Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

This versatile Southern buttermilk biscuits recipe only requires three ingredients, all Southern staples: self-rising soft wheat flour (such as White Lily or Martha White brands), good butter, and good buttermilk.–Editors of Southern Living Magazine

LC What Folks Are Saying About This Recipe Note

“Spectacular.” “Sinful.” “Easy.” “Airy.” “Buttery.” “Lofty.” “Perfect.” “An absolute keeper.” That’s what folks are saying about these buttermilk biscuits. Sorta makes you want to try them, eh?

Special Equipment: 2-inch round biscuit or cookie cutter

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 45 M
  • Makes about 18 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cold, plus more for the pan if needed
  • 2 1/4 cups self-rising flour, or 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons homemade self-rising flour* (you may need up to 1 cup more flour if the dough is sticky), plus more for the work surface
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk, cold
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, melted

Directions

  • 1. Cut the cold butter into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Dump the flour into a large bowl and toss in the butter slices. Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly and resembles small peas. Cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  • 2. Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C). Lightly butter a baking sheet or jelly-roll pan or line it with parchment paper.
  • 3. Add the buttermilk to the flour mixture, stirring just until the flour is moistened. The dough will be very sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it 3 or 4 times, gradually adding additional flour as needed. Using floured hands, press or pat the dough into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle (it should measure about 9 by 5 inches). Sprinkle the top of the dough with additional flour. Starting with a short end, fold the dough over onto itself in 3 sections. Then fold the dough rectangle as if folding a letter-size piece of paper. Press the dough into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle (yes, again) and repeat the entire process 2 more times, adding additional flour as needed.
  • 4. Press or pat the dough to a 1/2-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough with a floured 2-inch cutter. Place the biscuits side by side on the prepared baking sheet or jelly-roll pan. The biscuits should touch. Quickly and gently press together the dough scraps while the dough is still cold and cut out as many more biscuits as you can.
  • 5. Bake the biscuits for 13 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Brush the tops with the melted butter and let them cool ever so slightly. The biscuits are best warm from the oven, so don’t dally.

*Self-Rising Flour Note

  • We know self-rising flour isn’t necessarily a staple in everyone’s pantry, so we want to share how to make your own self-rising flour. We use this very easy equation: 1 cup of self-rising flour = 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon salt + 1 cup all-purpose flour. [Editor's Note: In case you haven't a calculator handy, when you do the math for this recipe, that equates to 1 tablespoon of baking powder + 1 teaspoon salt + 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Now go bake.]
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Julie Houser

Apr 28, 2014

This Southern buttermilk biscuits recipe was fast, easy, and spectacular. The extra step of folding the dough, as you would puff pastry, allowed the biscuits to reach lofty heights previously unseen in my kitchen. Truly spectacular results for a non-baker. An absolute keeper for me.

Testers Choice
Larry Noak

Apr 28, 2014

This Southern buttermilk biscuits recipe, as described by my wife, is SINFUL! And I couldn't agree more. The recipe is very traditional and straightforward. I LOVE the folding of the dough, which created beautiful layers. The addition of bacon and black pepper takes these biscuits to a level all their own. Because the biscuits are brushed with melted butter upon leaving the oven, I found them perfect with no other toppings. As a matter of fact, they taste like an amazing breakfast sandwich all by themselves. I couldn't resist dropping one in some homemade soup...WOW! Now that's some kind of dumpling. I was able to collect the dough scraps after cutting and make a few more perfect biscuits. There was little, if any, waste. This recipe gave me nearly 20 nice, plump biscuits.

Testers Choice
Shannon Parrish

Apr 28, 2014

I’m a Southern girl at heart, so no one could’ve stopped me from making this Southern buttermilk biscuits recipe. They're warm, light, airy, buttery heaven. These biscuits are soooo mouthwatering and can be enjoyed any time of day. They’re practically easier than popping open that can of pre-made biscuits (and certainly safer) and the taste is incomparable, so there's no excuse to avoid making homemade biscuits. The best part is that with only 3 ingredients, you probably already have everything on hand. I enjoyed these with a drizzle of honey…yum. They’d make a great biscuit for a breakfast sandwich in savory form or they could stand to be slathered with jam or cream and berries for a sweet offering. This is a great recipe to keep close by (which I intend to do). Don’t expect them to last long!

Testers Choice
Linda M.

