Best Buttermilk Biscuits

buttermilk-biscuits

Rich and buttery in flavor with a fluffy interior and toasty golden crust, these are the best biscuits to ever come out of my oven. I tested countless biscuit recipes in my quest to perfect them — much to my family’s delight! The recipe is based on Pastry Chef Amanda Clarke’s version, which incorporates a few secret ingredients and a special technique that creates layers in the dough, making the biscuits tender and perfect every time. The best part is that they’re easy to make: you can throw the dough together in ten minutes and enjoy them with your meal less than fifteen minutes later.

ingredients

Before we get to the step-by-step instructions, let’s talk about the ingredients. The most tender buttermilk biscuits are made from White Lily flour, which is a low protein brand of flour only available in the South. To get the same texture, this recipe calls for regular all purpose flour cut with a little cornstarch and a few tablespoons of cream cheese, both of which tenderize the dough.

dry-ingredients

Begin by pulsing the dry ingredients together in the bowl of a food processor.

adding-butter

Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand.

adding-cream-cheese

Add the cream cheese and pulse until incorporated with a few pea-sized pieces intact.

sandy-texture

Add the buttermilk.

adding-buttermilk

And stir until the dough comes together into a craggy mass. Do not over-mix.

dough

Dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle more flour over top.

dough-on-floured-surface

Gently pat the dough into a 1/2-inch rectangle.

dough-rectangle

This is where the special technique comes in. Most biscuit recipes will have you fold the dough into thirds several times to create layers of dough that give rise to puffy biscuits (similar to how croissants and puff pastry are made). I discovered that cutting the dough into thirds and stacking the pieces together works even better.

cutting-dough

Simply use a sharp knife to cut the dough in thirds, then stack the pieces on top of one another.

stacked-dough

Pat the dough down again, and repeat. Then pat the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle.

ready-to-cut

Cut the dough into 12 even squares. You could also use a round biscuit or cookie cutter to make the biscuits round, but this is much easier (no scraps) and who says biscuits have to be round?

cut-biscuits

Place the biscuits on a parchment lined baking sheet.

ready-to-bake

And bake at 425ºF for 12-15 minutes. The high temperature helps the biscuits rise higher and yields a more golden, crisp crust. Enjoy!

baked-biscuits

My starting point for this recipe was pastry chef Amanda Clarke’s recipe on Serious Eats. My changes were to reduce the all purpose flour, increase the corn starch and reduce the salt. And, instead of folding the dough like she does, I cut and stacked it for a more even rise (when you fold the dough, the side with the crease doesn’t rise as high).

Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits

Print Recipe
Servings: 12 biscuits
Total Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Pulse a few times to mix.
  3. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the cream cheese and pulse a few times until incorporated with a few pea-sized pieces of cream cheese intact. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl.
  4. Add the buttermilk and stir with a spoon until dough comes together into a craggy mass. Do not over-mix.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with a bit more flour and bring together gently into a loose ball. Pat the dough into a 3/4-inch thick rectangle.
  6. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into thirds. Stack the pieces on top of one another and pat out into a 3/4-inch thick rectangle again, flouring the surface lightly as needed to prevent the dough from sticking.
  7. Cut the dough into thirds again. Stack the pieces on top of one another and pat into a rectangle with a final thickness of about 1/2-inch.
  8. Dust the blade of a sharp knife with flour and cut the dough into twelve even squares. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, until the biscuits are lightly golden on top and a deeper brown on the bottoms. The biscuits are best served warm out of the oven, though a few minutes in the oven will revive slightly older biscuits.
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  • Karen T.

    I had just returned from my home state of SC with a bag or two of white lily flour, when I went to Wegman’s in Binghamton NY and found to my surprise…white lily flour. Who knew? Check it out if you have a Wegman’s near you. Thanks for the recipe, a little different from how I make biscuits, but always ready to try something new.

  • Barbara

    Great recipe! These were great with beef stew and with any breakfast.

