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What is the Difference Between a Biscuit and a Roll? Solved!

What is the Difference Between a Biscuit and a Roll?

If you aren’t from the US, you may wonder why Americans refer to biscuits as rolls. These two side breads are made and named differently depending on the country or US region that you are from. For instance, dinner rolls are commonly served in the Northeast, whereas biscuits are staples that are included with most meals in the South.

But what is the difference between the two? While it may not seem to matter, you’ll eventually realize how important the distinction is the second you order a biscuit at a restaurant and are served a dinner roll instead!

What is the Difference Between a Biscuit and a Roll?

The difference between biscuits and rolls in the US is that biscuits are made with baking soda or self-rising flour, whereas dinner rolls are made with yeast. Additionally, biscuits are often served with breakfast, while rolls are included with many evening meals. While you may be influenced by your culture and region, the choice between a biscuit or a roll is purely a matter of personal preference.

What is the Difference Between a Biscuit and a Roll?
What is the Difference Between a Biscuit and a Roll?

What is the Difference Between a Biscuit and a Roll

Biscuits and rolls are made differently

The main difference between biscuits and rolls is how they are made. Dinner rolls closely resemble bread because they are risen in the same way using yeast. Often, purchasing store-bought rolls is much simpler than baking them at home- and just as tasty. After all, few people today would take the time to bake a loaf of bread when it’s affordable and readily available in stores.

Dinner rolls are raised using yeast
Dinner rolls are raised using yeast

On the other hand, biscuits are often either homemade from scratch or with pre-made biscuit dough. Unfortunately, it’s harder to find good readily prepared biscuits at the grocery store. Biscuits are risen by using baking powder or soda, but self-rising flour also works well.

Breakfast biscuits are risen using are risen by using baking powder or soda
Breakfast biscuits are risen using are risen by using baking powder or soda

But how could changing one ingredient create two very different breads? Well, biscuits and rolls aren’t as different as they may seem, except for their taste and texture. And that alone impacts when and how these two breads are served.

Biscuits and rolls are served with different types of meals.

Dinner rolls are traditionally served alongside evening meals in restaurants and homes. Formal and holiday meals often include rolls on the side, even if you don’t typically serve rolls with dinner.

Large sub rolls are often used in making hoagie sandwiches, and you may even grab a bag of Vienna rolls for making sandwiches at home. However, you will rarely find lunch meat served on a biscuit!

Biscuits are usually served with breakfast, either as a side dish or topped with sausage gravy. Many people enjoy breakfast sandwiches consisting of eggs, cheese, and either bacon or sausage served on top of a biscuit. While you can use biscuits in sandwich-making, they are usually reserved for breakfast sandwiches.

Biscuits are often served for breakfast
Biscuits are often served for breakfast

Culture and region influence the choice between biscuits and rolls.

Although biscuits are traditionally a breakfast bread, many Southerners regularly serve them with every meal. For instance, you’ll often see biscuits served alongside fried chicken at many restaurants and homes in the South.

In the Northeast, some people serve sausage gravy atop toasted bread instead of a biscuit. While they may still occasionally bake biscuits, serving dinner rolls is more common, and biscuits are far from a dietary staple.

While everyone has their own individual preferences regardless of which US region they were raised in, your personal preference may have easily been influenced by your upbringing, as most people lean towards foods that they grew up eating.

However, many biscuit lovers would gladly enjoy a fresh-baked dinner roll and vice versa.

Rolls are often served for dinner
Rolls are often served for dinner

Biscuits and rolls are referred to differently in other countries.

Surprisingly, Mexican biscuits (spelled bisquets) are very similar to the biscuits known to Americans. Homemade biscuits are almost as much a staple in the Hispanic culture as tortillas, and there are many variations in recipes, such as pan de dulce or sweet bread, which is basically a sweet biscuit.

However, in Europe, the word biscuit refers to a cookie, so if you visit England and order a biscuit, you will receive cookies instead. The British have many names to describe dinner rolls or what Americans know as biscuits, including buns, batches, crumbs, and barm cake!

Even some retailers sell what they call breakfast biscuits, but these are basically blueberry flavored cookies with ingredients meant to fuel your day. And you can’t forget about dog biscuits! Those are far from the fluffy buttery biscuits that you have for breakfast, and yet they are still called biscuits!

Frequently Asked Questions About What is the Difference Between a Biscuit and a Roll

What makes a biscuit good?

Most biscuit lovers would tell you that the fluffier and more buttery a biscuit is, the better it tastes. Many Southern cooks use buttermilk and self- rising flour to achieve the best tasting biscuits, but some claim that biscuits are more tender when you use all-purpose flour, which has a lower protein and gluten content.

Why aren’t my biscuits rising?

First, you may have not used the correct flour. While biscuits can be made with all-purpose flour, this can impact their ability to rise. If you are using a recipe that requires fat, there’s a possibility that you haven’t allowed the fat to cool long enough or you may need to adjust the oven temperature.

What is the difference between Hawaiian rolls and dinner rolls?

Traditional dinner rolls are made with yeasted dough, butter, and cow milk, whereas Hawaiian rolls have a tropical twist. Hawaiian rolls are made by adding honey, vanilla extract and pineapple juice to the recipe and using buttermilk instead of regular milk.

Conclusion About What is the Difference Between a Biscuit and a Roll

While biscuits and rolls are both breads that are commonly served alongside many meals, they are very different from each other. Although the primary difference is yeast vs. baking soda, this minor recipe alteration results in two very different breads that are equally delicious.

The words biscuit and roll may be used interchangeably and easily mistaken for one another in different regions- until you have the bread on your plate. While your preference may be influenced by your upbringing, you’ll probably agree with the best recipes, either of these two breads would be an excellent addition to your meal.