One-pan fried* crispy chicken biscuit

*baked in an oven


Let’s get a few things straight. Fried food is awesome. Fried chicken is crispy and adds great texture to a sandwich. But the process of frying isn’t always so fun or pleasant.

Pros:

  • Crispy fried chicken tastes great.
  • Frying food is usually quick.
  • The crunch.

Cons:

  • Frying is messy.
  • Frying uses up a lot of oil.
  • Frying food can be less healthy than other cooking options.
Two crispy oven baked chicken thighs.

I think my biggest problem with frying food is the mess. Over the past year, I’ve spent a lot more time in the kitchen and whenever I fry something, it easily takes me twice the amount of time for cleanup. Oil splatters all over the place and your pan and utensils require extra care in cleaning.

Because of this, I decided to try to recreate some of the excitement and enjoyment of eating a fried chicken biscuit without the frying part.

I was looking up baked chicken tender recipes online and noticed that most of them are baked around 425- or 450-degrees F (230 C), which is only 25 degrees lower than my normal biscuit recipe. This led me to a train of thought where I could possibly bake the biscuits and the chicken at around the same time and oven temp.

Guess what? It works.

Once you get the biscuit dough together, you can dredge your chicken thigh (or breast meat/tenders) and bake the biscuits and the chicken on the same sheet pan.

One sheet pan with two future sandwiches on it. Note that the chicken side has aluminum foil that has been heavily sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

The biscuits

The biscuit recipe I use is in the recipe down below, but I figured I’d talk about it a bit here. I rarely bake a whole batch of biscuits at once these days. We’re a two-person household so there’s no need for us to have 7 or 8 biscuits at one time. Biscuits keep for a few days, but I find it more convenient to freeze the biscuits prior to baking if I don’t plan to eat them immediately.

This batch of biscuits bakes almost the same whether they are frozen or not. I think you might not get quite the amount of rise from a frozen biscuit, but they cook at the same oven temperature and almost the same time. You might need a couple of extra minutes on a frozen biscuit to fully brown the top. So, I suggest freezing biscuits so you can have them whenever the urge strikes you.

The chicken

You can cook this recipe with chicken thighs, breast meat or chicken tenders. If you’re going with chicken breast meat, I suggest you butterfly the breasts to make the meat a little thinner to ensure even cooking in the time required by the recipe. Anything thicker than 3/4 of an inch might not get fully cooked in 20 minutes. If you’re worried about that, I suggest you check with an instant read thermometer before biscuit sandwich time.

The whole recipe

Check out the whole recipe and give it a try next time you crave a chicken biscuit sandwich. If you’re too big of a “chicken” and afraid of making your own biscuits, you can skip that part and use the chicken part of the recipe for chicken tenders or another type of chicken sandwich. But I think you should try making biscuits.

You can also do this recipe with store bought frozen biscuits or the kind in the “can.” But those probably won’t cook at the same time or temperature, so you’ll have to cook them separately. In this case, I suggest cooking the biscuits first and chicken second.

One-pan crispy chicken biscuit view printable page for this recipe

All of the taste and excitement of a fried chicken biscuit sandwich without all the messy frying part. Oven-baked panko coated chicken thighs cook at the same time and temperature as my biscuit recipe making this an easy one pan meal. The biscuit recipe is based off of Southern Living's buttermilk biscuit recipe.

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Ingredients:

Buttermilk biscuits
  • 300 grams self rising flour (2.5 cups)
  • 1 frozen stick of butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
Crispy oven baked chicken
  • 2 sandwich sized chicken thighs (you can use breast meat too, see notes below)
  • 14 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons hot sauce (your favorite brand)
  • 34 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 teaspoon black pepper
  • non-stick cooking spray (Pam or another brand)

Directions:

Biscuits: Using a box grater, grate frozen butter into the sifted self rising flour. Stir to combine until the butter is fully coated by flour. Put bowl in freezer for 10 minutes 

Combine buttermilk to bring together as a dough. Stir no more than 15 times. Overworking the dough at this stage could cause your finished biscuits to be more tough.  

On a floured surface dump out dough and roll with a rolling pin. Dust with flour as needed when dough gets sticky. Fold the dough over on itself five different times creating layers. Roll dough to 1/2 or 3/4 inch thick.

Cut biscuits into circles or squares and place on a piece of parchment paper. When cutting, you do not want to twist the cutter. Twisting while cutting will ruin the layers that you created with folding. 

Once all your biscuits are cut, place the parchment paper on a sheet pan into a freezer if you want to freeze the biscuits to cook later. If you plan to cook the whole batch now, pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees F (230 C). If you choose to freeze the biscuits, leave in the freezer for an hour on the sheet pan until they get hard enough to move to a zip top bag or freezer package of your choice. They will still bake at 450 F (230 C) for just about the same amount of time. 

Crispy chicken: Get your chicken thighs out of the refrigerator and start to set up your chicken dredging station. You will need three bowls for this. 

The first bowl will contain your all purpose flour. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper to the flour.  

The second bowl will contain your whole egg, mayonnaise and hot sauce. Add these three ingredients and whisk to combine well. 

The third bowl will have the panko bread crumbs, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. whisk to combine. 

Line half of a sheet pan with aluminum foil. The other side should have a piece of parchment paper. 

Spray the aluminum foil side with cooking spray, this is where your chicken will go. 

For each chicken thigh, coat with flour in the flour bowl, then dip into the egg mixture (ensuring that it's fully coated everywhere) and finally press into the panko bread crumbs until each piece is fully coated. Place on the cooking spray sprayed aluminum foil. 

Spray the top of each piece of chicken with cooking spray, this will help the chicken brown and crisp up better. 

Place your uncooked biscuits on the parchment paper side of the sheet pan and place it in the oven when it is fully up to temperature. 

Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and flip each chicken thigh. Spray the top side of the chicken again with cooking spray. 

Bake for another 10 minutes. At this point your chicken should be done and you can remove it to a wire rack to rest. Your biscuits might or might not need an extra minute or two. Check the tops of your biscuits and if they're not brown enough, cook for another 2 or 3 minutes, keeping an eye on them so that they do not brown too much. 

