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Gluten Free Cheddar Bay Biscuits (a copycat recipe)

Gluten Free Cheddar Bay Biscuits (a copycat recipe)

Light and flaky Gluten Free Cheddar Bay Biscuits. Simple drop biscuits that are super easy to throw together, and taste just like the famous Red Lobster Biscuits. Perfect for any meal!

Light and flaky Gluten Free Cheddar Bay Biscuits. Simple drop biscuits that are super easy to throw together, and taste just like the famous Red Lobster Biscuits. Perfect for any meal! http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/gluten-free-cheddar-bay-biscuits-copycat/

These are no ordinary gluten free biscuits (not that I really consider any of my gluten free biscuit recipes to be “ordinary”). But these are cheddar bay biscuits. You know, the kind that Red Lobster serves? And they’re something special indeed. They’re crazy cheddar-cheesy, with just the right amount of garlic, butter and a light sprinkling of fresh parsley.

Light and flaky Gluten Free Cheddar Bay Biscuits. Simple drop biscuits that are super easy to throw together, and taste just like the famous Red Lobster Biscuits. Perfect for any meal! http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/gluten-free-cheddar-bay-biscuits-copycat/

Unlike many biscuit recipes, with these cheddar bay biscuits, there’s no folding and rolling to create light flaky layers. They’re drop biscuits, which means that you simply drop mounds of batter on a baking sheet. But the method is slightly different than a regular gluten free drop biscuit. Instead of chunks of cold butter folded into dry ingredients, these biscuits are made with melted butter. Instead of simply dropping a mound of dough on a baking sheet, the biscuit dough is very lightly shaped into a round, and then pressed gently into a disk. All the while, handling the dough as little as possible so the biscuits don’t become tough.

Light and flaky Gluten Free Cheddar Bay Biscuits. Simple drop biscuits that are super easy to throw together, and taste just like the famous Red Lobster Biscuits. Perfect for any meal! http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/gluten-free-cheddar-bay-biscuits-copycat/

If you prefer to drop the dough by the mound onto a baking sheet, that’s of course okee dokee. Just flatten down any especially sharp edges so nothing burns during baking. Shaping these biscuits into disks before baking makes them really well-suited to being sliced in half horizontally and used for sausage, egg and cheese sandwiches, Eggs Benedict, or even as a hamburger slider bun. I may have even served them as sliders to my family last night. Two biscuits and two mini burgers per person, and they were stuffed and happy. Oh yeah.

Light and flaky Gluten Free Cheddar Bay Biscuits. Simple drop biscuits that are super easy to throw together, and taste just like the famous Red Lobster Biscuits. Perfect for any meal! http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/gluten-free-cheddar-bay-biscuits-copycat/
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Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 10 biscuits


2 cups (280 g) all purpose gluten free flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/4 cup (36 g) cornstarch (or try arrowroot)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

6 ounces sharp yellow cheddar cheese, grated

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, cold and shredded

1 cup (8 fluid ounces) buttermilk, at room temperature

2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter, melted


  • Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and whisk to combine well. Add the grated cheese, shredded butter, and 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley, and toss to coat. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk. Mix gently, just until the dough begins to come together. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces, roll each gently into a ball, flatten lightly into a dish about 3/4 of an inch thick and place about 2-inches apart from one another on the prepared baking sheet. Place the biscuits in the freezer to chill until firm (about 10 minutes).

  • Remove the baking sheet from the freezer. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and remaining 1 tablespoon chopped parsley to the 2 tablespoons of melted butter, and mix to combine. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops and sides of the chilled biscuits with the garlic butter. Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake until firm to the touch, brown on the underside and lightly golden brown on top (about 20 minutes). Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • First published on the blog in 2013. The recipe ingredients, method and photographs were all updated in 2016. 


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  • Jennifer S.

    I should have put these in my bread memories because I miss these babies and honestly I’ve tried other copycats and they were not good – at all. So I’m super excited to try yours. do I have to roll into a disk in order to refrigerate? RL’s are drop biscuits, so I’m hoping I can put the bowl in and then just drop, freeze, etc?? what are your thoughts?
    and wow – no plan. not typical type A behavior – but sometimes you just have to live by the seat of your pants, right? :)

    • Hi, Jennifer, Yes, Red Lobster biscuits are drop biscuits, but although I know that people love to relative ease of drop biscuits (and there is a recipe for them in Quick & Easy for that reason), they are generally far from flaky. The rolling and folding of the dough is what makes for a light biscuit. You can make these as drop biscuits, but I don’t think the results will be anything to write home about, kwim?

      • Jennifer S.

        Yep – I get it. I will roll and fold, roll and fold….but not this week – maybe the weekend because I’m stressed out already!

  • Anneke

    I love you.

  • Anneke

    And, I can probably squeeze these babies into my mostly planned T-day meal. Only planned because I absolutely refuse to go to the grocery store this week, not because I am a huge meal planner, unlike Jennifer, who probably knows what she is having for dinner next Monday already! :)

    • That’s just good common sense, Anneke! I am at the grocery store (well, various ones) at least every couple days (occupational hazard), and of course went today. Madness already!

