Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

These easy Southern buttermilk biscuits are simple, flaky, fluffy, traditional fare and taste just like grandma’s. Maybe even better. And they’re easy as heck to make from scratch using just three pantry ingredients—self-rising flour, buttermilk, and butter.

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

This Southern buttermilk biscuits recipe requires nothing more than self-rising flour, butter, and buttermilk. Lest you think such a simple and easy recipe couldn’t possibly turn out traditional flaky homemade buttermilk biscuits like grandma used to make, consider what our recipe testers are saying about this recipe. “Spectacular.” “Sinful.” “Easy.” “Buttery.” “Lofty.” “Air.” “Perfect.” “An absolute keeper.” Sorta makes you want to try them, doesn’t it? Originally published April 28, 2014.Renee Schettler Rossi

How To Make Self-Rising Flour

Knowing where to find or how to make self-rising flour may be a birthright in the South, but we know it isn’t necessarily a given for everyone else. Here’s how to make your own self-rising flour to keep on hand for homemade buttermilk biscuit emergencies. It’s a very easy equation: 1 cup 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 the recipe that follows, that equates to 1 tablespoon baking powder + 1 teaspoon salt + 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Although you may want to make a second batch so that you have ample flour for dusting the work surface as you knead the dough. Now go bake.]

Special Equipment: 2-inch round biscuit or cookie cutter

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 45 M
  • Makes about 18 biscuits
5/5 - 2 reviews
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  • 1 stick unsalted butter (4 oz), cold, plus more for the pan if needed
  • 2 1/4 cups self-rising flour (such as White Lily or Martha White brands), or 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons homemade self-rising flour*, plus more for the dough and the work surface
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk (either low-fat or full-fat)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 oz), melted


  • 1. Slice the cold butter into 1/4-inch-thick chunks. 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 pretty crumbly and resembles small peas. Cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  • 2. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°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 dough with a little additional flour. Starting at a short end, fold the dough over onto itself in 3 sections as if folding a letter-size piece of paper. You should have a rectangle shape before you. 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.


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Recipe Testers Reviews

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.

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. Because the biscuits are brushed with melted butter upon leaving the oven, I found them perfect with no other toppings. 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.

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!

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.

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.

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.


  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. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. I know its two years later but it may still be worth mentioning. White Lily flour can be purchased on Amazon. It usually costs about $10 for 2 bags of flour.

      1. Bianca, many kind thanks! That’s incredibly helpful. We’re adding a link to the mention of White Lily in the ingredient list so that with a single click readers can be taken directly to that page. We so appreciate you taking the time to remind us of that!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

    1. 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!

  5. 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…

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

    1. 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.

  8. Rather than brush the baked biscuits with melted butter, I melt the butter to golden brown in cast iron in the hot oven. Then, I bake them in the browned butter in cast iron. They’re divine, though they do have soft edges from touching during baking. I also flip the biscuits when placing them in the cast iron, so both sides have been brown buttered. Mom did it this way without browning the butter, when I was a girl. I discovered the browned butter by happenstance, a happy, happy happenstance of just a few extra minutes that made all the difference.

  9. I’m from the Deep South and have been teased about only using White Lily flour for 30 years now from my husband side of the family. If you haven’t guessed, they are not from the South, although they all come to our home on major holidays and have for 30 years now.
    I’ve taught my children and so many others to make biscuits the very same way you do. I’ve even been called out of church on a Sunday for a biscuit emergency. However, you need to add one tablespoon of granulated sugar to the flour. This will not make the dough sweet. But it will make all the difference.

    1. Becky, well, shame on them! I’m in hardcore Northerner through and through. But I’d never disparage nor come between a cook and her White Lily. I value my life too much.

      Curious: What does the sugar do? Add some moisture?

  10. Sugar helps biscuit dough retain moisture and relax gluten formation, which in this case would make biscuits fluffy. Also, a bit of granulated sugar combined with the milk sugars (like lactose) already in the dough aid in browning.

              1. Pleasure is all mine, ma’am. (To be read in the most thick, foghorn leghornesque drawl you can muster.)

  11. I made these right after you posted the recipe and they were flat-out amazing! I doubled the recipe and froze half of them and then took one out at a time in the mornings. Definitely the breakfast of champions! One quick question now, though. I’m thinking of making them for dinner guests and it would be great to be able to prep them through the folding and cutting stage and refrigerate until time to bake. I’ve done that before with biscuit doughs but not with self-rising flour. So I was wondering what y’alls (Virginia girl here) 2 cents would be on that!

