I've been following a recipe for cinnamon biscuits which states to mix butter and sugar together until it forms a breadcrumb like consistency. Every time I attempt this is makes more of a creamy like consistency. I don't have a food processor which I've heard is ideal to use as they are quite expensive. Can someone tell me where I am going wrong?

  • The process you are asking about is called "cutting in the butter" @jolenealaska has given a great answer, but I wanted to give you some guidance. Buy a quality food processor. If you really like cooking as much as many of us do, you will find it indispensable. It saves so much time, and it saves your muscles. It's perfect for this task, and can turn it into a task that takes 15 seconds and no aching hands and finger. After a good set of pots and pans and utensils, food processor and stand mixer are two extraordinarily helpful time and muscle savers.
    – Escoce
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 17:14

3 Answers 3


Use chilled butter and don't touch it with your fingers unless you can be really fast about it, you don't want the butter to start to melt. Use a fork, a couple of knives or ideally a pastry cutter to cut up the butter and coat the cold little pieces of butter with the sugar.

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You can even use a cheese grater to grate the frozen butter and toss the grated butter with the sugar.


As other people said, use butter from the fridge.

Usually, when making dough similar to what I guess you are making, I mix the butter with the flour and not with the sugar to get the same result, or with the flour and sugar.

I cut it into small pieces(about 1cm cubes) and then rub them between my fingers together with the flour/sugar. I think the knife method will take forever.

  • I agree that your method works well, but it does take some finesse to not melt the butter in the process. For foolproof and quick, the grating of frozen butter is a pretty cool trick.
    – Jolenealaska
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 15:36

I always recommend a pastry cutter or stout balloon whisk (use it to stomp into the flour)...

The exact ratio of fat to flour makes a big difference there, +/- 10% can be significant ... if in doubt, use a bit less fat and help with small amounts of oil when stirring the dough together until the consistency is right. Same principle when adding non-fat liquid to that dough afterwards - a little at a time, the curve from dust to sludge is steep there.

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