These cinnamon raisin biscuits are flaky, and fluffy and easy to make yourself. I layered cinnamon and sugar into the dough, stirred in vanilla-soaked raisins, sprinkled on more cinnamon sugar before baking, and finished with a sweet cinnamon icing. These are ready to be baked in 30 minutes or less!
Awhile back, like a couple years ago, I took a biscuit making class in Nashville. The lady who taught the class, actually had an Oscar for a documentary she did on biscuits. An Oscar! I actually saw an Oscar in person!! So let’s just say this lady knew her biscuits.
And one of the things I remember from class were these mini cinnamon biscuits we made to start the class. I mean cinnamon and biscuits?! Match made in heaven. So I decided to come up with my own version – these cinnamon raisin biscuits.
Why You Will Love These Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits
- Loads of cinnamon! There is so much cinnamon going on in these biscuit bad boys. I layered the dough with cinnamon sugar, sprinkled on more before baking, and then finished with an easy cinnamon icing. Cinnamon lovers you’re gonna love it.
- No Mixer Required– Homemade biscuits don’t require any fancy equipment. I use a pastry cutter, but you can honestly make these with just your hands!
- One Bowl – Woo hoo! Less dishes! The entire biscuit dough is made in just one bowl. I love one bowl dessert recipes, don’t you?
- Ready In Minutes – Making homemade biscuits takes very little time. So if you’re craving a sweet breakfast treat, but cinnamon rolls is going to take too long make these instead.
Are buttermilk biscuits the same as scones?
Simple answer. No they aren’t. Now here’s the longer answer…
Scones, like my blueberry scones, have eggs. Biscuits do not have eggs. And usually biscuits do not have sugar, whereas scones do. These biscuits do have a little sugar added to them to pair well with the cinnamon.
Here are the ingredients you need for these cinnamon biscuits with raisins.
- Unsalted butter – I always recommend unsalted butter vs. salted butter when baking. Different brands can use varying amounts of salt in their salted butter so it’s best to use unsalted and control the amount of salt you add. And make sure you use COLD butter, so you get flaky biscuits. If your butter is too warm, it will be absorbed into the flour which will not create those flaky layers you are looking for.
- Buttermilk – I love the flavor buttermilk gives to these biscuits. If you don’t have any on hand you can make your own buttermilk.
- Raisins – I soaked mine in a little vanilla first to plump them up and then added them to the dough after the butter has been cut in.
How to make these cinnamon raisin biscuits
First off, biscuits fall into the quick bread category. Think banana bread.
- Soak your raisins. To plump up the raisins a bit and add a little extra flavor I decided to stir the raisins with a little vanilla extract. The raisins soak up the vanilla and will get added to the dough later.
- Combine your dry ingredients. This recipe starts with just good old all purpose flour. If you’re new to baking then be sure to read my two posts on flour- how to measure flour accurately and flour 101: the different kinds of flour. To the flour I add a bit of baking powder, baking soda, and a little bit of salt. I used to sift the dry ingredients together, but I stopped doing that awhile ago, and still end up with fluffy biscuits. So just make sure to give it all a good whisk.
- Cut the butter in. You want to start with COLD cubed butter and you can work the butter into the dough with a pastry cutter, or even just your fingertips. You want small visible pieces of butter, about pea-sized, that are coated in the flour.
BAKING 101: Now one of the keys to making amazing biscuits is using COLD butter. It’s kind of similar in making pie crust. By cutting the butter in either with your fingertips or a pastry cutter, you will have small pockets of butter that are coated with flour, that will stay solid in the dough until hit by the heat of the oven. This will then create pockets of steam that will expand in the oven to create nice flaky biscuits. So be sure to use cold butter and cold buttermilk.
4. Add your raisins. Once the butter is worked in, go ahead and stir in the raisins and any leftover vanilla that didn’t get soaked up.
5. Layer the cinnamon sugar in. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface or one of these pastry mats. And bring the dough together gently. I then either using a rolling pin or just with my own hands pat the dough out into about 8″ in diameter. I sprinkle on about 1/3 of the cinnamon sugar mixture. I then fold the dough in half and repeat this two more times. This not only creates layers in the dough, but cinnamon sugar layers!
Make sure you set aside a little cinnamon sugar mixture to sprinkle on top of the biscuits right before baking.
6. Cut out the biscuits. After you have kneaded the dough together a few times then pat the dough into a 1/2-inch thick circle. No need for a rolling pin. You will need some sort of biscuit cutter. But if you’re in a pinch, even the top of a mason jar will work great. You want to dip the cutter into flour, and then press down but don’t twist the cutter. Twisting the cutter will end up in creating lopsided biscuits. Just press straight down and back up.
7. Bake the biscuits. I placed these biscuits on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. I got about 8 biscuits every time I made these. I like mine a bit thicker so I tended to get about 8. And brushed these with a bit of buttermilk on top that’s leftover in my measuring cup and sprinkle with the reserved tablespoon of cinnamon sugar. These bake up super quick in 15 minutes too. I place mine together so they are touching which helps them rise and result in fluffy edges. If you want crispy edges then be sure to separate them.
Tips On Making This Recipe
- Measuring Your Flour Accurately! Measure your flour correctly so as not to overmeasure it. Here is a tutorial on how to measure your flour the right way!
