Gluten Free Angel Biscuits

Gluten Free Angel Biscuits

Gluten Free Angel BiscuitsI’m thinking that we might want to make some gluten free angel biscuits for Easter this Sunday. It seems … almost like a religious experience. If you’ve ever had trouble making biscuits (or, to be honest, even if you haven’t), then this is the pastry recipe for you. With baking powder, baking soda, and some yeast, they rise like angels. Get it?

Gluten Free Angel Biscuits

The temperature situation did pose a bit of a cognitive dissonance in my mind, to be honest. I mean, yeast likes warm, and pastry (like biscuits) needs cold fat (like butter) to expand in the oven. Pastry is really all about architecture as much as it is chemistry. The big chunks of cold butter, surrounded by flour, expand when they hit the warmth of the oven and push out the flour all around. Puff! But then how is the yeast supposed to proof??

Gluten Free Angel Biscuits

I’ll tell you how, sister (brother?).

Gluten Free Angel Biscuits

You handle the dough like you would any pastry (cold ingredients, light touch). Then we set the dough to rise in our usual warm, draft-free location, but we’ve used a bit less butter. That helps keep the dough together during the rise, without leaking. Then, right before it goes in the oven (after proofing), we shock it in the freezer! The result? See for yourself…

Gluten Free Angel Biscuits

Tender, light and flaky angel biscuits, with a bit of extra flavor from the yeast development—not to mention biscuit-rising insurance. Do you hear them singing?

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 12 biscuits


2 cups (280 g) all-purpose gluten free flour (I like Better Batter or my mock Better Batter here)*, plus more for sprinkling

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

7 tablespoons (42 g) nonfat dry milk (blended into a fine powder)

4 tablespoons (36 g) cornstarch

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons (24 g) sugar

2 teaspoons (6 g) instant yeast

1 teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, roughly chopped (about 1/2-inch dice will work) and chilled

1 cup (8 fluid ounces) buttermilk, chilled

*In place of the mock Better Batter + nonfat dry milk + cornstarch, you can use 2 1/2 cups (350 g) Cup4Cup gluten free flour, or my mock Cup4Cup blend.


  • 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, nonfat dry milk, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and yeast, and whisk to combine well. Add the salt, and whisk again to combine. Add the chopped and chilled butter, and toss to coat it in the dry ingredients. Flatten each chunk of butter between your thumb and forefinger. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk, and mix until the dough begins to come together. If necessary, press together with floured hands, handling it as little as possible.

  • Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured piece of unbleached parchment paper and press into a disk. Place another piece of unbleached parchment paper on top of the dough, and roll out into a rectangle that is about 1 inch thick. Remove the top piece of parchment paper, sprinkle lightly with flour, and fold the dough over on itself like you would a business letter. Sprinkle the dough again lightly with flour, replace the parchment paper and roll out the dough once again into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Once more, remove the top piece of parchment paper, sprinkle lightly with flour, and fold the dough over on itself like you would a business letter. Sprinkle the dough again lightly with flour, replace the parchment paper and roll out the dough, but this time into a disk about 1/2 inch thick. Peel back the top piece of parchment paper, and, using a floured 2 1/2-inch cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out rounds of dough. Place the rounds about 2 inches apart from one another on the prepared baking sheet. Gather and reroll the scraps, cut out as many more round of dough as possible, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with an oiled piece of plastic wrap, and place in a warm, draft-free location until nearly doubled in size (about 1 hour). Place the covered baking sheet in the freezer until firm (about 15 minutes).

  • Remove the baking sheet from the freezer place it in the center of the preheated oven. Bake until the biscuits are puffed, very fragrant and lightly golden brown around the edges (about 12 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow the biscuits to cool briefly on the baking sheet before serving.



P.S. If you haven’t yet, please pick up your copy of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread! Your support keeps me going, in more ways than one!

Comments are closed.

  • April 19, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    I think I’m in LOVE <3

  • Jan A.
    April 19, 2014 at 4:04 PM

    Am I understanding correctly–if I use Cup4Cup or mock Cup4Cup
    , I omit the cornstarch and nonfat dry milk powder?

