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How to Make Buttermilk Biscuits

Recipe By Tessa Arias
  |  
February 26th, 2019
5 from 14 votes
5 from 14 votes

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

5 from 14 votes

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.

Tessa Arias

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!)

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Recipe Rating




  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!

    • #
      Robert — February 11, 2020 at 6:53 pm

      I’m surprised that Canadians don’t do biscuits? You have scones? Is the I believe the same as the American biscuit.

  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.

  10. #
    Liz — January 16, 2020 at 9:43 am

    I’m a Southern girl and have made a lot of biscuits over the years. In my opinion these biscuits are number 1. My husband agrees and said to only make these from now own…lol!

  11. #
    M. Graves — April 10, 2020 at 6:12 am

    Haven’t tried the recipe yet, but every time I try to get one of your baking freebies, it just cycles and won’t submit my request. Other times it submits, but I never receive your baking guides?

  12. #
    Dalc — June 6, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    I think there is too much salt, well, at least for my preference.

  13. #
    Bev — July 3, 2020 at 6:27 am

    Third time I made these and they are excellent! Easy to make and they go quickly! First time I made them, I used the recipe for shortcakes and added 3 tablespoons of sugar. They were the best ever!

  14. #
    Jim Smith — August 23, 2020 at 6:10 am

    Made these this morning instead of my normal half butter half shortening recipe-you win hands down! Crisp top and bottom-thanks so much for another great recipe. Jim Smith Summerfield NC (75year old NC man so you know I know something about how biscuits should taste)

  15. #
    Ashley — September 14, 2020 at 8:34 pm

    Have you ever substituted some of the flour with almond/flaxseed meal? Just curious if it would be a 1:1 substitution?

  16. #
    Jackie — October 25, 2020 at 11:35 am

    Tessa,
    Wow! The best biscuit recipe I’ve ever made!! I used all butter, but will try half and half next time! Thank you for a wonderful recipe!!

  17. #
    Karen — January 4, 2021 at 4:03 pm

    Made these biscuits, they are amazing! I only got 6 from the recipe because I rolled them 1 inch thick. Definitely be making these again, they are great later on with a little butter and toasting under broiler. My husband commented on them every time I served them!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — January 5, 2021 at 12:59 pm

      So glad these biscuits were a hit!

  18. #
    Julia — January 24, 2021 at 8:32 am

    Just finished making these. I almost went with another recipe because in the photo (like Sharon said) the bottoms looked burnt but everything I’ve made by you has been wonderful so I knew I could trust you! This recipe did not disappoint! I am Canadian but one of my favourite things to order in the states is biscuits! These biscuits were delicious! I used the buttermilk substitution (with 1 TSP lemon juice and 1 TSP vinegar) and it worked wonderfully! Thank you for this recipe! I can’t wait to make it again! My husband was very impressed and these are not only perfect for taste but they make for picture perfect beautiful biscuits!

  19. #
    Sara — January 24, 2021 at 3:04 pm

    WOW! These are so incredibly easy to make and SO fluffy!!! I live in higher altitude and still they were soft, fluffy and got a great rise. These are def a keeper!!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — January 25, 2021 at 2:33 pm

      Yay! So glad you enjoyed this recipe!

  20. #
    Caroline Graham — January 27, 2021 at 5:20 pm

    Ive tried to make biscuits before and they’ve always turned out like hockey pucks and I end up putting them in the trash funny but true… however, these turned out fantastic even better better than the ones you buy in the “can” and I couldn’t be more happy.

    • #
      Handle the Heat — January 28, 2021 at 3:26 pm

      This makes me so happy!

  21. #
    Heather — February 20, 2021 at 7:27 am

    Super easy and delicious. My husband put them in the, “Make that again” list.

    • #
      Handle the Heat — February 22, 2021 at 3:09 pm

      Woohoo! That’s wonderful to hear.

  22. #
    Carrie — February 28, 2021 at 10:44 am

    OMG the best biscuit recipe! Buttery, flakey goodness! Yummy <3

    • #
      Handle the Heat — March 1, 2021 at 11:37 am

      I’m so glad you enjoyed these biscuits!

  23. #
    Ryan — February 28, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    Perfect! I’m not sold on “biscuits need to be round” though and just cut into clean rectangles- no waste, less handling. Perfect recipe

  24. #
    Kara — March 14, 2021 at 4:56 pm

    I was craving biscuits this morning and decided to make these. They came out so tall and fluffy. They came together very quickly and tasted amazing.
    Thanks for another great recipe!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — March 15, 2021 at 2:05 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed these biscuits!

  25. #
    MaryLouise Henley — March 17, 2021 at 9:08 pm

    Hi Tessa, I made these biscuits this morning and they were yummy. Last night I measured and stirred the dry ingredients in a bowl. Then I cut the butter into small cubes and added it to the bowl. I covered it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge overnight. This morning I preheated my oven, cut the butter into the dry ingredients, added not quite all of the buttermilk and proceeded as the recipe stated. So easy and they turned out great! I made them square. Next time, and there definitely will be a next time, I will do the same thing but I will also cut the butter into the dry. Saves so much time then in the morning add buttermilk and proceed with the folding and baking. Thanks so much for this recipe, it will be my go to for biscuits!!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — March 18, 2021 at 9:52 am

      So happy you tried this recipe out!

  26. #
    Caroline — April 19, 2021 at 11:46 am

    Hi I am just wondering because this always confuses me. If there is baking soda in the mix does it have to be used straight away as it is activated once the liquid is added? I would really appreciate some advice!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — April 19, 2021 at 3:06 pm

      Hi Caroline, yes, once baking soda has been activated, it begins to leaven as soon as it touches liquid/acid (I talk about that in this article) so if you wait too long before baking, you may notice a decrease in leavening effect. Definitely no refrigerating overnight with this specific recipe; however, I did not notice a change in freezing the biscuits, so no problems with rise or texture. It definitely makes planning meals ahead much easier!

  27. #
    Megan — May 22, 2021 at 7:17 pm

    Hi! I made this and they are delicious! They weren’t very tall though, I think the dough wasn’t tall enough when I cut them, so I will try again. Also, I cooked them on a cookie sheet with parchment. Is this ok or do you recommend cooking them on a plain greased or ungreased cookie sheet? Thanks!!!

  28. #
    Haley Devine — June 5, 2021 at 7:35 am

    I’ve been wanting to make these for months and just did this morning. Oh my gosh. SO good!!! They were so light and fluffy! I added strawberry butter to mine and it was heavenly. My husband is a picky biscuit eater and he declared “they were the best!” You never fail me with your recipes! I know anything I make is going to be great. Now off to make your bakery style chocolate chip cookies! Yummm!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — June 7, 2021 at 2:20 pm

      omg strawberry butter SOUNDS heavenly! I’m so happy to hear your biscuits were such a hit! Thank you for your sweet comment 🙂

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