Once the biscuits are browned to your liking, remove from the oven. Split each biscuit and add a crispy chicken thigh and any condiments you might want and enjoy. 

Notes:

Chicken: If you want to use breast meat, you will probably need to butterfly the meat so that it is thin enough to cook in time. Your meat needs to be no more than 3/4 of an inch thick to ensure that it is cooked sufficiently in 20 minutes. Chicken tenders would work well at this oven time and temperature if you want to use those. 

Biscuits: If you're using store bought biscuits, you will need to check the time/temperature and follow the instructions on the package. This one pan method works because the biscuit recipe I use works well with the time/temperature that the chicken needs to cook at. 

More crispy chicken biscuit sandwiches

Add a little honey mustard and you’re in heaven.

If you like your fried chicken biscuits with honey mustard, this is a great recipe you might be interested in

10 minutes
Honey mustard sauce

Add a fantastic pop of flavor to a sandwich or make this sauce as a dip for your next chicken tender night.

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This one has pickled jalapenos and a creamy chipotle sauce.

Below is my recipe for a chipotle sauce. It’s great on tacos, nachos, burgers and chicken sandwiches. Try it on your next sausage biscuit. You may remember, I used it in my Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco post.

10 minutes
Spicy Chipotle Sauce

Similar to the sauce they have at Taco Bell, this is a flavor explosion that can be added to pretty much any sandwich.

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A little melted cheddar makes every chicken biscuit better.
One-pan crispy chicken biscuit sandwich with a spicy avocado salsa. I bought the avocado salsa from the deli section of our local grocery.

This is a fairly easy recipe to replicate a fried chicken biscuit at home with less guilt. It totally scratches my chicken biscuit itch without leaving my kitchen covered in splattered oil. I’d love to hear what you think if you try this recipe.

Comment down below or tag @beerinator in your instagrams or tweets!


What in the Taco Bell is this!?

Is it a Sandwich or Taco or Sandwich Taco or Taco Sandwich!? 🤔


It’s $1.49 if you order online, but $2.69 if you order at the store. They’re charging you an extra $1.20 per Sandwich Taco to talk to a real person.

Way back in February 2021 a place called Taco Bell announced a Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco (most real writers would shorten this to CCST or something but instead I’m going to spell it out every time because it’s fun). I spontaneously tried to make it that week and did OK, not great. There were things I knew I needed to change and this week I finally tried Taco Bell’s version and I set out to make my recipes better.

The Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco (NOT CCST) comes in two flavors. Spicy and Not Spicy/Regular. The only difference is the Spicy one has five or six pickled jalapenos on it. Taco Bell did not use much creativity with the differences here.

Both Crispy Chicken Sandwich Tacos have a soft and puffy flatbread, spicy chipotle sauce and one small chicken tender that is tortilla crusted and fried.

If you look closely, the puffy flatbread looks different in promo materials now compared to how it looked to me back in February. The photo from February (below) had a very consistently browned puffy shell and the one in the promo materials now (above) looks much more like a pita or regular flatbread.

When I saw it back in February and I noticed the consistent browning I was questioning how it was cooked. A tortilla or flatbread will hit the hot surface and it will not get consistent brown color because the baking soda (for a tortilla), or in this case yeast (for a flatbread) will make things start to bubble and the dough won’t consistently touch the surface.

Because of this image, back in February, I figured it had to be made in some sort of hot press to get solid consistent browning. Like the photo below. Also, it looked to me like the flatbread might have been pan seared in oil.

Taco Bell promo materials for the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco from February 2021.

At that time, my thought was to make flatbread in a panini press instead of in a skillet like most other flatbread recipes. This led to my test breads being thinner and not as puffy I wanted.

Fast forward to now and I see all their promo stuff no longer has that consistent browning and it just looks like a soft pita or super thick tortilla.

I made the tweet below back in February when they announced that this taco was coming.

Click through on the above image/tweet to read the thread where I talked about what I did back in February. I did ok, but I had some flaws.

At that point I had good tortilla crusted chicken, decent chipotle sauce and store-bought pickled jalapenos. My flatbread was pressed too hard in an attempt to get that consistent color, but everything was still really good.

Fast forward to now and none of the flatbreads in Taco Bell’s Sandwich Tacos have any browning or consistent color at all.

Trying the Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Sandwich Tacos

Here’s the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Tacos that I bought last week. I had a wild idea to put some cheese sauce on one of them, so I added chips and nacho cheese to my order to see how that worked. It was ok, but the cheese sauce didn’t really help anything.

One regular and two spicy. The only differences are the pickled jalapenos. Nacho cheese and chips in the back for extra necessary calories.

These Sandwich Tacos are not very big. The chicken breast piece is basically the size of 2 chicken nuggets. I got out my kitchen measuring tape (you have one of these, right?) and the flatbread was right around 4 to 4.5 inches diameter.

Here’s a bit of a close-up. The flatbread was really soft and pillow-like.

The Sandwich Taco experience

Apparently adding jalapenos means 10 more calories.

These were way better than I expected. The flatbread was soft and pillowy. The chicken was moist and a tiny bit crispy on the outside and each sandwich taco was sauced fairly well. There wasn’t a whole lot of flavor in the chicken or the breading and it would have been better if the chicken had been a bit crunchier to contrast the soft flatbread. But overall, this was a good experience.

I think my biggest complaint here is that there’s a severe lack of creativity in the two versions. The only difference is the pickled jalapenos? I think it would have been good to have had a version with Taco Bell’s jalapeno ranch and maybe some lettuce or diced up tomato on top. When I mentioned this to my wife, she told me that you could recreate this jalapeno ranch version while ordering online or with the app, but I didn’t consider this until after I made my yearly Taco Bell trip.

Another idea for Taco Bell would be to make a sauce like a Nashville Hot sauce and dunk the tender in that and serve it with pickles or pickled jalapenos. Taco Bell is owned by the same ownership as KFC so they can figure this out and make this Sandwich Taco line expand. If you’re reading this, Taco Bell, pay me my money.

