Best Buttermilk Biscuits

4.5 stars based on 19 votes


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. 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.


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.


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


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


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


Add the buttermilk.


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


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


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


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


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


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?


Place the biscuits on a parchment lined baking sheet.


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


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).

Best Buttermilk Biscuits

Servings: 12 biscuits
Total Time: 30 Minutes


  • 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


  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.

Nutrition Information

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  • Serving size: 1 biscuit
  • Calories: 173
  • Fat: 9g
  • Saturated fat: 5g
  • Carbohydrates: 20g
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Sodium: 366mg
  • Cholesterol: 24mg

Reviews & Comments

  • Oooh, one thing I forgot to add is that I made a rhubarb syrup today from the leftover water that I squeezed from frozen rhubarb. It tastes great and I plan to pour it on the leftover biscuits with vanilla ice cream!

    - Holly W on April 5, 2016 Reply
  • 3 stars

    These were just okay for me but because of my own inept technique. I flattened the dough too thin when shaping into a rectangle and ended up with about 20 biscuits. So they didn’t rise that great. I thought they were at least flaky though.

    - Holly W on April 5, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    If you really want White Lily flour, you can order it on Amazon. I do, as no store in Minnesota carries it.

    Now if you want buttermilk biscuits any time, without having to run to the store for buttermilk, get SACO Buttermilk Blend. It should be in the baking section of your store, near the baking powder. It’s a yellow container, about the size of canned frosting, with red lettering. It’s a powdered version of buttermilk, and it works very well in recipes. For 3/4 cup buttermilk, add 3 tablespoons of the powder to the dry ingredients. Then just add 3/4 cup of water at the right moment.

    Be sure to keep the Saco powder in the fridge between uses, as recommended. It keeps for months that way.

    - Gordon on February 11, 2016 Reply
  • I don’t have a food processor but would love to make these! Could I just knead everything with my hands, or stir it maybe?

    - Sarah on February 11, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Sarah, You can either make these 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.

      - Jenn on February 12, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars


    - Julie on February 5, 2016 Reply
  • The food lion in York Pa sells white lily flour. Do I still add the cream cheese to the recipe?

    - Hedy DeCampo on February 4, 2016 Reply
    • Yes, Hedy — I would still add it.

      - Jenn on February 4, 2016 Reply
  • Hi, I live in the south. What adjustments would I need to make to the recipe if I’m starting with White Lily flour?

    - Connie on January 27, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Connie, Just be sure to use regular White Lily Flour (not self rising). Omit the corn starch and use 2-1/4 cups of the flour. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on January 27, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn,
    Is there a substitute to buttermilk? I read somewhere that you can cut milk with vinegar but not sure how that would be. Thanks – can’t wait to try these! I’ll give 5 stars since I’ve yet to try one of your recipes that isn’t!

    - janet on January 17, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Janet, One reader used yogurt thinned with a little milk in place of the buttermilk and got good results. There are a number of other substitutions you can try. See here for more details.

      - Jenn on January 18, 2016 Reply
      • Thanks – that’s a very useful site!

        - janet on January 18, 2016 Reply
  • Hi Jennifer – I’ve been looking for simple but delicious biscuits and am looking forward to making these for Christmas. Because they are home made and I don’t want to run out (I’m serving ham) I wanted to know how many should I estimate per person? Do people usually just have one biscuit?

    Thanks for your help.


    - Ellen Wu on December 19, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Ellen, I would say 1-2 per person.

      - Jenn on December 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    OK, these are amazing!! I’ve struggled to find a biscuit that is easy to prepare, yet delicious and light…this is it! I made these and whipped up a simple honey butter and served it with Jenn’s Autumn Carrot soup, what a treat…perfect as usual! Thanks so much!
    Like any similar recipe, I find these taste best fresh out of the oven, they did hold up well the next day, (with strawberries and fresh whipped cream of course!) but just not quite the same as fresh out of the oven :-)

    - Lana on December 3, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I loved these they are awesome! !! My 2 year old enjoyed them!!

