Filed Under: Bread | How To | Videos

How to Make Buttermilk Biscuits

Recipe By Tessa Arias
  |  
February 26th, 2019

How to Make PERECT Buttermilk Biscuits that are tall, flaky, and tender. Just 30 minutes to homemade biscuits your family & friends will love! Download my free biscuit guide here.

Yield: 8 to 10 biscuits

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Buttery tangy goodness ready for jam, gravy, or honey.
Texture: The outside is slightly crisp while the inside is super light and fluffy with flaky buttery layers throughout. No hockey puck biscuits here!
Ease: Super duper easy and I’ve included tons of tips and insights into the science of biscuits below.
Pros: Quick comfort food.
Cons: Probably not an everyday indulgence.
Would I make this again? I’ve made this recipe many times!

Sadly I didn’t grow up eating biscuits. Really the only time we ate them was when we got a KFC family meal and I didn’t even like those biscuits.

I didn’t learn how to make biscuits until culinary school. Though I certainly wouldn’t have minded having a sweet southern grandma teaching me how to make them growing up.

I’ve come along way since those bland KFC biscuits so today I’m sharing my favorite buttermilk biscuit recipe today alongside all the tips and tricks you need to make tender, flaky, light, and golden brown biscuits. I promise these will knock your socks off!

Tray of baked biscuits

One of my favorite ways to serve these biscuits is either with some blueberry lavender jam or with some salted honey. They also make for great mini breakfast sandwich sliders!

How to Make Perfect Buttermilk Biscuits

Do I have to use buttermilk?

To create the best flavor AND texture, yes. I’d highly recommend using real buttermilk.

I’ve done extensive side-by-side testing on buttermilk vs. buttermilk substitutes (including powdered buttermilk) or vs. regular milk. You can read about my science of baking & buttermilk experiments here: Buttermilk 101.

At the end of the day, I find nothing quite compares to the tangy taste and thick texture of the real thing.

If you can’t use real buttermilk, you can use this substitute: 1 scant cup whole milk + 2 teaspoons distilled vinegar or lemon juice. If you’re using this substitute then I’d recommend adding some other flavor additions to the dough, such as shredded cheese, diced jalapeno, garlic powder, green onion, or everything bagel seasoning.

How to Make TENDER Biscuits

This all comes down to be super gentle with the dough. I usually make biscuits by hand with a pastry cutter because you’re less likely to overwork the dough and it’s still super quick and easy. I’ve also included instructions for using a food processor in the recipe below, if you’d prefer.

I like my biscuits to be slightly crunchy on the outside and tender and fluffy on the inside, which is what this recipe produces.

However, If you like very tender biscuits, try using a southern-style flour such as White Lilly which has a lower percentage of protein. If you can’t find that, you can create a ratio of All-purpose flour combined with pastry flour to get a similar result.

Whichever flour you use, make sure to MEASURE CORRECTLY. Too much flour will result in dense, dry, and tough biscuits.

Butter or Shortening?

I’ve also done side-by-side testing with biscuits made with butter vs. shortening and found I really prefer the taste and texture of 100% butter.

However, biscuits made with shortening create a more traditional Southern-style texture. If you want, use half shortening and half butter.

How to Make TALL Biscuits

The first step to creating tall biscuits is to do a quick “lamination” of the dough. Basically, you pat the dough out into a rectangle then fold it up into an envelope then repeat that process. I’ve included pictures below.

Now this step is optional if you don’t want to spend the time or energy on it the biscuits will still come out great. However, by taking this extra step you’re guaranteeing the biscuits will bake up tall with distinct layers of flaky goodness.

Tall biscuits require tall dough, 1-inch in height to be exact. You could even pat the dough out to 1 1/4-inches for mile high biscuits but note you’ll end up with fewer biscuits.

Another trick to ensuring you get tall biscuits is to use a metal biscuit cutter. You want to create sharp edges when you shape the biscuit dough so nothing prevents the biscuits from rising. Do NOT twist the biscuit cutter as you shape the dough. That’s why a biscuit cutter with a handle is extra useful.

Baking Biscuits

A great trick to further ensure tall & flaky biscuits is to pop the tray of unbaked shaped biscuits in the freezer while your oven preheats. This keeps the butter extra cold. That way when the biscuits hit the heat of the oven the steam from the water in the butter creates those tall flaky layers. It’s the same idea as pie dough.

I prefer my biscuits to develop a golden crust, but I also know people who prefer their biscuits to be super pale and tender all the way through. Adjust the baking time for your unique oven and preferences. Whatever you do, just make sure your oven is fully preheated and hot enough. This is what helps the biscuits rise tall. Play it safe by waiting at least 10 minutes after your oven tells you it’s preheated.

How to Make Biscuits Ahead of Time

Since biscuits are best served the day they’re baked, use these instructions for making them ahead of time. You can do this with the whole batch of whatever you don’t want to eat in a day.

Place the unbaked shaped biscuit dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Remove to an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months. Bake as directed, adding an additional 5 minutes to the baking time, or until golden brown.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and dust the dough with flour. I like to use a powdered sugar shaker to dust the perfect amount of flour without using too much. Gently pat the dough out into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle using your hands. You don’t need to use a rolling pin if you don’t want to!

