Cornmeal Biscuits

Cornmeal Biscuits

Light and flaky gluten free cornmeal biscuitsWe’re in training. Did you know that?

These are tender and flaky Gluten-Free Cornmeal Biscuits. but they’re also trainers.

Stack of cornmeal biscuits

Are you nervous about Puff Pastry? It can be kind of intimidating.

There’s a recipe for “Quick” (so to speak) Puff Pastry in my next cookbook. And it requires “turns.” Puff Pastry comes by its name, and telltale layers, honestly. It’s layers upon layers of butter wrapped in flour.

Guess what also makes for puffy biscuits?  Leaveners like baking powder and baking soda, but also, you guessed it…

Cornmeal biscuits on wooden surface


Sliced cornmeal biscuits

If you want your pastry to flake, you gotta do the turns. There’s no substitute for ’em. See how the pastry almost shatters and peels away?


A close up of ingredients

And you have to have big chunks of butter.

Flour on a spoon

Toss them in the flour.

Person holding cornmeal batter

And then flatten the chunks with your floured fingers.

A close up of person holding dough

All of them.

Dough on black surface

Then press the dough into a disk and freeze it until firm.

A close up of flattened dough

When you first roll out the dough, it will be a bit crumbly. Can you see the big chunks of butter? They’re everywhere.

A close up of folded dough

Then fold the dough in thirds. It will crack as you fold it. No worries. Keep reading.

A close up of dough on brown surface

Turn it 90 degrees, and roll it out again.

Dough being shaped

Then fold it again. See how it has smoothed out? Much more pliable. Becoming quite lovely.

dough being rolled on brown surface

Fold the other side.

rolled out dough on brown surface

Turn it 90 degrees, and roll it out again. Do the whole thing one more time, if you have it in you. Have it in you! We’re training. You’ll get better and better at this. Practice makes perfect. It will click. *click* Like that.

Raw cornmeal biscuits

Cut it into 2 inch squares, and pop the baking sheet in the freezer. Then bake. No need to brush it with milk or anything else. The yogurt in the dough makes for a very tender crumb, and the butter makes it brown beautifully.

Here are the details. Please read everything through at least once before beginning!

Gluten-Free Cornmeal Biscuits
Recipe Type: Pastry
Author: Nicole @ Gluten-Free on a Shoestring.com
Prep time: 45 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 1 hour 5 mins
Serves: 16
Gluten-free crisp and flaky cornmeal biscuits with a touch of yogurt for tenderness
  • 1 1/2 cups (210g) all-purpose gluten-free flour (I use Better Batter)
  • 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if using Better Batter)
  • 3/4 cup (100g) yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (84g) unsalted butter, kept cold
  • 1/2 cup (113g) plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk (low-fat is fine, nonfat is not)
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
  2. Place the flour, xanthan gum, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a large bowl, and whisk to combine well. Cut the 6 tablespoons cold butter into a large dice (see photo), and dump all of the butter into the large bowl of dry ingredients (see photo). Toss the diced butter in the dry ingredients to coat (see photo), but not to break up the butter. Flatten each piece of diced butter in between your fingertips (see photo) without crumbling the butter.
  3. Add the yogurt and milk to the bowl, and mix to combine, still taking care not to crumble the butter. The mixture should come together. It will not be very wet, so be sure to wet all of the dry ingredients with the milk and yogurt.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Press the dough into a flat disk and cover it tightly with the plastic wrap. Place the dough in the freezer for about 15 minutes or until firm.
  5. Once the dough is firm, transfer it to a piece of parchment paper, and press back into a flat disk if it has crumbled at all. Place another piece of parchment paper on top of the dough, and begin to roll into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick (see photo). You should see flattened pieces of diced butter pretty clearly in the dough (see photo). Fold one short end of the dough over 1/3 of the rectangle (see photo), and then fold the other end on top (see photo). You will have folded the dough in thirds, like a business letter. The dough will likely crack a bit as you fold it (see photo). Turn the dough either clockwise or counterclockwise 1/4 of the way around (a 90 degree turn). Roll the dough out again into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. You have just completed one full “turn.”
  6. Repeat the whole process for 2 or 3 more “turns.” By the second time you fold the dough like a business letter, it will be much smoother and won’t crack (see photo).
  7. After the final turn, roll into a rectangle about 8 inches wide by 16 inches long. Fold the dough in half so that it is an 8-inch square. It will be about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Divide the dough into sixteen 2-inch squares.
  8. Place the squares of biscuit dough about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.
  9. Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown and puffy, rotating once during baking.

I have not tested this recipe with any substitutions at all.
There are two essentials to biscuit success: large pieces of butter surrounded by flour, and cold cold dough. If you make the butter into crumbs, you will have flat biscuits. You can count on it.


Cornmeal biscuits on metal pan


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Comments are closed.

