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Flaky Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

These flaky homemade buttermilk biscuits are layers and layers of flavor.

Comfort food takes center stage with these tender and towering Flaky Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits that will have you licking every flake from your fingers. From the moment you pull them out of the oven the layers upon buttery layers and golden crown will have you eagerly anticipating that first warm, pillowy bite. With a few simple steps and important tips, this southern staple will become a new family favorite.

Homemade buttermilk biscuits are excellent for savory or sweet dishes.

Make a Double Batch of these Buttermilk Biscuits

Homemade buttermilk biscuits are truly the chameleons of the carb world. On their own, they’re like an instant hug for the soul. They can turn breakfast into an event by simply piling them up with fluffy scrambled eggs and savory smoked pulled ham.

Looking for the perfect side to sop up the juices from your holiday smoked spatchcock turkey? Biscuits.

Do you want a smoked brisket and egg sandwich? Biscuits.

Need something to soak up the sauce from Nashville hot chicken wings? Biscuits.

However you top them, smother them, or butter them up, just make them. But be warned, these are so good it’ll be hard to share.

Pile up these flaky buttermilk biscuits for your guests.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Perfect texture: Great southern buttermilk biscuits are truly all about the incredible combination of a crispy crown and exterior and a fluffy soft interior. The combination of super cold ingredients combined with baking at high heat in the oven ensures you get that crave-worthy outcome every time. As the high heat hits the cold butter the water in the butter evaporates and creates steam pockets. This is how you get that Instagrammable towering rise, or layers upon layers of goodness guaranteed to leave flakes in your beard. 
  • Meal prep: Go ahead and double up on this recipe. Not only can you enjoy these flaky buttermilk biscuits throughout the week, but you can also freeze the biscuit dough. Skip the tube and bake up a batch of homemade biscuits instead. 
  • Simple Ingredients: This recipe utilizes simple and easy baking staples like all-purpose flour, butter, baking powder, and buttermilk. The ingredients are as straightforward as the process!
Bake the buttermilk biscuits in the skillet on the grill for extra flavor.

Variations and Serving Suggestions

  • For a little earthy heat add freshly cracked black pepper to the dry ingredients, or on top after brushing on your buttermilk.
  • Make a true Southern classic and smear on a thick layer of jalapeno pimento cheese when the biscuits are still warm.
  • Create the perfect Thanksgiving biscuit with leftover pulled turkey and cranberry honey mustard barbecue sauce.
  • Add freshly grated sharp cheddar, smoked cheddar, or your favorite semi-firm to firm cheese to the ingredients once you’ve added the butter, but before you add the buttermilk. Stick to cheeses with a lower butterfat content and maximum flavor so you don’t need to add a lot. 
  • Give the homemade buttermilk biscuits an herbaceous pop by mixing finely chopped herbs with the dry ingredients. Thyme, rosemary, and chives are all great options.
  • Take breakfast to the next level. Sprinkle your favorite everything bagel seasoning on top after brushing on the buttermilk. 
  • Drizzle honey or hot honey onto the warm biscuits. You can also drizzle the tops with honey as soon as they come out of the oven.
  • Use your favorite jam or preserves. Hot pepper jelly and smoked spiral ham are a classic combination.

Important Tips for the Best Buttermilk Biscuits

  • Do not over-mix your dough! Biscuits are as much about the texture as they are about the flavor. The tenderness of these biscuits comes from not allowing too much gluten to develop. The more flour is worked, the more glutens that form. This also compresses down on the dough giving you a dense texture. Gently working the dough and lightly rolling it out keeps the texture tender. 
  • Press down once and firmly with your biscuit cutter. Do not twist it! Twisting the biscuit cutter will seal the edges and prevent the dough from fully rising.
  • Keep everything COLD at every stage. The reaction of super cold butter combined with high heat causes the steam pickets that give rise to these impressive southern buttermilk biscuits. Freeze your butter. Keep your buttermilk refrigerated until you’re ready to use it. You can even chill your mixing bowl and rolling pin if desired. Let your dough refrigerate once you’ve formed it to rechill the butter, and then once again refrigerate your biscuits after you cut them out. Keep it cold!
  • There’s no denying the rise of these homemade buttermilk biscuits. To prevent them from toppling over make sure they’re touching in the pan or baking sheet. 
  • What kind of butter you use matters. Because you’re adding fine sea salt to the dough, and possibly topping these biscuits with flaky sea salt, stick to unsalted butter for the dough. You’ll also want to use high-quality butter for the most flavor. 
  • If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make buttermilk yourself. Add one tablespoon of acid such as lemon juice or distilled white vinegar to one cup of milk. For the fat content, you’ll want to use whole milk for the most richness and flavor. Give it a stir and let it sit for five minutes. You’ll need to make two cups for this recipe.
  • Your oven is your best friend. The oven will give you a high, consistent temperature that gives biscuits their rise and golden brown color while keeping them moist and fluffy.