Envelope fold of raw biscuit dough as a part of the laminating process

Fold the dough into thirds like a letter. Don’t worry if it’s not absolutely perfect. You want to be quick and gentle with the dough and only use as much flour as necessary to prevent it from sticking. Adding too much flour will create dense and tough biscuits. A bench scraper makes easy work of moving the dough without having it stick.

Rectangle of raw biscuit dough

Repeat this process two more times, rotating the dough 90 degrees before each fold. By the time you’re done you will have created layers of butter similar to a croissant so the biscuit bakes up perfectly tall and flaky.

More Recipes You’ll Love

How to make
Perfect Buttermilk Biscuits

Yield: 8 to 10 biscuits
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
How to Make PERECT Buttermilk Biscuits that are tall, flaky, and tender. Just 30 minutes to homemade biscuits your family & friends will love! Download my free biscuit guide here.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (254 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) very cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup buttermilk, chilled

Directions

  1. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. You can also do this in a food processor. The faster you do this the better, you want the butter to remain cold. Stir in the buttermilk until just combined. DO NOT overmix, the dough will be sticky.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and dust the dough with flour. Gently pat the dough out into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds like a letter. Repeat this two more times, rotating the dough 90 degrees before each fold.
  3. Pat the dough out into a final 1-inch thickness. If at any point the dough becomes too warm, pop it in the fridge until it’s firmed up slightly.
  4. Use a sharp 2-inch round metal biscuit cutter to push straight down through the dough to cut out circles, trying not to twist the cutter at all. If you don’t have a sharp cutter, use a knife and cut squares instead.
  5. Place the biscuits on the baking sheet, spacing 2-inches apart. Reform the scrap dough into 1-inch thickness, being sure to work with it as little as possible, before cutting out more circles.
  6. Freeze the uncooked biscuits while you preheat the oven to 450°F.
  7. At this point the unbaked biscuits can be frozen and stored in an airtight container in the freezer until ready to bake. Bake straight from the freezer, adding a couple more minutes to the baking time.
  8. Bake the biscuits until golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Feel free to spice these biscuits up by adding fresh herbs, garlic, grated cheese, green onions, bacon or whatever your heart desires to the dough!
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: homemade

This post was originally published in 2014 and recently updated with recipe changes and improvements and new photos. Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

Leave a Comment & Rating

Add a Review or Question

*Please select a rating to complete your comment.

  1. #
    Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness — March 5, 2014 at 4:35 am

    I didn’t grow up eating biscuits either…they’re not really a “thing” in Canada.
    Then, I married my Mid-Western husband and learned about his obsession with them.
    He is going to LOVE these…thanks! Pinned!

  2. #
    Cathie — March 5, 2014 at 7:11 am

    Just found you via Wisebread. Love the first 3 recipes I looked at, so I subscribed. We eat real food around here, and I’m excited to find new recipes.
    I just made bagels on Saturday (WOW – delicious!) and I think this weekend we will be having buttermilk biscuits. Pass the honey!

    • #
      Tessa — March 5, 2014 at 8:36 am

      Welcome and thank you!!

  3. #
    Clever Hen — March 5, 2014 at 8:03 am

    These look REALLY good! I too have a husband that loves biscuits…is it a man thing? Anyway, can’t wait to try them out on him. Thanks for the recipe.

  4. #
    Gaby — March 5, 2014 at 9:36 am

    I love buttermilk biscuits, I must try this soon!

  5. #
    Helga — March 6, 2014 at 4:59 am

    This is amazing! I also like to add cinnamon. Thanks for your recipe!

  6. #
    Lauren — March 6, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Cute video! My biscuit recipe doesn’t call for buttermilk, so I’ll have to give these a try!

  7. #
    Caroline {TheBarbeeHousewife} — March 7, 2014 at 11:17 am

    I love using buttermilk and 30 minutes!? You can’t beat that.

  8. #
    Katja — January 23, 2016 at 1:37 am

    They’re the best scones ever! Also freezing them is great. Never ate them anywhere that good!

  9. #
    Sharon — September 24, 2019 at 7:42 am

    The picture of your buttermilk biscuits are burnt on the bottom of the biscuits. You need to use another picture to get people interested in you Teaching/coaching them how to make biscuits. Only left this comment to help you . Please don’t take offense. I wish you Success.
    SINCERELY Sharon.

Join the Handle the Heat Community

Join the Handle the Heat Community
Do you want a more delicious life?
Instead of digging through cookbooks and magazines and searching the internet for amazing recipes, subscribe to Handle the Heat to receive new recipe posts delivered straight to your email inbox. You’ll get all the latest recipes, videos, kitchen tips and tricks AND my *free* Cookie Customization Guide (because I am the Cookie Queen)!

Instagram

As Seen On....
NPR People Time Glamour Readers Digest The Huffington Post BuzzFeed
BLACK FRIDAY BAKING BUNDLE (50% OFF) BLACK FRIDAY BAKING BUNDLE   BUY NOW!
close
open