  12. Made this tonight to take to a football game tailgate party! Had to try one when they came out of the oven. Yum! My friends will love the buttery flavor of these high-rise home-style biscuits. Thanks for the recipe.

  13. QUERY TO B Hi! Buttermilk is not available where I live. Is there anything I can substitute it with? Will yoghurt work?

    1. Catharina, rather than use yogurt, simply make an easy buttermilk substitute by adding a little white vinegar or lemon juice to regular milk. For each cup of buttermilk that you need, measure 1 scant cup of milk and then stir in 1 tablespoon white vinegar or fresh lemon juice.

  14. Great recipe! Bad print layout. One blank page and whole page devoted to a picture of biscuits is a tad frustrating. Might want your designer to take a look at that.

  15. I made these lucious pillows of deliciousness last night to have with stew and there really are no words! OH EMMM GEEEE! They couldn’t be any easier to put together. I made bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits for breakfast today and they are still so moist and yummy! Tomorrow morning I will finish them up with sausage gravy. I will be making these again and again and again and…well, you get the idea! Thanks!

  16. I used this recipe to make buttermilk biscuits for the first time ever last Thanksgiving. Wow, I was quite impressed! As a 30-year-old California girl, I had only dreamed of biscuits this good. I ordered White Lily self-rising unbleached flour from Jet. I used salted, high-quality butter and reduced-fat buttermilk. I also used a KitchenAid mixer to knead the dough for me the second time I made the recipe, which made adding the extra flour much easier! They turned out perfect with lots of towering layers! Thank you for the great recipe!

    1. Jessica, you’re so very welcome! Many thanks for taking the time to let us know you adore these biscuits as much as we do. So glad this recipe has become a staple for you. And as you surmised, when there are so few ingredients in a recipe, the quality of each is astoundingly important. You may be from California but it sounds like you have Southern sensibilities!

  17. I just made these and they are delicious. They are so flaky even my son loves them. I will definitely be making these from now on. Thanks for the awesome recipe.

  18. Hi, David and testers:

    Has video posts/blogs of recipe preparation (by Leite staff or testers) ever been considered? Visuals would definitely be great!

    So today I gathered all the ingredients to make these delicious looking biscuits but then felt intimidated and put everything away. I wish there was a VIDEO available so I could actually see how the dough is kneaded and folded!

    1. Angelina, fear not! biscuit making is easy. We are gearing up for video production, but it’s costly and we need to take it slowly. But here’s a video on biscuit making in general from the master of Southern cooking, Nathalie Dupree. I hope it helps!

  19. I am so glad I found this recipe. The key seemed to be the folding. I don’t recall seeing my grandmother do that. So the first time in my life I made an honest to goodness yummy HIGH biscuit. No hockey puck!

    The one difference I did do is the cutting. I did not use a round cutter, I simply patted it square/rectangular. Then cut the biscuits rectangular, as I did that separated them a touch to keep the perforation I created. This was because A) Mammaw did this way. B) It actually (to me) makes sense. No fooling with the dough more than needed, just cut the square/rectangle grid, put in pan, pop in oven.

    As an FYI: My son did the second try of recipe. He said he put the folded dough directly into the pan, then cut into the rectangle grids. The end result was very tasty, there was some separation problems but not enough for us to not consider his method in the future.

    1. Michelle, I love everything you say. I, too, like to cut my biscuit dough. And you really need no other reason than Mammaw did it! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next! Love that your son bakes!

  20. Love this recipe. My problem is that I follow the recipe as you have it written and my dough is very sticky. It sticks to my hands. Sticks to my bench scraper and cutting board. I add 1/4 cup more flour so I can at least be able to knead the dough. I’m adding flour to my hands and flour everywhere. Is this a normal thing or am I doing something wrong? Please give me some advice.

    1. Hi Manual, what type of flour did you use? Are you able to find White Lily or other Southern flours? Instead of trying to knead the dough, think more of folding the dough. A flexible cutting board dusted with flour makes quick work of the folding without the need for a bench scraper. Just use the board, instead of your hands, to fold the dough. We posted a video below of Nathalie Dupree, the Queen of Biscuits, turning and patting a very wet dough. Hope this helps.

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