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Easy Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits rise up flaky, soft, and so buttery every time. This recipe gives you easy step-by-step instructions to make the best biscuits with no rolling and no cutting required! With just three ingredients–flour, butter, and buttermilk–this simple recipe will help you get biscuits on the table in about 30 minutes!

Basket of biscuits with jam and plates.

My family’s method for making homemade buttermilk biscuits is a little different from that of most recipes you’ll find. We don’t roll out the dough and cut the biscuits. We just scoop up a big handful of dough, roll it lightly, and place it on the pan.

The biscuits turn out to be what’s called cat head biscuits because they’re about the size of a cat’s head!

This method produces soft and tender buttermilk biscuits every time. You almost cannot overwork the dough with this method because you’re barely touching it!

After making these a few times, you’ll learn the feel of the dough and you’ll know when to add a little more flour or a little more buttermilk. This tutorial will help you get there!

You could use this buttermilk biscuit recipe to Host a Biscuit Bar at your next bridal shower or brunch–everyone would love different toppings and fillings for the biscuits.

Plate of stacked homemade buttermilk biscuits.

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Old wooden dough bowl with flour and sifter.

Check out my favorite tools for homemade buttermilk biscuits:

  • My grandmother used a wooden dough bowl similar to this one. Her bowl was always underneath the counter, full of flour and ready to go!
  • I just use a large mixing bowl. I like a really big one because I always make a big batch of biscuits!
  • For the best Southern biscuits, you need White Lily flour. You can use self-rising or all-purpose, but there simply is no flour that matches White Lily. Although in a pinch, you can use other all-purpose and sub in some cake flour, but the biscuits are not going to be as good.

Ingredients for Homemade Biscuits

  • 4 cups White Lily self-rising flour
  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups full-fat buttermilk
    OR
  • 4 cups White Lily all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ – 1 3/4 cups buttermilk

How to Make Buttermilk Biscuits

Step 1. Start by preheating your oven to 500°. I know that sounds high, but that’s what produces the steam and causes the biscuits to rise. You cannot slow cook homemade buttermilk biscuits!

Pro Tip: I don’t grease my pan, but you can if you want. I would just do it very lightly. These biscuits have so much butter that they should release easily. You can also use a silicone baking mat if you prefer. You can also use parchment paper, although use caution with the oven being so hot!

Step 2. Add flour to a large bowl. If you’re using all-purpose flour then you would now stir in the baking powder and salt.

Step 3. Cut the COLD butter into small pieces and mix into the flour using your hands or a pastry blender.

Pro Tip: You want the flour and butter to become crumbly and well-mixed but still have some chunky pieces of butter that you can feel.

Step 4. Make a well in the middle of your flour and add the COLD buttermilk, using a fork to incorporate flour from the sides of the bowl. Mix the buttermilk until the flour is all incorporated and you have sticky dough.

Step 5. Dip your hands in flour and sprinkle a little more flour over the dough until you can handle the dough without it sticking to your fingers.

Pro Tip: If the biscuit dough appears too dry and crumbly then you may need to pour in a little more buttermilk.

Step 6. Knead very gently a few times by folding the dough into itself from side to side. You can do this right in the bowl or place the dough onto a floured surface.

Pro Tip: Do not overwork the dough! The more you work the dough, the more likely your biscuits will turn out like hockey pucks. When the dough is ready, it will be smooth and slightly moist and not as sticky.

Step 7. Pick up a large handful of dough (I do slightly larger than a golf ball) and roll slightly in your hands, then place the rolled biscuit on the pan.

Pro Tip: If you want soft sides then place the biscuits right next to each other. This technique can also help your biscuits rise a little higher. If you want crispier sides then give the biscuits space in between.

Step 8. Once all the biscuits are on the pan, flatten them just a bit. You want the buttermilk biscuits to be about an inch high to get large, fluffy biscuits.

Pro Tip: If not baking immediately then refrigerate your biscuits because the butter needs to stay nice and cold. I usually get everything else done and bake the biscuits last, so they are hot as soon as we sit down at the table. 

Step 9. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool on the pan for just a couple of minutes then remove with a spatula and cover lightly with a towel to keep warm.

Overhead of a pan of baked buttermilk biscuits.

Tips for the Best Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

  • Most important: do not overwork the dough. You want to barely activate the gluten. This is not bread-making and you do not need to knead the dough for very long.
  • Make sure your butter and buttermilk are COLD. Now, some folks will tell you that even using your hands to mix up the flour and butter will soften the butter too much, but I’ve made hundreds of biscuits over the years and that method works just fine for me. If it makes you feel better though, use a fork or a pastry cutter.
  • The oven should be hot when you put the buttermilk biscuits in there.

