If you love biscuits and are looking for a slightly healthier version, you’ll definitely want to try these Whole Wheat Biscuits. They’re made with 100% whole wheat flour, yet still retain their fluffy and flaky layers.
The trick to flaky biscuits is just folding the dough over itself when you’re shaping it. But you’ve already know that because you’ve seen it done in my buttermilk biscuits recipe, right? If not, don’t worry, I’ll show you exactly how it’s done here.
Ingredients and Substitutions for Whole Wheat Biscuits
There are only a handful of main ingredients in this recipe. The entire list and quantity is provided in the recipe card at the end of this post. But here are some notes and substitution tips of the main ingredients:
- Whole Wheat Flour – I recommend using whole wheat pastry flour for this recipe since it is more finely ground than regular whole wheat flour, so it will yield softer and lighter biscuits. My second choice would be white whole wheat flour. And if you don’t have either, you can use regular whole wheat flour, but just note that your biscuits will be a bit denser and won’t rise as high. You could also make a compromise and use half whole wheat and half all-purpose flour for a fluffier biscuit.
- Unsalted Butter – these biscuits are a bit healthier but you will still need butter, and there is no substitution for this. You’ll need butter to provide fat and to create layers. The photo above shows the butter cut into pats but I actually prefer to cut them into cubes. You’ll need to flatten them in the recipe so the pats will work, but I like to actually feel the cubes of butter being flattened between my fingers.
- Yogurt – You can substitute sour cream or buttermilk for yogurt.
- Honey – I use a liquid sweetener in this recipe to add a bit more moisture. You can substitute maple syrup or a liquid sweetener of your choice. If you decide to use granulated or brown sugar instead, you may want to consider increasing the amount of yogurt.
Whole Wheat Biscuits Step by Step Instructions
These homemade yogurt biscuits are super easy to whip up. You could quickly make it for Sunday brunch if you have all the ingredients, if not, see substitution tips above. They’re also convenient to have in the freezer for a no-fuss breakfast side.
- Start by sifting together the dry ingredients except for the salt. Kosher salt has large grains so just stir it into the flour mixture with a whisk.
- Add the cold butter to the flour mixture, and work it into the flour with your fingertips until every single piece is flattened.
- Mix together yogurt and honey.
- Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the yogurt mixture, reserving about 2 tablespoons.
- Fold with a spatula until a shaggy dough forms.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and pat it out into a rectangle, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
- Pat or roll the dough out into ½” thick.
- Fold it over itself like a letter. Repeat this two to three times.
- Finally, pat it into a rectangle about 1” thick and cut into 8 portions with a bench scraper or a knife.
- Freeze the biscuits for about 15 minutes and brush the top and sides with the reserved yogurt mixture before baking.
Optional: sprinkle with the top with turbinado sugar or some granulated sugar for shine before baking. You could also sprinkle the top with sea salt if you prefer it more savory. I like my biscuits on the sweet side so I always use sugar on top.
- Folding the dough over itself a few times will create distinct layers, which in turn creates that flaky texture in your biscuits.
- When cutting the dough, whether with a knife or a biscuit cutter, cut straight down, don’t twist the cutter or slide the knife back and forth to avoid sealing off the edges, which will allow the biscuits to rise higher.
- Freezing the biscuits before baking them will curb their spread and help them keep their shape better.
- These biscuits will not spread too much so you can place them closer together. But placing them closer together will also allow them to lean on each other when they expand and rise in the oven, in case they fall over.
- This simple recipe can be easily halved if you just want a few biscuits for dinner and no leftovers, as well as doubled or tripled if you want to make a larger batch.
These whole wheat yogurt biscuits will keep at room temperature for a couple of days. They will last in the fridge for up to a week. And they can also be frozen for up to 3 months. If kept frozen beyond 3 months, they are still safe to eat but you may notice they are a bit stale.
I think biscuits are best when still slightly warm straight from the oven. Next day biscuits can be reheated in the oven at 350°F for 5 minutes.
To reheat frozen biscuits, you can thaw them at room temperature and then toast in the oven at 350°F for 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can toast them in the oven directly from the freezer without thawing at the same temperature for 10 – 15 minutes.
If you want to bake a big batch of biscuits ahead of time, you can freeze them, and reheat them in the oven as directed above before serving.
But if you want freshly baked biscuits, freeze the unbaked dough instead. Roll it out, shape it, cut it into the size and shape you want, layer it on a baking sheet in 1 layer and freeze until solid. Once frozen solid, you can transfer the frozen biscuit dough to a freezer bag for storage.
Follow the instructions for baking from the recipe, but increase the baking time for frozen biscuit dough by 3 – 5 minutes.
How to serve biscuits
- Spread butter and jam on hot biscuits, or better yet use this homemade honey butter with apple butter.
- Serve them for brunch with sausage gravy, bacon and egg, or a frittata.
- Serve them at Thanksgiving Dinner in place of dinner rolls.
- Split open leftovers and serve them with strawberry compote and whipped cream for a quick strawberry shortcake dessert.
Whole Wheat Biscuits
- 2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or white whole wheat flour, 265 g)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon baking powder (20 g)
- 4 oz unsalted butter (1 stick, ½ cup, 113 g, cold)
- 1 cup plain yogurt (240 g, cold)
- ¼ cup honey (84 g)
- Turbinado sugar (for topping, optional)
- Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
- Add the cold butter, cut into cubes, to the flour mixture and work it into the flour with the tip of your fingers until all pieces are flattened. Different sizes are okay.
- Add honey and yogurt together and mix well. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the liquid mixture to use as a wash before baking.
- Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the yogurt mixture. Fold with a spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board, pat or roll the dough out to about ½” thick and fold it over itself like a letter. Do this two to three times. Use flour generously in this step to keep the dough from sticking to the counter, your hands, and the rolling pin. Also use a bench scraper to help fold the dough and scrape any sticky bits off the counter.
- Shape the dough into a rectangle, pat or roll the drought down to about 1” thick, or about 4”x 8”. Cut into 8 squares.
- Place the biscuits on a lined baking sheet, close together, about ½” apart, and freeze for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Brush the top and sides of the biscuits with the reserved yogurt mixture. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar, if using, for additional sweetness and texture.
- Bake for 18 – 20 minutes until light brown.
- It is best to use whole wheat pastry flour, but you can substitute white whole wheat flour. If using regular whole wheat flour, I recommend mixing half whole wheat and half all-purpose to keep the biscuits fluffier.
- I used plain whole milk yogurt. You can substitute with Greek yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk.
- You can substitute maple syrup for honey.
Originally published 3/9/2015. Republished 6/7/2021 with updated recipe and photos.
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