Just when you think you’ve got it, when you think you’ve finally mastered the differences between scones, biscuits, fairy cakes, cupcakes, and muffins, along comes this recipe. Sorry, folks. If these weren’t one of our most popular items, one that many have asked us to share, we wouldn’t be putting you through this torture.

These are tossed together like biscuits, but rather than putting you through the paces of biscuit making, this “shaggy mess” dough is chucked first into a muffin pan and then directly into the oven. Only butter is used versus a combination of butter and lard. As a result, these have a crunchy exterior and a tender but slightly dense, crumbly interior.

They are fantastic as is, but you can also slather them with sweet, creamy butter and your favorite jam, and rest assured, you won’t care about any confusion they might have caused.–David Muniz and David Lesniak

LC No Going Back Note

Indulge in these shamelessly simple little hybrid hussies once and you just may find that there’s no going back to roll-out biscuits—at least not for weekday morning biscuit cravings, anyways. Oh, and the authors know exactly what they’re talking about when they counsel you to “slather them with sweet, creamy butter.” Boy, do they.

Six Alabama muffin biscuits in a muffin tin.

Alabama Muffin Biscuits

4.86 / 7 votes
These Alabama muffin biscuits have a crunchy muffin-like exterior and a tender, flaky, biscuit-like interior. Pretty much the best of both worlds.
David Leite
Servings12 muffin biscuits
Calories320 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time45 minutes


  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 generous tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, cold, diced, plus more for the muffin tin
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, (either low-fat or full-fat)


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Butter a muffin tin containing 6 jumbo or 12 standard muffin cups.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda on low speed until evenly distributed. Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, and continue to mix on low just until the mixture is crumbly and there are pea-sized clumps scattered throughout. Slowly pour in the buttermilk and stir just until the dough looks evenly moistened. (It might seem counterintuitive, but the trick is to NOT stir until the dough comes together into a ball or you will end up with a tough muffin. What you want to see in the bowl are various-size lumps of butter and wet flour with some lingering bits of dry flour.)
  • Using a spoon or rubber spatula, gently stir up from the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any larger pockets of dry ingredients that remain into the batter. Using an ice-cream scoop, a large spoon, or even your hands, divide the dough evenly among the muffin cups. Since this dough remains loose and crumbly, you’ll need to press it into the scoop or in your fist and glom into the cups. If you’re concerned things still look dry and powdery, top each muffin with a little butter, which will, in a sense, baste the muffin while it bakes. And let’s face it, since when did more butter ever make anything worse?
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes for smaller muffin biscuits, 30 to 35 minutes for large muffin biscuits. More important than the actual timing is the visual appearance—the tops of the muffin biscuits should turn a darkish golden brown and look ruggedly lumpy and, if you touch the tops, they should feel firm. Cool the muffin biscuits in the tin on a wire rack for 5 minutes then tip them onto the rack to cool or, if you just can't help yourselves, to consume immediately.

Piece of Cake cookbook cover

Adapted From

Piece of Cake

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Serving: 1 muffin biscuitCalories: 320 kcalCarbohydrates: 38 gProtein: 5 gFat: 17 gSaturated Fat: 10 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 4 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 44 mgSodium: 372 mgPotassium: 188 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 8 gVitamin A: 520 IUCalcium: 88 mgIron: 2 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2012 David Muniz | David Lesniak. Photo © 2012 Jan Baldwin. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

We absolutely devoured these while they were warm from the oven. They were buttery and super tender. As they cooled, they got that crunchy exterior with a crumbly interior. But be forewarned, these muffins are enormous! Even in a standard muffin tin, these suckers have quite the muffin top (as will we once we finish them). Super dangerous, if you ask me! My husband rated these muffin biscuits “make-again good.”

Are they a biscuit or are they a muffin? Who cares when they have both awesome flavor and texture! Not to mention, they’re a dream to make in the mixer. The directions are clear and helpful. For my preferred taste, I may consider cutting back on the amount of sugar. However, nobody else complained. Outstanding—a real keeper!

I’ve never made a muffin biscuit before and I must say that I’m in love with this recipe. It was very easy to assemble and bake.

I made it in a standard-issue 12-cup muffin tin, baked it for 20 minutes, and had the most flaky soft muffin biscuits. I’ll definitely make this a staple in my home. Like any biscuit it’s a tad messy to assemble, but the payout in the end is well worth the mess.

