Southern-Style Buttermilk Biscuits

Tested & Perfected Recipes

These Southern-style buttermilk biscuits are deliciously rich, buttery, and flaky.

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

Southern buttermilk biscuit recipes typically call for White Lily flour, a low-protein brand primarily available in the southern U.S. states that makes for ultra-tender, melt-in-your-mouth biscuits. I can’t find White Lily flour easily where I live, so I use a blend of all-purpose flour and cornstarch to get a similar effect. These buttermilk biscuits are rich, buttery, and flaky with a toasty golden crust. Plus, they’re easy to make. You can throw the dough together in 15 minutes and end enjoy the biscuits with your dinner less than fifteen minutes later.

What you’ll need to make Buttermilk Biscuits

buttermilk biscuits ingredients

Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin by combining the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in a food processor.

Pulse briefly to combine.

mixed dry ingredients

Add the cold chunks of butter.

cold butter added to dry ingredients

Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand with a few pea-size clumps of butter intact.

dry ingredients mixed with butter

Transfer the mixture to a bowl.biscuit mixture in mixing bowl

Add the buttermilk.

adding buttermilk to biscuit dough

Stir until the mixture comes together into a shaggy mass.

shaggy biscuit dough

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and bring together into a loose ball.

ball of biscuit dough

Gently pat the dough into a rectangle about 3/4 inch thick.

rectangle of dough

Cut the dough in thirds.

cutting dough in thirds

Stack the pieces on top of one another.

stacked pieces of dough

Pat out into a rectangle about 3/4 inch thick again. You can see in the photo below how this process creates layers in the dough, which makes for deliciously flaky biscuits.

second rectangle of dough

Cut the dough into thirds again.

second cut into thirds

Stack the pieces up again.

stacked pieces of dough

Finally, pat the dough into a rectangle with a final thickness of about 3/4 inch.

biscuit dough ready to cut

Cut the dough into 12 small squares (these biscuits are on the smaller side).

biscuit dough cut into squares

Transfer the squares to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

biscuits on baking sheet

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until golden.

buttermilk biscuits fresh out of the oven

The biscuits are best served warm out of the oven (though a few minutes in the oven will revive slightly stale biscuits).

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Note: This recipe was updated in November 2020. To reference the original recipe, click here.

Southern-Style Buttermilk Biscuits

These Southern-style buttermilk biscuits are deliciously rich, buttery, and flaky.

Servings: 12 biscuits
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, plus a bit more if necessary

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF and set an oven rack in the middle position. Line a 13x18-inch 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. (Alternatively, combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl.)
  3. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand with a few pea-sized clumps of butter intact. (If making by hand, "cut" the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter, two knifes, or your fingertips.) Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl.
  4. Add the buttermilk and stir with a spoon or rubber spatula until the dough comes together into a shaggy mass. If the dough seems too dry, add a few more tablespoons of buttermilk. 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 rectangle about 3/4 inch thick.
  6. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into thirds. Stack the pieces on top of one another and pat out into a rectangle about 3/4 in thick 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 3/4 inch.
  8. Dust the blade of a sharp knife with flour and cut the dough into twelve even squares (they will seem small). Transfer the squares to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until the biscuits are lightly golden on top and a rich, golden brown on the bottom. The biscuits are best served warm out of the oven (though a few minutes in the oven will revive slightly older biscuits).

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 1 biscuit
  • Calories: 179
  • Fat: 10g
  • Saturated fat: 6g
  • Carbohydrates: 20g
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Sodium: 148mg
  • Cholesterol: 26mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Hi Jenn,
    Congratulations on the new cookbook and a HUGE thank you for all of your delicious family friendly recipes! (Whenever I being a new recipe to the table, our youngest son asks, “Is this Jenn’s recipe?” You’re virtually family!

    We love these biscuits and I make them all the time. Can I substitute heavy cream for the buttermilk? Thank you!

    • — Kathleen on October 6, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Kathleen, thanks for your nice words about the recipes – I am so flattered that your son asks if they are “Jenn recipes” when you bring things to the table! Unfortunately, heavy cream won’t work for these biscuits – sorry!

