Masa Harina Biscuits

a stack of masa harina biscuits

These tender fluffy masa harina biscuits are everything! They’re kind of a cross between a classic biscuit and a corn muffin, and the perfect accompaniment to chilis, soups, and stews of all sorts.

masa harina biscuits with butter

masa harina biscuits are uniquely delicious

I originally formulated this recipe back in 2012 to go with my chicken chile verde, and I’ve been enjoying them ever since. The flavor and texture is out of this world, and unlike any other biscuit I make. What makes them so appealing? It’s all about the masa harina, and it starts with the fragrance that hits you when you open up the oven, it’s that unmistakeable tamale/tortilla aroma. The biscuits have a soft plush texture that melts in your mouth and a beautiful pale golden yellow color. If you love all things corn, these are a must try.

masa harina biscuits, stacked

what is masa harina?

Masa harina is a very fine corn flour that’s used to make masa for tortillas or the filling for tamales. It has a wonderful fragrant corn flavor, and bakes up with a fabulous tender texture. Masa harina is made from dried corn that’s been soaked in calcium hydroxide, and then finely ground.  It is not the same thing as corn meal. Look for it in the flour and grains section of your supermarket. You may also find it in the international section. (Bob’s Red Mill sells it as well.)

masa harina

In addition to making amazing biscuits, I also use masa harina to thicken my chiles ~ it adds wonderful body to the chile, and lovely flavor, too. I just stir a couple of tablespoons at the end of cooking.

cutting out masa harina biscuits

the 3 secrets to great biscuits

  1. Use cold butter and buttermilk.
  2. Don’t over work the dough. Pat it together, and then gently roll or pat out to the desired thickness.
  3. Make SURE your oven is at temperature before you bake.

masa harina biscuits faqs

Can these biscuits be frozen?

Yes, you can freeze them after they’ve cooled completely. Put them in a freezer safe container or a heavy duty zip lock freezer bag. You can freeze the uncooked biscuits, too. Thaw frozen uncooked biscuits in the fridge overnight, before baking.

Can I use cornmeal instead of masa harina?

Yes, and while you won’t get the same flavor or texture, they will be delicious. You can use yellow or white cornmeal.

How can I reheat biscuits?

I like to cover them with foil and reheat in a 300F oven until warm to the touch, about 15 minutes or so.

what goes best with masa harina biscuits?

The obvious answer is chili, and I mean every type of chili from a creamy white turkey chili, to a classic red chili, a Hatch pepper chili, or a zippy chile verde. But don’t stop at chilis, these biscuits are at home with all sorts of comfort foods like pot roast and soups.

masa harina biscuits on a baking sheet

more biscuit recipes

a stack of masa harina biscuits
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5 from 10 votes

Masa Harina Biscuits

These tender fluffy masa harina biscuits are everything! They're kind of a cross between a classic biscuit and a corn muffin, and the perfect accompaniment to chilis, soups, and stews of all sorts.
Course bread
Cuisine Mexican/American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Yield 12 biscuits
Calories 233kcal
Author Sue Moran

Equipment

  • 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups cold cultured buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup masa harina
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 Tbsp cold salted butter, cut in pieces

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425F
  • Mix the buttermilk and honey and set aside.
  • Put the dry ingredients (flour, masa harina, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) in the bowl of the food processor and pulse to combine.
    pulsing dry ingredients for masa harina biscuits
  • Add the cold butter, in pieces, to the machine.
    adding butter to biscuit mixture
  • Pulse in the cold butter, about 25 pulses, to combine and create a coarse crumbly mixture.
    making biscuit dough in food processor
  • Slowly add in the buttermilk, while pulsing, until the dough comes together.
    masa harina biscuit dough in food processor
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and bring the dough together, adding a little flour if it's too wet and to prevent sticking.
    masa harina biscuit dough
  • Pat or roll to about 1 inch thick and cut into biscuits. I used a 2 1/2 inch round biscuit cutter. You'll get about 10+ biscuits. Note: it helps to flour the edges of the biscuit cutter between cuts to prevent sticking.
    cutting biscuit dough
  • Place them on parchment paper or a Silpat liner and bake at 425 for about 15 minutes. They don't get brown, so don't overcook waiting for them to take on color.
    masa harina biscuits ready to bake
  • Serve hot out of the oven (my preference!) with butter or honey.
    masa harina biscuits on a baking sheet

Nutrition

Calories: 233kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 271mg | Potassium: 186mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 411IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 2mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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12 Comments

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  • Reply
    Helen McKinney
    June 11, 2022 at 1:09 pm

    5 stars
    These are the best biscuits I have ever made!!! I made them as specified in the recipe except I didn’t have buttermilk so I substituted whole milk with sour cream mixed into it. I brushed the tops with milk before baking and they came out a beautiful golden color on top. My husband LOVED them so I will be making these a lot from now on. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      June 11, 2022 at 3:31 pm

      I adore these biscuits Helen, and I’m so happy to hear you do too. Masa harina has the best flavor!

  • Reply
    Catherine Dogear
    May 16, 2022 at 11:18 am

    I’ve made these twice. The first batch exactly according to the recipe (worked out great and delicious). I liked my second batch better however with the following changes. I used sugar instead of honey because the honey was too difficult to dissolve in the cold milk. I decreased the butter to 1/2 cup or one stick, because I wanted to feel less guilty slathering butter on the hot biscuit. Also I grated (large holes) the very cold butter into the flour mixture, which made the biscuits flakier in texture. I rolled the dough out to about 1/2 inch thickness to get more to go around (made 20). They baked up more golden brown on top and bottom, they achieved a little more lift, and were flakier. I’ve made several of your biscuit recipes and like them all very much. This is the only one I made some changes to.

  • Reply
    Nathalie
    January 15, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    I did a 2/3 recipe of these to have with some back beans for dinner. Woah. I am hooked. It’s the perfect marriage of cornbread and biscuits. My 4 year old had two, and she rarely enjoys biscuits (I don’t get it). I could see these being delicious with honey butter, but they are utterly addictive even without.
    I used a milk & vinegar approximation for the buttermilk, and used unsalted butter but added extra salt to compensate. Um, I might have to make these again (full recipe this time) for breakfast!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      January 16, 2022 at 9:09 am

      I’m so happy you loved these Nathalie, this is one of my personal favorite recipes, the texture slays me!

  • Reply
    Ariah
    November 30, 2021 at 2:29 pm

    Do I have to have a food processor to mix it?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      December 1, 2021 at 5:11 am

      No, you can do this by hand, a pastry cutter helps.

  • Reply
    Karen
    August 30, 2021 at 6:28 am

    Hi there would using gluten-free flour make a difference with the outcome? Thanks very much.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      August 30, 2021 at 6:34 am

      I haven’t tried it, but it should work fine. The texture will be quite delicate.

  • Reply
    Stephen
    August 3, 2021 at 11:06 am

    Do I need adjust the liquid if I don’t add honey?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      August 3, 2021 at 12:44 pm

      No you don’t need any extra liquid.

  • Reply
    Theresa
    August 3, 2021 at 9:28 am

    These look amazing! I have been curious about cooking with masa harina lately. I like the taste of the corn tortillas and I want to try it in some flatbread as well. and I think it would give chili a good flavor as well. gona have to experiment. Thanks for sharing Sue much appreciated. I have not tried this recipe yet but will .

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