These gluten free vegan biscuits are made with just the right balance of vegan butter and shortening. They’re light and flaky, and even taste buttery. You just have to try them!
Vegan Butter and Shortening
Honest to goodness butter, made from cow’s milk, is one of my most favorite things in this world. I love to cook and bake with it, and I love to eat a piece of buttered bread. But for when butter isn’t an option, thankfully there are lots of substitutes available on the market that are also solid at room temperature without hydrogenation.
I’ve long preferred Spectrum brand nonhydrogenated shortening as a butter replacement (the butter flavored shortening is the best!), but there’s also virgin coconut oil and Earth Balance buttery sticks and tubs. Plus, “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” has even come out with a vegan butter alternative.
Earth Balance has lots more moisture than shortening or coconut oil, so it behaves differently in the oven. That, and it’s quite salty. But I’ve recently started experimenting with Melt brand VeganButter sticks, and I’m completely smitten.
I’m not sure if Melt has less moisture than Earth Balance, or if the fats in Melt are just better emulsified, but Earth Balance tends to melt (haha) during baking before the fat has done its job in creating flaky layers of pastry. The combination of about half Melt and half nonhydrogenated shortening creates a delightfully buttery taste and impossibly flaky biscuits that can be split right in the middle—and still brown beautifully.
Necessity is the mother of invention
The funny thing about restrictions in baking is that, although they may be painful to endure, they really force you to be creative. When my son first went gluten free, before I started writing a food blog or cookbooks, friends and acquaintances alike would tell me, oh I could never do that. If my child had to eat gluten free, I’d just give up.
Well of course you wouldn’t give up. You play the hand that you’re dealt, and you play it as well as you can, especially if you’re doing it for someone else you love. ♡
When I first started this blog, I used to get all worked up whenever anyone asked if they could change ingredients in the recipe and still have it turn out. I had worked so hard to balance everything just right, just as the recipe was written. In baking, when you change one thing, you change everything. I always tried to answer as best I could, but I didn’t have all the answers. I still don’t!
As time has gone on, my family’s needs have evolved a bit. My son still thankfully is only gluten free, but my oldest child (a daughter) is now dairy free and soy free.
Most of the recipes that I develop are still only gluten free as written, and we don’t eat gluten in my house at all for the sake of simplicity and peace of mind. But I don’t want my oldest to have to go without, say, a light and flaky gluten free biscuit if that’s what everyone else is having. And I didn’t want to stop making biscuits.
My youngest can eat anything under the sun without any allergies, but she’s leaning toward being a vegan when she gets older for the sake of the animals. So there’s that, too! And rather than feeling like an albatross, the limitations have led to a new purpose and more creative ways to make amazing recipes that still really, really work.
Ingredients and substitutions
These vegan biscuits are already dairy free, egg free, gluten free and even soy free. Woohoo! They’re not, however, low carb or Weight Watchers-friendly. There are only a few substitutions that I think you might ask about, so here goes:
Shortening: I use and recommend Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening. It’s not Crisco! I promise. If you can’t find Spectrum brand, I’ll be honest: I’ve had some trouble finding a true substitute for it.
I’ve tried Nutiva brand shortening, and I’m afraid I really didn’t care for it at all. It didn’t behave the same in baking. You might have better luck with virgin coconut oil or even coconut cream. Just be sure to keep the fats very cold (but not frozen) before adding them to the dry ingredients.
Vegan butter: I have fallen hopelessly in love with Melt brand VeganButter. Earth Balance buttery sticks are generally a good substitute, though, if you can’t find Melt. I’ve also made this recipe entirely with shortening, but the biscuits don’t tend to have a lot of flavor and they don’t brown nearly as well.
Nut-free: My favorite nondairy milk is unsweetened almond milk, but really any unsweetened nondairy milk that isn’t fat-free will work just fine. Just be sure to use an actual liquid that comes in a carton, not a can like canned coconut milk.
Sugar-free: That’s so easy. Just eliminate the 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar (or replace with 1 1/2 tablespoons of granulated erythritol, which should work fine).
Corn-free: If you can’t have corn, replace the cornstarch with arrowroot.
Watch this short video about how-to make vegan biscuits
Just plush play ▶ below to watch me make these biscuits. Then make your own!