    - Alicia on December 1, 2015 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Looking for a simple fast biscuit and this is perfect for me and my family.

    - crystal morris on November 11, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I loved these biscuits. I’ll try to add some zaatar and grated cheese next time.

    - Imane Daher on October 29, 2015 Reply
  • I could never seem to get a biscuit I was happy with until this recipe. What a great technique!

    - Lindsay on October 29, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Best biscuits ever! Gave some to a neighbour and they wanted the recipe. Thank you!

    - Byul Hutchinson on August 27, 2015 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Biscuit were crumbly but very tasty.

    Why add starch?

    - Chandra on August 27, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Chandra, It makes the biscuits more tender.

      - Jenn on August 28, 2015 Reply
  • Hi Jenn – looking forward to trying these; what modifications would you make for a cheese biscuit? Thank you in advance!

    - Leah on July 27, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Leah, I haven’t tried adding cheese to these biscuits so can’t say for sure how it would work. I’ll add cheese biscuits to my list, though — stay tuned :)

      - Jenn on August 3, 2015 Reply
  • Could I make this w. cup for cup gluten-free flour? Thanks!

    - Sally on July 26, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Sally, I haven’t tried it but it should work. Good luck :)

      - Jenn on July 29, 2015 Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I’m freezing half of the unbaked biscuits. Is wrapping each biscuit in waxed paper a good method?
    A big thumbs up for your Peruvian Chicken… Soooo good!
    As it’s “use up the buttermilk day”, I’m gonna crank out your lemon pound cake because it looks so perfect.
    Thanks, Stan

    - Stan on May 1, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Stan, Glad you enjoyed the chicken! For the biscuits, I’d probably just stack them between waxed or parchment paper and then place in a ziplock freezer bag. And definitely make the lemon pound cake — it’s one of my favorites :)

      - Jenn on May 1, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Absolutely the best! We had a couple for breakfast and will likely have another for lunch, along with a bowl of your Classic Tomato Soup, another favourite. Thanks so much for sharing all these recipe Jenn.

    - Janet on April 11, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn….

    Well, I made these “Best Buttermilk Biscuits” (great name by the way – because they are BEST) last night. Only 1 left this morning. This is the measure of a great recipe. I made an “egg McMuffin” with the last one this morning and warmed it in the toaster oven. FAB……I liked the idea of layering the dough for nice tall biscuits, the texture was just like old fashion biscuits and appearance was better than rolling and using the cutter.

    I’ll have to practice because some were not quite perfect in shape and appearance. Just like the cook.

    Thanks for another one – this is a family KEEPER .

    Streetsville, Ontario, Canada

    - Sharon Duerden on March 24, 2015 Reply
    • Ha! Too funny. Glad you enjoyed :)

      - Jenn on March 27, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I’m not fortunate enough to have a food processor so I attempted this by hand with a fork. These turned out great! Just came out of the oven and I’ve had two with some jam. For those who don’t have a food processor, attempt this anyway. It’s worth a bit of elbow grease.

    - Tori on March 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    love your way of cooking !!! very neat presentation. I just feel like trying every recipe.. tried biscuits and came out soo good.. thank you for your recipes..`

    - sindhu on March 19, 2015 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Very easy to make and tasty

    - Diane on December 21, 2014 Reply
  • Love your recipes. Just one question for you. I live in Greece and we don’t really eat biscuits like these. I’d like to give them a try but how do I serve them? Plain,with savory dishes or as dessert? I’m a bit confused.

    - Vivi on December 20, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Vivi, They are wonderful served with savory dishes, with butter or plain.

      - Jenn on December 20, 2014 Reply
  • Love your recipes and your site! Can you sub in white whole wheat flour or can the recipe be altered to incorporate it? If not, do you have a good recipe for whole wheat biscuits?

    - Leanne on December 3, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Leanne, I do think white whole wheat flour would work and you can sub cup for cup with all purpose. The taste will be a little different but still good :)

      - Jenn on December 3, 2014 Reply
  • Can the dough be made, cut into squares and refrigerated for several hours, then baked before serving?

