Why This One Ingredient Makes the Best Biscuits You'll Ever Eat

If tender biscuits are what you're after, then this is the ingredient you need to be using.

A pile of fluffy golden biscuits on a wood surface.
Photo: Allrecipes

Biscuit-making doesn't usually land high on the list of favorite activities. Many of us prefer to buy our biscuits, either from the bakery or from the refrigerated section of the grocery store. In other words, we crave instant biscuit gratification — which is what we're after here. Unless you're an experienced biscuit-maker who can whip up a batch in mere minutes, the multistep process can be daunting and a bit intimidating.

But what if you could take some of the labor out of the process and still get amazing results? It's possible, and the secret is a refrigerator staple you likely have on hand.

Why Mayonnaise Makes Delicious, Tender Biscuits

The secret to these Easy Mayonnaise Biscuits is... surprise; mayonnaise! While mayo may seem like an unlikely ingredient here, it's actually commonly used in a variety of baked goods. A bit of science might clear things up on why.

Biscuits require fat. That fat has two jobs — to tenderize and leaven your biscuits. Typically, butter, shortening, and even eggs, are favored for these tasks, but as you may know, mayonnaise is also a source of fat, one that's typically reserved for sandwiches and chicken salad. But, like butter and shortening, mayonnaise also has the power to tenderize and leaven biscuits. A fantastic feat for a household condiment.

Mayo also has the added benefit of containing a bit of vinegar, which contributes (albeit in a minor way) to flavor and texture.

How Mayonnaise Makes the Job Easy

The viscosity, says Susan Reid, Senior Recipe Tester at King Arthur Flour, is one of the reasons mayonnaise works in this recipe. That thick, creamy consistency makes it easy to incorporate it into flour. This benefits non-bakers because it eliminates the hassle that sometimes comes with using butter or shortening in biscuits. Typically, the fat in a biscuit recipe needs to be cold, really cold, so you have to work quickly or plan your biscuit-making adventure ahead of time. However, the temperature isn't a crucial factor when using mayo.

Also, you have to work the cold butter or shortening into your flour without over-working the dough, which isn't impossible but does take some practice to master. With mayo, there's no need to worry about how you combine it with the flour, it's pretty much a simple stirring situation.

Lastly, these biscuits are drop biscuits, meaning they don't require any rolling or cutting. You simply mix the three basic ingredients listed in the recipe, "drop" them from a spoon onto a baking sheet, and you're ready to bake.

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