Can you freeze biscuits?

You sure can! There are two ways to freeze these buttermilk biscuits:

  1. Make the dough and set the unbaked biscuits out on a parchment lined pan. Place the pan in the freezer overnight and then remove the biscuits the next morning and put in a gallon size airtight bag. When you want to cook a biscuit, bake from frozen at 475°. This is the only case in which you’ll have the oven slightly less than 500° since the frozen biscuit has to cook a little longer.
  2. Bake the biscuits as directed in the buttermilk biscuit recipe. Allow to cool completely and then place on a parchment lined pan. Freeze overnight and then place in an airtight bag. When serving, allow to thaw completely and then microwave for about 12 seconds or reheat for just a few minutes in the oven.

Note: Lots of people like sausage gravy with their biscuits–I do not, so I don’t make it. My husband loves it though! If you’re interested, here’s a recipe from Southern Living for sausage gravy.

Now, grab some butter and jam and see if you can eat just one of these soft and fluffy homemade buttermilk biscuits!

Buttered buttermilk biscuit on a plate with bowl of biscuits in background.

If you’ve tried this recipe, please rate the recipe and leave a comment below!

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Closeup of buttermilk biscuits in a basket with a white towel.

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

Yield: 10 biscuits
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Soft, fluffy, homemade buttermilk biscuits are good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Fill these biscuits with country ham or sausage for a great meal.

Ingredients

If using self-rising flour:

  • 4 cups White Lily self-rising flour
  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, diced into small chunks
  • 1 ½ - 1 ¾ cups full-fat buttermilk

If using all-purpose flour:

  • 4 cups White Lily all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, diced into small chunks
  • 1 ½ - 1 ¾ cups full-fat buttermilk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 500°. Place flour in a large bowl. If using all-purpose flour, whisk in the baking powder and salt.
  2. Mix in diced butter using your hands or a pastry blender. Smooth some butter into flat flakes and leave some as chunky pebbles of butter.
  3. Make a well in the middle of your flour and add the buttermilk, using a fork to incorporate all the flour from the sides of the well.
  4. Stir until the flour is all incorporated and you have sticky dough. Then dip your hands in flour and sprinkle a little more flour on the dough until you can handle the dough without it sticking to your fingers. If the dough appears too dry and crumbly then you probably need to pour in a little more buttermilk.
  5. Knead very gently by folding the dough into itself a few times. Once the dough is smooth and easy to handle, pick up a large handful of dough and roll slightly and place on pan, then flatten a bit until it’s about an inch high.
  6. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

Notes

Tips for the Best Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

  • Most important: do not overwork the dough. You want to barely activate the gluten. This is not bread-making and you do not need to knead the dough for very long.
  • Make sure your butter and buttermilk are COLD. Now, some folks will tell you that even using your hands to mix up the flour and butter will soften the butter too much, but I've made hundreds of biscuits over the years and that method works just fine for me. If it makes you feel better though, use a fork or a pastry cutter.
  • The oven should be hot when you put the buttermilk biscuits in there.

If your biscuits are too hard or dry, then you probably worked the flour too much or didn’t add enough milk. Practice and don’t give up. It takes a while to get the feel of just right dough.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 10 biscuits
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 359Saturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 654mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 6g

Did you make this recipe?

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Update Notes: This post was originally published February 17, 2011, and on May 20, 2019, was updated with one or more of the following: step-by-step photos, video, updated recipe, new tips.

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Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.

Thursday 24th of February 2011

Yum! So glad you found me on twitter so i could find your site! We are so closeby

Molly at Duchess of Fork

Friday 18th of February 2011

My husband makes buttermilk biscuits nearly every weekend! Nothing beats them. Yours look great.

Lucy

Saturday 19th of February 2011

Thanks, Molly. Lucky you! My husband probably wouldn't even know how to open a can of biscuits, much less make from scratch. But he does clean, so it all works out.

Lucy

Friday 18th of February 2011

Thanks, Sheila. That picture is of my great-grandparents, not sure of the date.

Good luck with the biscuits -- and don't give up if they don't turn out great the first time. It really does take practice.

Sheila Durham, New Southern Pantry

Friday 18th of February 2011

When I opened your blog and saw your pictures of the sweet couple, it brought tears to my eyes. They so remind me of my grandparents and the depression era that brought us such great foods. I try so hard to make biscuits, but they are always tough. Your step by step photos may be just what I need to be successful! They look delicious and my husband will be so happy tomorrow if I make mine look like yours. I'm a Southern cook who is deficent in baking breads and biscuits...not a good thing. Thanks for the great blog post Sheila

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