      • Donia Robinson

        Yes, I went yesterday and wanted to scream. Hopefully I have everything now and can stay away from the madness!

    • Jennifer S.

      Yep – due to the holidays I am meal planned out for at least 3 weeks – just worked on it this weekend!! :)

      • Donia Robinson

        I love you, Jennifer, but I also hate you. ;)

  • Lynn A. Decker

    I am SUPER excited to try this. We were going to do a really simple Thanksgiving meal this year, but I may have to add these to the mix. What do you think about grating the butter from a nearly-frozen state?

    • Hi, Lynn, No, I do not recommend doing that. You are much more likely to be successful making pastry if you use the method I describe in the instructions, working with chunks of butter. Grating the butter creates thin strands of butter, which are much more likely to melt while you are working with the dough, in which case the pastry won’t rise much at all.

      • Lynn A. Decker

        Thank you so much! I’ve never made biscuits before, so I wasn’t sure.

  • Laura

    Yay! These look great! I am not going to let the folding and rolling intimidate me.
    If I am going to freeze them for later, do I do that before or after buttering? Thank you!

    • Good, Laura! It’s just roll, fold, roll, fold, roll fold. It’s not a big deal at all, I promise! Good question—if you are going to freeze for later, freeze them before you brush with garlic butter. Then, right before baking from frozen, brush them with the garlic butter and bake.

  • Mare Masterson

    Hip hip hooray!!! Rock on Nicole, rock on!

    FYI, my BIL in Yorktown Heights, NY just got diagnosed with Celiac’s. Turning his wife, the graduate of the Culinary Institute, on to you! My SIL (his sister) usually brings stuffing and popovers to the T-Day meal at his house. I passed on your popover recipe to her and told her what sausage is GF and what bread to buy to prepare for stuffing for him.

    On another note, in April we have a big bash going on here in Tucson for a group I belong to. It is a dessert pot luck. A couple of us are doing whoopie pies for the bash. I am doing your whoopie pies and the other person is doing normal whoopie pies. But I know people in this organization that are paleo. Can you come up with a paleo whoopie pie? I am sure there are recipes out there, but I am asking you first because I trust you.

  • Jen from Revelstoke,BC, Canada

    I was inspired by your photos to make these to go with my prime rib soup tonight. I decided to make them last minute and they turned out AWESOME!!!!! The recipe was super simple and easy and the first bite stole my heart. I can’t even remember the last time I ate a really good biscuit. My husband couldn’t believe they were GF until he saw how many I ate. Thanks for the new staple!

  • Misbah

    How long do these last in the freezer?

  • Maria Henderson

    what does the powdered milk do? I live in a pretty small town and when I found some it was in LARGE quantities. Can I possibly make these without the powdered milk

    • Jenny

      I want to know the same thing! I don’t want to buy powdered milk since it isn’t something I use. Thanks! :)

  • Stephanie

    These are seriously possibly the tastiest things I’ve ever had in my life. I tried to convince my husband that they had gluten in them so that I could eat them all myself. He didn’t believe me.

  • marie

    I would like to make these but we are also allergic to dairy! Can you suggest an alternative to buttermilk? Thanks!

    • Alene Wendrow

      I can’t do the cheddar cheese or the buttermilk. I was wondering if you can substitute lactose free sour cream for the buttermilk. And I believe our grocery store has sort of blah lactose free cheddar cheese. You might ask yours.

    • I’m afraid you’d have to replace the cheese, buttermilk and the butter, marie. For the butter, you can definitely use vegetable shortening (NOT soy-based butter alternative), but the cheese and buttermilk will be harder. Sorry!

      • ljd007

        Its not that difficult really, for buttermilk I use a non dairy equivalent with some sort of acid added to it, usually lemon juice. there are plenty of DF cheese options out there now as well. A little bit of science to begin with and away you go

  • Melissa R

    Do you recommend one of your preferred flour blends as being best for this recipe? Better Batter or Better Than Cup4Cup, for example?

    • Hi, Melissa, in the recipe as written, I’d use Better Batter. If you’d like to use Cup4Cup or my Better Than Cup4Cup, use it gram for gram for both the flour and the cornstarch. So that would be 315 grams total Better Than Cup4Cup (or Cup4Cup itself) in place of the flour, xanthan gum and cornstarch. Good question!

  • Autumn Schafer

    My daughter cannot have any of the gluten free mixes due to the rice. Can you make these with coconut flour or almond flour? We are basically paleo (only 2 weeks in!) now and finding baked things has been so difficult. We are slowly getting there though! If you can use any of the paleo friendly flours what would be the proper measurement?

    • Definitely not, I’m afraid, Autumn. Baking with coconut and almond flours, and other grain free flours, is a completely different thing. I do have a recipe for Paleo scones here on the blog, though. Just use the search function!

