Mile high gruyere cheese & caramelized onion biscuits are the best savory biscuits for breakfast, brunch or dinner. Heavenly by themselves but even better as a breakfast sandwich with bacon, or use for sliders.
While light and fluffy dinner rolls might be my favorite food, they take some time and planning. A classic Southern buttermilk biscuit can be ready to bake before your oven preheats and no advanced notice required. For gruyere and caramelized onion biscuits, you’ll need buttermilk, onions and cheese, but otherwise you probably have the ingredients in your pantry.
While classic buttermilk biscuits are fantastic without any additions, sometimes you need something over the top. Adding caramelized onions and gruyere is a heavenly combination. It will take you 30 minutes to caramelize the onions, but you can do this step in advance. Your comfort food, just got a lot fancier!
What I’ve been doing lately is to make a large batch of caramelized onions and refrigerate or freeze them. Then they’re ready to add to a quiche or to use for French onion crostinis.
Of course you can leave them plain and just serve them with butter and you can’t go wrong or go sweet and make blueberry biscuits for a breakfast treat. If you want savory but don’t have time to caramelize onions, then try cornbread biscuits or sour cream biscuits.
Why you’ll love biscuits with caramelized onions
- Caramelized onions make everything taste magical
- Makes your biscuits over the top
- Great for when you want savory, not sweet
- You can make the onions in advance and freeze
What you’ll need
Onions – sweet Vidalia onions are always my first choice, but if not available any sweet onion will work. A standard yellow or white onion will have a harsher taste which is not as good in a biscuit.
Buttermilk – buttermilk is a Southern staple for good reason, it reacts with the leavening agents to create tall and fluffy biscuits.
What can you substitute for buttermilk
Is you don’t have buttermilk, I have three different ways that you can make your own buttermilk depending on what’s in your pantry.
Butter – it needs to be cold, frozen is even better.
Cheese – I like gruyere for it’s mild flavor, but you can choose any that you prefer for this recipe.
Pantry staples – flour, baking powder, baking soda and an egg and cream to brush on the top.
Pro tip: Not sure which is the best flour to use for biscuits, I’ve broken down all the pros and cons for bread flour vs all-purpose flour.
How to make caramelized onion biscuits:
You only need to keep a couple of things in mind to make perfect biscuits. First start with cold butter and buttermilk. The colder the better. Next try to use a good quality flour. I like King Arthur’s since it’s non bleached and has a great light texture.
Step 1: caramelize the onions
You can do this days or weeks in advance and just store them in the freezer. Let them thaw before using them.
Melt butter with olive oil in a skillet over medium low heat. Add the onions and toss to coat. Let simmer for 30 minutes stirring every once in a while until they are golden brown.
Step 2: add cold butter to the dry ingredients
Add the dry ingredients to a food processor and add COLD chunks of butter, processing until the butter is pea size. You want the butter to still be in little chunks when you add the buttermilk. Next add the cheese and onions.
Step 3: add buttermilk
Add cold buttermilk and process just until the dough starts to come together. It should look pretty messy. If you don’t have a food processor handy, you can use a pastry cutter, try to avoid using your hands which will melt the butter. If that happens, you don’t get the nice pockets of air that make a biscuit tall and flaky.
Step 4: create layers
Next turn the dough out onto the counter and roughly form it into a rectangle trying to handle it as little as possible. Cut the dough into three or four rectangles.
Stack the layers on top of each other and gently rolling the stack into a rectangle. Repeat this process three to four times.
So first I tell you not to handle the dough and now I’m telling you to roll and cut it four times. The reason this works is that you’re creating lots of layers by stacking and re-stacking your dough. The goal is to keep your butter cold while doing this. So start with really cold butter and buttermilk and try to keep your warm hands off the dough as much as possible.
Step 5: cut the dough
Finally roll it into a rectangle and using a biscuit cutter, cut straight down, don’t twist it, this keeps the layers nice and tall.
Step 6: freeze before baking
Place in the freezer for 10 minutes. Remove and top with an egg wash and bake.
You’ll have savory tall biscuits that you can fill with bacon for a breakfast sandwich or use them for sliders with slow cooker carnitas topped with smokey pimento cheese.
If you’re in the mood for a drop biscuit, it’s hard to beat a cheddar bay biscuit.
More homemade bread recipes
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Tall Gruyere Cheese & Caramelized Onion Biscuits
- 3 ½ cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 16 tablespoons butter cut into ½ inch pieces
- 4 ounces gruyere
- ½ cup caramelized onions 1-2 onions
- 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoon cream
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large sweet onions sliced into ½ moon shapes
- Add buttermilk and mix lightly just until dough comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a rectangle. Cut into 4ths and stack each fourth on top of each other. Pat into a rectangle and repeat 3 more times.
- Pat or roll dough to 1 inch thickness. Using a 21/2 inch round cutter, cut dough without twisting. Place on prepared pan and freeze for 10 minutes.
- Remove from freezer. Beat egg and cream together in a small bowl. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with pepper.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
- Preheat oven to 425º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- In a food processor, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Process until combined. Add cold butter and press until it resembles coarse meal. Transfer to a large bowl. Add cheese and onions and stir to combine.
- Caramelized Onions:
- Melt butter with olive oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add onions and toss to coat. Let them slowly cook stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes until they are golden brown.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- If you don’t want to caramelize onions, you can substitute green onions, just lightly saute them so they aren’t crisp.
- Try not to handle the dough any more than you need to.
- Use very cold butter and buttermilk, if you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own buttermilk.
Will gluten free flour work for this recipe?
Barbara Curry says
Roy, you will have to make a few adjustments but I think they taste pretty close to the ones with regular flour. I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour. I added an additional 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 2 eggs. Whisk the eggs together before adding them with the buttermilk. The dough will be a bit stickier but it handles about the same. They seem to do a better texture if you let them sit for about 5 minutes before eating. Mine took about the same baking time. Let me know how yours turn out. I’ll write a post with photos in a few weeks.
Janie Foltz says
Oh Barbara, I just recently come upon your blog. We must get together in the New Year. I am your neighbor in Winston Salem, NC. I am a retired Foods and Nutrition Educator and my passion is food, cooking, entertaining, perusing cookbooks, gardening and living a beautiful life. This biscuit looks like a delicious Christmas Breakfast for me and my husband Michael ( we just may be soul sisters). please share what name brand bacon that you used in this photo. Looks wonderful. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I will follow up in 2019!
Barbara Curry says
I would love to connect.