Buttermilk Biscuits

Buttermilk Biscuits

I am in love with carbs. There, I said it. Not that it was much of a secret. Bread, rolls, biscuits – I could easily make a meal out of any of them. I especially love using them as a vehicle to sop up remnants of other pieces of my meal. While I do try to make homemade bread rather frequently, I don’t tend to bake a lot of biscuits or rolls just to keep around – those are usually reserved for special occasions. However, I do look forward to enjoying biscuits if I happen to go out for breakfast on a weekend morning. I throw some scrambled eggs and either bacon or sausage on top and eat it like an open-faced sandwich. There’s just something magical about pulling apart that soft biscuit, watching the steam wisp out of the middle, and then savoring each buttery, flaky layer.

Biscuits are one of the simplest baked goods to make, in terms of both ingredients and time, but they have been known to cause even the most even-tempered bakers to pull their hair out. Light, fluffy biscuits and hockey pucks are separated by a very fine line. Below are some tips to help make sure you end up in fluffy biscuit land, and not on ice…

♦  Cold butter is key. For biscuits (as well as pie crusts) I find that cubing the butter and then putting it on a plate in the freezer for about 15 minutes before using it keeps it nice and cold while mixing.

♦  Mixing the butter and dry ingredients quickly so the butter remains cold and firm is crucial to producing light, tender biscuits. This is what the “coarse meal” mixture should look like:

Coarse meal mixture

♦  The dough will be soft and somewhat sticky; the wet dough creates steam when the biscuits bake and promotes the light airy texture. This is what the dough should look like when it comes together:

Biscuit dough

♦  Don’t overmix the dough, or the biscuits could become tough. Gently pat the dough into shape, using a light touch and very little pressure when handling it.

♦  The intense heat of the oven creates the steam needed to raise the dough and create airy, fluffy biscuits. Make sure your oven is completely preheated before baking the biscuits.

♦  Most important: Eat fresh from the oven while still warm! 🙂

Now, who’s ready to bake some light-as-air, buttery, flaky biscuits?!

Did I mention that these biscuits are the perfect base for building a fabulous strawberry shortcake?

Strawberry Shortcake

One year ago: All-Occasion Sugar Cookies

Buttermilk Biscuits

Yield: 12 (2-inch) biscuits

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 cup (4 ounces) cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
¾ cup cold buttermilk


1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees F.

2. Place the flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in a large bowl or the workbowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Whisk together or process with six 1-second pulses.

3. If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender, or your fingertips to quickly cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal with a few slightly larger butter lumps. If using a food processor, remove the cover and distribute the butter evenly over the dry ingredients. Cover and process with twelve 1-second pulses.

4. If making by hand, stir in the buttermilk with a rubber spatula or fork until the mixture forms a soft, slightly sticky ball. If using a food processor, remove the cover and pour the buttermilk evenly over the dough. Process until the dough gathers into moist clumps, about eight 1-second pulses.

5. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and quickly form into a rough ball. Be careful not to overmix. Pat the dough into a ¾-inch-thick circle. Cut out the dough rounds with a biscuit cutter. Push together the remaining pieces of dough, pat into a ¾-inch-thick, and cut out several more dough rounds. Discard the remaining scraps. Place the biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet.

6. Bake until the biscuit tops are light brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve immediately.

* Note 1: If you don't have cake flour on hand, substitute an extra cup of all-purpose flour and increase the buttermilk by 2 tablespoons.

* Note 2: Once the unbaked biscuits are placed on the cookie sheet, the sheet can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 hours.

(Recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated)


76 Responses to “Buttermilk Biscuits”

  1. Becka on May 27, 2010 at 3:05 am

    We call them scones 😛 Best served as a Cream Tea, with clotted cream and strawberry jam…. mmmmm! Wish I wasnt on a diet! 🙁


    • Natasha on July 19th, 2012 at 3:23 am

      Scones and buscuits are different. Similar, but buscuits are not quite as crumbly as scones. And correct me if I’m wrong – but you can make good scones with only 3 ingredients…right?


