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Jalapeño Cheddar Cornmeal Biscuits are the perfect companion for your next soup or chili. Flaky and tender, these biscuits are filled with spicy jalapeños and sharp cheddar cheese.
I’d like to think of my jalapeño cheddar cornmeal biscuits as a fun hybrid between a biscuit and cornbread. After you try these, you’ll be hooked.
Originally published in April 2018, I have since updated this recipe with step by step photos showing the process of making my jalapeño cheddar cornmeal biscuits.
Cornmeal is an unlikely ingredient in a biscuit recipe, but it adds an extra layer of texture and crunch that you’ll love. Jalapeños and sharp cheddar cheese are the perfect pairing, adding heat and flavor.
I like to pair my cornmeal biscuits with a hot bowl of Slow Cooker Taco Chili or traditional Slow Cooker Chili. They’d also be great paired with my Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup. Honestly, when are biscuits a bad idea? Never.
How to Make Biscuits
There are several tricks to making a good biscuit. First, your butter must be VERY cold. You want your butter to be cold because as your biscuits bake, that butter melts and creates air pockets and flaky layers in your biscuits.
I like to grate my butter fresh from the refrigerator (or freezer) with a box grater, using the largest grate. This makes incorporating your butter and flour a cinch.
You can also use a pastry cutter to cut the cold butter into your flour. I’ve also used a food processor, which makes biscuits and pie crusts a cinch.
Second, handle your dough as little as possible. Think of it as a game to combine your ingredients using as few stirs and kneads as possible. This will produce a soft and tender biscuit, rather than a hard and tough biscuit.
Third, when you cut the dough with your biscuit cutter, do not twist the cutter! Push straight down, then pull straight up. If you twist your biscuit cutter, you’re sealing off the edges of the biscuit. This prevents the biscuit from rising to its fullest in the oven.
Lastly, I like to arrange my biscuits in a baking dish so that the biscuits are touching (or close together). Doing so will help the biscuits rise higher, because they’re being held up by the other biscuits.
Making biscuits properly takes practice, just like any other type of cooking. While my biscuits are still far from perfect, they have improved greatly over the years.
If your biscuits don’t turn out on the first try, don’t give up. Keep practicing – your biscuits will get better and the process will get easier.
Making Jalapeño Cheddar Cornmeal Biscuits
First, gather your ingredients, and preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Lightly butter a 10 inch cast iron skillet (or other similarly sized baking dish) and set aside.
For this recipe, you’ll need: jalapeños, sharp cheddar cheese, baking powder and soda, flour, cold butter, buttermilk, and cornmeal.
I recommend prepping all of your ingredients before starting. Measure all of your dry ingredients first, and store the cold ingredients in the refrigerator until you’re ready to start.
1. First, combine all of your dry ingredients and whisk to remove clumps.
2. Then, add your butter, cheese, jalapeños, and buttermilk.
3. Stir to incorporate your wet and dry ingredients. As soon as your ingredients start clumping together, your dough is ready to toss out onto a lightly floured surface. Remember what I said earlier about stirring and kneading as little as possible? Your dough will be a little crumbly, but will hold together when pinched. That’s what you want.
4. Toss out onto a lightly floured surface, pat together, and fold your dough over itself up to 5 times (this helps create flaky layers).
5. Gently pat your dough out to a 1 inch thickness. It doesn’t have to be an exact rectangle like this (I’m just an insane perfectionist!), but should be about the same thickness throughout.
6. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out your biscuits. I use a 2 3/4″ biscuit cutter from a set similar to this one. I was able to get 8 biscuits. If you want, you can press the scraps together and make one more biscuit.
7. Arrange your biscuits in your prepared dish. Shown is my Lodge 10.25″ cast iron pan. It’s inexpensive, made in the USA, and only gets better with age. I’ve had mine about 5 years now and highly recommend Lodge!
8. Optionally, brush your biscuits with heavy cream. This will help the tops brown in the oven.
The cast iron pan makes a beautiful presentation when served directly on the table, if you allow it to cool down first. Your biscuits will pull apart and lift easily out of the pan.
Jalapeno Cheddar Cornmeal Biscuits
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter cold
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 jalapeno diced
- 3/4 cup buttermilk cold
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter a cast iron skillet (or line a baking dish with parchment paper) and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine and remove clumps.
- Grate butter (or cut into small pieces). Add butter, sharp cheddar, and jalapenos to flour mixture, stirring to combine. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add buttermilk and stir until barely incorporated.
- Toss dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Handling as little as possible, fold dough in half five times, then pat to a 1 inch thickness.
- Using a biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits and place into parchment lined (or greased) pan, with edges of biscuits touching each other.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until lightly browned.
- For this recipe, I used a 10 1/4" cast iron skillet and a 2 3/4" 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.
- Try grating your butter straight from the refrigerator (or freezer) with a box grater, using the largest grate. Takes just a few moments and butter easily incorporates into your flour mixture without additional work.
- You can also use a pastry cutter or a food processor to cut the cold butter into your flour.
- Handle your dough as little as possible. This will produce a soft and tender biscuit, rather than a hard and tough biscuit.
- When cutting out your biscuits, push straight down, then pull straight up. If you twist your biscuit cutter, you're sealing off the edges of the biscuit. This prevents the biscuit from rising to its fullest in the oven.