Gluten Free Cream Cheese Buttermilk Biscuits

Gluten Free Cream Cheese Buttermilk Biscuits

Light, flaky and extra tender, this recipe for gluten free cream cheese buttermilk biscuits is the foolproof formula for soft biscuits you’ve been looking for.

Light, flaky and extra tender, this recipe for gluten free cream cheese buttermilk biscuits is the foolproof formula for biscuits you've been looking for.

How are cream cheese biscuits different?

Cream cheese buttermilk biscuits are, of course, similar to traditional flaky all-butter biscuits. Both types of biscuits are beautifully layered and flaky. But cream cheese biscuits are the impossibly tender biscuit you maybe didn’t even know you wanted.

The ingredients in butter biscuits and cream cheese biscuits are largely the same (flour, chemical leaveners, salt, butter, and buttermilk). Plus, in both types of biscuits, all of the ingredients must be kept cold so that the fats expand in the heat of the oven and create the flaky layers we love.

But when you add cream cheese to the mixture, it creates a tenderness inside each flaky layer that is hard to describe. Plus, the lightly tangy flavor from the mixture of butter, buttermilk, and cream cheese will have you hooked at the first bite.

Light, flaky and extra tender, this recipe for gluten free cream cheese buttermilk biscuits is the foolproof formula for biscuits you've been looking for.

How to make sure your biscuits are tender, not tough

Since traditional buttermilk biscuits are made with chemical leaveners (baking powder and baking soda), not yeast, it’s rare that biscuits simply don’t rise at all in the oven—assuming your leaveners are fresh. If you’ve had trouble in the past with baking biscuits, the, it’s most likely been a problem with texture.

When conventional, gluten-containing baked goods are tough when they’re meant to be tender, it’s usually a result of having overworked the dough, which overdevelops the gluten. But even though we’re using gluten free flours, our baked goods can still end up tough instead of tender.

The most common reasons for tough biscuits are: overworking the dough (yes, that’s still an issue with gluten free flours!), over measuring the flours (be sure to bake by weight, not volume), using the wrong flours which are gritty and unbalanced, or using too much flour in shaping the dough. 

Of course, if you want the easiest biscuits ever, you can try our gluten free drop biscuits. They’re not flaky like these layered biscuits, but they’re ready in minutes with almost no handling at all.

Light, flaky and extra tender, this recipe for gluten free cream cheese buttermilk biscuits is the foolproof formula for biscuits you've been looking for.

Can you freeze these biscuits?

Yes! All of my gluten free biscuit recipes can be frozen, it’s just a matter of when you freeze them. These cream cheese buttermilk biscuits can be frozen raw, after they’re shaped and before the tops are brushed with milk.

Just freeze them fully on the baking sheet, and pile them into a freezer-safe container until you’re ready to bake them—then brush and bake from frozen. You’ll have to add a few minutes to the baking time, but it’ll be less added time than you think.

You can also freeze these biscuits after they’re baked and cooled. Keep in mind that it’s even more important to wrap each individual biscuit very tightly in a freezer-safe wrap. They’re more likely to take on freezer burn after they’re baked and cooled than when they’re frozen raw. 

Light, flaky and extra tender, this recipe for gluten free cream cheese buttermilk biscuits is the foolproof formula for biscuits you've been looking for.

Ingredients and substitutions

Dairy-free: Making cream cheese buttermilk biscuits without dairy is a tall order, but good news! I think it’s possible. In place of the butter, I recommend using half (4 tablespoons) Earth Balance buttery sticks and half (4 tablespoons) Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening. Both fats should be chilled, but you can’t chill the shortening too much or it will become rock solid.

Light, flaky and extra tender, this recipe for gluten free cream cheese buttermilk biscuits is the foolproof formula for biscuits you've been looking for.

In place of the cream cheese, if you have a favorite nondairy cream cheese alternative, try using that. You may have to use less moisture (from the buttermilk; more on that in a moment) since nondairy cream cheese tends to be softer. 

In place of buttermilk, try using plain nondairy yogurt for half of the volume and unsweetened nondairy milk for the other half. Add the liquid slowly, though, since your buttermilk may be thinner than the original.

Corn-free: In place of cornstarch, you can try using arrowroot powder. Potato starch is also a pretty good substitute for cornstarch, although it’s even lighter.

Sugar-free: Just leave out the granulated sugar, and you’ll have a sugar-free biscuit. It just helps round out the flavor of the biscuits, but it’s not necessary for structure or even tenderness of the biscuits.


Gluten-Free Cream Cheese Buttermilk Biscuits

Light, flaky and extra tender, this recipe for gluten free cream cheese buttermilk biscuits is the foolproof formula for biscuits you've been looking for. #glutenfree #gf #biscuits #creamcheese

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 8 biscuits


3 cups (420 g) all purpose gluten-free flour (I used Better Batter)

1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/3 cup (48 g) cornstarch

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons (24 g) granulated sugar (optional)

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, diced and chilled

6 ounces cream cheese, chilled

1 1/4 cups (10 fluid ounces) buttermilk, chilled, plus more for brushing tops

Coarse salt for sprinkling (optional)


  • Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the optional sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the butter, separate the pieces and toss in the dry ingredients to coat with butter with flour. Add the cream cheese, and toss to coat again. With clean and dry, well-floured fingers, flatten the flour-covered pieces of butter and cream cheese. Create a well in the center of the bowl, and add the chilled buttermilk. Stir the mixture to combine until the dough begins to come together, then knead the mixture a bit with your hands to bring it together into a disk.