  • […] Angel biscuits. […]

  • […] Gluten Free Angel Biscuits: Can you hear the angels singing? I have posted more than just one biscuit recipe here on the blog, but I have honestly never seen you all get as excited about any others like you did about these. Is it because of the magic combination of baking powder, baking soda and yeast?! It’s darn near a religious experience, I tell ya. […]

  • Marie
    April 17, 2014 at 8:21 PM

    I know you can use arrowroot in place of corn starch. Would that leave a taste?

  • Candice
    April 17, 2014 at 8:32 AM

    These look like they would go perfectly with the ham I bought for Easter! Yum! Have to tell you that I finally made the GF flour tortillas from GFOASBB and they were sooooo good! I do not have the “rolling out” gene, so they were not pretty, but my husband made noises when he was eating them. He never does that! And he was planning all the things that would taste good on top of them. Again, not him. So, thank you for another amazing recipe! They were even frozen and reheated, so made our tacos from last night super quick and easy. Will add those to my weekly list of bread to make:)

  • Sandy Rusher
    April 16, 2014 at 11:28 PM

    I love Angel Biscuits. I have a youth group member with CD and always looking for recipes I can use for her. We have store bought gluten free all purpose flour. I read through the comments and did not see this question. With the all purpose flour do I still need to use the powdered milk and cornstarch? I don’t mind using them just don’t want to waste a batch. Blessings,Sandy

    • April 17, 2014 at 6:54 AM

      Hi, Sandy, the nonfat dry milk and the cornstarch are separate ingredients. They are not replaced by the all purpose gluten free flour.

  • Sonya Parker
    April 16, 2014 at 9:38 PM

    This is SOOO awesome! I made biscuits like this for the breakfast crowd at the last restaurant I worked for! I had to make sure my biscuits would be GIGANTIC. I always used the puff pastry dough method then one day decided to add yeast like similar to my cinnamon roll dough. I cut these with a handmade cutter so they could be at least 2 1/2-3 inches across and 2 1/2inches high. People started asking for cheese biscuits so next I just started folding sharp cheddar cheese into the dough. This was my job twice a week. Along with the cinnamon rolls and pancake batter. I am soooooo happy to see these come back into my life!!!!!!!!!!!

  • watchingnow
    April 16, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    Hi, first I do indeed have your books, plus follow your site as well as on FB. LOVE all the info you provide. Finally

    I read through all the comments and did not find whether these will freeze well AFTER being baked.

    • April 16, 2014 at 7:36 PM

      I love your “first,” watchingnow! Much appreciated. And that you read through the comments before asking your question! Finally—yes! They freeze really well after being baked. :)

  • Gabrielle Jewson
    April 16, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    Is there a way to make these dairy free?

    • April 16, 2014 at 7:37 PM

      I haven’t made these with any substitutions, Gabrielle. You can try coconut milk powder in place of the nonfat dry milk, shortening in place of the butter and soured almond milk in place of the buttermilk. But that’s a lot of substitutions!

      • Sonya Parker
        April 16, 2014 at 9:47 PM

        Hi Nicole, i’ve searched for a nondairy coconut milk but for some reason they add milk proteins to it. I have a severe milk protein allergy so I look out for that. I ended up using rice milk powder or soy milk powder. In making biscuits from your first/second(?) book, can’t quite remember which I have all three, I subbed Earth Balance for the butter. I ended up using my 5lbs of Better Batter for biscuits because my 17yr old told me I had to make enough to last him for 2 weeks. The freezer is an awesome friend….

      • April 17, 2014 at 6:53 AM

        Hi, Sonya, I’m glad you had success using Earth Balance in place of butter, but for the benefit of others, I do not recommend Earth Balance for pastries. It has a very high water content, and tends to melt into the flour instead of creating layers as it expands in the oven.

