2-Ingredient Cream Biscuits Recipe (2024)

Why It Works

  • Self-rising flour is softer than standard wheat flour which makes for more tender biscuits.
  • Heavy cream takes the place of the butter and buttermilk in a standard biscuit recipe.

People have been making two-ingredient biscuits ever since self-rising flour hit supermarket shelves, and it's easy to see why. Stir heavy cream into self-rising flour, scoop it onto a baking sheet, bake, and serve: It's that easy. But not everything worth making is brand new.

There are times when I'm willing to put in the extra effort for an incremental return. And then there are times when I'm willing to settle for less-than-perfect-but-still-really-great results, so long as it only takes a fraction of the work to get there. Some recipes are straight up 50/50 recipes. That is, if you do 50% as much work, you get results that are only 50% as good. Others are 20/80 recipes. With just 20% of the effort, you can get yourself 80% of the way towards perfection. These two-ingredient biscuits have one of the lowest effort-to-greatness ratios of any recipe I can think of. They take practically no effort or practice to pull off, yet produce some of the lightest, tenderest, tastiest biscuits around. They're at least a 5/95 recipe, or perhaps even a 2/98.

The Key to Traditional Biscuits

Traditional biscuits are made by combining a soft flour—one that is finely milled and relatively low in protein content—with salt and baking powder, then cutting in solid butter or shortening. As you work the fat into the flour, some of the flour gets coated in fat, while other bits end up forming a fat/flour paste. When you subsequently add a liquid—typically buttermilk or milk—that liquid is absorbed by the portion of the flour that is not coated or mixed with fat, allowing it to form gluten, the web of flour proteins that form to give bread structure.

The tricky part with biscuits is working the fat into the flour in such a way that just enough free flour is remaining. Too much and your biscuits completely crumble as they bake. Too little and your biscuits become tough, dense, and bread-like. With enough practice, you'll eventually reach a point where incorporating the fat properly becomes second nature. Most of us aren't going to make enough biscuits in a lifetime to hit that stage (though if you really want to, this recipe will start you on the path to biscuit supremacy).

That's where two-ingredient biscuits come in.

2-Ingredient Cream Biscuits Recipe (1)

The Two-Ingredient Workaround

The first step to streamlining and fool-proofing biscuits is to replace the flour, baking powder, and salt with self-rising flour. Now you may say, but isn't self-rising flour essentially flour with baking powder and salt built into it, and isn't that cheating?

Well yes. That's essentially what self-rising flour is. However, self-rising flour is also typically softer and more finely milled than standard all-purpose or even cake flour, which makes it particularly suitable for making biscuits.*

*True DIY'ers can make their own self-rising flour by finding a soft wheat brand of flour such as White Lily and combine it with 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt per cup of flour.

Cream biscuits solve these issues in one fell swoop by replacing the butter and milk in a traditional biscuit recipe with heavy cream. Turns out that heavy cream already has pretty much the ideal ratio of water to fat in it to form a biscuit that has just enough structure to hold together, but limits gluten development enough to keep it light and tender. And since the fat found in solid butter and the fat found in liquid cream are essentially identical, cream biscuits end up with a rich, buttery flavor even though there is technically no butter in them at all.

Making the Dough

To make two-ingredient biscuits, all you have to do is add self-rising flour to a bowl on top of a scale, (I use about one ounce of flour per biscuit I'm planning to bake), then pour in an equal amount of heavy cream by weight. Stir the two ingredients together, and you've got your basic biscuit dough. The only trick is to ensure that you don't over-work the dough. As soon as there's no real dry flour left in the bowl, you're done.

To Drop or Roll?

From there, you have a couple of options for your biscuits. For the absolute simplest biscuits, use the "drop biscuit" method: just grab a cookie dough scoop, scoop out balls of dough, and drop them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Bake them and you're done.

You can also use the dough to make semi-laminated, flaky, layered biscuits by rolling it out into a rectangle, folding it up in thirds like a business letter left to right then top to bottom, re-rolling and folding it, then cutting it out into rounds with a biscuit cutter. I personally find this method to be almost too fussy for such a simple recipe. I don't like to do things half-assed: if I'm going to be lazy, I'm going be as lazy as I possibly can.

2-Ingredient Cream Biscuits Recipe (3)

Since we already have the heavy cream out, brushing the tops of the biscuits with a little bit of it before baking will help them develop a nice golden brown hue with an attractive sheen.

2-Ingredient Cream Biscuits Recipe (4)

Baked at 425°F, they finish in about 10 minutes, which means they take around 15 minutes altogether. But your guests don't need to know that, now do they?

2-Ingredient Cream Biscuits Recipe (5)

September 2015

Recipe Details

2-Ingredient Cream Biscuits

Prep10 mins

Cook15 mins

Active5 mins

Total25 mins

Serves15to 20 biscuits


  • 10 ounces (about 2 cups) self-rising flour

  • 2 tablespoons sugar (if making sweet shortcake-style biscuits)

  • 10 ounces (about 1 1/4 cups) heavy cream, plus more for brushing


  1. Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 450°F. Place flour in a large bowl. If making sweet biscuits, whisk in sugar. Stirring with a wooden spoon, drizzle in cream. Stir until a lumpy dough is formed. Do not over mix.

    2-Ingredient Cream Biscuits Recipe (6)

  2. For Drop Biscuits: Using a 1-ounce cookie scoop, scoop balls of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them 2 inches apart. Brush tops with cream and bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve.