  • […] 1/2 inch thick, and it’s ready for its first turn. To learn more about the turns, see my Cornmeal Biscuits post and my Yeasted Puff Pastry recipe made into custard-filled pastries.And if you plan to make […]

  • Kristin Jung Dorn on Facebook
    February 19, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    I <3 you. :)

  • Sonia
    February 18, 2012 at 3:00 AM

    I just used this recipe to make a chicken pie and almost cried at the results. I have been trying to replicate puff pastry ever since I was diagnosed with coeliacs and the texture of this pastry was exactly what I remembered. Sincere thanks from Sydney, Nicole!

    • February 18, 2012 at 9:22 AM

      You did it, Sonia! I’m so happy. Thank you for going out of your way to tell me that it worked so well for you. It is exciting, isn’t it? Well done. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Amy
    February 17, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    Hi Nicole! I’d love to see more easy, healthy breakfast ideas. We make your ricotta pancakes just about every weekend, but I need to lose a few pounds! (Not that the pancakes are the culprit!!) How about something without flour and more protein? Besides plain ol’ eggs! Thanks so much!!

    • February 18, 2012 at 9:20 AM

      Hi, Amy,
      There are lots of grab ‘n’ go breakfast recipes in the new book, so I hope you’ll enjoy that when it comes out. But I will endeavor to come up with some more for the blog. Good suggestions! :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • February 17, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    Hey Nicole–
    I have Maseca Corn Masa but no corn meal in my cupboard right now. I’m not sure it would work in the recipe but I want to know what you think??

    I haven’t used much in the way of corn meals or masa before but I saw your recipe for pupusas and thought I’d get the instant Masa (love that it says gluten free on the bag) The bag is big though and I need more recipes besides corn tortillas and pupusas. I do have your cookbook:) page numbers that use this ingredient??

    Thanks! and happy long weekend!

    • February 18, 2012 at 9:21 AM

      Hi, Stephanie,
      Masa harina is a precooked cornmeal. You cannot use it as a substitute for regular cornmeal.

      • Mary
        February 18, 2012 at 11:24 PM

        Hi, actually I use a bit of masa along with cornmeal and an all purpose GF flour blend to make cornbread. The masa adds a depth of flavor that doesn’t come through with cornmeal alone, although I wouldn’t turn down anyone’s cornbread if offered!

  • Kelli
    February 17, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    Southern style chocolate pound cake like my nanny (grandmother) made.

    • February 17, 2012 at 2:38 PM

      What makes it “Southern style” to you, Kelli? Sounds like a good idea. Tell me more!
      xoxo Nicole

      • Kelli
        February 19, 2012 at 3:37 PM

        I think it is the texture of the cake. Also it is a very dense cake and is cooked in a tubular pan. I have her recipes if you want to play with them. I used to make her chocolate and regular pound cakes all the time. My family and friends really miss them, as do I.

        • February 20, 2012 at 9:04 AM

          Hi, Kelli,
          I have a recipe for pound cake in my cookbook. It sounds similar. I bet you could just do a 1:1 substitution in your grandmother’s recipes with a good all-purpose gluten-free flour like Better Batter.
          xoxo Nicole

  • Joleen
    February 17, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    HI! Quick question – we have lactose intolerance in our home, do you think a DF Margarine would work out alright in place of butter? Thank you so much! These came just in time as we are making chill this weekend…. these will be super to wipe it up with!

    • February 17, 2012 at 2:36 PM

      Hi, Joleen,
      I don’t feel too optimistic about making a flaky biscuit with margarine. I would try vegetable shortening instead. I’ve never tried it, though, so you’ll have to experiment!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Jannyjo
    February 17, 2012 at 4:57 AM

    I have a silly question. In the recipe you say to line a baking sheet with parchment paper, do we need to do this if we are using USA pans? (I only ask because your pictures don’t show any on your USA pans. )

    • February 17, 2012 at 9:34 AM

      Hi, Jannyjo,
      Nope. You don’t need to line your USA Pans. Good question. :)
      xoxo Nicole

      • Jannyjo
        February 18, 2012 at 10:01 AM

        Thanks Nicole. Looks like breakfast for dinner tonight with these biscuits as the star!

  • February 16, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    I’ve been thinking about making puff pastry lately but I just did’nt know how to do. Thanks a lot Nicole and I invite you to visit my blog, though it is french.

    • February 16, 2012 at 10:43 PM

      Hi, Miss Diane,
      I don’t speak any French, but I’m glad you speak English!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Meridith
    February 16, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    Hi Nicole!!

    I really can’t wait for your new cookbook, I really am looking forward to it!! These biscuits look AWESOME!! If your taking requests I have 2. One, I know your a big fan of eggs (I am too!) but they are not a fan of my stomach! Could you try some egg-replacement recipes? Also, its girl scout season and I would love some GF Samoas!

    Thanks So Much!