      • — Jenn on October 8, 2021
      • Reply
  • Can the dough be prepared a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to bake?

    • — Brittany on September 8, 2021
    • Reply
    • Nevermind – I just found the answer (duh, should have checked first)! Thank you!

      • — Brittany on September 8, 2021
      • Reply
  • This was my first time having biscuits. The light, moist fluffiness, the flakiness… Very interesting, will be making this again!

    • — Alexandra on August 16, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made these a few days ago for a family party I was hosting. I got barbecue from our favorite place, which does everything well except for the tasteless rolls! I used my usual cheater method: I brought the butter to room temperature, cut it into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter (very easily done when the butter is soft), then chilled it until the butter was cold (overnight, actually, although an hour or two would have done the job), then stirred in the buttermilk (well, milk soured with lemon juice) and proceeded with making them. They were unusually delicious, and will be my go-to biscuit recipe henceforth. My sister, who is a bit of a foodie, said, “If a restaurant served these, they would be known for their biscuits.” I am making them again today because my husband and I are sad that the first batch is gone.

    • — Xara Buckingham on June 10, 2021
    • Reply
  • Delicious! Light and flaky with a yummy crisp shell. My new go to biscuit recipe. Thank you.

    • — Sharon on May 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hello
    Is there any chance that these biscuits can be made ahead and frozen until service day??
    Many thanks
    Kim

    • — Kim Addison on May 17, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure! (I would freeze them unbaked.) Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 17, 2021
      • Reply
  • Can I make the dough the night before and bake in the morning?

    • — Laura on April 29, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure – hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 30, 2021
      • Reply
  • I have been testing recipes for biscuits for quite a while, and this is by far the best recipe. Followed the recipe exactly, used a pastry cutter rather than food processor. Thank you. It’s a keeper!

    • — DK on April 26, 2021
    • Reply
  • A teaspoon of cider vinegar adds flakiness as well.

    • — Tyler Atwood on April 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made your biscuits today. I have celiac so following GF rule of them I added one beaten egg. I did not use a food processor, do not have one. But mixed well all dry ingredients whisked before adding butter. They came out beautifully. They reminded me of the real thing. Nice rise, layers of goodness and so light. Thank you. Jane E. 🇨🇦

    • — Jane Eagles on March 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • These were incredible. My southern husband gave them a five plus rating. And this was my first time trying to make biscuits. Also you can find the flour on Amazon.

    • — Dalia B. on February 25, 2021
    • Reply
  • Oh my, these are so good! The best biscuits I’ve ever had and the recipe is easy. My layers tilted to one side, when baking, but this was my first attempt. I will try to get them more uniform next time, because this will be my go-to recipe for sure! It’s so nice when something comes out so well!

    • — Robin on February 23, 2021
    • Reply
  • Made these today but omitted the sugar and reduced the salt a bit and they were a huge hit. My mom is dairy free so also made a half batch substituting almond milk with a bit of lemon juice for the buttermilk and instead of butter I used earth balance. She loved them. I’ve tried many of your recipes over the years and everything always turns out great. This has been my go-to recipe site for quite a while and my family and friends are now fans too. Thank you!

    • — Debbi on February 21, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made these wonderful buttermilk biscuits this morning for breakfast, really enjoyed them, then noticed that I’d forgotten to add the tablespoon of sugar the recipe called for. Honestly, I don’t think the sugar was needed. I compared them to other buttermilk biscuit recipes I’ve made, and have to say that these blew the others out of the water! Using the food processor made the preparation so much easier, and the stacking method produced a lovely flaky texture. My husband and I had to force ourselves to not eat the entire batch!

    • — Lynda Loscoe on February 21, 2021
    • Reply
  • Made these biscuits today and they turned out great! The instructions on what the dough was supposed to look like combined was unclear so I was not sure if I mixed too much or if I needed to add more flour or buttermilk with the consistency that I had. I would add less salt and bake for less time as at 13 minutes the biscuits were too brown. I would probably make and check at the 10-minute mark.

