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Southern-Style Buttermilk Biscuits

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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
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch chunks
  • ¾ cup buttermilk, plus a bit more if necessary (see note)

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 ¾ 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 ¾ 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 ¾ 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).
  9. Note: If you’d like to make your own buttermilk, check out the easy method here.
  10. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The biscuits can be frozen, unbaked, for up to 3 months. They can be baked without thawing; they may just take a few extra minutes in the oven.

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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Comments

  • Yum oh Yum! Leftovers went with your leftover chicken tenders the next day as honey butter biscuits. Fit for my best friends post lady Gaga concert! Love!

    • — KK on September 15, 2022
    • Reply
  • Question please: I need the biscuits to be…taller. So, I’m thinking of doubling the ingredients and then doubling the height of the dough. Do you think that would work? How would you change the baking temperature or time baked? Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to comments/questions! I’m not only cooking from scratch, I’m learning from scratch! Oh, by the way, the flavor and the texture of these biscuits was very, very good!! Thank you for another 5 star recipe.

    • — Sonja on September 8, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Sonja, I would increase the baking time by a few minutes. I wouldn’t double the height though – 1.5 times should be good. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on September 13, 2022
      • Reply
      • Hi Jenn,
        I have White Lily flour. How do I substitute? Also I used the original recipe before. Is there a reason you changed it?

        • — Barbara on September 26, 2022
        • Reply
        • Hi Barbara, Although you have White Lily flour, I’d suggest following the recipe with all-purpose flour. The recipe would be different with White Lily flour and, because I haven’t tested it that way, I’m not sure how they’d turn out. Sorry! And the reason I went with all-purpose flour is that White Lily is not widely available in all parts of the country.

          • — Jenn on September 27, 2022
          • Reply
  • THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!

    • — Madeleine Fuchs on June 16, 2022
    • Reply
  • Can I use milk and lemon juice as a substitute for buttermilk like suggested in the strawberry shortcake recipe? I don’t want to run to the store 🙂

    • — Denise on May 15, 2022
    • Reply
    • Definitely!

      • — Jenn on May 16, 2022
      • Reply
      • Could you add some grated cheddar cheese to these or would that change the texture?

        • — Joan on May 20, 2022
        • Reply
        • Hi Joan, I think the addition of cheese would be delish! Depending upon how much you add, you may need to add a bit more buttermilk so the batter isn’t too thick. Please LMK how they turn out!

          • — Jenn on May 23, 2022
          • Reply
  • These were super easy and ridiculously delicious! Honestly, we had to put the biscuits away to make sure we had enough leftovers for a 2nd meal of biscuits and gravy for breakfast. This recipe will be on hand for frequent use!

    • — Meredith on April 24, 2022
    • Reply
  • Thank you for this delicious recipe! I wanted to make them savory, so added chopped fresh thyme, and they were wonderful- flaky and light, thanks again!

    • — Margaret on April 21, 2022
    • Reply
  • Made this recipe last night with the following changes: substituted home-made whole kefir for buttermilk 1:1 and grated the cold butter since I didn’t want to pull out the food processor. They turned out excellent. Husband wants more to use as a sandwich with Easter ham. Thank you for an excellent and easy recipe.
    Ginger

    • — Ginger on April 19, 2022
    • Reply
  • This is the fourth biscuit recipe I’ve tried (have tried sam sifton’s, Melissa Clark’s and molly Baez’s) and this one is now my go-to! So fluffy, crispy, soft, and love the layers.

    • — Bob on April 17, 2022
    • Reply
  • I’ve never been able to make good biscuits. Ever. I tried this recipe today, and I’m so proud! They’re delicious! Buttery, flaky, tender…now I can die happy. Lol. Thanks, Jenn!

    • — Susan on April 13, 2022
    • Reply
  • Seriously the best biscuits I’ve made! A couple things I did different, for the newbies that are having trouble like I did. I grated the butter first, then put it back in the coldest part of my fridge (could also freeze), until it was ready to be mixed in. And the second thing I did was I folded the dough in half and patted out to a rectangle, turned, folded and patted again, turned, folded and patted again for about 6 times, give or take. I did that instead of cutting and stacking. Thank you for such an easy, excellent, recipe! I have become a fan!

    • — Nicole on April 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hey what does the cornstarch do for the biscuits? Ive never seen it in a biscuit recipe before so I was just curious. 🙂

    • — Chelsea ONeill on March 20, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Chelsea, it helps to make the biscuits more tender. Hope that clarifies and that you enjoy if you make them!

      • — Jenn on March 21, 2022
      • Reply
    • I hope I have as much success as everyone who commented! Mine are in the oven now. Just 1 question- if you are able to find White Lily flour, what in the recipe changes? I have that on hand, so I used it, added the baking powder and baking soda etc. Just didn’t add the cornstarch – hope this wasn’t a huge mistake!

      • — Stacey Kraft on May 2, 2022
      • Reply
      • Hi Stacey, Typically I would tell people to replace the cornstarch with more flour. How did they come out?

        • — Jenn on May 3, 2022
        • Reply
  • Light, flaky, tasty biscuits that weren’t hard to put together at all with a food processor. Served with homemade sausage gravy. Thank you for breaking down the recipe with pics and instructions! Going to freeze the rest of the biscuits and share with my Mom.

    • — Amber on March 12, 2022
    • Reply
  • Wow I’m shocked how great these are. Amazing thank you so much!