Apr 28, 2014

These Southern buttermilk biscuits came together easily and were wonderful with a schmear of salted butter. The dough was a little wet, so I used additional flour for each turn and fold before rolling the dough. I re-rolled the scraps and couldn't tell the difference between the biscuits from the original rolling out and the re-rolling out. Great with homemade chicken soup.

Testers Choice
Karen Depp

Apr 28, 2014

When you live in the land of biscuits, it takes a really great one to get a rise out of you (ha ha). This Southern buttermilk biscuits recipe makes just that biscuit. I'd never used the fold-over technique before, and it's obviously a good way to get all that butter into the dough. And it's fun, too. These were lightly golden brown on the outside, soft and buttery and flaky on the inside. In fact, they ended up being dinner since they beat everything else I'd had on the projected menu.

Testers Choice
Denise Grace

Apr 28, 2014

My biscuits were a thing of beauty! I'd never made buttermilk biscuits before, and I was pretty intimidated by the prospect of making these for company. To be honest, my first batch didn't turn out as expected—I think the self-rising flour I used was too old and I'm pretty sure the temperature of my oven was off as the biscuits didn't rise or brown properly. However, I tried the recipe again using the LC tip for homemade self-rising flour. I worked the dough a little less than the first time, and I made them a little thicker. I also turned my oven up 25° to compensate for how off it was. Result? Amazingly beautiful and delicious biscuits! They were gone in a flash. I highly recommend this recipe.


Comments
Comments
  1. I’m so intrigued! I’ve never heard of this folding of the dough technique for biscuits. The maxim I’ve always lived by for biscuits is the less you handle the dough, the more tender the biscuits. Does the kneading and folding not develop the gluten too much?

  2. victoria2nyc says:

    I love Southern Biscuits, but there is no White Lily Flour in NYC that I know of. I have pleaded with the manager of Fairway to stock it, promising it will sell, but so far no dice. King Arthur Flour is great, but, honey, it sho ‘nuf isn’t soft wheat.

    • Beth Price says:

      Victoria2nyc, you are so right. I know of people that travel with their White Lily. No joke.

    • Renee says:

      White Lily will ship. I think you have to order about four bags to make it worthwhile, but I keep all my flours in the freezer anyway.

      King Arthur does have a softer wheat flour (and the self-rising, which I often use). It’s not quite the same, but it’s close…and White Lily isn’t the same as it was 15-20 years ago either.

  3. Jeff Parker says:

    Oddly, I woke up this morning after dreaming of these biscuits! Thanks for the timely (and oddly intuitive) post! Cheers

  4. Susan says:

    I sifted together 1/2 cup of cake flour and 1 3/4 cups of all purpose to approximate the protein content of the White Lilly flour that is preferred in this recipe. I had them both, so why not! Plus, I added a tsp of sugar, too, to cut the salty flavor a little. I’ve always folded biscuits and scones using this folded dough method, though I don’t fold it quite so many times, maybe only 2, 3-folds for nice flakey biscuits. These were delicious!

  5. Dana says:

    I just made these for breakfast for my Southern husband. He loves them, as do I. I got 8 biscuits out of the recipe–I’m really bad with dough. But, they still turned out absolutely delicious. Perfect inside and out.

    • David Leite David Leite says:

      Dana, turning out biscuits everyone loves isn’t what I’d call being bad with dough! You’ll get better with practice. And since these seem to be so beloved, I gather you’ll have lots of practice!

  6. mona says:

    these are heaven – i’ll never use another buttermilk recipe again! and thanks to wegman’s for carrying white lily. i have to drive 45 minutes to get it, but it’s so worth it…

  7. ATNell says:

    Lisa Fain over at Homesick Texan has a similar recipe that she calls “Thwack Biscuits”. You would think that with all the thwacking involved that the biscuits would be dense and tough, but they are some of the best biscuits that I’ve made so far. And that folding over the dough method makes for some great layers in the finished biscuit.

  8. Geraldine Smith says:

    What is brown butter? I have never heard of it. Where can I get it from? Can I make it myself?

  9. Tammy Swinney says:

    This is the closest I’ve found to my own personal biscuit recipe! I add about a tablespoon of sugar and an extra teaspoon of baking powder to mine. I also start my oven at 500 and take it down to 450 a minute or 2 after putting the biscuits in. They take exactly 12 minutes to cook. I wooed my husband into marrying me with these!

    • David Leite David Leite says:

      Tammy, well, if these biscuits are anything like yours, and you got your husband to marry you with them…then ladies (and some gentlemen), start your ovens.

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