How to Make These Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

  1. Freeze your butter. Stick the butter in the freezer and allow it to freeze for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Sift your dry ingredients. Add your dry ingredients to a sifter or fine mesh sieve and gently sift them into a large mixing bowl to aerate them and remove any lumps.
  3. Grate the frozen butter into the dry ingredients. Use the large holes of a box grater and grate both sticks of butter into butter confetti.
  1. Pinch the butter into the flour. Toss the grated butter into the dry ingredients. Use your fingers to gently pinch the butter into the flour. It should resemble uneven small pebbles.
  2. Add your buttermilk. Form a well into the center of the bowl and pour in the cold buttermilk. Once again use your fingers to pinch the pebbly dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. The dough will be wet and shaggy. You’re looking to just combine everything (see above).
  3. Chill your dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to refrigerate for at least an hour. Cold biscuit dough is happy biscuit dough.
  1. Fold the dough to help create the layers (see above). Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Place the chilled dough onto the surface and roughly pat it down into about a 10” square. Fold it in half, and then fold it in half again to create a smaller square.

    Gently roll the dough out into another 10” square. You don’t want to press down too hard. Repeat the process of folding the dough in half, and then folding it in half again.
  2. Cut out your biscuits. Roll the dough out until it’s 1” thick. Use a 2 ½-3” round or fluted biscuit cutter to cut out your biscuits. Press down firmly to cut through, do not rotate the cutter! You can gently reform the leftover dough and repeat the process.
Cut out the biscuits using a circle cutter and place them in the skillet, and then in the fridge to rest.
  1. Let the biscuits chill again! Place the biscuits in a large cast iron skillet or on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You want to make sure they’re touching so they hold each other up as they rise. Allow them to refrigerate for at least 15 minutes while you preheat the oven.
  2. Brush the tops and bake the biscuits. Once your oven has come to 450°F brush the tops of the biscuits with buttermilk and sprinkle on flaky sea salt if using. Place the skillet or baking sheet into the middle rack in the middle of the oven.

    Allow them to bake for 12-15 minutes until towering golden brown confections your grandma would be proud of. Serve these warm or at room temperature.
Brush the top of the homemade buttermilk biscuits with additional buttermilk and a sprinkle of salt before baking.

Don’t worry, you can have homemade buttermilk biscuits on-call, all the time! We’ve got tips on how to keep them fresher for longer, and also how to freeze biscuit dough!

How to Store and Reheat Buttermilk Biscuits

  • Allow your biscuits to cool completely. Once cooled, transfer them to zip-top bags, making sure to let out as much air as possible before sealing them. They can also be kept in airtight containers. 
  • These homemade buttermilk biscuits will stay fresh for 2-3 days at room temperature and up to a week in the refrigerator.
  • To reheat your biscuits, place them on a baking sheet or in a baking dish loosely tent them with foil. Warm them up in a 350°F oven for 10-15 minutes.

How to Freeze Biscuit Dough

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the raw cut-out biscuits onto the pan. Cover the tray with plastic wrap.
  • Place the baking sheet into the freezer and allow the biscuits to flash freeze, for about an hour.
  • Once the biscuits are frozen you can transfer them to freezer-safe bags or containers. Feel free to individually wrap them in plastic wrap or layer them with parchment paper so you can defrost just a couple at a time easily. 
  • Remove your biscuits the night before you plan on baking them off and allow them to gently defrost in the refrigerator on a baking sheet or plate. Follow the baking directions once defrosted.
  • This frozen biscuit dough will stay fresh for up to three months. After three months the biscuits will become compromised and not give you the same pillowy fluff.
These flaky buttermilk biscuits are perfect with jam for breakfast.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use milk instead of buttermilk for biscuits?

Yes you can, but the fat ratio needs to be the same. Use whole milk or 2% milk and skip the skim. You can also make your own buttermilk.

Is butter better than shortening for biscuits?

Yes. Shortening will give you shorter, denser, less flaky biscuits. As the high heat melts the cold butter the water content of the butter evaporates and creates steam pockets which give you the rise and fluff.

Why is there no baking soda in biscuits?

Baking powder causes baked goods to rise while baking soda causes them to spread out more. You want your biscuits to rise to the sky.

What is the best type of flour for making biscuits?

Stick to all purpose flour. Some recipes will call for self-rising flour which means the leaveners are already included and it’ll throw off the entire recipe.

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These flaky homemade buttermilk biscuits are layers and layers of flavor.

Flaky Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

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Comfort food takes center stage with these tender and towering Flaky Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits that will have you licking every flake from your fingers. From the moment you pull them out of the oven the layers upon buttery layers and golden crown will have you eagerly anticipating that first warm, pillowy bite.

  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 810 biscuits 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar (or honey, agave, etc.)
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk for brushing
  • (optional) Smoked salt for topping

Instructions

Notes

  • Press down once and firmly with your biscuit cutter. Do not twist it! Twisting the biscuit cutter will seal the edges and prevent the dough from fully rising.
  • Do not over-mix your dough! The tenderness of these biscuits comes from not allowing too much gluten to develop. The more flour is worked, the more glutens that form. This also compresses down on the dough giving you a dense texture.
  • Keep everything COLD at every stage. The reaction of super cold butter combined with high heat causes the steam pickets that give rise to these impressive southern buttermilk biscuits.
  • Author: Brad Prose
  • Prep Time: 90 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Side Dish
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