    - Karen on November 16, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Karen, Yes you can refrigerate the unbaked biscuits for a few hours, although they might not rise quite as high as they would if you were to bake them immediately. A better option is actually freezing the biscuits (which you can do several days or weeks ahead), which seems to preserve the leavening action of the baking powder and soda better than refrigerating. Hope that helps!

      - Jenn on November 17, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I was in a hurry when I made these but they still came out great. I really liked the cutting/layering technique for a fluffier, flakier biscuit!! Thank you!!

    - Melissa on October 26, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I have never made biscuits that used corn starch or cream cheese before. These are very easy to throw together and the folding and cutting the dough in 3rds and then, finally cutting the square into 12 equal biscuits makes for a very easy recipe. No rolling, cutting, gathering scraps, re-rolling and cutting. This was a very easy recipe. To make it even quicker, measure all the dry ingredients together and have ready for when you can finish the preparation. I also had measured the cream cheese and cut the butter and stored it in the fridge until I was ready to do the making and baking. These biscuits are flavorful and flaky and were almost as good the next morning as they were the evening before with dinner. Will be reaching for this recipe again and again.

    - Karen T on August 8, 2014 Reply
  • 4 stars

    I’m a novice baker who just made these for the first time. They were pretty easy (even while being interrupted by a toddler and baby) and taste delicious. I did find them a bit dry. Could I up the buttermilk a bit or did I maybe over-flour the work space? Or other thoughts? Thanks!

    - Ruth on June 30, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Ruth, I apologize for the late reply. Somehow I missed your comment and am just now seeing it. Anyway, it’s fine to add a bit more buttermilk. You want the dough just dry enough to work with.

      - Jenn on November 16, 2014 Reply
  • 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!!!

    - Liz on February 14, 2014 Reply
  • These are wonderful! Soft inside, crispy outside, as tasty as the southern biscuits I grew up on!

    - Kelly on December 2, 2013 Reply
  • 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

    - Rick Delaney on December 1, 2013 Reply
  • 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.

    - Ale S. on November 27, 2013 Reply
  • 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)!

    - Mo on November 24, 2013 Reply
    • 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 :)

      - Jenn on November 24, 2013 Reply
      • Thanks for the tip, Jenn!

        - Mo on November 24, 2013 Reply
  • Can you make ahead of time and freeze?

    - Amy on November 21, 2013 Reply
    • 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!

      - Jenn on November 21, 2013 Reply
  • 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.

    - YAN on November 16, 2013 Reply
    • 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.

      - Jenn on November 16, 2013 Reply
      • Thank you so much! WIll definately try it. I bet my kids will love it!

        - Yan on November 16, 2013 Reply
        • I love these biscuits – they’re the only ones I’ve made that are easy and come out light and fluffy every time.
          We were on vacation and the rental property didn’t have a food processor or pastry cutter so I ended up grating the butter and it worked out perfect!

          - Pam on January 28, 2016 Reply
  • 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.

    - Linda on November 16, 2013 Reply
  • 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!

    - Darlene on November 15, 2013 Reply
  • 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!)

    - Sheryl on November 15, 2013 Reply
    • 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.

      - Jenn on November 15, 2013 Reply
  • 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?

    - Christi on November 14, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Christi, I think that should work just fine to freeze and bake later…they may need a few extra minutes in the oven.

      - Jenn on November 15, 2013 Reply
  • Great recipe! These were great with beef stew and with any breakfast.

    - Barbara on November 14, 2013 Reply
  • 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.

    - Karen T. on November 14, 2013 Reply
    • 5 stars

      When I commented before, I had not made these yet. I did have the white lily flour, but made it according to your directions. They were easy, and good and loved that I didn’t have to use a cutter, although I have a square cutter. I typically don’t add cream cheese to my biscuits. They were a hit, and I served them with your fried chicken recipe. Both are a winner!

      - Karen T on November 19, 2015 Reply

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