    • — AMY R on February 24, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, sorry in advance for the silly question, but are these buttermilk biscuits the same as scones? I’m in Australia and I’m not sure of the difference! Also what baking instructions would you recommend for frozen unbaked biscuits, would you bake it at the same temperature for a few minutes longer? Thanks heaps!

    • — Mel on January 25, 2022
    • Reply
    • Not a silly question, Mel — I know there are some language differences between the US and Australia, so to clarify — these biscuits rely on acidity (from the buttermilk) to make them really fluffy and light whereas scones are more sturdy and dense. And yes, I’d bake the biscuits directly into the oven from the freezer. Keep the temp the same; they may just take a few extra minutes to bake. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 25, 2022
      • Reply
      • Thanks Jenn, wow I never knew these existed until now haha, can’t wait to try them this weekend. Will use the remaining buttermilk to make your Ranch dipping sauce recipe, love trying out your recipes, thanks again!

        • — Mel on January 30, 2022
        • Reply
  • Delicious biscuits! I had leftover buttermilk after making your fried chicken last night and thought I would have a go at these. So quick to make and so delicious. I froze half of the dough, cut into squares, so will see later how it freezes but the biscuits fresh out of the oven with jam were really great. Loved the flakiness. 10/10.

    • — JH on January 14, 2022
    • Reply
    • I adore this recipe… But didn’t know if there was any difference once frozen. Did they have the same texture/taste as the fresh ones? I’m trying to prep food in advanced for vacation.

      • — Christy on April 21, 2022
      • Reply
      • Hi Christy, The taste and texture should be just as good.

        • — Jenn on April 22, 2022
        • Reply
  • This is my go-to biscuit recipe. These are as close to my grandmother’s biscuits as I’ve ever been able to get. She would stock-up on White Lily flour for biscuits every time she visited her family in North Carolina. My kids love these & I make them pretty frequently. Also, thank you so much for including the weight for flour & butter. It saves me having to wash measuring cups & since I live in Europe, butter doesn’t come in 1/2cup sticks, so I don’t have to look up “how many grams in a TBSP of butter” every time!

    • — Amanda J on January 13, 2022
    • Reply
  • LOVE these! Run don’t walk to your kitchen! First time through I made the recipe exactly as written. Delicious. So far I have used these for egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches, with jam and butter, and as a dinner accompaniment. Fabulous! They have also lasted 3 days in airtight container at room temp, great grab and go!

    • — DAOler on January 11, 2022
    • Reply
  • I used pastry flour to use up what I had, and these biscuits were out of this world. I will make them again and again. Thank you for the recipe.

    • — Charlene Tuttle on January 8, 2022
    • Reply
  • These are always a hit in my family. Soft, flaky, buttery and delicious every time. I vaguely remember a similar buttermilk biscuit that you had on your site in which cream cheese was used. Is this correct? Just curious. They both still taste good!

    • — Renee on January 1, 2022
    • Reply
    • Glad you like them! Yes, you’re right, I updated the recipe just over a year ago. If you’re interested in the original recipe, below the section of “You May Also Like” links you’ll see a link to the original recipe. Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on January 4, 2022
      • Reply
  • These are the best biscuits I’ve ever made. I’m throwing away all other biscuit recipes. Tender flakey, beautiful. Thank you.

    • — Ellen on December 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • Officially the best biscuits I have ever made. Haven’t had a bad turn out and this is my fifth batch in a month!

    • — Lindi Barrett on December 26, 2021
    • Reply
  • This was the best Christmas morning surprise ever! I made them for breakfast, and they were a hit!! Everyone lingered at the table…trying out ‘just one more’ with fresh jam or honey-butter. I had never made biscuits before, but knew I could trust Jenn’s recipe….and, of course, it went together quickly and easily….just like the recipe said! They were delicious, tender, and flaky! Thank you, Jenn! (Next year I’ll leave some for Santa)!

    • — Barbara K. on December 26, 2021
    • Reply
  • These are so easy to make and quite delicious…my husband prefers these to my yeast dinner rolls, which take a lot longer to make!! I baked a few of them and they turned out just like the picture!! I made 3 batches and froze them unbaked…This way I’ll have freshly made biscuits on Christmas Eve…can’t wait!

    • — Wendy Schoenburg on December 19, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made these today with your beef stew. The crust on them is delicious but they didn’t come out high like the ones pictured. Not sure what I did wrong but the taste is there.I’m definitely making them again until they are perfect. My husband said the stew is five star dining as well. Thank you for the recipes and suggestion to put the two together

    • — Debbie on December 17, 2021
    • Reply
  • I can’t wait to try these….a welcome change from my dinner rolls made from yeast!
    When you pat out the dough, how large is your rectangle?
    How long can you freeze the unbaked rolls?
    My grown son, who is a picky eater, will try any of your recipes that I make!!
    We love them all!!

    • — Wendy Schoenburg on December 15, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Wendy, I haven’t made this in a while, and honestly, I don’t recall the dimensions of the rectangle; just eyeball the dough when you pat it out and make sure it’s about ¾-inch thick. And you can freeze the unbaked rolls for up to 3 months. Hope everyone (including your son) enjoys! 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 17, 2021
      • Reply
  • Made with Bob’s redmill gluten free flour and cut the salt in half. Turned out very good for biscuits and gravy!

    • — Larry on November 26, 2021
    • Reply
  • This was absolutely amazing. Easier than I thought and they were wonderfully flaky and buttery. Definitely a keeper!!

    • — Jacquelyn Vargas on November 22, 2021
    • Reply

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