Let’s make our own Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco

First, we have to get together all of our ingredients.

The spicy chipotle sauce

When I tried to make the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco back in February, I started working on this recipe. Except for the color, I’ve got the flavors close now.

This is my third or fourth iteration of this chipotle sauce recipe. Even if you don’t plan to make Crispy Chicken Sandwich Tacos, this sauce is great on things like mashed or baked potatoes. Make the sauce and use it for a dip for fries or spread it on your next sausage biscuit. It’s a great sauce and easy to make.

10 minutes
Spicy Chipotle Sauce

Similar to the sauce they have at Taco Bell, this is a flavor explosion that can be added to pretty much any sandwich.

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The pickled jalapenos

The only thing that makes the Spicy and Non-spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich Tacos different from each other is the pickled jalapenos. I’ve got an easy recipe for those that is based off of my Spicy MSG pickle recipe. Make up a batch of these for your next nacho or taco night. Or just add them whenever you want to add a bit of heat and texture to a sandwich.

25 minutes
Pickled MSG jalapenos

Need a spicy kick with a bit of crunchy texture in your next sandwich? They're also perfect to spice up your next nacho or taco night.

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The flatbread

The flatbreads I made were between 4 and 5 inches in diameter.

The flatbread I made this week isn’t quite as light as Taco Bell’s but it’s still really soft. The recipe isn’t a super approachable recipe for beginners, simply because the dough turns out wet and sticky. I had to use a lot of flour when shaping the pre-cooked flatbreads to get it to shape in circle-ish shapes. You could add more flour to the dough at the beginning and that would make the shaping process easier, but then you’d end up with a denser flatbread.

This flatbread recipe is a whole lot closer to the actual Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco than my last attempt when I cooked it in a flat panini press. This is more like just making fat flour tortillas.

When you’re making flatbread like this, make sure you give it some time wrapped in a clean towel after you cook it to steam and get soft. If you need to reheat one of these puffy flatbreads, do so in the microwave covered with a damp paper towel for 30 seconds or so. This will bring it back to a softened and pliable state.

I measured the official Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Sandwich Tacos, and they were around 4 to 4.5 inches long. I shot for that diameter in my flatbreads and got close.

Recipe Card
1 hour and 30 minutes
Puffy flatbread

Soft and puffy flatbread can be used for Sandwich Tacos (thanks Taco Bell) or it can be as a substitute for naan or pita. Put some tomato sauce and melt some cheese on top and you've got yourself a fantastic personal pizza.

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The chicken

I made buttermilk jalapeno brined chicken that was crusted with tortilla chips and then fried. The whole recipe for this sandwich is down at the bottom of this post.

Tortilla crusted and fried chicken breast pieces waiting their turn.

The final showdown

Here’s Taco Bell’s on the left versus mine on the right. I got damn close. My flatbread is soft and pillowy, but not nearly as light as the one Taco Bell makes. I think they probably have flatbread scientists working on theirs.

My chicken was much crunchier and the whole thing was warmer, since I ate mine just a couple minutes after frying. But my chicken also had more spice and flavor when eaten on its own.

The sauce and the pickled jalapenos in mine were at least as good if not better than the Taco Bell ones. My chipotle sauce is a tiny bit spicier than Taco Bell’s. Overall, this was a success. It just took figuring out what direction they were taking with the flatbreads to understand where I needed to head for copying them. Now I know and knowing is clearly half the battle.

The big showdown. Click for bigger if you want to study the details.

I even made an image compare for you to see how close they are. This might be easier for phone or small screen comparisons. Check down below for the whole recipe.

Taco Bell’s version on the left and my version on the right. This was a fun “sandwich” to tackle.

My Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco copycat recipe:

Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco copycat view printable page for this recipe

A copycat recipe to recreate a Taco Bell Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco. Spicy and crispy fried chicken in a puffy flatbread with a creamy chipotle sauce and pickled jalapenos.

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Ingredients:

Buttermilk jalapeno marinade
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 12 cup pickled jalapeno liquid
  • 3 tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large chicken breast cut into four even pieces
Seasoned flour/tortilla chips
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 12 cup crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • peanut oil for frying (2 inches high in your large pan)
Sandwich Taco assembly

Directions:

In a medium sized bowl add buttermilk, pickled jalapeno liquid, hot sauce, kosher salt and black pepper and whisk to combine. Put chicken in a zip top bag or bowl with a lid. Pour buttermilk jalapeno marinade over chicken and store in fridge for at least an hour or overnight. 

Make seasoned flour by combining flour and crushed up tortilla chips with all the spices, salt and pepper in a bowl, plate or pan.

Remove one piece of chicken at a time from the marinade and dredge in the seasoned flour mixture until thoroughly coated on all sides. Press firmly to make sure there are no dry spots on the chicken. Place fully coated chicken onto a piece of parchment or the rack of a sheetpan to rest.

Heat 2 inches of peanut oil in a skillet to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Fry each piece of chicken for 5 to 6 minutes or until it reaches 165 degrees internal temperature. You'll probably want to fry for 3 minutes on the first side and then flip it to make sure you're getting the level of browning that you want. Continue cooking on the other side. 

After frying, place finished chicken on a cooling rack over paper towels to drain some of the oil away. 

Assemble each of your Crispy Chicken Sandwich Tacos with a good squirt of your spicy chipotle sauce on the puffy flatbread. Add a piece of fried chicken on top and garnish with four or five pickled jalapenos. 

Serve and enjoy

Notes:

If you don't make the puffy flatbread, you could buy super soft tortillas or even buy store bought naan and cut it to the shapes that you need with a knife. 

Final Crispy Chicken Sandwich Tacos

Here’s a few more photos of my final Crispy Chicken Sandwich Tacos. This was a great Sandwich Taco, probably the best Sandwich Tacos I’ve ever made. Even if you don’t want to make your own Sandwich Tacos, you could use some of the other recipes I’ve shared to make other things that aren’t Sandwich Tacos.

