Crunchy, rich, and incredibly British, tea biscuits are the perfect snack to have on hand to keep you full between meals. Make sure to serve this with plenty of English breakfast tea for the true British experience.
For more similar baking dishes, why not make The Best Biscuits Ever? Or make The Best Scones Ever instead?
Table of Contents
Just like a surprising number of great British things, tea biscuits originate from Yorkshire. Now usually known as Rich Tea biscuits, they are a malty, sweet, and crumbly snack, perfect for serving with tea or coffee.
Initially designed to help keep you full in-between meals or while on out on the field, these biscuits got a bit more famous internationally after Prince William of the UK revealed they were his favorite.
The trick with these tea biscuits is to ensure that you take care with their texture – you don’t want to under knead it and end up with a poorly mixed dough, but you also don’t want to over knead it and end up with some tough biscuits.
Tea Biscuits Ingredients
Make sure you look at the recipe card at the very bottom for the exact amounts so that you know exactly what to buy for this recipe.
• All-purpose flour
• Baking powder
How To Make Tea Biscuits
• Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment paper instead
•Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl
• Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter in until it has a fine crumb texture
• Add in the milk and work it with a fork to make a soft dough
• Knead it a few times (no more than 10) and then roll it out until it is about ½ to ¾ of an inch thick
• Cut with a cookie or biscuit cutter into desired shapes and sizes
• Place them onto the greased baking sheet and rest for 5 minutes
• After resting, bake them for 14 minutes at 400 Fahrenheit, or until they have risen and are starting to brown on top
• Serve warm with a bit of butter on the top
How To Cut The Butter Into The Flour With & Without A Pastry Cutter
Every recipe that requires you to work some butter into flour usually stumps a lot of people, especially inexperienced home cooks.
This is because it isn’t immediately clear how you are supposed to actually work the butter in – you cannot just mix it altogether, as otherwise, the butter will remain totally separate.
The trick is to be confident and use a lot of pressure when trying to mix everything; you are hoping to get the butter broken up into bits and really mixed into the flour as much as you can.
You have three options when it comes to working butter into flour: your fingers, two forks, or a pastry cutter.
Your fingers are probably the simplest – you just want to be crumbling the mixture together, constantly pressing it between your fingers, and trying to work the flour into it, so that each particle of flour is totally surrounding a tiny piece of butter.
You want the butter to be reasonably cold as well because otherwise, the butter will just melt when it touches your fingers.
If you don’t feel like getting your hands dirty, you could always use a pastry cutter instead. Pastry cutters have these rigid tines at the end of a convenient handle that is perfect for working the butter into the flour.
Unfortunately, not everyone feels like buying a specialized tool to use it only when they want to make a buttery pastry or biscuit.
To avoid paying for a tool you will rarely use, you can just use two forks instead.
Turn the forks so that the “inner” bit of the forks are facing each other and intersect their tines slightly. Held together in one hand, this will give you a good tool that allows you to cut the butter easily, though it won’t be as convenient as a pastry cutter.
How to Serve Your Tea Biscuits
Tea biscuits were initially designed to be a convenient little snack to help you get through until your next meal.
These days, however, they are usually served as a snack to accompany a nice cup of English tea.
However, if you aren’t the type of person to enjoy a good cup of tea, then you can also try serving it with some coffee instead.
Tea biscuits also go great with a small amount of honey or jam. The sweetness works well with the slightly malty and ever so slightly dry texture and flavor of the biscuits themselves.
To become a true Yorkshireman, serve your tea biscuits with a slice of extra sharp mature Cheddar cheese as well as a cup of tea. Just like the slice of cheese on an apple pie in Vermont, Cheddar works really well with the kind of dry, crumbly flavors of a tea biscuit.
Looking for more Biscuit recipes? Why not try these recipes:
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- Prep Time
- 10 minutes
- Cook Time
- 15 minutes
- 8 Biscuits
- Karlynn Johnston
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter
- ¾ cup milk
- Preheat oven to 400°
- Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- With a pastry cutter, cut the butter in until it has a fine crumb texture.
- Add in the milk with a fork to make a soft dough.
- Knead 8 to 10 times only, and then roll out to a thickness 1/2 inch – 3/4 inch thick.
- Cut with a cookie or biscuit cutter or a glass.
- Place them on the cookie sheet and let them rest for 5 minutes.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until they have risen and are starting to brown on top.
- These are best if served warm with a bit of butter.
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.
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Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!
Glen Miller says
I just pulled a batch out of the oven, used your recipe exactly as written and made some delicious tea biscuits. Ate a few with a variety of jams and they were great. Reminded me of the tea biscuits I ate when I was growing up in Cape Breton. A simple recipe which yields great and tasty results.
Hubby and I loved these. Added grated cheese and enjoyed with chili. 2 thumbs up.👍👍
Mary Mason says
This is almost the same recipe that I use, but I put a cup of grated cheese in before I add the milk, (I use 1 cup of milk)
So good !!
I don’t quite know what these are supposed to be , but they certainly aren’t English rich tea biscuits, (British biscuits are what you call cookies) and are absolutely not what Prince William was referring to as his favourite. Sorry.
I love how pleasant people are these days.
It would have been nice if she referred to HER recipe she worked hard making and posting.
Thank you for the recipe Karlynn.
Couldn’t just move along, just had to let everyone know all your negative thoughts. Nobody is saying you need to love everything, and I didn’t realize that you are the be all, know all on what a biscuit is. It’s okay to just think your negative thoughts and then keep them to yourself … like adults do. Have a fabulous day Wendy. I’ll be waiting with baited breath for your perfect recipe and some other knowledge of what Prince William likes and doesn’t like.
Wendy’s statement wasn’t very negative, but direct and factual. When you truly respect cultures, then you would want to know those facts and go from there. Tea biscuits are what we refer to as cookies. What we call biscuits are similar to what the British, and many others around the world, call scones.