Wow. These were pretty amazing. (But with nearly 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter and a 1/2 tablespoon of sugar in each muffin if you make a dozen, what do you expect?) They turned out exactly like the description provided: “crunchy exterior and a tender but slightly dense, crumbly interior.” I made these for breakfast, so they were eaten with jam and scrambled eggs, but I’d definitely make these again for a soup dinner. I might cut back a tad on the sugar to 4 1/2 or 5 tablespoons, if I were to make any change. My unadventurous toddler even knew this wasn’t worth passing up and devoured hers—a clear sign that it’s a winner. 🙂

At first I was skeptical, but by the end, I was completely and utterly convinced that these “muffins” rock! What a clever idea to just smoosh that dough into muffin tins instead of having to keep faffing with the whole rolling out process. I wasn’t sure about using the mixer, as I always do biscuits by hand, but following the directions exactly produced a terribly tender crumb that held together yet pulled apart perfectly. The muffins weren’t tough or rubbery.

When you first start dumping all the dry ingredients into the mixer and then adding the butter, it all seems quite simple. When you start to add the buttermilk (do try and get the real stuff, not the stuff made into buttermilk by adding chemicals; it’s so much better!) you keep asking yourself whether or not you’re doing it correctly, wanting to heed the warning about overmixing. I found the instructions clear and concise and the dough exactly as described. I piled the mix into 6 large muffin cups—thought I’d try big ones as I’m always making the small ones—with an ice-cream scoop and gently pushed them into the cups. They filled the cups completely and then puffed up nicely with a slightly lumpy, browned, gorgeous crust. I must say they were really delightful. Flaky, light, and oh so sweet. A shmear of butter and you’re away. I do think these would make a great biscuit for breakfast or alongside soups and stews. Dead easy and ever so impressive.

I’m baked goods–challenged and I’m always looking for baking recipes that make me look like a superstar instead of a total dud. So when I say this recipe rocks, believe me, it does. It works as the author intended, which is a shaggy, mostly mixed dough you press into a muffin tin and then top with a slice of butter. I made 6 extra-large muffins using an ice-cream scoop to measure with, which worked out perfectly. Baking time was spot-on, which rendered golden crisp muffins with a moist and slatherable (yep, a new word) interior crumb. Even though this recipe calls for 2 sticks of butter, you can’t go wrong spreading some additional on the baked biscuit muffin and then topping it with your favorite preserves.

The intro to this recipe promises a crunchy exterior and a tender but slightly dense, crumbly interior. The recipe delivers on all fronts, but the intro forgot to mention the rich, buttery flavor of these muffin biscuits. I’ve nothing but good things to say about the awesome textural contrast, with my favorite part being the super crisp, crunchy outside. The muffins held up great to the bitter orange marmalade I served them with. I did have to bake them about 10 minutes longer than the recipe specified to get a good color on the outside.

I’m not lying when I say that I might’ve dreamed about these muffin biscuits last night, they were so delectable! I made them in a jumbo muffin tin and they turned out crunchy on the top and light and buttery on the inside. A perfect biscuit recipe, in my opinion. I didn’t use an electric mixer though, just a large mixing bowl with a fork. Also, I used low-fat buttermilk, which worked well. And 35 minutes for the large muffin cups was just the right amount of time. I like the fact that you bake them as muffins in terms of the shape, but they’re actually a biscuit. That makes for a very nice presentation and easier cleanup. We ate these delicious muffin biscuits alongside soup last night, but these would also be great for breakfast with some strawberry jam…or maybe honey…or maybe with a slice of delicious ham on them instead. Oh the possibilities….

I now officially have TWO favorite biscuit recipes. If that isn’t happiness, I don’t know what is. These Alabama Muffin Biscuits are delicious and have a great texture: golden and crisp on top and moist and perfectly baked on the inside.

Just like with the Buttermilk Drop Biscuits, recipe—the other favorite of mine on LC—not having to roll out the dough allows you to whip these up in no time at all. Butter or jam would be a no-brainer, but I served mine with Smoky Chipotle Vegetarian Chili. The gentle sweetness of the biscuits was great with the chili.

This recipe is a keeper for me. Rarely do I make a recipe that hubby, son, and I all love, but this was one. None of us usually care for biscuits with sugar in them, but this was a huge exception. We treated them as a dessert.

I chose to make the jumbo muffins. Son put butter and raspberry jam on his and said it was really good. Hubby put honey and butter on half and molasses and butter on the other half and declared both ways a hit. I just put a little butter on mine and it satisfied my sweet tooth and was delicious with a cup of coffee. I used a large ice-cream scoop to transfer my dough to the muffin tin and they baked up perfectly in the suggested 30 minutes for jumbo muffins.

This crumbly and tender hybrid of a biscuit and a muffin can be thrown together quickly without fuss. They do have a shaggy appearance (I thought the tops of mine looked a bit like mini cauliflowers), but they taste much better than they look. These are great with butter and/or jam.

The instruction to bake until darkish golden brown is more important than the exact minute count. I made standard-size muffins, which I took out after baking between 30 and 35 minutes, since they smelled as though they were done and the timer said so, too. They were just light golden on top at this point and still a little doughy in the center. After reheating for subsequent meals until darker golden brown, they were done just right. I also followed the suggestion to put a little butter on top of each muffin before baking, as I was concerned about there still being spots of dry ingredients.

