Last updated on May 15th, 2023
Looking for an easy Southern buttermilk biscuit recipe you can make from scratch? Follow these four tips for light fluffy biscuits every time.
I’m gonna go out on a limb here and toot my own horn. Because it’s my blog and if I can’t do it here, then where? I make good biscuits. No, I make DAMN good biscuits.
I didn’t always. When I was first starting out, my biscuit recipe consisted of following the directions on the back of a box of Bisquick. Then one Saturday morning I had my heart set on biscuits and realized I was out of Bisquick. Going to the store was out of the question. I don’t know about you, but whenever I think I’m going to run into the store unnoticed to grab one thing and be out in five minutes, that’s when I run into every single guy I have ever dated (even the ones I thought left the country), that girl who shunned me in high school (hopefully she weighs 900 pounds now and has 12 bratty children), the CEO of my company, and my minister. It was either settle for a slice of whole wheat toast, or make my own biscuits from scratch.
It did involve more than throwing a couple cups of mix and some milk into a bowl. But other than that, it was very easy. When I pulled that first batch out of the oven, I was surprised by how good they were. I have made a GAZILLION batches of biscuits since then and have made some tweaks here and there until I finally developed this recipe I’m sharing here today.
Tips for making fluffy buttermilk biscuits from scratch:
1. Check the expiration date on your dry ingredients. If you have a container of baking powder that has been sitting forgotten in the back of your pantry, throw it out and go buy some fresh. Your biscuits could turn out flat and tough otherwise.
2. Really cold grated butter makes a huge difference. The pockets of cold butter form steam as the biscuits bake, resulting in a flaky texture. I like to put my butter in the freezer for 20-30 minutes beforehand. And rather than trying to cut the butter into your dry ingredients with two knives (I never could get that to work) or a pastry cutter (arm workout) I grate my butter using a box grater, then put it back in the freezer while I mix together my dry ingredients. You could also do this with a food processor.
3. For taller biscuits, don’t roll the dough out to any more than ½ -inch thick. I like my biscuits to look like little top hats when they come out of the oven.
4. Spend a couple bucks and go buy a real biscuit cutter. I used to use the end of a drinking glass to cut my biscuits. Then I read that using something with a dull edge pinches the dough together and prevents the biscuits from rising. You need to use something with a semi-sharp edge.
How to Make Southern Buttermilk Biscuits
First, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Cover a baking tray with foil then coat it with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of all-purpose flour, one tablespoon of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, two teaspoons of baking powder and one teaspoon of salt.
Grate one stick of cold unsalted butter on a box grater. Add it to the flour mixture and stir until the butter is evenly distributed throughout the flour. Add three-quarters cup of cold buttermilk, and stir until dough comes together and begins to leave the side of the bowl, adding additional milk if necessary.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Lightly knead 10 times. Roll or pat dough to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into disks using a 2 to 2-1/4- inch round cutter. Place the biscuits on a greased cookie sheet about one inch apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until they have risen and are golden brown. Serve warm.
What if I don’t have any buttermilk?
The role of buttermilk is more than just wetting and binding the dry ingredients together. The acids in the buttermilk interact with the baking powder and an airy tender texture. But what if you’re up to your elbows in flour and realize you don’t have any buttermilk.
You can easily make your own with two ingredients you probably already have on hand. Take one cup of milk. Whole or 2% milk is best. Add one tablespoon of lemon juice or white distilled vinegar. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. Voila! Homemade buttermilk.
Tips for Freezing Biscuits
Whenever I make biscuits, I frequently make a double batch of dough. I bake one batch for us to eat and one batch goes in the freezer. Follow the recipe through the point where you cut the biscuits. Wrap each dough round individually in plastic wrap, then freeze. I place all my frozen biscuits in a large freezer bag to keep them together and prevent them from getting tossed all over the place.
You don’t even have to thaw the dough before baking. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, coat a baking sheet with foil and cooking spray, then unwrap as many biscuits as you want and place them on the tray.
The biscuits will take about 20 minutes total to cook through and they won’t rise as high, but will still be flaky and delicious. I used to have a problem with the bottoms of the biscuits burning before they were cooked through. I discovered if I moved the rack to the top third of the oven and placed another baking pan under my biscuit tray, it prevented the bottoms from cooking too quickly.
Baked biscuits can be frozen in the same way. Wrap each biscuit individually in plastic wrap. You will need to allow the biscuit to thaw first. Then place in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes or so until it’s heated through.
You might enjoy these recipes with your biscuits:
Southern Buttermilk Biscuits
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter or shortening
- 3/4 to 1 cup cold buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Cut butter into mixture until it resembles course crumbs. Add three-quarters cup of buttermilk, and stir until dough comes together and begins to leave the side of the bowl, adding additional milk if necessary.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Lightly knead 10 times. Roll or pat dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into disks using a 2 to 2-1/4- inch round cutter. Place on a greased cookie sheet about one inch apart.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.