There's no such thing as a bad biscuit, right? Wrong. We conducted a taste test to find the best fast-food biscuit, which included treats from Popeyes, above. (Holley Simmons/The Washington Post)

Unlike other doughy treats, biscuits don’t usually call for proofing or rising. It makes them seem like a relatively uncomplicated indulgence.

Alas, there are plenty of ways to mess them up.

A blind taste test of the D.C. area's fast-food biscuits brought to light a few lackluster options. That’s not to say they were all bad. In fact, the No. 1 pick genuinely surprised our judges, who had thought Chick-fil-A or Popeyes would have been the best of the bunch.

Judges were asked to sample six varieties; provide notes on texture, taste and appearance; and rate them on a scale of 1 to 5 — 1 being a "bad" biscuit they'd never want to eat again and 5 being the best biscuit they'd ever had. (Spoiler alert: None of them earned the top score of 5.) 

Below are our findings, ranked from least to most enjoyable.


Burger King's biscuits were “dry to the eye,” according to one tester. (Holley Simmons/The Washington Post)

Average score: 1.5

Comments: It tastes like lies. Too dense. Looks dry to the eye. It’s very dry, as though it’s been sitting out too long. It has a cracker-like flavor. Doesn’t taste like a biscuit. Like cardboard. This biscuit tastes like disappointment. It’s too crumbly. A cake-like rock. Dense, dry, requires a gallon of water after chewing. I feel as though the bottom crust will get caught in my throat. Made an audible crunch when I bit into it. Tastes like eating a salty rock.


Bojangles had good salt levels, testers said, but lacked fluffiness. (Holley Simmons/The Washington Post)

Average score: 2.25

Comments: Good crisp on the outside. Good salt levels. Not very light and fluffy. There’s a little crispness and contrast between the outer and interior textures. Very salty, not very flaky. Meh. Not a good biscuit! Kind of a burned taste, but it looks perfectly golden! So many carbs, so little flavor. It’s crying out for jam, jelly, anything to distract from the bland-yet-fluffy body. I can taste leavening in this; it tastes like baking soda.


Fluffy yet undercooked, KFC's biscuit left some testers wanting more. (Holley Simmons/The Washington Post)

Average score: 2.88

Comments: Much lighter and airier than the others. A bit undercooked at the body and around the edges, and as such it’s very doughy. Good salt levels. Soft, flaky, a little too dissolve-y. Tastes as though someone tried to make it at home. Sweet, really buttery! Crisp, flaky outside. It’s sort of like air. Salty and sweet. Edges are not especially crunchy. It tastes like salted butter and the body is pillowy. There’s nothing wrong here. Lard-heavy finish that coats my tongue.


Buttery, rich and salty, the biscuits from Popeyes were mostly a hit. (Holley Simmons/The Washington Post)

Average score 2.88

Comments: Most traditional biscuit. The top is more yellow, less golden. It has a rich mouthfeel on first bite, very pleasurable. Buttery and rich, though arguably not light and fluffy enough. Salty, dense, a little too buttery. Tastes almost raw? Really soft. I tasted salted butter. Has a nice denseness and I like the salt. I feel as though I can taste a raw ingredient, like the flour before it’s been seasoned. Flaky layers. Really salty. Soft and not super flavorful.


One tester was able to identify that these were from Chick-fil-A. (Holley Simmons/The Washington Post)

Average score: 3.13

Comments: BUTTER! I love you, biscuit. Dense, but well flavored. This one is undercooked in the center. It has more of a breadlike crust than a biscuitlike one. Tastes more like corn bread. I think it’s Chick-fil-A. Very light, a little greasy in the middle. It has a teeny bit of sweetness. Butter content is good. Greasy, oily, a little sweet. Bottom half is chewier than the top half. I wish I could make a sandwich with just the tops. Kind of sweet, which I’m surprised I’m into!


The winner — which shocked some testers — was McDonald's. It was favored for its crust and fluffy rise. (Holley Simmons/The Washington Post)

Average score: 3.25

Comments: Fluffy and bready. There is actually a crust on top, which provides contrast with the interior. Best of the bunch, which I’m afraid isn’t saying much. More buttery flavor in this one. Big rise on the biscuit. Soft, flaky, buttery, reminds me of Popeyes, which in my opinion is the gold standard. Flaky! Light buttery flavor, almost sweet? Reminds me of a Bisquick pancake without syrup, in a good way. Dense, on the verge of fluffy. Full of fake butter flavor. Oily. Like swallowing a huge lump of dense bread. I want a bunch of water after eating this.

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