    • — Kathleen Hsu on February 17, 2021
    • Reply
  • I swear after all my many many years spent in a kitchen, this site is the only one I ever leave a comment on. I’ll be honest, my biscuits were really wet when I put them in the oven and I was afraid this was gonna be the first negative experience I would have on this site..but nope..best biscuits I have ever made and I’m the biscuit king in the family. I’m still not sure if I made a mistake somewhere but regardless these came out delicious..main problem was there was not enough. Some things I did that helped was freezing the butter for a bit before it went into the flower..the colder the better..secondly I used a cheese grater for the butter which helps
    spread it evenly theougj…and I didn’t buy buttermilk because I always waste it..just add a tablespoon of lemon juice to regular milk and let it sit for 5 minutes..definitely gonna go through my recipe binder and throw my old biscuit recipe in the trash..thanks again

    P.s. I’ve been having trouble with this site while using mobile..when I’m in the middle of a recipe an add pops up that doesn’t move even if I scroll..I’ve now learned to turn my phone sideways to get rid of it..it just did it again while typing this comment to remind me to mention it..

    • — Feen Oh on February 16, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed the biscuits and found a “new” recipe! 🙂 And thanks for your feedback about the ad blocking content — I’m sorry — that definitely shouldn’t be happening! I’m going to mention it to my ad network.

      • — Jenn on February 20, 2021
      • Reply
  • I made these biscuits for a Sabbath breakfast. They were perfectly flaky and instantly became the go to for when we’re craving a biscuit. My butter fiend husband didn’t even add butter when he broke it open…which says a lot! We just add a bit of jam or curd and it’s perfect.

    • — Judy on February 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • Gave this recipe to my college son and he is able to impress his friends with them. They think he is such a good cook….Yep, that happens when you follow a great recipe developer!!!Thanks for making your recipes fail-proof! Always taste great!!

    • — Susan Campbell on February 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made these biscuits on Sunday morning and made them with yummy Irish butter. I used salted as I had no unsalted butter. They turned out well but I still think I over mixed them. They did not turn out golden like the picture but still tasted good.

    • — Rebekah Sartorius on February 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • Great recipe that is easy to make.

    • — Paul H McLester on February 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is a wonderful recipe! It is quick, easy and delicious. The note about adding extra buttermilk if needed was very helpful! My entire family loved these biscuits and we will be making them again! I can’t to try more recipes from this site!

    • — Austin D. on January 30, 2021
    • Reply
  • I was reading an article on southern biscuits and it mentioned White Lily flour which is only available in the south and too expensive to order on Amazon. I love biscuits so I thought I’d try your recipe. It was a success!!! They came out light, airy, fluffy and melt in your mouth. I believe the addition of the corn starch and layering the dough made all the difference. I also used a round biscuit cutter which I did NOT twist when cutting the dough. (I heard that twisting the biscuit cutter when cutting your dough hinders the height of your biscuits). These biscuits were heaven, love them!

    • — Joey A. on January 30, 2021
    • Reply
  • These biscuits are my go to biscuits. I tried this recipe for the first time over thanksgiving. I made them for my family. My mother said I am now the new biscuit maker of the family. I did not follow the directions exactly. My mother does not have a good processor so I cut the butter in the old fashioned way…with a pastry blender. The biscuits came out flakey and and amazing!! If you need an amazing biscuit recipe this is the one!!!

    • — Natalie on January 30, 2021
    • Reply
  • These are so fantastic it is my goto recipe. They’re flaky, delicious and the best part – fast. I rarely made biscuits because they never came out perfect but these are so easy and obviously foolproof if I can make them turn out great.

    • — Kathy on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • I’ve made these biscuits several times and I love how quick and easy they are to make. Not to mention delicious! My family tore through these in no time. Winner every time!

    • — Ashley on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • I’ve made these biscuits several times and I love how quick and easy they are to make. Not to mention delicious! My family tore through these in no time. Winner every time!

    • — Ashley Casserly on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • I love this recipe, it has the right amount of butter and folding the dough over to make layers—so good.
    I had another biscuit recipe I used for 10 years—this one replaced it.
    I also love cutting the biscuits instead of stamping them out and having leftover dough that becomes rubbery when reshaped. I have also just baked the leftover scraps as they are as scraps—just not my favorite way to use up dough.
    Great recipe.

