Jalapeño cheddar biscuits are the perfect companion for your next bowl of soup or chili. They're flaky, tender, and filled with spicy jalapeños, a bit of cornmeal, and melty sharp cheddar cheese.
Cornmeal is an unlikely ingredient in a biscuit recipe but it adds an extra layer of texture and crunch that you'll love. These biscuits are surprisingly easy to make from scratch and have a hint of heat from the addition of jalapeños.
Pair your jalapeño cheddar biscuits with a bowl of chili, barbecue pulled pork, or grilled chicken. They make the perfect side dish for just about any meal.
Ingredients and substitutions
- All-purpose flour - The base of your biscuits. I haven't tested this recipe with other types of flour so I can't say how the recipe would turn out with substitutions.
- Cornmeal - I prefer yellow cornmeal in this recipe, but white cornmeal, which has a more subtle flavor, would also work as a substitute.
- Leavening - You'll need both baking powder and baking soda for the proper lift in this recipe. One cannot be substituted with the other.
- Salt - Enhances the flavor of your biscuits. Unsalted butter and ¼ teaspoon of the listed salt can be substituted with salted butter if desired.
- Butter - If using salted butter, cut the listed salt in half. Your butter should be very cold, straight from the refrigerator or freezer, for best results. I like to shred mine on the large side of a box grater for easy incorporation into the dough.
- Buttermilk - Adds the perfect amount of acidity to work with the baking soda and baking powder in this recipe. It should not be substituted with regular milk. To make buttermilk substitute, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Fill to the 1-cup line with whole milk and allow to set for 5 minutes. Then proceed with the recipe as directed.
- Sharp cheddar cheese - Can be substituted with monterey jack cheese or pepper jack cheese.
- Jalapeños - Remove the seeds and membranes from your jalapeños for a milder flavor. Leave them in for a spicier biscuit!
Tips and tricks
Cold butter: Make sure your butter is very cold, straight from the refrigerator or freezer. Cold butter is important because you want it to stay solid throughout the dough, instead of melting and incorporating into the flour. Those cold butter pockets produce steam while baking, which creates those flaky layers in the oven.
Grating butter: I recommend grating your butter on the large side of a box grater. The butter shreds incorporate easily into your flour mixture with very little effort.
Handle dough as little as possible: After the buttermilk has been mixed into your dough, it will look shaggy. This is normal. The goal is to handle the dough as little as possible. Warm hands melt the butter in the dough, which we don't want (see above). Plus overworking the gluten in the dough makes your biscuits turn out tough.
Folding the dough: Once your dough is mostly mixed but shaggy and sticky, turn it out onto a floured surface. Gently form your dough into a rectangle and pat it down with your hands. Fold the rectangle in half, then turn it and gently pat it down into a wide rectangle again. You'll do this five times total before cutting out your biscuits. If you're a visual person, here's a great YouTube video showing how exactly to fold biscuit dough: Biscuits and Shortcakes: Folding and Turning
Cutting your biscuits: Your biscuits can be sliced with a knife or cut using a biscuit cutter. When cutting your biscuits, take care not to twist the cutter - this seals the edges of the biscuit, reducing the rise in the oven.
Frequently asked questions
Once completely cooled, transfer baked biscuits to a tightly sealed container. Biscuits will keep for up to 2 days at room temperature or up to a week in the refrigerator.
Yes, biscuits can be frozen in a tightly sealed, freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. To thaw frozen biscuits, transfer to the countertop and allow to thaw for 1-2 hours.
Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuits
- 1 ¼ cups (150 g) all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup (117 g) cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
- 1 cup (113 g) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- ¾ cup (170 g) buttermilk, cold
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a cast iron skillet or line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, add flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine and remove clumps. You can alternatively add to a food processor and pulse a few times.
- Grate cold butter using the large side of a box grater and add to flour mixture, tossing to combine. You can also use a pastry cutter to cut cubed butter into flour mixture or add flour mixture to food processor and pulse until butter is pea sized. If using a food processor, pour mixture into a large bowl then add cheese and jalapenos and stir to combine.
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add buttermilk. Gently stir until ingredients are mostly incorporated. Dough will look shaggy and sticky. Pour dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Gently pat dough with lightly floured hands into a large, flat rectangle, about 10-12 inches wide and about ¾ inch thick. Keep extra flour nearby and continually flour the surface, dough, and your hands as needed. Fold dough rectangle in half, turn to the right to make your new rectangle horizontal, and gently pat back into a large rectangle. Repeat 4 times, folding your dough 5 times in total. Pat dough into a large rectangle, about 1 inch thick.
- Using a 2.5 to 3 inch biscuit cutter, cut biscuits out of dough (do not twist your cutter, this will seal the edges). Reform leftover dough gently and continue cutting until all dough is used up.
- Place biscuits into prepared skillet or baking sheet, with edges of biscuits touching each other. Bake for about 18-22 minutes, or until golden brown across the tops.
- For this recipe, I used a 10 ¼" cast iron skillet and a 2 ¾" biscuit cutter. 8 biscuits fit perfectly into the pan (as shown in photos).
- Optionally, brush tops of biscuits with heavy cream before baking. This helps your biscuits brown in the oven.
- Homemade biscuits keep for 1-2 days at room temperature in a sealed container, up to 1 week in the refrigerator, or 2-3 months in the freezer. If freezing, seal tightly with foil or plastic wrap and store in a freezer safe container.