Alabama Muffin Biscuits

These Alabama muffin biscuits have a crunchy muffin-like exterior and a tender, flaky, biscuit-like interior. Pretty much the best of both worlds.

Six Alabama muffin biscuits in a muffin tin.

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.

Muffin Biscuits

  • Quick Glance
  • (3)
  • 10 M
  • 45 M
  • Makes 12 standard muffins (or 6 jumbo)
5/5 - 3 reviews
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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.
 Originally published October 17, 2012.

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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!


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  1. 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, 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!

    2. 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. 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.

  3. I made these tonight for my sister and her husband and 4 boys, and they were a hit! I made the standard 12 muffins, and we had to bake them much longer, but of course that may be due to my sisters oven. My sister and I decided that these would make an excellent base for our strawberry shortcake. We usually use the recipe from Saveur, but I think we will be using this recipe from now on. I already pinned this to my “Things I Am Gonna Make” board, just because more people seem to follow that board, but I will most certainly be moving it to my “Tried and True” board, which is the real board everyone should be following!!

    1. Jenn, thank you, there’s no higher compliment or expression of gratitude than what you just typed! Soooo glad you’ve had the same sort of surprised reaction to these curious little creations as most everyone we know who’s tried them. The baking time my be due to your sister’s oven, yes, or perhaps your muffins were packed especially tightly into the muffin tins? At any rate, woohoo and thank you!

  4. OK, I’m intrigued. First because I’ve never heard of a biscuit muffin, and second because my father is from Alabama (born and raised), and I don’t think he’s heard of them, either. I’ll have to ask him, but with all the biscuit conversations we’ve had over the years, I’d be shocked if he’s aware of them and failed to mention it. He’s a traditionalist, so I’ll have to experiment on him and see if he can be swayed. Yet, if Marla’s family has been making them this way since the 1920s…I’d say that also qualifies as “traditional”! Biscuits (by whatever name) in my future, I think.

    1. Let us know how it goes with your father, Allison! I suspect that even if he’s not willing to call them biscuits, he’ll still want to eat a few. Or perhaps he’s known about them all along, and we’ve just blown the cover right off Alabama’s best-kept biscuit secret…

  5. My family has been making these “biscuits” this way since 1925! I always thought these were biscuits until I had actual “biscuits” and was sorely disappointed. I will take “Alabama muffins” any day over biscuits. And if you really want to gild the lilly, add 2 tablespoons of sugar to the dough, divide the dough in half, and pat it into a buttered 8-inch cake pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, then cut into cake-type slices, slice horizontally, and slather with butter. Pour sugared strawberries over the biscuit and top with whipped cream. Oooh-wee! Outta this world good!

    1. Marla, it’s always the oldest, most traditional recipes that seem to end up as favorites, isn’t it? Many, many thanks for your tip, we intend to try that sweet biscuit approach—and soon!

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