Best 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.
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).
Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits
- 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
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Pulse a few times to mix.
- 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.
- Add the buttermilk and stir with a spoon until dough comes together into a craggy mass. Do not over-mix.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.