Pumpernickel Biscuits

These Pumpernickel Biscuits are light and fluffy, but full of rich earthy flavor thanks to the dark rye flour, caraway seeds, and a surprise secret ingredient! They’re the perfect accompaniment to fall soups and stews.


I made these biscuits to go with my Corn and Cheddar Cheese Chowder.

I loved them, and even though  I don’t think they are the most photogenic biscuits around, they have a really interesting earthy flavor and a tender texture. Pumpernickel bread is a traditional German peasant bread, made with dark rye flour. My biscuits aren’t nearly as dark as authentic  pumpernickel, which gets its color either as a result of a long elaborate baking process, or, in the case of store bought loaves, the addition of caramel coloring. I used only half  rye flour and half all purpose to maintain a light texture, but they do have the classic elements of pumpernickel bread —  the rye, molasses, and dark unsweetened cocoa powder, along with the caraway seeds. You don’t taste the cocoa as such, it just adds a little mystery to the flavor profile.


These were perfect with the creamy chowder and make having soup for dinner a little bit special. I’ve been experimenting for a while with whole grain biscuits and I have to say I’m loving the combination of the hearty grains with the tender crumb of a classic biscuit. It’s an easy choice when you want to put some kind of bread on the table but don’t have much time.


Dark rye flour is a little more difficult to find, which is why it’s nice that there are so many online sources. I’ve finally decided that the free 2-day shipping of Amazon Prime is worth it to me since I am always looking for usual food products and cooking supplies and it just isn’t worth the frustration or the gas to try to track them down individually. With the quick free shipping I can have almost anything I want in my kitchen in a couple of days. Cool.

3.7 from 10 votes

Pumpernickel Biscuits

Course bread
Cuisine American
Yield 7 biscuits
Author Sue Moran


  • 1 1/2 cups dark rye flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp dark cocoa powder I like Hershey's Special Dark
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks 12 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces
  • 1 cup cold buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 Tbsp butter melted
  • caraway seeds


  • Set oven the 425F
  • In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse to combine the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Add in the pieces of cold butter, pulsing the machine about 20-30 times until the butter is incorporated.
  • Stir the buttermilk and molasses together to completely mix the two. Slowly pour the liquid into the flour while pulsing the machine. Pulse just until the mixture comes together and holds together when pressed between your fingers. It will be crumbly.
  • Turn out onto a floured surface and bring together by kneading just lightly.
  • Pat or roll out to a disk about 8 inches round. Use a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter to cut out 7 or 8 biscuits. You will need to reform the dough once for the last one or two.
  • Set the biscuits on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet and set in the refrigerator or freezer while you clean up. This will re-chill the butter for a better texture.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes until risen.
  • Brush with a little melted butter and sprinkle with caraway seeds.
  • These biscuits are best when they are still warm.
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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  • Reply
    Pippa rogera
    August 15, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Can I bake it as a loaf in a loaf tin

    • Reply
      August 15, 2018 at 5:13 pm

      I don’t recommend that Pippa, biscuits have a very different composition from a loaf bread.

      • Reply
        August 15, 2018 at 6:59 pm

        Thanks I’m in Australia and these would be called rolls not biscuits going to make them now with creamy cauliflower and leek soup

        • Reply
          August 15, 2018 at 7:00 pm

          Sounds delish! It’s funny how the different culinary terms can really mess with recipe communication, huh?

  • Reply
    October 19, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    Is it 12 tbs or 1.5 cups? 1.5 cups is 3 sticks or 24 TBS? Making this with your fish soup!

    • Reply
      October 19, 2017 at 3:36 pm

      Hi Krista ~ that’s 12 Tbsp, or 1 1/2 sticks of butter, I just clarified, hope you enjoy them and it sounds like a really great meal!

  • Reply
    Mike P
    April 4, 2017 at 9:47 am

    Love the pumpernickel biscuits. I modified a little, going only with the rye flour. After kneading, I rolled to 1/4″ thin, folded and rolled, folded and rolled again, then cut the biscuit rounds before baking. Served for breakfast with a fried tomato slice, slice of avocado, and fresh mozzarella topped with Hollandaise.
    Thanks for the ideas!