A little close-up sauce dripping action.
Crunchy tortilla crusted chicken that is seasoned well makes all the difference in the world.
I think we nailed it.

Hopefully you all enjoyed my foray into Sandwich Tacos. Maybe next week we’ll tackle something closer to normal. Or maybe I’ll make a Curderburger?


The General’s takeout sandwich

What is Captain Picard’s favorite Chinese takeout ?

Make it Tso!


My typical Chinese takeout option is General Tso’s chicken. Crispy fried chicken under a sweet and slightly spicy sauce? Yes, please. Today I’m going to show you how I make it and turn it into a sandwich.

The history of this dish has more to do with the American palate than food from actual China. A brief history of General Tso’s Chicken from the Smithsonian tells us that the backstory of General Tso’s chicken has some interesting drama. A Chinese chef named Peng Chang-kuei moved to Taiwan and at his restaurant there he invented General Tso’s chicken which was not at all like what we are familiar with today. In the 1970s a New York chef (Tsung Ting Wang) visited Taiwan and got the inspiration to make a similar dish that was more tailored to the American palate. Years later, the inventor of the dish ended up opening a restaurant in NYC where he had to change the flavors in his original dish to be closer to the one that was already popular in the States.

That Smithsonian post also mentions an entertaining documentary about General Tso’s chicken that I watched a couple of years ago. The documentary is called: The Search for General Tso (currently not free anywhere, but it was worth the $3.99 rental for me). If you want to learn more about the history of General Tso’s chicken and need something to watch, I’d recommend it.

If you’ve never ordered and enjoyed General Tso’s chicken, it’s bite-sized pieces of chicken breast or thigh meat that has been fried crispy and coated in a sweet and spicy sauce. Often General Tso’s will appear on the menu with a little pepper 🌶 beside its name, denoting the spice. Most of the time the General Tso’s that I receive from my delivery driver has very little heat and spice. Don’t worry, my recipe down below is pretty spicy but there’s also a very easy method to adjust the spice level.

Today we’re going to turn General Tso’s chicken into a fantastic chicken sandwich. Let’s get down to business.

Here’s a picture of my General Tso recipe. You should cook it yourself.

The buns

Once again I used my soft potato bun for most of these sandwiches. I’ve been testing my recipe for the past few weeks and this seemed like another good chance to put it to use. But another good recipe I’ve used in the past that would be a great option for this sandwich (that I didn’t think of until later) would be King Arthur’s Japanese Milk Bread Rolls. The technique used in this recipe leads to an unbelievably soft and squishy bun and would work well with the sauced up fried chicken.

But as I said, my potato bun recipe is the one that I used. I did sprinkle sesame seeds on most of them and to do that, you need an egg wash made of one whole egg and a tablespoon of water whisked thoroughly. Just prior to baking your buns, paint each one with your egg wash and then sprinkle as many sesame seeds as your heart desires on top. Take into account that some of your seeds will end up falling off.

If you end up sesame seed-ing your buns, do not baste them with melted butter after coming out of the oven like my recipe states for plain potato buns.

2 hours and 45 minutes
Super soft potato buns

Need six super soft perfectly sized burger buns? The kind of bun that is slightly smaller than your burger patty so that you get a solid burger to bun ratio? Try this recipe.

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The chicken

Sometimes we make General Tso’s chicken with breast pieces and sometimes with thigh pieces. I think thigh meat in general (GENERAL – get it) is better for this recipe but my wife prefers white meat, so that’s when I use breast.

The chicken is fried in a mixture of corn starch and all purpose flour and this blend makes it light and crunchy.

If you’ve ordered any of the fried chicken based options at your local Chinese takeout restaurant, you know that it tastes best to eat as soon as you can. Leftover Chinese chicken dishes are still good, but if the chicken was originally fried, there’s going to be no crunch at all left when you reheat it.

One way around this would be to fry your chicken pieces and then only sauce the amount you want to eat for that meal. If you have leftovers, you can refrigerate the chicken pieces and the leftover sauce separately and then bring them back up to temperature and sauce when you’re ready to eat your leftovers.

Here’s some chicken fresh out of the frying oil. You can see that it has a very thin and light coating and it is very crispy right out of the frying pan.

Fried chicken breast pieces.
Fried chicken thigh pieces.

The sauce

In my sauce I used dried arbol chilis.

Heat warning: there are dried red chilis in this sauce. This is why there’s typically a little red chili icon beside 🌶 General Tso’s chicken on your local takeout menu.

As you can imagine, the dried red chilis can be really spicy. There are a couple of things you can do to reduce the heat here and the first one is pretty obvious: use less dried red chilis. The second option to reduce the spice would be to break the chilis and remove and discard as many seeds as possible before adding them to the sauce.

All those seeds become little heat bombs which are fantastic or fantastically bad depending on your heat tolerance and/or enjoyment.

My experience with the spice level of this recipe is that if you’re eating the General Tso inside of a bun, you can handle a lot more heat than you could if you’re just eating it plain or on top of rice. The bun really goes a long way to reduce the spiciness for me.

Add the fried chicken back to be coated in the sauce and you’re ready to go. Remove all the chilis if you are worried about accidentally biting into one.

The recipe

Here’s the recipe we use for General Tso’s chicken at our house. This is a solid recipe that we enjoy with or without sandwiching.

45 minutes
General Tso's chicken

This is my spicy and sweet, better than take-out version of General Tso's chicken.

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The sandwiches

And here we go. I made sure to have thinly sliced green onion and sesame seeds for garnishing each sandwich.

Sometimes I used sesame seed buns and sometimes not. These are all from the same potato bun recipes as above (because I tried to do a bunch of testing on the recipe). The round ones I shaped like normal potato buns for burgers and the longer ones I rolled out into about 5 inch long buns.

Leftover next day General Tso sandwich.

The below sandwich was a whole boneless skinless chicken thigh that I marinaded and flour coated just like my recipe for normal General Tso’s and then I fried whole. I think this worked just fine, but to be fair, it wasn’t any better than a sandwich made with a bunch of small fried chicken bites like the other sandwiches.