- Cold Ingredients Is SUPER Important. Be sure to use COLD butter and buttermilk to ensure flakiness
- Do not overwork the dough! Knead the dough a few times for perfectly flaky layers. But be sure to not knead the dough too much. If you keep playing with the dough then it will warm up the butter too much.
- Do not twist your cutter. When you cut out the biscuits, press straight down and up. Don’t twist the cutters. Otherwise, the biscuits will come out lopsided.
- Flaky layers are key. You want to create flaky layers with biscuits. I achieve this by flattening the dough (rolling pin or the palm of my hand) and then folding the dough in half. I repeat this about 4-5 times.
- Place the biscuits close together when baking. This creates fluffy pull apart biscuits as opposed to ones with crispy edges.
You may also want to like my 9 Secrets To Fluffy Biscuits.
Biscuit Recipe FAQ’s:
I used butter in my biscuits because I like the flavor. You can use shortening as well if you want. But it doesn’t have the flavor. You could do a 1:1 swap if you want to though!
The dough should be sort of crumbly at first. You want solid visible pieces of butter that don’t work into the flour. That water in the butter when in the oven will turn to steam and push apart the layers of flour. If you find that it’s still quite crumbly when you try to bring the dough together and knead it then just add a bit more milk.
You definitely can! You would just want to reduce the salt in the recipe by 1/4 teaspoon. You can read more about Unsalted Butter Vs. Salted Butter In Baking
Buttermilk and regular milk don’t react the same way in the recipe with the leavening agents. So if you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own buttermilk in a pinch.
You can store the biscuits in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Or you can freeze the biscuits in an airtight container for up to 3 months without icing. I think they freezer better without the icing. I love putting them in a sealable plastic bag and squish as much air out as possible. They will thaw pretty quickly at room temperature. I also love warming them up in the microwave for about 15-30 seconds. Then top with the icing and serve!
More Biscuit Recipes
Cinnamon raisin biscuits
For the biscuits
- 1/2 cup (85 g) raisins
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups (360 g) all purpose flour
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup (1 stick, 113 g) unsalted butter cold, cut into tablespoons
- 1 ¼ cups (300 mL) cold buttermilk
For the swirl/topping
- 2 Tablespoons granulated white sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the icing
- 1 1/2 cups (170 g) confectioners sugar (powdered/icing)
- 2-3 Tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Soak raisins. In a small bowl, stir together vanilla and raisins. Let soak until ready to use.
- Prep oven and pan. Preheat your oven to 450f. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Or use a round cake pan (lightly grease). You can also bake in a cast iron pan.
- Combine dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
- Cut in butter. Using your fingertips, two knives, or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter are pea-sized. You should still see visible solid pieces of butter.
- Add raisins. Stir in the soaked raisins and any leftover vanilla extract.
- Add buttermilk. Pour in your cold buttermilk and stir to combine. It will form a shaggy, sticky dough.
- Make swirl/topping. This is going to be layered into the biscuit dough and some will be sprinkled on top. In a small bowl mix together the cinnamon and sugar. Reserve some for sprinkling on top.
- Shape the biscuits. Empty the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Pat or roll the dough into a 1/2-inch thick and sprinkle on some cinnamon sugar. Then fold the dough in half. Repeat this process 3 more times to create layers.
- Cut out the biscuits. Pat the dough out into a 3/4 inch to 1-inch thick circle (I like thick biscuits so I make the dough about 1-inch thick). Using a biscuit cutter (or the rim of a large drinking glass) press straight down into the dough. You can also use a sharp knife or pizza cutter and just cut the biscuits out into squares. Do not twist the cutter, which can cause your biscuits to come out lopsided. Place biscuits on prepared baking sheet or in baking pan. Place the biscuits next to each other on the cookie sheet so they touch.
- Top the biscuits. I use a pastry brush and lightly brush on the leftover buttermilk that is in my measuring cup and brush the tops of the biscuits. I then sprinkle on the remaining cinnamon sugar.
- Bake the biscuits. Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on pan for about 5 minutes. Remove biscuits to continue to cool on a cooling rack.
- Make icing. In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Adjust consistency if needed. Drizzle on biscuits once cool.
- Make ahead: You could make the dough, shape and cut the biscuits and keep the biscuits wrapped in the fridge overnight to bake fresh the next morning. Or freeze unbaked biscuits. Freeze them uncovered and then transfer to a freezer safe bag. Bake frozen, but just add a few more minutes of baking time.
- Storage: You can store the biscuits in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Or you can freeze the baked biscuits, without icing, in an airtight container for up to 3 months. I love putting them in a sealable plastic bag and squish as much air out as possible. They will thaw pretty quickly at room temperature. I also love warming them up in the microwave for about 15-30 seconds and then top with icing just before serving.
- Unsalted Butter Substitute: You can reduce the salt by 1/4 teaspoon and use salted butter. Or use shortening instead (but it won’t have the flavor like butter does).
- Raisins: Optional, you can omit if you would like!
- Buttermilk: If you don’t have any, make a DIY buttermilk by combining 1 cup + 3 Tbs. cold milk and 1 Tbs. lemon juice (or vinegar) let sit for 5 minutes.
- Crispier biscuits: For crispier biscuits, separate the biscuits on the cookie sheet so they don’t touch, which will make for crispier edges. You can also bake these in a cast iron skillet, which will produce a crispy bottom as well.