These North Carolina Cathead Biscuits are golden brown and buttery on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. Oh, and they’re stuffed with cheese!
“Wow, that is a fluffy biscuit!” Although the name cathead biscuits might seem a bit odd, there is nothing odd about these delicious biscuits! Some folks say the name comes from the way the rough exterior of these biscuits resembles a cat’s fur. Others say the name is because the biscuits are as large as a cat’s head. Either way, one thing is certain – North Carolina Cathead Biscuits are huge! (And delicious!)
Cathead biscuits fall into the category of drop biscuits. This basically means the batter is rather moist and it’s dropped (using your fingers or a spoon) into small mounds of dough. No rolling pin required for this recipe!
North Carolina Cathead Biscuits
These drop biscuits are large…check that, these drop biscuits are huge. They are a common breakfast item in diners around North Carolina, and some versions are as large as a hamburger bun. Let that sink in. A pillow-y soft, buttery biscuit that’s as large as a hamburger bun. Add in a side of scrambled eggs and bacon, and you’ve got a classic comfort food breakfast to keep you going all day. Count me in on that one!!
The soft texture of these biscuits comes from the generous amount of baking powder in the recipe. As soon as that baking powder hits the hot (very hot!) oven, the biscuits spring up into the most delicious pieces of buttery heaven you can imagine. I might have stood in the kitchen tearing off pieces of warm biscuit right after these photos were taken.
To Cheese or Not to Cheese?
As far as I’m concerned, cheese makes everything better. Some versions of Cathead Biscuits are stuffed with cheese – woah! A gigantic, fluffy biscuit that happens to be stuffed with melted cheese? This is getting too hard to believe now!
The traditional cheese for Cathead Biscuits is hoop cheese. Hoop cheese was common in the South in the early 1900’s, but it’s not widely available anymore. You can sometimes still find it at farm stands or small restaurants, but it’s gonna take some hunting. Instead, I recommend just using mild cheddar cheese. It’s not the exact same thing, but it’s close enough! (Note: Make sure to use mild or medium cheddar. Sharp cheddar can be a bit overpowering in this recipe. I used Cabot’s medium yellow cheddar cheese in this version.)
These biscuits are super easy to make, and they’re always met with great joy in our kitchen. And if you happen to make them without cheese, then they taste amazing with a schmear of homemade peach jam. I hope you enjoy these biscuits as much as we do!
Did you make a batch of these North Carolina Cathead Biscuits at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) – I’d love to see your version!
North Carolina Cathead Biscuits
- 8 oz. mild cheddar cheese shredded (see note)
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour divided
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter cold, divided
- 1½ cups buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 500°F.
- Using a ⅓-cup measure, pack the cheese into 6 balls. Set cheese aside.
- Using a food processor, add 2½ cups of flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda; pulse several times until well combined.
- Cut 4 Tbsp of cold butter into ¼” cubes. Add cubes to food processor and pulse several times until mixture resembles a coarse cornmeal.
- Transfer flour mixture into a large bowl and add buttermilk; gently stir until just combined.
- Sprinkle remaining 1 cup of flour evenly onto a rimmed baking sheet.
- Spray a ½-cup measure with nonstick baking spray. Scoop out the dough into (6) ½-cup balls and drop dough onto the flour-covered baking sheet. Sprinkle some of the excess flour on the pan on top of the balls of dough.
- Working with one piece of dough at a time, flatten dough into a 3½” wide circle. Place one of the shredded cheese balls (from above) into center of the dough. Gently wrap the edges of the dough up and around the cheese. Pinch the top of the dough together to seal. (Tip #1: Feel free to dip your hands into the excess flour on the baking sheet as needed to prevent dough from sticking. Tip #2: Inspect the dough ball to make sure you can’t see any cheese – this is necessary to make sure the cheese stays inside the biscuits as they bake.)
- Place biscuits in a 9” cast iron skillet.
- Melt the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter and brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter.
- Bake at 500°F for 5 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 450°F and continue baking for 15-17 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown in color.
- Remove skillet from oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes. Transfer biscuits to a large plate and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
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