They may not be the prettiest biscuits you’ve ever seen, but jalapeno cheddar biscuits may very well be the tastiest. These super-soft biscuits explode with flavor, and with a little butter, are good enough to be an entire meal all by themselves.
We’ve rated this recipe as MODERATE difficulty due to being a bit more difficult than our easy buttermilk biscuits recipe. It requires a few more steps and ingredients.
This recipe is adapted from the Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuits recipe on recipeworkbook.com.
Use Quality Cornmeal
These ultra-soft buttermilk biscuits are made even better by using a half a cup of quality fine-ground cornmeal.
Buying high quality cornmeal is very important. Cheap cornmeal doesn’t really even taste like corn. The high speed milling process removes much of the corn kernel and generates a lot of friction heat, which reduces the flavor of the corn and can even give it a sour taste.
I can’t think of any reason to buy the cheap mass-produced stuff. I’d rather go without.
Chopping Your Jalapenos and Cheese
I like my jalapenos very finely chopped in these biscuits. The texture of too large of a dice in them isn’t pleasant, in my opinion. By chopping it small, the dices cook more thoroughly and soften up nicely, blending into the background of the biscuit.
To get a super-fine dice like this, cut the stems off the jalapeno(s), then cut them in half from from stem-end to tip. Cut each half in half again in the same direction. Now, cuts the seeds and veins out (the seeds and veins carry the majority of the heat in a jalapeno).
You can now take each quarter and cut them into very thin slivers longways. Now that you have a bunch of very thin slivers, turn them sideways and cut them into a very fine dice.
As to the cheddar cheese. I find it mixes into the biscuits better if it has also been cut up into small pieces. I grate what I need with a box grater first, then roughly chop it with my knife.
The Trick to Good Biscuits
The trick to making good biscuits is cold butter and not overworking the dough.
I keep my butter in a plastic bag or tub in my ice chest prior to using it, so it’s as cold as possible without being frozen solid.
Once you’re ready to add it to your flour mixture, you want to handle it as little as possible with your bare hands. Your body temperature will start it melting and you don’t want that.
You want little pieces of unmelted butter throughout your dough. Not melted in. When you cook your biscuits, the unmelted butter pieces will create little air pockets where they melt into the cooked biscuits, giving them a more flaky texture.
This is why we use a pastry cutter to mix in the butter. It helps get everything mixed properly without the need to stick our hands in it. Just dice the butter with a knife, then throw it into the flour and mix everything together with the pastry cutter until the butter is pebbly.
If you end up with a smooth dough, you did it all wrong. It should be bumpy, with little pieces of butter visible, along with the diced jalapenos, and cheddar pieces. This is the critical part of making good biscuits.
Once everything is mixed in, dump your dough out onto a lightly floured work surface (I’ve found that my plastic folding table makes an excellent work area for biscuits). Quickly shape your dough into a ball with your hands, then roll it out 3/4 to 1 inch thick with your rolling pin.
Use a biscuit cutter to cut out your biscuits and drop them straight into your dutch oven. Remember, when cutting your biscuits out, just press straight down instead of twisting and turning. This will keep the sides of your biscuits from pinching together. If they pinch together too much, they won’t rise properly.
Dutch Oven Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuits
- 1 1/2 cup All-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup fine-milled cornmeal - https://amzn.to/3hza3YP
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter - cold, diced
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1-2 medium jalapenos - seeded, deveined, and very finely chopped
- 1 tsp. Morton's Kosher Salt
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese - shredded
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- Grease your dutch oven with butter or lard.
- Set dutch oven to bake at 425 degrees. (about 23 charcoal briquettes on top and 7 underneath)
- Whisk your flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt together. (It's always best to whisk dry ingredients to ensure that everything is evenly distributed.)
- Blend your butter, cheese, and jalapenos into your flour mixture with a pastry cutter or mixing spoon until the mixture is crumbly, but not smooth.
- Add the buttermilk, stirring until everything is moistened, but not overworked.
- Turn flour out onto a lightly floured work surface. I just use the top of the 6-foot plastic table I haul out to the campsite with me.
- Roll your dough out to about 3/4 inch thick. Use a 2 1/2 inch round biscuit cutter to cut out your biscuits.
- Place the biscuits in your dutch where they are barely touching or there is a little space in between, but not smashed together.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden brown on top. Rotate your dutch oven a quarter-turn every few minutes, then do the same with the lid.
- When done, brush immediately with melted butter.