  2. Jenn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) on May 27, 2010 at 8:38 am

    I’m in love with carbs, too! 🙂

    Those biscuits look really good. I’m not typically a biscuit person, but a fresh one is impossible to pass up.



  3. Alice on May 27, 2010 at 8:39 am

    These look great! If I know I’m going to put strawberries or peaches on top of my biscuits for a faux-shortcake dessert, I always sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar before baking… so delicious!


  4. Cookbook Queen on May 27, 2010 at 9:21 am

    These look almost too good to be true!! I will be trying.


  5. Heather @ (The Single Dish) on May 27, 2010 at 9:57 am

    I love biscuits with butter, honey or for strawberry shortcake. So pretty!!


  6. shannon abdollmohammadi on May 27, 2010 at 10:08 am

    I love carbs too!!! I could devour 12 of these. Your pics are awesome!!!


  7. Katrina on May 27, 2010 at 10:27 am

    These look unbelievable! I love carbs as well, and biscuits. Yum!


  8. Maria D. on May 27, 2010 at 11:04 am

    These look really good and not too hard…will give them a shot!


  9. Maria on May 27, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Great post! You can’t beat homemade biscuits!


  10. JulieD on May 27, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    These look very tasty! Can’t wait to try them!


  11. Erin D on May 27, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    I love you so much for showing 2 pictures of what the dough should look like. And for loving carbs.


  12. Married to an Aussie in OK on May 27, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    I love biscuits like these… light and fluffy and gorgeous. Or scones. DH would call them scones. I call them biscuits. But he says biscuits are Tim-Tams 😉


  13. Sarah from 20somethingcupcakes on May 27, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    The only biscuits I’ve ever made were Ina’s cheddar version – like the Red Lobster ones! They were amazing, but I need to try these. xxSAS


  14. Lisa @ The Cooking Bride on May 27, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    I too am a carbaholic. My husband makes fun of me. Ah well, he has other redeeming qualities.


  15. jaclyn@todayslady on May 27, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    Strawberry shortcake? Yes please!! I could go for that right now!

    I also think that its a must to eat biscuits while still warm from the oven, so necessary 😉


  16. Nicole on May 28, 2010 at 7:14 am

    Thank you for sharing that recipe, because I cannot make biscuits if it would save my life. The last time I tried, I ended up with flat, hard, cracker-like things. Sooo sad! I’m going to try your recipe though!! 🙂


  17. Jenny Flake on May 28, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Yumma Yumma! These look so good 🙂


  18. MFW on May 28, 2010 at 11:26 am

    My mom’s buttermilk biscuits are much simplier. This is the recipe I grew up with and it’s something you have to make often in order to understand what the consistency of the dough should be like etc. For us, the older the buttermilk the better the flavor in the biscuits too.

    2 c self rising flour
    1 c buttermilk
    1/4 c veggie oil

    That’s it. Just don’t over work the dough. Bake at 450 for 10 – 12 mins.

    Another thing I learned from Rachael Ray actually – you can mix into the biscuit dough – eggs scrambled, cheddar cheese shredded, and sausage cooked and broken up into small pieces (or cooked bacon). Then drop them onto a cookie sheet the size you want. These make great grab and go biscuits in the morning. They microwave well.


  19. Paula on May 28, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    these biscuits looks so tasty!


  20. Maggy @ Three Many Cooks on May 28, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I am a sucker for buttermilk biscuits and these are no exception. YUM!


  21. Jen @ How To: Simplify on May 28, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Buttermilk biscuits are the best! These look delicious!


  22. Betty on May 28, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    Mmmmmm. Buttermilk biscuits make the best strawberry shortcake! These look like my mom’s but she never uses a recipe- it’s very frustrating to ask her how she makes anything. (“Well, I just dump it in ’til it looks right.”) 🙂 Yours look delicious.