I wouldn’t necessarily suggest trying this because it made little difference. Just make the normal General Tso recipe with the bite size pieces of fried chicken and make your sandwich that way.

A whole boneless skinless chicken thigh fried and then cooked briefly in General Tso sauce.

Make General Tso’s chicken

Just do it. Even if you don’t end up sandwiching it, this is a good recipe and in my experience it’s better than most of what I can get via delivery or takeout at my house. Watch out for the spice if you’re sensitive to that, but you can easily control the spicing with the amount of peppers you choose to use. Check back next week when I am possibly revisiting a classic or maybe doing something weird again.


You gonna eat your tots?

Sometimes I have to check on Urban Dictionary to see if my sandwich names are already on there.


Thawed tater tots all prepped for waffling.

The world never asked for tater tot waffle sandwiches, but I made them anyway. Read along to find out how I incorporated tater tots into my sandwich routine.

First things first, these aren’t actually tot waffle sandwiches because a sandwich is usually named after the stuff in the middle of the sandwich, not the things on the outside. But I think I’m in charge here and clearly no one can stop me, or they would have already, so these are hereby known as: tot waffle sandwiches.

This week I made several tot waffle sandwiches. Read on to see what I did.

The bread

Wait. Whoops, there’s no bread this week. Dang.

The tot waffle.

A bit past eight minutes seems about perfect for my waffle maker (it took a few seconds to open my phone camera).

First, we need some tater tot waffles!

  1. Find a waffle maker.
  2. Buy some frozen tater tots.
  3. Let us get down to business.

Below is my recipe for a tater tot waffle, but it’s so easy you almost don’t need a recipe. You need to thaw your frozen tots and then waffle them.

To find out how many tots I needed to thaw, I opened my turned off waffle maker and placed frozen tots in it until they all fit and then put the rest of the bag back in the freezer. Then I counted them.

The tots I laid out on the waffle maker, I transferred to a plate and let them sit covered in plastic wrap until they were thawed and ready to cook. My waffle maker accepts about 30 tots, but yours might be different.

Thawing 30-ish tater tots can be done in the microwave in 1 or 2 minutes on high. I usually just pull them out an hour or two in advance, but if you’re in a hurry just use the microwave to thaw.

Once your tots are thawed, turn your waffle maker on high and when it’s warmed up, place the tots inside and waffle them. It takes my waffle maker about 8 minutes to get a crispy tot waffle. Your time may vary depending on your waffle maker.

Recipe Card
13 minutes
Tater tot waffle

Crispy and crunchy with almost no effort. Tater tot waffles are easy to make and are a great addition to a fun breakfast.

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Funnily enough our 15-year-old waffle maker broke during the making of these sandwiches. I dropped it slightly and the knob broke off and you could no longer control the temperature. Since I’m so dedicated to this blog, we quickly bought this fairly cheap waffle maker delivered the next day from amazon and it worked great for tot waffles.

If you don’t have a waffle maker, you’re going to have a hard time making tot waffles, but I’d be really curious to read about your plans and ideas; let me know on twitter.

Waffling history

There was a time in my life where I attempted to waffle a lot of different things. After a search through my instagram, it seems this was around 2014 because below is my first tater tot waffle experience.

November 18th, 2014, was the first time I tried waffling tater tots. Never turned back.

A few weeks ago, when I got the idea to turn tater tots into the “bread” in sandwiches, my mind first went to breakfast because of hash browns so that’s where we’ll start.

The breakfast tot waffle

This is probably the best tot waffle experience, and it likely makes the most sense. You have your bacon; you have your eggs and cheese and then you sandwich it all within a tot waffle.

This particular breakfast tot waffle experience was a folded egg, homemade bacon and good old deli sliced American cheese; the breakfast dream team sandwiched between two tot waffles.

But seriously, the best application for a tot waffle is breakfast. Just start a tot waffle waffling while you’re busy cooking the rest of your breakfast and slice the waffle into quarters. In less than 10 minutes you’ll be ready for a breakfast sandwich or crispy potato hashbrown side dish.

Home smoked thick cut bacon, folded egg and American cheese on a tater tot waffle.

The lunch tot waffle

A good partner to waffles is fried chicken and I guess it won’t even matter that the waffle in question is made from potatoes?

For my lunch waffle I fried up some boneless chicken breast pieces. I typically fry chicken thigh, but we had one extra massive 1.5-pound chicken breast that we didn’t need for another meal and it was either freeze it for later or fry it for sandwiches. And now you know which one I chose to do.

Fresh out of the frying oil and onto a rack to rest.
A breast piece and a tenderloin with a fresh tot waffle.

Below is my recipe for frying chicken thighs. I used breast meat in this sandwich, but it’s the same process. If you have an instant thermometer, you should use it if you’re not sure if your chicken is done. The key to this recipe is the spice, but if you don’t like heat, you can leave all of that out if that’s your preference.

With these fried breast pieces, I placed them between two tot waffles and slathered on a little bit of my special sandwich sauce. I didn’t think about it until later, but pickles would have been great here. I also started thinking that slaw would be a good addition, so I whipped some slaw up and that went into my next sandwich.

35 minutes
Buttermilk fried chicken thighs

A quick and easy recipe to prepare fried chicken for sandwiches. The cayenne gives it some heat. You can omit that if you don't want it spicy or even double it if you're extra bold.

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This was a good sandwich. The crunchy fried chicken and the crunchy potato waffle were good together, but it probably could have used another texture. And like I alluded to earlier, it could have used some pickle acidity to cut the richness.

Spicy fried chicken, special sauce totted in two waffles.
The sandwich you didn’t know you wanted until I showed you.

The dinner tot waffle

For my next tot waffle sandwich, I also fried some pieces of chicken breast meat. I slathered those crispy fried chicken pieces in my old goose sriracha wing sauce and added a basic cabbage slaw sandwiched with tater tot waffles.

The tot waffles in these pictures were redder and darker because I sprinkled Cajun seasoning onto the tater tots instead of just salt and pepper, because why not add more seasoning?