  • lettergirl
    April 16, 2014 at 4:07 PM

    I adore angel biscuits and it’s one of those things I’ve had in the back of my mind to convert to GF “someday.” Now I don’t have to wait till I get around to it. Thank you!

  • cmjackson
    April 16, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    Thanks, Nicole! You are so very helpful! I think I have it all figured out now! I have both your books on my Kindle and am slowly cooking through them — enjoying baking again!

  • CarolKicinski
    April 16, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    These look beautiful, hope you have a lovely Easter!

  • Lorna
    April 16, 2014 at 1:40 PM

    WOW! You’ve done it again girl! Angel Biscuits have been a favorite of mine for many years…Did you hear me thinking about them recently????? I used to make up a 5 cup of flour batch. I would bake a few and leave the remainder in a bowl in the fridge for a few days so I could have half a dozen hot biscuits whenever I wanted them. They are soooooo good and everyone seems to enjoy them and find them a little special (is it a biscuit or a bun?). You just keep Rockin’ Lady!

    Saw a non-gluten free recipe today for Sticky Lemon Rolls with Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze…like a cinnamon bun with lemon and nutmeg instead of cinamon…..any thought to tackling something like that?

    • Michelle
      April 16, 2014 at 2:55 PM

      Ohmygosh- lemon cinnamon rolls sound awesome!

    • April 16, 2014 at 5:03 PM

      So true, Lorna. Angel biscuits are sort of a cross between a biscuit and a bun. Love ’em!
      Those sticky lemon rolls sound fabulous. You could definitely use the recipe in my bread cookbook, Bakes Bread, for cinnamon sticky buns and add some lemon juice and/or zest to the glaze!

  • Angie Hepp
    April 16, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    I have a question about the nonfat dry milk. I bought some nonfat dry milk, but it is already a very fine powder. It is not instant dry milk. Your recipes don’t say “instant,”so I wasn’t sure if what I have is ok to use. And you asked if we could hear the biscuits singing? It’s a veritable oratorio!!

    • April 16, 2014 at 1:20 PM

      I’m honestly not sure, Angie. I buy Carnation instant nonfat dry milk, and grind it into a finer powder. Otherwise, the final product has flecks of powdered milk. I don’t know how fine yours is, so I really can’t say!

      • Angie Hepp
        April 16, 2014 at 1:51 PM

        Ah…mine says “non-instant nonfat dry milk.” I measure by weight, so the amount shouldn’t be an issue. I wonder if there’s any difference in the product itself as far as how it works in the recipe.

      • April 16, 2014 at 5:01 PM

        It’s not a matter of the amount of the ingredient, Angie. It’s a matter of the grind of the powder.

  • Moe Moe
    April 16, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    Can I skip the cornstarch? We have a corn allergy here.

    • April 16, 2014 at 1:19 PM

      You can’t just skip it, Moe. Feel free to experiment with another starch!

  • S. Harris
    April 16, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    I’m just curious, why the freezer blast at the end? I never have any freezer room so I’m wondering if I can make them without the chill.

    • April 16, 2014 at 1:19 PM

      As I explain the post, S. Harris, pastry needs to be cold for the butter to expand when it hits the heat of the oven, so it fluffs out the flour around it.

      • S. Harris
        April 16, 2014 at 2:07 PM

        Ah yes, I see. Well I guess I better make some room in my freezer because these look super tasty. I’m always on the lookout for a tasty GF biscuit!

  • Lucy
    April 16, 2014 at 10:47 AM

    Beautiful, are these similar to KFC biscuits? My eldest has CD and she loved them… my youngest daughter is always asking for them and we sneak the odd one for her to enjoy, with a heavy heart knowing that Amanda can’t enjoy them anymore. I will be making these for Easter! Thank you

    • April 16, 2014 at 1:18 PM

      Not really, Lucy. Those are more cakey, less flaky, I’d say. These are flaky, more like traditional biscuits.

  • cmjackson
    April 16, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    Okay…..we’re having Easter dinner after the evening service — could I put these into the refrigerator after the rise for the approximately 2 hours we’ll be gone instead of the freezer and then bake when we get home — will that kill the yeast?