    • Reply
      April 4, 2017 at 9:49 am

      Thanks for the report back Mike! I was just thinking about these biscuits because I’m working on a Finnish salmon soup and thought these would be perfect with it 🙂

  • Reply
    August 8, 2015 at 11:15 am

    I love pumpernickle bread. It’s almost impossible to find rye flour here, found it once and made pumpernickle bread. I found a recipe that calls for prune juice, strange right? But it gave the bread a great flavor, and I don’t even like prune juice. I wish amazon shipped here, but they do not. I’ve been ordering and sending to my daughters house to bring things back, and I have a long wishlist for my last minute orders!

    • Reply
      August 8, 2015 at 11:32 am

      So many flours are still so hard to find…I’ve never heard of the prune juice idea, might have to give that one a try 🙂

  • Reply
    September 11, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Mm, these look great! I adore the flavor profile of a good rye bread, especially with the molasses and caraway seeds. Great idea to put them into a biscuit!

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    September 10, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    They look incredible! I love that you ‘re able to get away with no yeast on these! And I need to break down for Amazon Prime for all the reasons you said – always in need of something ‘specialty’ and sick of trying to track it down and driving all over!

    • Reply
      September 11, 2013 at 7:17 am

      I never use yeast in biscuits, and even with whole grains they always seem to turn out great. All that butter probably helps 🙂

  • Reply
    Kitchen Belleicious
    September 10, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    they look so full and rich and satisfying. I would love to have a few right now with my iced coffee!

    • Reply
      September 11, 2013 at 7:18 am

      I’m hooked on the soup and biscuit combination for dinner…it hits the spot…now if it would only cool down about 30 degrees!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    September 10, 2013 at 10:06 am

    I bet these are completely satisfying – and love the hearty, rustic look. A biscuit is always a good choice and this sounds perfect combined with soups, stews or your beautiful chowder!

    • Reply
      September 11, 2013 at 7:22 am

      Thanks Tricia! I’ve got a collection of unusual flours going, so I’ll be making more along these lines this fall.

  • Reply
    September 10, 2013 at 8:42 am

    I can think of quite a few winter soups that would pair so beautifully with these biscuits, Sue! Borchst comes to mind immediately! I also can’t wait to see what the addition of the cocoa powder does! I’m always looking for more ways to use my Dutch processed cocoa powder!

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 9:55 am

      I hadn’t thought of borscht, but you’re right! I am doing a post later this month with a friend who’s helping me make his mother’s borscht recipe, I will make these to go with it.

      • Reply
        Kirsten Petersen
        January 10, 2020 at 9:17 am

        Yes borscht sounds great with these!

  • Reply
    September 10, 2013 at 8:16 am

    These look delicious. I just discovered your blog. Your photography is wonderful and I want to make so many of your recipes!


    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 9:56 am

      Thanks Rose — and welcome!

  • Reply
    September 10, 2013 at 7:58 am

    and these make it almost GF I think.
    Rye flour is very low in gluten or something, I can’t remember.
    Glad to see your comments are back, they were down for me on the nutella cake.
    Weird right?

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 8:07 am

      I didn’t know rye was gluten free, that’s good to know. Sorry about the comments, I didn’t know there was a problem, sheesh!

      • Reply
        September 11, 2013 at 7:06 pm

        Rye flour isn’t gluten-free — it contains gluten, just not as much as regular wheat flour (and not enough to stand on it’s own in most cases, which is why it gets mixed (usually 50/50 or 60/40), with wheat flour).

      • Reply
        Kirsten Petersen
        January 10, 2020 at 9:22 am

        Well not entirely gluten free, but still! I grind my own rye flour and make Danish rye bread, that really can’t be purchased. Is there a source for darker rye and what is it called? Thanks.
        I also adore this daily present of yours to my daily mailbox and forget to let you know. I also have a Danish contributor who you would adore. I do. Ill list it in another post!

        • Reply
          January 10, 2020 at 11:09 am

          Aww thanks Kirsten for making my day! You can check online for dark rye flour, I think I get mine from Bob’s Red Mill.

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