyere cheese (à la our favorite gruyere biscuits!)
- Shred your butter using a box grater if you prefer.
- Use different herbs. No chives on hand? No worries! Rosemary, thyme, sage, and parsley are all good here. You can also swap the chives for green onions (scallions).
- No beer? Use milk or coconut milk in place of the beer here - the cheddar and chive flavors will still come through!
- Add extra mix-ins to the dough. Crispy bacon or pancetta bits, roasted jalapeño or poblano peppers, and diced ham are all tasty when mixed into this biscuit dough.
- Brush these biscuits with melted butter or an egg wash before baking for a softer, shinier finish.
- Make drop biscuits by adding a few extra tablespoons of beer to the dough! A drop biscuit version of this recipe is also fantastic as dumplings dropped into your favorite chicken soup or on top of a pot pie.
- These biscuits are perfect with a hearty chili (try our turkey, corn, and black bean chili or go for a beer braised short rib chili!)
- Use these biscuits as the base for a spicy, Cajun-inspired eggs benedict or serve them as a side with your favorite breakfast and brunch recipes.
- Pair with our chorizo baked eggs or a quick leek and mushroom hash.
- Serve alongside a creamy Beer Mac and Cheese!
A few FAQs
Store these biscuits in an airtight container in the fridge (because there's cheese in the dough, we don't recommend storing them on the counter). They'll keep up to 3 days in the fridge, although they can feel a little bit dense and dry if you eat them cold - we recommend reheating them in a hot oven for a few minutes when you're ready to eat them, and adding a bit of butter or honey. These biscuits also freeze pretty well, although the chives can dry out a bit in the freezer (not a huge deal, though!)
Our rule of thumb for any boozy recipe: Use a beer you like to drink! These biscuits work best with a lighter beer: we like a lager, pilsner, pale ale, or not-too-hoppy IPA. If you enjoy wheat-forward beers, this recipe is also good with a light wheat beer, witbier, or Belgian! We don't recommend using dark beers (like stout or porter) here as they can overpower the other flavors.
No - you can swap the beer for milk, buttermilk, or coconut milk here! These biscuits also work well with good nonalcoholic beer (we like the NA IPAs from Athletic Brewing).
These easy biscuits are perfect for a cozy fall brunch!
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour, plus extra for rolling the biscuits out (300 grams)
- 4 teaspoons baking powder (16 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda (4 grams)
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt (4 grams)
- ½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- ½ cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese (100 grams)
- ¼ cup chopped chives (you can eyeball this - just use a generous handful!)
- ⅛ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 cup beer (see recipe notes)
- Heat oven to 425° Fahrenheit.
- Stir flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
- Add cold cubed butter and cut it into the flour mixture, using either your hands or a pastry cutter, until the mixture is coarse and has small butter pieces throughout. Work quickly so the butter stays cold!
- Stir shredded cheddar cheese, chopped chives, and black pepper into the flour mixture.
- Add beer to flour mixture slowly (so it doesn't foam up) and stir until everything is not quite combined. The dough should be lumpy, shaggy, and a little dry - that's ok!
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured cutting board. Fold the dough over on itself a few times (this gives lots of layers for maximum flakiness), then gently pat it into a 1-inch thick round.
- Use a 2-inch biscuit cutter to cut biscuit rounds.
- Line a large baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or a piece of parchment paper. Place biscuit rounds on the pan, leaving at least an inch of space between each biscuit. Bake at 425° F for 10-15 minutes, until biscuits are lightly browned. Serve immediately.
How to measure flour. Measuring flour by volume (with cups) is notoriously unreliable: if you have one, please use a kitchen scale to measure your flour in grams for best results! If you don’t have a kitchen scale, measure your flour with cups by scooping and leveling. Your biscuit dough should just come together when mixed and feel slightly crumbly - it won’t quite hold together until you pat it into shape. If the dough is too sticky when you go to shape your biscuits, work more flour in a Tablespoon or two at a time. If the dough is too dry, pat a few drops of water into the dough as you shape it until it holds together.
What kind of beer should I use? These biscuits work best with a lighter beer: we like a lager, pilsner, pale ale, or not-too-hoppy IPA. If you enjoy wheat-forward beers, this recipe is also good with a light wheat beer, witbier, or Belgian! We don't recommend using dark beers (like stout or porter) here as they can overpower the other flavors. A good rule of thumb: use a beer you like to drink!
No biscuit cutter? Turn a drinking glass or small bowl upside down and use it to cut out your biscuit rounds, or pat the biscuit dough into a large square and cut it into thirds top-to-bottom and then left-to-right to form 9 evenly-sized square biscuits.
Additions and Substitutions. Use cold coconut oil in place of butter if you like. Swap the beer for buttermilk, milk, or coconut milk. Swap whole wheat flour for up to ½ cup (60 grams) of all purpose flour if you like. Use gruyere, parmesan, yellow cheddar, or havarti in place of cheddar cheese. Use rosemary, sage, green onions/scallions, or parsley instead of chives if you prefer.
The key to great biscuits is to work quickly and keep the ingredients as cold as you can. Touch the dough as little as possible and don’t let it sit out – you don’t want the butter to melt until the dough is IN the oven (that’s what gives you those amazing flaky layers!)
Use aluminum-free baking powder. Bob’s Red Mill and Rumford both make good ones! If you’re using a baking powder with added aluminum, you may notice a slightly bitter or metallic taste in your baked goods. If you’re sensitive to the flavor of baking powder even with an aluminum-free brand, you can reduce the amount of baking powder in this recipe by 25-50% - just know that your biscuits won’t be as tall and the layers won’t be quite as flakey or pronounced. With reduced baking powder, it’s extra important to work quickly and fold the dough over on itself in a few light layers as you form your biscuits to keep as much of that flakiness as possible. Biscuits with less baking powder are much less forgiving, so technique becomes much more important - it will likely take some practice!
Store leftover biscuits in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Because of the cheese, we don't recommend storing these biscuits on the counter. The biscuits may get a little dense in the fridge - pop them in a hot oven for a few minutes to bring them back to life.
Keywords: biscuits, brunch, baking