    • — Heather on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • These are REALLY good – the process of cutting and layering makes them so flaky!

    • — June on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • Easy to follow. Make this childhood favorite. Great as a snack. Thank you!

    • — Daniel Geske on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • These biscuits are delicious!!! The recipe is simple, quick and fool-proof. Thanks for great recipes!

    • — Courtney on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • These are really delicious. The cornstarch addition was very interesting… and the biscuits came out really flaky and light. Like a couple other reviewers, I don’t bother to buy buttermilk, just add lemon or vinegar to milk, because everything else is on hand in the kitchen. I think I’ll stick with this recipe for my biscuits. Thanks again Jen!

    • — Nicola Griffith on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • absolutely delish! perfectly flaky, soft, and they work gluten free too! ideal for thanksgiving or a potluck.

    • — lulu zeldis on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I always make these with your beef stew recipe – so easy and good! I love that it’s something I can throw together at the last minute with no planning and I always have the ingredients on hand (except buttermilk – I usually just do the DIY buttermilk with a spash of vinegar or lemon).

    • — Erika on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Yummy yummy I’m getting my kids to help this weekend and will make some . I like the bite size too . The ingredients are diet friendly . Can’t wait to give it a try . Thank you for sharing

    • — Catherine Fe on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • The cut and stack method is brilliant at creating flaky biscuits. Once baked I brushed them with a mixture of melted butter and honey for that little extra touch. ❤️ your recipes and website.

    • — Rita C. on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Excellent recipe. Foolproof and my go to for biscuits.

    • — Byul Hutchinson on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
    • Yummy yummy I’m getting my kids to help this weekend and will make some . I like the bite size too . The ingredients are diet friendly . Can’t wait to give it a try . Thank you for sharing

      • — Catherine Fe on January 28, 2021
      • Reply
  • Best recipe. Very tasty and easy to make. The whole family loves it.

    • — Anne on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Been needing a go-to biscuit recipe! Can’t wait to make these again.

    • — Christina on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Just like Mama used to make when I was a kid. Delicious!

    • — Sarah on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • These were amazing, everyone loved them. Great with soup or with jam! Recipe was clear and simple to do!

    • — Michelle Johnson on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • These biscuits receive 5 stars for taste and texture. My husband ate them for days and they even froze well (I had to hide some the hubby was eating so many!!!)

    • — DBrown on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I have been working my way through a lot of biscuit recipes trying to find my favorite. This is definitely at the top of my list! Once you get used to the idea that the dough is very “shaggy” you will see the reward in how fluffy these come out. I like biscuits with defined layers and these certainly have them.

    • — Susan on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I will never buy premade biscuits again! These are delicious and easy even for a non baker!

    • — Emily on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • My Family loves these biscuits! I love that Jenn makes them in the food processor, so easy! I recommend doubling the recipe, they are that delicious! We like to eat them with butter and jam or butter and honey.

    • — Teresa V. on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I have never made fresh biscuits before. I’m super intimidated by flour and baking things. However, I was craving Biscuits after buying a quart of buttermilk that week for another recipe and wanted to use the leftovers.
    These were beyond easy and delicious! I’m my breakfast arsenal now. Thanks so much for de-mystifying this classic for me.

    • — Jade Bishop on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I have never made fresh biscuits before. I’m super intimidated by flour and baking things. However, I was craving Biscuits after buying a quart of buttermilk that week for another recipe and wanted to use the leftovers.
    These were beyond easy and delicious! I’m my breakfast arsenal now. Thanks so much for de-mystifying this classic for me.

    • — Jade Bishop on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • These biscuits are great. I’ve made them twice – the first with less salt and the second with the specified amount of salt which was too salty for my taste. Will definitely make again with less salt.

    • — Liz on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I have made many biscuit recipes over the years but these stand out as some of the best. A little more work with having to cut and stack them but totally worth it! They also taste great a day old if you microwave them very briefly.

    • — Christine on January 28, 2021
    • Reply

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