  23. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on May 28, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Biscuits are one of my favorite foods in the whole world… And these look perfect!


  24. Cookin' Canuck on May 29, 2010 at 1:37 am

    Great tips for successful biscuit-making. And I agree – they must be eaten warm, straight from the oven.


  25. Jill on May 29, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Um, you are in love with carbs because they are the BEST FOOD EVER. From one carb-addict to another, thank you for the gorgeous flaky biscuit recipe and tips!


  26. Lynn on May 29, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    These look delicous! A biscuit warm from the oven with some butter and strawberry jam – my version of heaven!


  27. Cheah on May 29, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    We call them English Scones. Yours looke flaky and soft, must eat them warm and with a cup of hot coffee or tea, yes, yummy!


  28. Belinda @zomppa on June 1, 2010 at 8:08 am

    I love that you love carbs. And I love these!


  29. Chiot's Run on June 1, 2010 at 9:03 am

    I love a good biscuit, especially for strawberry shortcake. Although when I’m using them for shortcake I add some finely chopped crystalized ginger to the dough and I sprinkle them with coarse sugar before baking – MMMM. Our strawberries are just coming ripe in the garden so we’ll be eating lots of this in the next couple weeks.


  30. Ana Maria on June 1, 2010 at 9:16 am

    …Mom loves to make her own biscuits, so I gave her this recipe and told her your baking tip of the cold butter…well, she just made them this morning and OMG, it makes a whole world of difference, the cold butter; she did it just as you suggested, put it for about 15 minutes in the freezer…these are the most delicious biscuits ever; please keep them coming, great recipes and great baking tips!…


  31. C and C Dish on June 1, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Can’t go wrong with a good ole’ Buttermilk Biscuit!


  32. Green Girl on June 1, 2010 at 9:41 am

    i love carbs too !! and these biscuits look so yummy and easy to make


  33. Jean on June 1, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Your buttermilk biscuits look great! I’ve never made them before so I appreciate the tips, thanks!


  34. ivoryhut on June 1, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Thanks for the tips! I don’t have much biscuit experience, having grown up in a country where rice was the staple. I’ve heard so many people lament the fickleness of biscuits, so I really like how you explained the pointers and the reasoning behind each one.


  35. The Cilantropist on June 1, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Oh these look scrumptious. Reading this at breakfast time is really a problem. 😉

    Love the new look of your site!!!


  36. Magic of Spice on June 1, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Great classic! They look yummy:)


  37. marla {family fresh cooking} on June 1, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Your blog layout is looking great! So do these buttermilk biscuits. Such a versatile recipe.


  38. Island Vittles on June 1, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Great overhaul on the site (although I also liked it before) — and these biscuits will be on the table this week!


  39. Chef Dennis on June 1, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    those are gorgeous biscuits!!! your images are amazing!!!
    I’m from the south and I do love good biscuits!!
    thanks for sharing


  40. Lawyer Loves Lunch on June 1, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    I respect a woman that can admit she loves carbs. And these biscuits look like the best kind of carb 🙂


  41. Linda's Yummies on June 1, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    Beautiful presentation. I’d rather have these carbs than those manufactured ones injected with all types of chemicals. These would be great to munch on while reviewing Foodbuzz posts from fellow food bloggers 🙂


  42. Chef David Benton on June 3, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    one of my wishes in life is to be able to make delicious biscuits. ive tried so many biscuit recipes that turned out hard as hockey puckets that its not even funny. i may try this recipe & cross my fingers–the photos look delicious.


  43. Melita on June 5, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Wow! Now those are the real deal, thank you for sharing! Awesome photos!


  44. Andrea on June 15, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Finally dove in to this recipe tonight, it’s divine! The cake flour really sets it apart from other recipes I’ve used in the past. The biscuits rose to be light and fluffy, but I still got a little bit of that crunchy top on them. I made these in the food processor and it couldn’t have been simpler! And those little pockets of butter in the biscuits… yum! This recipe has definitely replaced my old ones!