First, I’m not a biscuit maker. I don’t particularly care for biscuits. I think they’re dry and tasteless. But the description enticed me to make these biscuits/muffins. The recipe didn’t have fancy ingredients and was well written.

It took about 15 minutes to mix the ingredients, grease the muffin pan, and pop them in the oven. I ate the first biscuit/muffin straight to determine if I actually liked the product. The answer is a resounding yes! They were heavenly—sort of crumbly and sweet. The second one I slathered with butter and homemade amaretto cherry jam. Delish! The third one I just drizzled honey onto. Again, perfection. This recipe is a keeper.

I was intrigued by the name of this recipe—Alabama Biscuit Muffins. How could you make a biscuit into a muffin or vice versa? With this recipe you can. The recipe was easy to make and easier to eat. The muffin biscuits weren’t flaky like a biscuit but incredibly tender (8 ounces of butter plus buttermilk will do that!). Everyone loved them.

I was concerned about the 6 tablespoons of sugar but the sugar enhanced the flavor. The only thing I’d change is the generous tablespoon of baking powder. Is that a rounded tablespoon, 4 teaspoons, or more? I used a slightly rounded tablespoon but I think the recipe would work with a measured tablespoon. They baked for the full 30 minutes for the smaller muffins. My testers loved them and I’ll certainly make them again.

I can’t even begin to count how many biscuit recipes I’ve tested for LC over the years. Sometimes I think it’s because I’m continually trying to overcome my fear of making a tough, flat biscuit. This recipe does a great job of walking you through what you should be looking for as you mix the ingredients. It also eliminates the messy, potentially “harmful” process of rolling out the dough by using an ice-cream scoop to divvy up the biscuits.

More like a muffin with a biscuit top, these are a bit too sweet to accompany dinner or even eggs and bacon but rather are best eaten with butter and jam and a hot cup of tea. I do like how easy they are to put together. I baked them in a jumbo muffin tin and each compartment was piled dangerously high with dough, but alas, the “buffin” or “miscuit” stayed put and didn’t sully my oven.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Realizing I am the only dissenter, I did not find the muffin biscuits remarkable in any way. They were far too dense and heavy. I was very suspicious of beating dry flour with a mixer and it turned into a white dust storm as I had anticipated. After they cooled I found them more palatable. Drop biscuits have been around for a long time, probably longer than the rolled out or kneaded variety, I would simply add another half cup of buttermilk and drop them on a baking sheet. Should you insist on the muffin variety, I found muffiin papers saved some mess and worked fine with a teaspoon of melted butter in each. Intriguing, obviously but, I won’t be making them again. I guess I’m a traditionalist …light, flakey, rolled out biscuits are for me.

    1. Marguerite, I can’t thank you enough for your comment. We welcome dissenters, as long as the comments are respectful, thoughtful, and add to the conversation and knowledge base of a recipe. Taste is simply that: a matter of taste. But your suggestions will be useful to someone who might feel similar to you. Danke.

      1. David, I do enjoy your newsletter tremendously, such an array of creative and, to me, mostly novel cooking ideas. As you took it, my critique was, as you pointed out, my point of view based on over 50 years of cooking. Thanks for the opportunity to expand my cooking experience.

        1. And your contributions and suggestions will always be welcomed here. Fifty years of cooking is, in my book, something to treasure and respect.

  2. Has anyone tried this recipe with buttermilk powder? Buttermilk is hard to come by where I live, but I can buy the powder online. Will the texture be different if I use the powder? Do I just mix the powder with water to make 12 oz.? Would love to be able to make these in a mini muffin pan for my boys for breakfast…

    1. Natalie, I don’t believe any of our testers used powdered buttermilk, but we’ll check with them now and get back to you if they did. I have to say, I’ve used powdered buttermilk in many a recipe and never been disappointed, actually. So if you’re up for a little adventure—and since you have boys, I know that you already do get more than your share of adventure every day—I’d encourage you to try it.

    2. Natalie, you can always make your own soured milk by adding a 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice, white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar to every 1/2 cup of milk. (I’ve had success using cow milk, coconut milk like So Delicious, and soy milk.) Let the acid sit a few minutes in the milk and it’ll start to curd. May not look great, but bakes up nice!

      1. Appreciate you chiming in, Vicki. My grandmother used to do the exact same thing. As you say, it works like a charm, despite it’s, er, not so elegant appearance….

  3. So glad to hear the ideas and experimentations. We like to use our peach jam mixed into the batter. Gives a golden color and burst of flavor baked right in. We have used these muffin tops as the base for strawberry shortcake. A great way to extend the life of these guys if you can’t eat them all straight away. If any make it to three days out, we love pan frying. Enjoy, D&D.