    • April 16, 2014 at 1:17 PM

      You can leave them in the refrigerator before they rise, but you’ll still need to allow them to rise at room temp (at least) before chilling and baking them. I would not keep them in the freezer for an extended period of time. There’s no way of knowing whether or not it will kill the yeast.

  • Jennifer S.
    April 16, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    yum! I love your biscuits…..if I didn’t fold as much would they be ‘fluffy’ I wonder? I’m going to try it when we get back.

    • Jennifer S.
      April 16, 2014 at 9:54 AM

      ewww. I just realized saying that I loved your “biscuits” could sound gross. I did not mean it that way!

      • April 16, 2014 at 1:16 PM

        Doesn’t sound gross to me, Jennifer! I’m not as young as I once was. I gotta take it where I can get it. And I would definitely do the folds!

  • John Lachett
    April 16, 2014 at 9:23 AM

    Aaand just like that….Sunday dinner solved! Thank you Nicole!!!!
    your GFF,
    John L

    • April 16, 2014 at 9:44 AM

      John, whatever my problem is, YOU are the solution.

  • Beth
    April 16, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    Hi Nicole! Quick question, could you freeze these right after the rise and then bake as needed? We’re headed to CT for Easter and I was wondering if I could take these frozen and bake when needed…. thanks! You’re, as always, fantastic!

    • April 16, 2014 at 9:43 AM

      Good question, Beth! I’m a little reluctant to say yes, since freezing yeasted dough can, in fact, kill the yeast. And I honestly don’t know what would happen with already-risen dough that is left to truly freeze solid. I think it would be hit or miss! My advice? Make regular, non-yeasted biscuits and freeze them (try the Extra Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits from Bakes Bread, or the Sausage Biscuits and Gravy biscuits from here on the blog). Those, I know, will do great.

      • Cheryl
        April 16, 2014 at 1:09 PM

        No–freezing doesn’t kill yeast–you can freeze pizza dough and bread dough and it will rise–just takes a longer time to do so. I store my yeast in the freezer to keep it from going bad. I have had good success with baking powder biscuits without using yeast–and they rise beautifully. The secret is COLD ingredients–and don’t cut the fat in too much–leave pea size pieces. Then into the screaming hot oven. And don’t twist your cutter as you cut them. That seals the layers so they cannot raise. Just straight down and back up with a sharp cutter. And be sure to use aluminum free baking powder. Don’t buy anything with aluminum in it to consumer–or go on your skin.

      • April 16, 2014 at 5:00 PM

        Cheryl, these are Angel Biscuits, which contain both chemical leaveners (like baking powder and baking soda) and yeast. And you can store yeast in the freezer before it is activated in dough. Afterward, it can, indeed, kill the yeast. It doesn’t usually, but it can. That is why I do not recommend it. I have a number of other pastry recipes on the blog and in my books that describe how to get light and flaky pastry by using cold ingredients and layering the fat with the flour well.

      • Linda F.
        April 20, 2014 at 8:08 AM

        Many products are on the freezer shelf right now that have yeast but
        they are not gluten free. Wheat flour may react differently that GF flour does. Nicole has been doing this for some time now. If
        she is hesitant about freezing them then I would try it but not blame
        her if it doesn’t work. I have been baking since I was around 5 or 6
        and have learned a lot in these years. I don’t “cut” my fat in at all
        anymore. For my pastry (which I get raves about) I do like Nicole,
        squish the chunks of butter between my fingers in the flour making
        little disc’s. In the oven when the pastry bakes the butter melts
        leaving little pockets of goodness ie: flaky crust. I think Nicole has left her law degree far behind and become a food scientist. She’s done what a lot of us can’t do or have time to do…made recipe after recipe and threw away recipes until she refined it. Hope she has a few puppies around!

  • Donia Robinson
    April 16, 2014 at 9:00 AM

    Those are some good looking biscuits, sister. You are the best!

    • April 16, 2014 at 9:42 AM

      Thanks, sister! ;)

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