This was a great sandwich and had a lot of flavor from the chicken and crunch from the tot waffle and the slaw kept the spicy heat in check.

Spicy sriracha coated fried chicken tot waffle with a little slaw.
A closer side view of a lovely spicy tot waffle.

The snack tot waffle

For our snack tot waffle, we’re gonna get wild and put the bread in the middle. Ok, maybe it’s bread CHEESE, but it’s still in the middle. Back during my waffling phase I found bread cheese and fell in love. This stuff is great.

Bread cheese isn’t available everywhere, but it seems popular in the Midwest. It was started/invented in Finland apparently and is still very prevalent there. I can find it online, but it’s not cheap unless you’re near where a local cheesemaker is making it.

You can find it online with a search for: “bread cheese” or “juusto.”

I’ve always thought that a cool thing to do at a party would be to have a hot waffle maker in the corner and a few packs of bread cheese. You could put simple instructions by the waffle maker to instruct your party guests on how they can make their own cheese waffle for snacking.

Anyway, enough with me helping to plan your next party, let’s snack.

This is the snack tot waffle. I’m predicting at least one person reading this will try to comment that their nickname in college was “snack tot waffle.”

Bread cheese in the middle, tot waffle on the outside. Marinara added to bring it all together.

Make tot waffles

Tot waffle sandwiches might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you should remember tot waffles as a breakfast side dish option. Whenever you might want crispy hash browns, this recipe delivers. You could even dice up some green onions or peppers and sprinkle them among the tater tots before waffling for more flavor.

The simple fact that you can have a crunchy potato side dish cooking with little to no effort while you’re preparing eggs and/or breakfast meat makes tot waffles a winner in my book.

Check back next week when I might be making normal people sandwiches. Or maybe not. No one knows!


Buffalo fried chicken sandwich

The boneless buffalo sandwich

No buffalo were harmed during the production of this blog post.


Buffalo chicken wings and blue cheese dressing is a top tier flavor combination in my opinion and it turns out that it isn’t that hard to make either component. According to the National Chicken Council, the early version of the concept that became Buffalo wings was invented in 1964 at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. Blue cheese dressing’s origin story is a little more complicated but it seems that we’ve had a form of blue cheese ever since a distracted shepherd accidentally left cheese behind and later discovered blue cheese in a cave outside of the village Roquefort, France in the 7th century.

The combination of buffalo sauce and blue cheese dressing is very popular in sandwich form and you can tell this from its appearance on thousands of menus across the United States. I get really excited about buffalo chicken wings and am interested when I get the opportunity to move those flavors into sandwich territory. A buffalo chicken sandwich is an experience that I crave when I see it on a menu.

It’s time to start this business and I hope you’ll follow me along the way as I make a couple of buffalo chicken wing inspired sandwiches. Please grab three or five napkins and join me.

Brioche buns

Four of my prettiest buns. Aren’t you glad I didn’t say two?

The bun I used this week was the King Arthur Baking brioche bun recipe. This recipe is a good one but you need to know in advance that it’s an overnight rest/rise recipe. This just means you need to start the bun recipe the day before you need buns.

You also MUST have a stand mixer or bread maker for this unless you’re ready for 25 or 30 minutes of solid hard core stirring. For the first 20 minutes of my stand mixer churning at a solid 4 speed, it looked like I was making a cookie dough. But somewhere around the 20 minute mark my dough started coming together and pulling off of the side of the bowl.

One of the biggest lessons I learned during this process was found in the accompanying brioche King Arthur blog post (these accompanying posts are the best). They suggested when you’re putting the buns onto the parchment for the final rise, you should flatten the dough balls. Their technique was to use a bench scraper or a large measuring cup to evenly push down the dough and twist it to help with making the ball circular.

This was fantastic advice and it helped me make very smooth looking buns. I probably would never have thought of this on my own, but looking back it makes so much sense and I will be applying it to my future bun bakes, brioche or not. You should buy a good bench scraper like this one (Amazon affiliate link) if you don’t already have one. If you’re buying a bench scraper and not using this link, make sure it has measurement lines on the edges. When I’m baking biscuits and using my bench scraper, I can use the measurement marks to get consistent heights on my biscuits it also helps when shaping 5 or 6 inch long sandwich rolls.

Crumb shot! Look at my beautiful bun.

The sauces

Buffalo sauce

Two ingredients and you’re done. Boom. I don’t need to say much more here. Frank’s RedHot will give you the buffalo flavor you’re probably most used to, but you can use your favorite hot sauce too. Go nuts.

Recipe Card
10 minutes
Buffalo sauce

Making wings? This recipe is for you. Two ingredients and a tiny bit of time on the stove and you\'re ready to go. This is also great to sauce your chicken tenders for a spicy option.

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Blue cheese dressing

In my opinion, blue cheese dressing is 100% required if you’re making Buffalo sauced meals. Some folks will say they prefer Ranch, but they are wrong. The flavors just blend so well that I can’t imagine one without the other. This is a super easy recipe and it’s very similar to my Ranch recipe.

10 minutes
Blue cheese dressing

Thick and tangy with flavors from the sharp and flavorful blue cheese sets us up in a place where this will be great for sandwiches or salads. Add more buttermilk (or milk) to thin it out if you want it pourable.

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Grilled buffalo chicken sandwich

I made both a fried and grilled version of the buffalo chicken sandwich. For my grilled version I decided to make some slaw and since I had a lot of blue cheese dressing, I chose to use that instead of mayo as the creamy part of the slaw recipe. This slaw could be made with store bought blue cheese dressing too. If you’re using store bought, be careful when adding the dressing – add it slowly to make sure you don’t use too much. Just incorporate a little at a time and stir until you get the slaw dressed the way you like it.

Recipe Card
Blue cheese slaw

Similar to a lot of slaws you've probably had but with the tang of blue cheese. This slaw would be good as a side dish or on top of a buffalo chicken sandwich.