    2-Ingredient Cream Biscuits Recipe (7)

  3. For Flaky Rolled Biscuits: With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12-inch square. Using a bench scraper, fold the right third of the dough over the center, then fold the left third over so you end up with a 12-by-4-inch rectangle. Fold the top third down over the center, then fold the bottom third up so the whole thing is reduced to a 4-inch square. Press the square down and roll it out again into a 12-inch square. Repeat the folding process once more, then roll the dough again into a 12-inch square. Use a 3- to 4-inch biscuit cutter to cut out rounds and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, spaced 2 inches apart. Press together scraps to form additional biscuits. Brush tops with cream and bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve.

    2-Ingredient Cream Biscuits Recipe (8)

2-Ingredient Cream Biscuits Recipe (2024)


How do you make back to basics 2 ingredient biscuits? ›

To make two-ingredient biscuits, all you have to do is add self-rising flour to a bowl on top of a scale, (I use about one ounce of flour per biscuit I'm planning to bake), then pour in an equal amount of heavy cream by weight. Stir the two ingredients together, and you've got your basic biscuit dough.

What are 2 important steps when making biscuits? ›

The two keys to success in making the best biscuits are handling the dough as little as possible as well as using very cold solid fat (butter, shortening, or lard) and cold liquid. When the biscuits hit the oven, the cold liquid will start to evaporate creating steam which will help our biscuits get very tall.

Can you use heavy cream instead of milk for biscuits? ›

Why It Works. Heavy cream provides rich butterfat that gives the biscuits tenderness and flavor, as well as moisture from its water content. The formula requires minimal mixing, reducing the risk of too much gluten development.

What is the secret to biscuits? ›

It's super simple and makes tall, fluffy biscuits ready for breakfast, sandwiches, and more! The secret to the best biscuits is using very cold butter and baking powder. We've made a lot of biscuits, but this easy biscuits recipe is the one we turn to the most!

Is buttermilk or heavy cream better for biscuits? ›

The extra fat in the heavy cream is helpful because buttermilk in stores is often “low-fat” buttermilk. Buttermilk. The buttermilk adds a tangy flavor to the biscuit and helps hydrate the dough just enough to create a nice structure for our biscuits.

What are the 7 steps in the biscuit method? ›

Making biscuits is basically composed of seven steps:
  1. Mix some dry ingredients.
  2. "Cut" in some fat.
  3. Mix in some liquid.
  4. Knead the dough.
  5. Roll out the dough.
  6. Cut biscuits.
  7. Bake.

Is it better to use milk or buttermilk in biscuits? ›

What's the Difference Between Buttermilk Biscuits and Regular Biscuits? As the names might suggest, regular biscuits do not contain buttermilk, while these do. Regular biscuits are typically prepared with milk or water instead. Buttermilk adds a nice tang to the biscuit flavor and helps them rise better.

Which liquid makes the best biscuits? ›

*Substitute buttermilk, light cream, or heavy cream for the whole milk, if you prefer; use enough of whatever liquid you choose to bring the dough together readily, without you having to work it too much. The higher-fat liquid you use, the more tender and richer-tasting your biscuits will be.

Which is better for biscuits, butter or shortening? ›

The butter version rises the highest — look at those flaky layers! The shortening biscuit is slightly shorter and a bit drier, too. Butter contains a bit of water, which helps create steam and gives baked goods a boost.

What are cream biscuits made of? ›

Cream Biscuits
  • 2¼ cups (281 grams) all-purpose flour.
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) baking powder.
  • 1 tablespoon (12 grams) granulated sugar.
  • 1 tablespoon (9 grams) kosher salt.
  • 1½ cups heavy whipping cream.
  • 3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter, melted.

What does buttermilk do for biscuits? ›

Buttermilk is used in biscuit-making for its acid and fat content. Its acidity works with the leaveners to help the dough rise, producing a taller and fluffier biscuit. Buttermilk also adds a subtle tang. Cream biscuits are made with heavy cream.

What does adding an egg to biscuits do? ›

As it turns out, adding hard-boiled egg yolks to your biscuit dough is a way to ward off an overworked, tough dough that can be the downfall of a butter-based pastry. When the trick is employed, the pastry shatters and then dissolves in your mouth quickly, tasting like a knob of flaky butter.

What flour is best for biscuits? ›

Strains of soft winter wheat have less protein than the hard spring wheat and therefore southern all-purpose flours are better-suited for quick breads such as biscuits, cakes and muffins.

Should you chill biscuit dough before baking? ›

Make a batch of the basic biscuit dough, then chill until firm, roll out and cut out shapes as above. Bake on a non-stick baking tray for 10-12 minutes until pale golden. Carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool and crisp up.

What are the ingredients in biscuits? ›

The principal ingredients of biscuit dough are soft wheat flour, sugar, fat, and water. They are mixed with other minor ingredients (such as baking powder, skimmed milk, emulsifier, and sodium metabisulphite) to form dough containing a well- developed gluten network.

What is a substitute for self-rising flour? ›

It's easy to make a self-rising flour substitute at home. Here's our Test Kitchen's simple method to make self-rising flour: For every cup of self-rising flour, substitute one cup of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon baking soda.

What are the 4 steps of the biscuit mixing method? ›

Biscuit Method
  1. Scale out all of your ingredients.
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift dry ingredients together.
  3. Add the butter and using the paddle attachment (with mixer) or pastry blender or by hand until the mixture has pea size bits of butter in it. ...
  4. The liquid ingredients are then added and combined to form a soft dough.
Aug 25, 2023

How to make biscuits if you don t have shortening? ›

If you're starting with a biscuit recipe that calls for shortening, you can swap in butter or margarine at a 1:1 ratio. We even have a recipe on the site from Sweet Laurel Bakery that uses almond flour instead of all-purpose and coconut oil instead of shortening or butter.


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