  45. howtobaker on June 20, 2010 at 12:10 am

    I’m glad someone else has an obsession with carbs! Whenever I make bread we make an extra loaf just to eat it as soon as it comes out of the oven.


  46. Melissa on September 1, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    These are delicious! I made these tonight with chicken. The biscuits melt in your mouth!


  47. Teresa on October 30, 2010 at 8:03 am

    These look really great. I am having trouble finding cake flour. Where can I get this?


    • Michelle on October 30th, 2010 at 8:30 pm

      Hi Teresa, You can find cake flour in the baking aisle next to the all-purpose flour. A couple popular brands are Swan’s Down and Softasilk.


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  49. Suzanne on February 22, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    Just made these biscuits tonight and wanted to tell you how wonderful they turned out. They were perfect, thanks for the recipe it’s a keeper.


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  51. Ginnette on March 1, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Hi, I have a question, can I use this recipe to make “Monkey Bread”? Believe it or not in my country they dont sale the refrigerated one so i have to make it from scratch. Thanks


  52. Kimmy on April 10, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Just came out of the oven – delicious! And really easy – I followed the the “by hand” method since I only have a mini-food processor and they came out perfectly fluffy.


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  54. Heidi on June 21, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Best biscuit I have ever made! I posted about it on my Facebook and blog, and linked this website.


  55. Kaya on August 29, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    I made these. My first time making biscuits and they sure were tasty. I made half of the salt rock sea salt. Only thing is mine turned out a very yellow color and they did not brown very much at the top. Does anyone know why? The buttermilk was a few days passed the sell by date.


  56. Brooke on August 31, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    SO GOOD! I have never been so proud of something I made! They were PERFECT!


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  61. Alex on November 25, 2011 at 3:22 am

    I just made these for a Thanksgiving dinner last night in Italy, near Assisi. You know when you get compliments from Italians on food, you have a good recipe. 🙂 I didn’t think I could love anything more than your chocolate chip cookies recipe, but these got close.


  62. Elizabeth on February 25, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    I LOVE these! I am a huge fan of America’s Test Kitchen so finding out that these came from there made me love them even more!


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  67. Steph in Lex on July 7, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Hey Michelle, I attempted to make these last night because, like you, I’m obsessed with carbs and could live on buttermilk biscuits. (Cracker Barrel, Popeye’s, KFC…any are good, but my absolute favorite are McDonald’s. Go figure. But I digress.) Unfortunately, I followed all the directions but they were flatter and were not light and fluffy. I mixed them by hand instead of using the food processor. Just wondering if you’ve tried both ways and had more success with the food processor? It occurred to me that possibly the butter got too warm from me using a pastry cutter to mix it into the dry ingredients. I would love to know where I may have gone wrong, although it might not be good for my waistline. 😉


    • Michelle on July 9th, 2013 at 9:23 am

      Hi Steph, If they were flat, they definitely could have been overworked. I’ve made biscuits both ways (food processor and by hand). The key to either one is to work very, very quickly. Also, I put the butter in the freezer before using it. You might also want to make sure that your baking soda and powder is fresh; that could affect the rise, as well.


      • Steph in Lex on July 10th, 2013 at 9:27 pm

        Thanks! Considering the fact that I didn’t have the butter in the freezer for a whole 15 minutes, in addition to the fact that both my baking soda and baking powder is definitely not as fresh as it could be, I definitely have several things to try for next time.


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  69. JudithNYC on July 28, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    I used this recipe last night to use in making strawberry shortcakes. Instead of using 1 t. sugar I used 1 T. The biscuits came out tender and absolutely delicious. Not too sweet.
    Another thing that i did differently from what I usually do was that I used my new Danish dough hook instead of the food processor.
    The biscuits did not rise as tall as I was expecting but that was fine by me. This might be due to the fact that I don’t even know how old my baking soda/baking powder are and not the recipe’s fault.


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