Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cheap Eats: The Biscuit Edition

The Topic
: The Art of Biscuitry

The Dish: The general equation for eating on the cheap is simple: groceries plus kitchen equals affordable food. Due to my inherently lazy nature and string of excuses—

"It's too early to cook. I'm tired."
"It's too late to cook. I'm tired."
"It's the weekend! I want a burrito."

—sometimes it can be difficult for me to motivate and make the most of my dollars and pantry. Enter: The Biscuit. This five-ingredient beauty has gotten me through some tough times, including a post-college stint in Arkansas in which my sister and I subsisted mainly on their floury goodness.

They make regular appearances during my lunch shifts at the VNHQ, and for a few good reasons:
  1. They’re cheap. Using the most basic baking ingredients, a double-batch helps feed a famished staff and is super affordable, clocking in at a couple bucks.
  2. They’re easy, using only five common pantry ingredients. If you never bake and don’t buy flour on the regular, stocking up won’t set you back much, and it promises future batches.
  3. They’re customizable. From the basic recipe, you can go anywhere with add-ins—sweet, savory, spiced—and it’s incredibly friendly to ingredient substitutions.
These have impressed everyone from homemade-bread aficionados to biscuits ‘n’ gravy-loving omnivores, and they take literally minutes to make from mixing bowl to mouth. The recipe is so simple that I have it committed to memory, and it’ll be no time before you do, too. If you’re baking for a crowd or planning for the week ahead, I recommend doubling the recipe.

Abby's Cheap-Ass Biscuits
Makes 9 small or 6 medium biscuits

What You Need:
1-2/3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup non-dairy milk
1/3 cup oil

What You Do:
  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add milk and oil, and mix until just combined.
  2. With a 1/4-cup measuring cup, ice-cream scoop, or your clean hands, drop dough onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until bottoms are golden brown.
  3. Top with non-hydrogenated margarine, syrup, jam, peanut butter, gravy, or anything else that you could possibly put on bread. Devour!
The Final Word: Like I said, this recipe can be taken in many directions. Feel free to experiment with different kinds of flours, oils, and milks (I love olive oil and almond milk), and add-ins are the best: garlic, fresh herbs, vegan cheese (1 cup of shredded cheese and a few cloves of garlic make the best cheese biscuits ever!), oats and raisins, etc. You can even skip the oven and throw spoonfuls in the skillet if you don’t want to heat up the house. I could go on forever. Can you tell how much I love these freaking biscuits? Go crazy with your imagination—or whatever you have on hand—and enjoy!


  1. These biscuits are the most delicious things on earth! I wish I was eating them RIGHT NOW. It kills me that I'm not. My life is the worst!

  2. Sounds great! Thanks!

  3. From a fellow VegNews staffer, I dream of these biscuits every day. In fact, we have thought about converting Abby's position at VN to full-time biscuit maker. Abby, please make us biscuits.

  4. Biscuits aren't part of my culture, so I had never had them until I tried making the ones in The Joy of Vegan Baking not long ago. I can't wait to give your recipe a try!
    That first time I made biscuits, the add-in I went for (simply because I felt like it) was garam masala - it was absolutely awesome! I highly recommend it!

  5. cup of daiya cheese , tablespoon of vegan butter , garlic powder added to this recipe.. after they are baked, brush on melted veg butter with a pinch of garlic salt and fresh parsley ... the best vegan recreation ever of the red lobster "cheddar bay" biscuits :)

  6. I'm ready for a biscuit right now! Love the skillet idea because it's too hot to bake at the moment...


  8. THE EARTH CAPITAL—you're totally right. This is my favorite rendition of the biscuits, and it's by far the most popular at the VNHQ. In fact, I just whipped up a batch with some cheddar Daiya, and we're now enjoying them as our afternoon snack!

  9. Is the 475 degree oven a typo? Seems high and I don't wanna burn the 'skits! Thanks, can't wait to try these!

  10. Nope, Dina, that's what I bake em on! It doesn't take long, so keep an eye on them if you're oven is temperamental. Enjoy!

  11. ...I don't suppose you've ever had to make gluten free versions of these?

    (While I can probably play with the recipe, it never hurts to ask if someone's already converted it.) Yay for being allergic to dairy/mostly vegan and gluten free?

  12. yikes 1/3 cup of oil! try applesauce instead!

  13. Annie, I haven't, but I've been wanting to give it a try. Maybe I can get together a gluten-free edition for the near future. If you beat me to it, make sure and let me know!

  14. These biscuits are AMAZINGLY good! I made them savoury with dill and ground pepper. They are so yummy!

  15. I'm baking these right now, and I will bake them every time I'm missing the VegNews crew too much!

  16. I just made a batch of these with a bit of cinnamon in them (I add cinnamon to most of my baked goods - what can I say? I love cinnamon) and they are wonderful! So easy to make. I'm sure I'm going to be making these regularly. It's so nice to have fresh baked bread!

  17. THESE BISCUITS ROCK!!! Quick, easy, light, and tasty! Made them twice already and they haven't failed yet! THANKS ABBY! :)

  18. I just made them with all purpose flour, Daiya cheddar, rosemary, and fresh garlic. So easy, thanks so much!

  19. WOW! I just made these using what I had and they are soooooo good that I have to share my recipe. I used 1 1/3 cup gluten free organic flour, 1/3 cup organic corn meal, 1 TB baking powder, 1 TSP sea salt, 1/3 cup sunflower oil, 2/3 cup hemp milk, then added 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon of Earth Balance, 1 cup of Daiya cheddar. After they had been in the oven for about 6 minutes, I took them out and brushed them with melted Earth Balance, sprinkled them with garlic salt and put a little bit of cheddar on the tops. Then I baked them for about 3 more minutes. I've never had such a delicious biscuit!! The corn meal really adds to the flavor - glad I ran out of flour. I'm trying not to eat them all before my fiance gets home...

    1. I am laughing at you saying you just "made these" when you didn't hardly follow the recipe at all! GO YOU! very funny, and creative. Biscuits are wonderful however they are made!

  20. I just tried these today and I have to say I have tried at least 3-4 vegan biscuit recipes with NOOOOO success. I had pretty much given up on that like I gave up on a good Vegan hotdog :) but I made this and it is a good recipe. I may add a little sugar the next time to sweeten it just a bit or even try using creamer instead of milk to get that buttermilk effect but I am really happy I tried this one!