Make Ahead Biscuits

This recipe will revolutionize your biscuit making future. Your welcome.
Well actually, we all have Cooks Illustrated to thank for this one. So thank you dear Christopher Kimball for that wonderful test kitchen of yours.

About a year ago I bought this cookbook, which has proven to be a fantastic investment. I am all about those Cooks Illustrated cookbooks (and PBS shows) and thankfully our local library keeps a nice stock of the cookbooks. But this cookbook in particular became part of my growing cookbook collection. Mostly in part to these amazing biscuits.

Actually, I am not a biscuit girl. I am more of a bagel and cream cheese kind of gal. But now that I live in what most people would consider 'the South', biscuits are a staple. And since I married one of these Southern boys we must have these carb staples on hand quite frequently. And thanks to this recipe, we do.

The beauty of it is they are ridiculously easy to make and produces great results every time. Better yet, you pop them in the freezer, unbaked, and they are ready to bake in the oven within 10-15 minutes. Genius.

I love King Arthurs square biscuit cutters. I used to have a set, which are now gone, and I am longing for another. They are very sharp and give a much better "rise" on the biscuits.

Freezer Biscuits6 cups (30 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for counter
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 1/2 cups heavy cream (** a big carton of heavy cream is only 4 cups. Instead of buying 2, I use the carton and then add 1/2 cup of buttermilk)

Line baking sheet with parchment paper (may need 2 baking sheets); set aside. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in the cream with a wooden spoon until a dough forms, about 30 seconds. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and gather into a ball. Knead dough briefly until smooth, about 1 minute, adding extra flour if necessary (if dough is too sticky).

(Side note: I got those black bracelets during my first trip to Papua New Guinea 17 years ago. I have never taken them off.)

Pat the dough into a 3/4-inch thick circle (or square). Cut biscuits using a 2 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter. Lay biscuits on the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 1/2 inch apart. If using a round cutter, gather scraps and re-knead them briefly to combine, then pat dough into a 3/4-inch thick circle and cut more biscuits; process can be repeated a third time. Yield: about 24 biscuits, depending on size and shape.

To bake and serve immediately: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. After cutting biscuits, spread them out over 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake biscuits one sheet at a time, 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

- OR -

To freeze: Wrap the baking sheet tightly with greased plastic wrap (or ungreased press-n-seal) and freeze until biscuits are solid, about 6 hours. Transfer frozen biscuits to a large ziplock freezer bag and freeze up to 1 month.

When ready to bake biscuits, do not thaw. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lay biscuits on parchment-lined baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot.

Notes: You may bake as few or as many biscuits at a time as you wish. Regardless of how many you bake, make sure they are spaced 2 inches apart, and if using more than one baking sheet, bake only one sheet at a time.



  1. Those would be pretty revolutionary for my hectic Christmas morning breakfast I make. Thanks! Now I want a biscuit (:

  2. yes! i long for these with a soup or stew - they definitely do not exist over this side of the ocean - thanks for the freezer goodness!

  3. I have a lovely go to biscuit recipe as well, but it differs from this one so I'm always game to try something new! Can you believe I have never purchased a Cook's Illustrated because of the lack of (ahem) pretty picture?! Must be the photographer in me. Or something. My mom once laughed as I dismissed an issue because of it's lack of pictures and declared "real cooks don't need pictures, just ingredients!"

  4. Yeah Brie!! So glad I could help ;)

    Amie...It does take some getting used to, for sure! But their recipes are the best I've ever used, hands down (and I've got a TON of cookbooks ;)

  5. So you're the one that has all of the ATC and Cook's Illustrated cookbooks checked out at the library! I went looking for some on Friday and they were all checked out. These look great!

  6. Ha Candy!!! I don't have any right now, actually. Someone else has hoarded them ;)

  7. My husband LOVES biscuits country ham. I'm going to have to give this a try!

  8. That should have been "and county ham". How about my proofing?!?

  9. Megan...biscuits country ham is one word in this house ;)

  10. I may just set aside my grandmother's tried and true recipe to give these a try...frozen biscuits would belife changing in this house! :)

  11. I needed WAY more than 6 c. of flour for this recipe. Nearly 7.5 c., which, in my opinion, made them too dense. Maybe they're supposed to be that way? I have no idea; we Chicagoans don't know biscuits. CI rarely lets me down so I'm guessing it was baker-error.

  12. Rebecca Kay14/1/12 10:47 PM

    Tried these today. The unfrozen biscuits came out better than any other recipe we've tried. Can't wait to try the frozen ones in the morning. I don't have biscuit cutters, but I cut squares with our sharpest knife and it worked like a charm. Thanks!

  13. Sara...try less flour next time. The dough shouldn't be too dry. In fact it will be a little "wet" when you first dump it out to roll it. Incorperate a little bit of flour, as needed, to keep it from sticking to the counter.
    Hope that helps!

  14. TJ Russell-Zapata11/2/13 1:29 AM

    Made these for breakfast this morning and they were wonderful!! My son ate 6 of them! Almost decadent, lovely things. Can't wait to have them again.

  15. Question: Your recipe calls for AP flour but you show a photograph of bread flour, which did you use/recommend? Or does it not matter?
    Also have you ever tried this recipe with white whole wheat flour?

  16. I too used bread flour. They were tough on the outside and a little gummy on the inside. Hopefully Martha White AP will do the trick. Can you use buttermilk solely? If I only have light cream can I just add some sort of fat? Can you use SR. Flour and have the same amounts of salt and baking powder? I need these for thanksgiving!