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The prep for my grilled chicken was really simple. I didn’t go complicated with seasoning, since I was going to dunk the chicken into my buffalo sauce. I simply seasoned a boneless, skinless chicken thigh with salt and pepper and grilled it. On this occasion, I used a grill pan in my kitchen, but you can obviously grill it however you want. 4 or 5 minutes per side and you should be golden. An instant read thermometer like this one (Amazon affiliate link) will help you if you’re not sure when your chicken is fully cooked. I’m also a big fan of the ThermoPop at around thirty five dollars.

Grilled buffalo chicken with a blue cheese slaw on brioche.

Flamin’ Hot Cheeto crusted buffalo chicken sandwich

I bought a few small bags of Flamin’ Hot flavored snacks (Fritos, Cheetos and Funyuns) and we had a little sampling at home (Funyuns were the best). I took the leftover Cheetos and figured I would use them to crust fried chicken thighs. Then I coated it in buffalo sauce, which was undoubtedly overkill, but I still did it. The Flamin’ Hot flavor didn’t stand out as much, but the crunch and texture really did. This was a winner. The cheetos stood up to the sauce and kept most of their texture and snap.

I’ve included the full recipe for my Flamin’ Hot Cheeto crusted buffalo chicken sandwich below. Give it a try and let me know how yours works out! Check back again next week where I’ll be trying my hand at more sandwiches.

Frying action shot. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos on left, regular fried thigh on right.
Flamin' Hot Cheeto crusted buffalo chicken sandwich view printable page for this recipe

Spicy but not overwhelming flavors along with the cooling blue cheese dressing leave you with a flavorful piece of still crunchy fried chicken. Get extra napkins.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken thighs or breast pieces
  • 2 large eggs
  • 14 cup buttermilk
  • 1 12 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 12 cups crushed Flamin' Hot Cheetos
  • peanut oil for frying
  • buffalo wing sauce (link to recipe)

Directions:

Season both sides of your chicken with salt and pepper.

Get three bowls, plates or pans that are large enough for a piece of chicken to lay flat. 

Make seasoned flour by combining flour with the salt and pepper in a bowl or pan. 

Prepare another bowl or pan and add 2 eggs and 1/4 cup of buttermilk. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.

Add your crushed Flamin' Hot Cheetos to your third bowl or pan

Using one piece of chicken at a time dredge in the seasoned flour mixture until thorougly coated on all sides. Then coat in the egg and buttermilk mixture. Make sure chicken is fully coated. Then place chicken into the Flamin' Hot Cheetos and firmly press until chicken is heavily coated. Place fully coated chicken onto a piece of parchment or the rack of a sheet pan to rest. 

Heat 2 inches of peanut oil in a skillet to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 

Fry each piece of chicken for 6 to 7 minutes or until it reaches 165 degrees internal temperature. If your chicken is really thick you will likely need a little more time. You'll probably want to fry for 3 minutes on the first side and then flip it to make sure you're getting the level of browning that you want. Continue cooking on the other side. 

After frying, place finished chicken on a cooling rack over paper towels to drain some of the oil away. 

Toss fried chicken pieces in buffalo sauce and place each chicken piece on a bun. Top each buffalo sauce coated thigh or breast piece with blue cheese dressing, lettuce and tomato (if desired).

And since you made it this far I have another sandwich to look at. This one was fried AND slaw’ed.

Fried boneless, skinless chicken thigh soaked with buffalo sauce and topped with blue cheese slaw on brioche.

Cheddar cheese biscuit with fried chicken

Cheese on cheese on cheese

You like cheese!? I like cheese!


My wife bought a box of white cheddar grooves and when we opened them we learned that this box was magical. A bunch of the crackers in the box were very heavily seasoned with the white cheddar flavor dust. Most were so full of dust that you could no longer see the “grooves.” Of course when something phenomenal like this happens in your life, you tweet about it and I did.

Magical Box of Cheez-it Grooves!

One of the replies to my tweet boldly told me I should use cheez-its as the coating on some fried chicken. I read the reply at 4 am and realized that the lunch portion of my day was planned.

The day before, I had baked up a batch of my savory cheddar cheese biscuits and I had also made a batch of cheddar beer cheese spread for crackers and snack time.

40 minutes
Super savory cheddar cheese biscuits

These savory biscuits are great on their own and even better with chicken or pork for a breakfast sandwich.

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15 minutes
Cheddar Beer Cheese Spread

Cheese spreads aren\'t only for crackers. Spread on any sandwich for a burst of extra cheesy flavor.

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Put those two recipes together and add a cheez-it coated fried chicken thigh and that’s a sandwich all figured out.

For the chicken, I basically made my normal buttermilk fried chicken (recipe below) except when it came time for breading, I brought each thigh from the buttermilk marinade, coated with the seasoned flour, then I put it back in the buttermilk marinade and finally I crusted each thigh in crushed up cheez-its. Then I rested them for a few minutes while my oil heated up and fried according to the recipe.

Here’s the cheez-it frying in action. Glorious.


Buttermilk fried chicken thighs view printable page for this recipe

A quick and easy recipe to prepare fried chicken for sandwiches. The cayenne gives it some heat. You can omit that if you don't want it spicy or even double it if you're extra bold.

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Ingredients:

Buttermilk marinade
  • 1.5 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 12 teaspoon paprika
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breast meat cut into sandwich size pieces)
Seasoned flour
  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 12 teaspoon paprika
  • peanut oil for frying

Directions:

  1. Add salt, pepper cayenne pepper and paprika to buttermilk and whisk to combine. Put chicken in a zip top bag or bowl with a lid. Pour buttermilk marinade over chicken and store in fridge for at least an hour or overnight. 
  2. Make seasoned flour by combining flour with all of the spices, salt and pepper in a bowl or pan that is large enough for a piece of chicken to lay flat in the flour. 
  3. Remove one piece of chicken at a time from the marinade and dredge in the seasoned flour mixture until thoroughly coated on all sides. Place fully coated chicken onto a piece of parchment or the rack of a sheet pan to rest. 
  4. Heat 2 inches of peanut oil in a skillet to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 
  5. Fry each piece of chicken for 6 to 7 minutes or until it reaches 165 degrees internal temperature. You'll probably want to fry for 3 minutes on the first side and then flip it to make sure you're getting the level of browning that you want. Continue cooking on the other side. 
  6. After frying, place finished chicken on a cooling rack over paper towels to drain some of the oil away. 

