What Is the Equivalent of Canned Biscuit Dough in the UK?

Buttermilk biscuits

Have you ever looked at a really tasty recipe online only to realise that it called for canned biscuit dough, which is actually quite difficult to get in the UK?

I’ve done it myself once or twice. Sadly, it doesn’t look as though you can get the actual American canned biscuit dough in the UK, the most common brand of which is Pillsbury.

You can buy other Pillsbury-branded American products from specialist stores that import into the UK, but the actual biscuit dough itself, that comes in a tube or can and is kept in the fridge, seems almost impossible to buy on this side of the pond.

There is good news on the horizon, though!

You can easily make your own canned biscuit dough at home, with a few ingredients that you’ve probably already got stashed away in the cupboards.

Not only that, there are similar products on the UK shelves you can buy and use, depending on the recipe you wish to try.


What Is Canned Biscuit Dough?

Canned biscuit dough is usually made from a couple of simple ingredients: flour, plus some sort of fat, and a leavening agent. They are commonly referred to as “buttermilk biscuits” because, traditionally, they were made using buttermilk.

Different regions in the US have different variations of the traditional biscuit. The buttermilk-based biscuit is sometimes referred to as the “southern biscuit”, with north and north-east regions switching out buttermilk for eggs, cream, or other similar ingredients.

Canned biscuit dough usually makes biscuits that are similar to that of buttermilk biscuits.

The northern/north-eastern biscuits made from eggs, cream, or other similar ingredients are more like what British people like to call ‘scones’. Imagine the British scone as a savoury treat rather than a sweet one and you have about the right idea. They are also sometimes called “cream biscuits” in the US.

Canned biscuit dough, when cooked, results in round (albeit roughly), fluffy-textured, multi-layered small buns, similar to the traditional UK scone.

They have a rather plain flavour, so they can be dipped into soups and casseroles You can also eat them on their own, with butter on top; and they can even be turned into sweet treats, with the help of jam and cream.


Can You Buy Canned Biscuit Dough in the UK?

From my own personal investigations, I’m going to say: no, you cannot get canned biscuit dough in the UK.

There are other types of American biscuit dough mixes available on the internet, especially on sites like Amazon and eBay. These are usually dried and need to be mixed with water (or similar) to make the dough itself, however.


What Can I Use Instead of Canned Biscuit Dough?

Biscuit dough requires a rising ingredient, also known as a chemical leavening agent, to enable it to grow and rise when you bake it. The refrigerated, canned variety uses baking powder.

If you are unable to get refrigerated or canned biscuit dough, you can make your own homemade biscuit dough.

You can also use other types of “quick” dough. Quick dough refers to dough types that do not require time to rise before they are baked (and usually contain baking powder rather than yeast).


How to Make Biscuit Dough

Making biscuit dough

You can make both flaky buttermilk biscuits and heavier cream biscuits at home, with a few simple ingredients. Both of these are great substitutions for canned biscuit dough. Adding a little extra butter and working it into layers is the best way to achieve that flaky, soft finish.

Buttermilk biscuits are made with fridge-chilled buttermilk, freezer-chilled unsalted butter, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and all-purpose flour. The latter is known as plain flour in the UK.

You will find a great recipe for buttermilk biscuits on All Recipes.

Heavier and less-flaky cream biscuits (the ones that are more like UK scones) are made with melted butter, heavy or whipping cream, salt, sugar, baking powder, and all-purpose (plain) flour. The missing ingredient that sets it aside from the British scone is egg.

The Spruce Eats has a great recipe for US-style cream biscuits.