      • Autumn Schafer

        I figured :( We’ve been paleo for 2 weeks now and it’s been kind of hard with baked stuff! I’ll check out your paleo recipe. Thank you!!

    • Mare Masterson

      Search on the blog for all of her Paleo recipes, Autumn. I am basically grain free per doctor’s orders (I cheat sometimes with gluten free) and I rely on Nicole’s Paleo recipes.

      • Autumn Schafer

        Thank you! I’ll check them out

  • youngbaker2002

    Hi Nicole! I was wondering why you say to be careful not to handle the dough much. Since there’s no gluten to activate what would make the biscuits tough?

    • Actually, there is gluten, just not wheat gluten. And handling it too much also packs the dough too tightly. The directions are correct as written.

  • Amy

    I made these tonight and was so excited, but they were not comparable for me. The centers were really dense vs. the light and fluffy RL ones. And I dont think they have even close to enough garlic as the resturant version, which I can easily adjust. My 8yr old loved them and that’s all that matters (since I made them for him). I will try again!! I usually have great success with all your recipes!!! Thanks so much =)

    • Hi, Amy, I would check your baking powder, and be sure you are following the instructions for handling the dough lightly as you most likely packed the dough too tightly, which as the recipe indicates can lead to a dense result.

  • Will

    Can I also add in Jalapeno? I am looking to make Jalapeno cheddar biscuits to make sandwiches.

  • Patrice Alane Rosone

    Epic fail! These were really dense, heavy and rubbery. I was really careful not to pack them too tight and I didn’t add the xanthum gum as the flour blend already had it in there but they were rubbery anyway. Ugh… they smelled good but they were awful. So disappointed!

    • I’ve been trying to figure out where you went wrong that would produce such a poor result, Patrice. I would always begin with the flour blend that you are using. If it’s not one of my recommended blends (which you’ll find if you follow the all purpose gluten free flour link in the recipe ingredients), the recipe won’t work so I’d look there. If you made any substitutions or didn’t measure your ingredients by weight (volume measurements are notoriously unreliable), I’d look there, for sure. Other than that, check your baking powder. If it’s no longer active, you will definitely get a dense result.

      • karen jones

        hi nicole
        i was trialing the namaste flour blend. didn’t check your list so i will now. thanks!

      • Patrice Alane Rosone

        I don’t know how to tell if my baking powder is active. It hasn’t expired but I’m going to buy new and try again. Thanks for the tips.

    • karen jones

      i had the same problem and had used namaste flour, thinking that was the problem. they smell fantastic but way too dense.

  • Hurley Wetzel

    Could I use plain milk instead of buttermilk in these?

  • Angela

    Lovely recipe. Easy, quick and delicious. Even my daughter (she usually doesn’t like any of my gluten free stuff) asked for a second one!
    Thanks for sharing, I will definitely make them again

  • Bailee Saurus

    I just made these with a few alterations, and they came out amazing!
    I used the Bob’s Red Mill all purpose GF baking flour, I added a tsp of baking soda, and I didn’t have buttermilk, so I combined 2/3 greek yogurt with 1/3 milk instead. I also did not roll into balls and press, but I scooped clumps of dough and lightly pressed them together until they held. These came out exactly like RL in taste and texture.

  • JerseyGirl1959

    Like others I’ve had problems – not enough rise and too dense -yet they still taste good. First time it was the baking powder so my fault. Second time, I again used my own blend and weighed the flour. Third time, I used Namaste and weighed that flour. Always they lack the rise of the ones at Lobster House and are disappointing! I don’t think I’ve over mixed any time I’ve made them. Today I found an almond flour recipe so that’s next.

    • You simply cannot use Namaste flour in my recipes, JerseyGirl. It is a very unbalanced blend and it is not a true “all purpose” flour. That is the cause of your disappointment.

  • Anathema_Device

    Made these tonight exactly as written, using King Arthur GF flour mix & xantham gum. They were delicious! Came out perfectly. I was very careful to not over mix and over handle.

  • Dan Wolfgram

    So I tried making these tonight. Can up with 2 issues. First, following the recipe, the dough came up dry. I had to add about a 1/2 cup more of buttermilk to combine all the ingredients into a dough. Per the recipe, the butter I used was cold during the mixing stage, so that did not add any moisture to create the dough.

    Baked for about 30 minutes to golden brown. They had good flavor, and not overly dense, but flattened out like a cookie, and they seemed really greasy from to much butter.

    Anyone have thoughts?

    • Hi, Dan,
      I have to imagine that your issue with dryness has to do with your flour blend. If you are using something too high in starch, it will absorb way more liquid.
      The flattening was most likely due to the fact that you added so much liquid.

  • Jackie

    I have made these the last 2 years and have loved them but I do not care for the updated recipe. Although the old recipe had more steps is there any way I can get the old one?

    • There was almost no change made to the recipe ingredients, Jackie. It was mostly a change in technique. I’m afraid I don’t have a record of the original, no.

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