  • Christi

    I don’t know why I never thought about cutting and stacking instead of folding. That’s genius.
    One question: can the unbaked biscuits be frozen and baked from the freezer, or have you tried that with this recipe?

    • Jenn

      Hi Christi, I think that should work just fine to freeze and bake later…they may need a few extra minutes in the oven.

  • Sheryl

    So if I DO have White Lily Flour, how, if at all, would the recipe be altered? (I’m fortunate enough to have a boyfriend who brings me back 20 lbs of White Lily every time he goes down south, so my baking has improved accordingly!)

    • Jenn

      Hi Sheryl, Lucky you! Be sure it is regular White Lily Flour (not self rising) and just omit the corn starch and use 2-1/4 cups.

  • I have always had trouble getting my biscuits to rise high enough to suit some. This recipe makes sense, I cant wait to try it. Any you are right, who says biscuits have to be round. Thanks for sharing!

  • Linda

    Hi Jenn, I want to thank you for your recipe for these buttermilk biscuits! I made them to have with my dinner tonight and they are by far the best biscuits I have made. You are the first to suggest a way around unavailable White Lily flour. I only made 1 substitution; I used yogurt thinned with a little milk in place of the buttermilk. The technique of cutting and stacking worked like a charm. I don’t have a food processor so I did them by hand, but no problem. Excellent! These will be my go to recipe and I won’t be disappointed again! Thank you.

  • YAN

    This looks yummy and easy to do. But I don’t have a food processor. How would I overcome that? Sorry if this question seems ignorant to you. I never do baking at all, have no common sense either.

    • Jenn

      Hi Yan, Not a silly question at all! If you don’t have a food processor, you can either make the biscuits by hand (using a pastry cutter to “cut” the butter and cream cheese into the dry ingredients, or your fingertips to “rub” them in) or in a mixer with a paddle attachment. Just be sure the butter is very cold.

      • Yan

        Thank you so much! WIll definately try it. I bet my kids will love it!

  • Amy

    Can you make ahead of time and freeze?

    • Jenn

      Hi Amy, Yes you can make them ahead of time but do not bake them. Place the raw biscuits in the freezer and put them directly in the oven…they may take a few extra minutes. Hope you enjoy!

  • Mo

    These were delicious.
    Mine ended up being drop biscuits, as the dough was pretty wet so I couldn’t form the rectangle. I gave up, added a bit more flour and dropped them on the pan. Still, the family raved; I told them that’s what you get when you bake with love(for the family)…and a little anger and hate (for the wet dough)!

    • Jenn

      Hi Mo, Glad your family enjoyed! It takes a little practice working with the wet dough. The trick is to flour the dough, the countertop and your hands and handle it very lightly so your hands don’t get sticky. Next time, start with 1/2 cup buttermilk and add the additional 1/4 cup as necessary. But drop biscuits work too :)

      • Mo

        Thanks for the tip, Jenn!

  • Ale S.

    I made as you said in the recipe, delicious. But, next time I will just use 1tsp of salt and not 1-1/4.
    My kids just told me, yummy with some meat this will be perfect….kkkkk
    Thank you for sharing :)

    PS.: I use regular flour and was good.

  • Rick Delaney

    This is a wonderful biscuit recipe and I have made it several times in the short time that I’ve had it. Our family loves black pepper so for Thanksgiving I added 1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper. Turned out great! Thanks again Jennifer

  • Kelly

    These are wonderful! Soft inside, crispy outside, as tasty as the southern biscuits I grew up on!

  • Liz

    Best biscuits ever! I made these the other night. Baked half, and froze the unbaked half. They were absolutely delicious: flaky layers, great rise, crisp on the outside, tender on the inside. Ate them dripping with butter. Yum!
    PS/ Took the frozen biscuits out this morning and placed them on parchment while the oven heated. Baked them 2 minutes longer. Same delicious qualities as the ones baked immediately after prepping. Thanks for another great recipe, Jenn!!!

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