    • February 16, 2012 at 10:39 PM

      Hi, Meridith,
      Oooh egg replacers. That’s a big one! I should try those out, you’re right. I tend to rely pretty heavily on eggs for moisture, protein, structure. They’re so useful, especially in gluten-free baking! But I will try. For you? I will. :)
      GF Samoas? Great idea. Will put ’em on the list!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Kaity
    February 16, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Hi Nicole,

    I’ve been lurking for ages and finally have a question: Would these biscuits (and the puff pastry) freeze well after they’ve been rolled/turned? It’d be great if I could do all of the turning on a free day and pull out the biscuits or the dough to bake later in the week!

    As for new recipes for the blog…cakes! It’s been the hardest thing for me to bake GF. I’ve got pie-crusts, cookies, muffins down and I’m working on breads, but the more delicate cake batter is a real challenge!

    • February 16, 2012 at 10:37 PM

      Hi, Kaity,
      Yes! They definitely would freeze well. Just freeze them flat on a baking sheet, as if you were going to bake them. Once they’re frozen solid, just transfer them to a freezer safe ziploc bag until you’re ready to use them. The puff pastry will also freeze very well.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Sherry
    February 16, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    Hi Nicole,

    I haven’t replied in a while, but I have been reading! I LOVE that you are developing so many wonderful dairy-free recipes! I am getting ready to make some almond butter right now. I wonder, how could it be tweaked to become a (dairy-free) Nutella type spread? Also, I would love to see some flavored tortilla “wraps”; like sun-dried tomato, basil & garlic, etc. Thank you for all of the fantastic work! Congratulations on turning in your manuscript, I can’t wait for the book!

    • February 16, 2012 at 12:17 PM

      Hi, Sherry,
      It’s nice to hear from you. You can make the Bittersweet Chocolate Almond Butter into a sort of Nutella by using hazelnuts instead of almonds. Easy swap.
      Flavored tortilla wraps are a fantastic idea! Thanks for that. I’ve been working on brown/whole grain version of tortillas (haven’t got it quite right just yet, but I will), but I hadn’t yet thought of making flavored wraps. I love that! Smart. So glad you’re here. :)
      xoxo Nicole

      • Ashley
        February 16, 2012 at 7:08 PM

        I second Sherry’s idea! Flavored wraps sound delicious and so do whole grain ones! I definitely prefer a wrap for a sandwich over bread :)

  • Ashley
    February 16, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    More lunch and dinner recipes please! :)

    • February 16, 2012 at 12:18 PM

      Okee dokee, Ashley. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Pamela G
    February 16, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    I’m looking for sammie enclosures. Be it bread or rolls. Something portable. For lunches. something that’s not hard as a rock, but not HUGE, either…..(I know…picky…)

    • February 16, 2012 at 11:08 AM

      Hi, Pam,
      Not sure what you mean. Like sandwich bread (have you tried the White Sandwich Bread in my cookbook, or the Brown Bread here on the blog?) or tortillas (like the Flour Tortillas in my book?). Or the Cornmeal Sandwich Rolls here on the blog. Or the Ciabatta Rolls here on the blog?
      xoxo Nicole

  • Tami Corkrey on Facebook
    February 16, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    Wow, I’m loving these recipes you’ve been posting! Thank you!

  • Tara S.
    February 16, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    Hi, Nicole! I would love to see more cake and breakfast ideas. I am always on the lookout for a quick and easy breakfast that is portable (for myself and my kiddos). BTW, I searched the Community Forum, but didn’t see anything about what is a good type of GF cornmeal to use. I may have asked this before, but I can’t recall the answer…maybe due to old age…lol. If you don’t mind to re-share this info. I would be most appreciative. Also, congratulations on turning in your manuscript!

    • February 16, 2012 at 10:52 AM

      Hi, Tara,
      That is the most respectful and kind reader question I think I’ve ever seen! Thank you for searching first, but you should always feel free to ask a question about a current recipe! I know what you mean about quick and portable breakfast recipes. There are LOTS of those in the next book, actually. Hooray! I will see if I can come up with some more new ones for the blog. Good suggestion!
      I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Cornmeal, since I know it’s certified GF. Just be sure to buy the kind that’s gluten-free! They sell many grains in two varieties — certified gluten-free and not certified gluten-free. Be sure you see the little “gluten-free” symbol. On their cornmeal, it says “gluten free” across the top, I think, but sometimes it’s just a little symbol toward the bottom of the package.
      xoxo Nicole

      • Tara S.
        February 16, 2012 at 11:11 AM

        Thank you Nicole for your reply! I cannot wait for the new book!!! I will be pre-ordering for sure!!! Have a great day!

  • Mandy Howerton on Facebook
    February 16, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    mmm Yummy. I don’t have a mixer so I can make this one!

  • February 16, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    Cakes and cookies. Please. =)

    • February 16, 2012 at 9:29 AM

      Hi, Mandy,
      You bet! Thanks for the feedback. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • February 16, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    Glutton free again!!!! LOL and yes
    It does look good!!!

  • February 16, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    This looks good!

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