  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and press it into a rectangle. Dust the dough lightly with flour, and roll it out roughly until it’s about 1-inch thick. Fold the dough in thirds by the short sides, like a business letter. Turn the dough one-quarter of the way around in one direction, and roll out into a rectangle about 3/4-inch thick. Flour a round biscuit cutter, and cut out rounds of dough. Place the rounds on the prepared baking sheet. Gather and reroll the scraps, sprinkle lightly with flour if the dough is sticky, and cut more rounds of dough. Place the rounds on the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the biscuits with a bit of buttermilk, and sprinkle with the optional coarse salt. Place the baking sheet in the freezer to chill for about 10 minutes or until firm.

  • Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake, rotating once during baking, until lightly golden brown on top (about 18 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to set briefly before serving.

  • Originally published on the blog in 2012. Photos, video, and text new; recipe scaled up and tweaked slightly. 


Comments are closed.

  • Jennifer
    May 25, 2019 at 2:55 PM

    Hi Nicole,
    I tried these last week and followed the directions to the letter as I do with all recipes I make for the first time. These were on the labor intensive side and dinner was simmering away impatiently, so I kinda skipped the freezer bit. People, don’t skip this part! Baked and ready to go they were merely meh rather than spectacular. But…I had placed four unbaked biscuits in the freezer for the next day and lo and behold they were terrific! Huge difference! Still not sure they’re worth the labor on an everyday basis (I have other recipes that are quicker, easier and more than adequate), but for a special occasion, they are definitely in the queue!

  • Ginny
    May 22, 2019 at 5:48 PM

    These are perfect! Flaky, great lift, tender. My family swooned over them!

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 23, 2019 at 9:21 AM

      That’s awesome, Ginny! Thanks so much for reporting back.

  • Christine
    May 21, 2019 at 10:17 PM

    In the recipe you recommend Better Batter, but in the GF flour discussion you say that cup4cup is better for flaky things like biscuits and scones. Help!

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 22, 2019 at 8:58 AM

      Hi, Christine,
      On the page about gluten free flour blends, I discuss how Cup4Cup gluten free flour is very good for pastries like biscuits since it is high in starch. In this recipe, I used Better Batter, which is more of a general all purpose flour, and added cornstarch to lighten the blend. If you are planning to build your own blend, the best all around blend is my Better Than Cup4Cup. It’s really up to you!

  • Susan
    May 19, 2019 at 6:16 PM

    These look kind of like flattish scones to me. Have you ever tried ‘lemonade’ scones with gluten-free flour? 3 cups of flour (plain flour I think), 1 cup of cream and 1 cup 0f lemonade (7up or Sprite
    I guess), this recipe works magnificently with regular flour but I’m not sure about GF.

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 20, 2019 at 8:07 AM

      Hi, Susan,
      Yes, biscuits to me are cookies to you, but scones to me are similar to but distinct from biscuits. These are flaky and layered. The 3-ingredient biscuits you are referring to (which I also make sometimes as well, but make it with plain seltzer, not a flavored soda) are more like drop biscuits.

  • Leslie
    May 19, 2019 at 1:11 PM

    Can these be made with tapioca starch instead of cornstarch?

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 19, 2019 at 2:08 PM

      I really recommend using arrowroot or potato starch, not tapioca starch, Leslie.

    May 19, 2019 at 12:10 PM

    what can I sub for buttermilk that’s dairy free?

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 19, 2019 at 2:08 PM

      Hi, Nile, please see the ingredients and substitutions section.

  • Deby Youngquist
    May 19, 2019 at 7:47 AM

    Could I use coconut sugar instead? I gave up baking when I went gluten free, but I love biscuits so much with apple butter or jam I’m willing to try these.

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 19, 2019 at 2:09 PM

      I’m afraid I really don’t recommend that, Deby. You can simply leave out the sugar if you’d prefer.

  • Courtney
    May 18, 2019 at 12:25 AM

    Just made these biscuits and I am so confused! The flavor was great, but I why did the cream cheese stay in chunks after they were baked?! I cubed and chilled the cream cheese with the butter and flattened each piece but still had full size chunks in the biscuits. So weird. What did I do wrong? I used 1/2 bobs red mill 1:1 and 1/2 almond flour for my flour mixture because I love almond flour. Everything else I followed the recipe exactly.

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 19, 2019 at 2:10 PM

      Hi, Courtney, I’m afraid you changed the recipe significantly by changing the flour blend. Almond flour is not an all purpose gluten free flour blend, and should only be used in recipes that are written for it. Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 flour is not one of my recommended blends. For more information on all purpose gluten free flours, please see here.

  • Ada
    May 16, 2019 at 10:16 PM

    Can domata flour be used

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 17, 2019 at 1:29 PM

      I’m afraid not, Ada. I don’t use or recommend use of that blend at all.

  • January 27, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    Oh, I love biscuits. They taste good with anything..and I’m all about the fat. I’m convinced that’s why I’ve been losing weight, seriously..because I”m eating real food :) :) Oh, and butter? Yes, please ;) :) I’m really loving this post today. Thanks for the recipe :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  • Jen
    January 26, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    You are a good and honorable woman. :) Between these and the bretzels I’m going to need to order another 25 pounds of flour. ;)

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