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Golden Vidalia Onion Cheesy Pull-Apart Biscuits

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Who doesn’t love Vidalia onions!? Georgia grown Vidalia onions are America’s favorite and perhaps its most well-known sweet onion. Vidalia onions are my absolute go-to. It’s hard to believe something as simple as a pantry staple, an onion can make such a difference – but it can!

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Southern Food

One of the hallmarks of Southern cooking is not only the notion that food can feed the spirit but the practicality with which we approach every meal. Southern cooks are experts at making beautiful use of the ingredients around them, leaning into creativity with seasonal, local foods. Vidalia onions can bring a little comfort to your family, making your life and mealtime a little sweeter. I always try to start with really good ingredients and do as little to them as possible so as not to mess them up. Vidalia onions fit perfectly in my cooking philosophy.

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Comfort Food

One of my favorite recipes is to simply peel and quarter Vidalias, top them with a pat of butter, and microwave the pieces until they are tender. I also LOVE my Vidalia Onion Salad Dressing – it’s good on well, everything! And, my Vidalia Onion Dip, essentially French Onion Soup in dip form, is simple, easy, and delicious. What’s not to love?

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Why are Vidalia Onions Sweet?

Vidalia onions are one of my absolute favorite ingredients. What makes Vidalia onions so special? The Vidalia onion is sweet and crisp with a distinctive flavor all its own. That’s why they are so sought after by people who love to cook! There are only 50 registered growers that produce Vidalia onions and to be considered a true Vidalia, the onion has to be grown from a specific Yellow Granex hybrid in a 20-county area surrounding the town of Vidalia, where there is a naturally low level of sulfur in the soil. Grown elsewhere, that same onion simply won’t have the same taste. It’s terroir, y’all.

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Georgia Grown

Being from Georgia, I am a huge supporter of Vidalia onions and proud to work with them this year as their 2020 spokesperson. Much in the way that France regulates food and wine with appellation d’origine contrôlée, our state legislature got together in 1986 and decided that Vidalia onions had to be grown within a certain region of Vidalia, Georgia. (I have long said was the smartest thing the Georgia legislature has ever done.)

The Vidalia Onion Act created regulations governing the growth and marketing of Vidalia onions, which included permitting the agricultural commissioner the authority to set the first date the onions could be shipped. It’s all weather-dependent of course, but the season typically runs from April-August. So, that means get them now!

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Bread Making Resurgence

With everyone back in the kitchen and baking, I want to share a recipe for an easy, pull-apart bread. It’s a drop biscuit base and is as simple as simple can be. You simply spoon the dough onto the baking sheet. It uses melted butter and there’s no kneading, punching out, or yeast! You can use self-rising or all-purpose flour and substitute whatever herbs and cheese you have on hand.

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I’ve also added a recipe for Golden Vidalia Onion Butter in a moment of glorious excess. Take your time and cook the onions low and slow so they become even sweeter and golden brown. It’s like nature’s candy!

Bon Appétit, Y’all!

Virginia Willis

 PS Need even more Vidalia Onion recipes? Check out my Vidalia Onion Chicken Sheet Pan Tacos!

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Golden Vidalia Onion Cheesy Pull-Apart Biscuits

These Cheese and Herb Drop Biscuits are like biscuits with training wheels. Filled with cheesy goodness and sweet Vidalia onions, you won’t believe how good they are.  
* If you do not have self-rising flour you can make your own by combining 1 cup of all purpose flour with 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder and ¼ teaspoon of fine-grained salt.
* If you do not have buttermilk, you can replace it with 1 1/2 cups of milk or non-dairy milk plus 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice.
* Don't have butter? (I'm sorry.) Give oil a try. These are pretty indesctructable and forgiving biscuits.
* Remember, you can mix and match both the cheeses and herbs.
Prep Time40 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Course: Appetizer, bread, Breakfast, brunch, dinner, lunch, Snack
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: biscuits, pull apart bread, quick bread, Vidalia onion
Servings: 18
Author: Virginia Willis