Notes:

A boneless skinless fried chicken thigh is usually a really good size for a biscuit or sandwich on a small bun. Typically a breast could be too large for your bun, so you may want to butterfly it or cut it into a shape that will more closely fit your bun or bread choice.


The final Cheez-it biscuit sandwich

Cheez-it crusted fried chicken thigh with cheddar beer cheese spread on a cheddar cheese biscuit.

The Uva sandwich

The Uva from Bojangles

Fried chicken = great
Pimento cheese = great
Blueberry biscuit = great
What could go wrong?


In January 2021, a Sports Anchor/Reporter named Mike Uva from South Carolina drove to a nearby Bojangles and ordered a Pimento Cheese Cajun Filet Biscuit (spicy fried chicken with pimento cheese spread on a buttery biscuit) and was shocked to find that the Bojangles employee swapped his buttery biscuit for a sweetened blueberry biscuit (Bojangles calls these Bo-Berry Biscuits and they are sweet biscuits topped with a sugary glaze). Uva tweeted about it with a photo and seemed worried at first, but soon learned that it was a tempting combination that Bojangles might want to lean in to.

Here’s his original tweet:

Bojangles was tagged and their social media team decided to run with it. Between Uva’s and Bojangle’s promotion of the tweet it seemed to catch traction in the South Eastern states where you can find Bojangles. Over the next few days Uva shared and retweeted many photos that his followers had shared with him of their experience with what people were now calling “The Uva.”

Bojangles marketing team eventually cooked up the following tweet with a much more impressive looking breakfast sandwich.

At this point, I figured I had to make it. Read on to see how I tackled it.

Pimento cheese

I started with my Mom’s pimento cheese recipe.

20 minutes
Mom's pimento cheese

An awesome addition to a sausage biscuit sandwich. This is my Mom's recipe. Growing up, I enjoyed a lot of pimento cheese sandwiches, with just the spread and sliced bread. This recipe also works great as a snack with crackers or pretzels.

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Fried chicken

And a quick and dirty recipe I use fairly often to fry chicken for a sandwich or for chicken tenders.

35 minutes
Buttermilk fried chicken thighs

A quick and easy recipe to prepare fried chicken for sandwiches. The cayenne gives it some heat. You can omit that if you don't want it spicy or even double it if you're extra bold.

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Blueberry biscuit

After I had my cheese and chicken sorted, I started working on a plan for a Bojangles Bo-Berry biscuit copy cat recipe. I began with my typical Buttermilk biscuit and added some sugar. Since it wasn’t blueberry season, I opted for the frozen variety. You have to fold the blueberries into the biscuit dough as you’re doing your final folds or otherwise you’ll end up with a big purple mess. (edit from the future: I have made this many times with fresh blueberries and it works just fine, but you should cut your blueberries in half first if they’re really big)

I made a glaze with confectioners sugar and milk, and I applied mine when the biscuits were still pretty warm. My glaze wasn’t as thick as Bojangles, but the flavors were great and I was pretty excited with the results. If I wanted to be closer to what Bojangles often uses in their Bo-Berry biscuit promotional materials, I would put my glaze in a small ziplock bag and wait for both the glaze and the biscuit to be fairly cool and cut a tiny corner out of the ziplock bag and squirt the glaze into a diagonal shape on top of each biscuit.

All together this turned out to be a great sandwich. Super savory from the fried chicken and pimento cheese balanced out with a good amount of sweetness from the biscuit. I think if I did it again, I would probably leave off the glaze on any blueberry biscuit that I planned to eat in sandwich form because it got a little sticky and messy.

You can find the blueberry biscuit recipe below this photo of my finished Uva.

The Uva copycat. A blueberry biscuit with pimento cheese spread and a fried chicken thigh.

Make an Uva and become a much more exciting person!

Blueberry biscuits view printable page for this recipe

This is an attempt at a copycat recipe for Bojangle's Bo-berry biscuit. If you like sweet and savory combinations in your food, you might enjoy this with a fried pork sausage patty or slice of ham.

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Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups self-rising flour (300g)
  • 1 stick frozen butter
  • 1 cup cold buttermilk
  • 14 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup frozen thawed blueberries
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
Optional glaze
  • 14 cup milk
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 12 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Grate frozen butter into the sifted self rising flour. Add sugar. Stir to combine until the butter is fully coated by flour. 
  2. Put bowl in freezer for 10 minutes 
  3. Combine buttermilk to bring together as a dough. Stir no more than 15 times. Overworking the dough at this stage could cause your finished biscuits to be more tough.  
  4. On a floured surface dump out dough and roll with a rolling pin. Dust with flour as needed when dough gets sticky. Fold the dough over on itself five different times creating layers. Each time you fold, add some blueberries. The point here is to get them incorporated into your dough without smashing them to bits. 
  5. Roll dough to 1/2 inch thick.
  6. Cut biscuits into circles or squares and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. When cutting, you do not want to twist the cutter. Twisting while cutting will ruin the layers that you created with folding. 
  7. Placing your cut biscuits next to each other (touching) on the sheet pan will help them rise taller. 
  8. Bake at 475 degrees for around 15 minutes. Check around the 12 minute mark to make sure they do not brown too much. 
  9. When biscuits are done, transfer them off of your baking pan onto a cooling rack to stop the bottoms from cooking further. Paint the melted butter on top of each biscuit or you can prepare a glaze if you want them to be more like the bo-berry biscuits at Bojangles.  
  10. (OPTIONAL) To make the optional glaze, combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium low heat. Whisk until fully combined. Spoon over biscuits right before serving. 

Notes:

Because this biscuit recipe has sugar, you will probably see it brown faster than a normal biscuit recipe.