  • 1 stick unsalted butter 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 Vidalia onions, chopped
  • 2 cups self-rising flour (see above on how to make self-rising flour)
  • 2 cups grated cheese such as cheddar, mozzarella, or Colby (about 4 ounces), divided
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme, parsley, or sage
  • Pinch cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 -1 1/2 cups buttermilk, as needed
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the butter: optional
  • 1 stick unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon or so of freshly chopped thyme parsley, or sage
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. (Reserve 6 tablespoons to add to the dough and 1 tablespoon for brushing on the biscuits when they come out of the oven.) Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally and keeping the heat on low, until golden brown, about 30 minutes. (Here’s the deal, you don’t have to cook them until golden, but you do need to cook them at least 5 minutes, just to get the excess moisture out.)
  • Once the onions are golden brown, transfer to a plate or bowl and pop them in the fridge or freezer to cool down slightly, about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick silicone baking sheet. Melt the reserved 6 tablespoons of butter.
  • Place the flour in a medium bowl. Add 1 cup of the cheese, herbs, and cayenne pepper; stir to combine. Add ¾ of the now-chilled golden brown onions, reserving a little for the Golden Onion Butter. (If you are skipping the butter, go ahead and add all the onions.) Add the melted butter and buttermilk and stir to combine.
  • Using a large scoop or a ¼-cup measure, spoon the batter onto the prepared baking sheet in a circle, leaving room for the bowl of butter in the center. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with remaining 1 cup of cheese. Return to the oven to finish cooking, about 5 more minutes.
  • While the biscuits are baking, combine the reserved ½ cup or so of onion and stick of room temperature butter. Add a little of the same herb that’s in the biscuit. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Slip the biscuit ring off onto a large platter or cutting board. Brush with last reserved tablespoon of butter. Pop the bowl of Golden Onion Butter in the center. Serve immediately. Swoon.

I was compensated for this post and for the social media promotion of this post as the 2020 Vidalia onions spokesperson. So, this is an ad. BUT – I love Vidalia onions even if they don’t pay me! 😉 

If you are interested in hosting me for a speaking engagement, event, cooking class, or a book signing, let me know! Send an email to and we’ll be back in touch as soon as possible.

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Virginia Willis

Georgia-born French-trained Chef Virginia Willis’ biography includes making chocolate chip cookies with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, foraging for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvesting capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and hunting for truffles in France. She is talent and chef-instructor for the digital streaming platform Food Network Kitchen. Her segments feature authentic and innovative Southern cooking. She was the celebrity chef at the Mansion at Churchill Downs for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby. Virginia has spoken at SXSW, cooked for the James Beard Foundation, and beguiled celebrities such as Bill Clinton, Morgan Freeman, and Jane Fonda with her cooking — but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen. Recently, her work has been inspired by her weight loss success story, Virginia has lost 65# and kept it off for over 2 1/2 years! “If a French-trained, Southern chef can do it, you can, too.” She is the author of Fresh Start; Secrets of the Southern Table; Lighten Up, Y’all; Bon Appétit, Y’all; Basic to Brilliant, Y’all; Okra; and Grits. Lighten Up, Y’all won a James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence in the Focus on Health Category. Lighten Up, Y’all as well as her first cookbook, Bon Appétit, Y’all, were finalists in the Best American Cookbook for the International Association of Cookbook Awards and were also named by the Georgia Center of the Book as “Books Georgians Should Read.” She is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree; has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants; and traveled the world producing food stories – from making cheese in California to escargot farming in France. She has appeared on Food Network’s Chopped, CBS This Morning, Fox Family and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. She’s been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, People Magazine, Eater, and Food52 and has contributed to Eating Well, GRLSQUASH, Culture, Garden & Gun, and Bon Appétit, and more. The Chicago Tribune praised her as one of “Seven Food Writers You Need to Know.” Her legion of fans loves her down-to-earth attitude, approachable spirit, and traveling exploits. Her culinary consulting company, Virginia Willis Culinary Enterprises, Inc specializes in content creation, recipe development, culinary editorial and production services, cookbook writing, media training, spokesperson and brand representation, and public speaking. Virginia is on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Blue Ribbon Task Force, the Atlanta Community Food Bank Advisory Board, as well as the Community Farmers Market Advisory Board. She is a food and hunger advocate for No Kid Hungry and a premier member of the No Kid Hungry Atlanta Society. She a member of The James Beard Foundation, Chef’s Collaborative, Georgia Organics, and Southern Foodways Alliance.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Kimberly Krienke

    I think 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk was maybe too much liquid. Mine were too wet. Ended up pretty flat and dense, but still delicious.

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