Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

These Southern buttermilk biscuits are easy as heck to toss together from just three ingredients—self-rising flour, buttermilk, and butter—and turn out flaky and fluffy and just like grandma’s. Maybe even better. Here’s how to make them.

A rimmed baking sheet with rows of Southern buttermilk biscuits.

Adapted from Kelly Alexander | Southern Living: No Taste Like Home | Oxmoor House, 2013

These Southern buttermilk biscuits require nothing more than self-rising flour, butter, and buttermilk. Lest you think such a simple and easy recipe couldn’t possibly turn out flaky, buttery, perfect homemade 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?–David Leite

Notes on ingredients

Ingredients for Southern buttermilk biscuits -- buttermilk, flour, and butter.
  • Unsalted butter–Since self-rising flour contains salt, we recommend you stick with unsalted butter for these biscuits.
  • Self-rising flour–You can make your own self rising flour by following the formula below or purchase it. Most well-stocked supermarkets will carry self-rising flour. We like White Lily best for making the flakiest biscuits.
  • Buttermilk–The addition of buttermilk adds some fat, and a subtle tang to your biscuit dough, and the acidity acts as a leavener, helping the dough rise to create a tall, fluffy biscuit. Use full-fat buttermilk for the best results.


Knowing where to find may be a birthright in the South, but we know it isn’t necessarily a given for everyone else. And outside of the South, it can be a little tricky to find. Here’s how to make your own self-rising flour for homemade buttermilk biscuit baking 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.]

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

A rimmed baking sheet with rows of Southern buttermilk biscuits.
These Southern buttermilk biscuits are easy as heck to toss together from just three ingredients—self-rising flour, buttermilk, and butter—and turn out flaky and fluffy and just like grandma's. Maybe even better. Here's how to make them.

Prep 30 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 45 mins
18 biscuits
123 kcal
4.85 / 32 votes
Print RecipeBuy the Southern Living: No Taste Like Home cookbook

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  • 2-inch (5-cm) round biscuit or cookie cutter


  • 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter cold, plus more for the pan if needed
  • 2 1/4 cups store-bought self-rising flour such as White Lily or Martha White brands, or 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons homemade self-rising flour* (see NOTE above), plus more for the dough and the work surface
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk either low-fat or full-fat
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz) unsalted butter melted


  • Slice the cold butter into 1/4-inch-thick (6-mm) slices. Dump the flour in a large bowl and toss in the butter slices. Using a pastry blender or a couple knives, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture is pretty crumbly and resembles small peas. Cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Lightly butter a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.
  • Add the buttermilk to the flour mixture, gently stirring with a fork just until the flour is moistened. The dough will be very sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently 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 (18-mm) rectangle (it should measure about 9-by 5-inches or 23-by 13-cm). 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 end up with a rectangle shape. Press the dough into a 3/4-inch-thick (18-mm) rectangle (yes, again) and repeat the entire process 2 more times, adding additional flour as needed.
  • Press or pat the dough to a 1/2 inch (12-mm) thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough with a floured 2-inch (5-cm) cutter. Place the biscuits side by side on the prepared baking sheet. 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.
  • 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. Don’t dally.
Print RecipeBuy the Southern Living: No Taste Like Home cookbook

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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1biscuitCalories: 123kcal (6%)Carbohydrates: 12g (4%)Protein: 2g (4%)Fat: 7g (11%)Saturated Fat: 4g (25%)Trans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 19mg (6%)Sodium: 19mg (1%)Potassium: 40mg (1%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 1g (1%)Vitamin A: 224IU (4%)Calcium: 23mg (2%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

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 shmear 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.

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.

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. Result? Amazingly beautiful and delicious biscuits. They were gone in a flash. I highly recommend this recipe.

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 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°F.


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. 5 stars
    Thanks for this recipe. The biscuits are the best I’ve ever had.

    This is my second time making them. The first time Little Ms I-Already-Know-Everything combined the ingredients and didn’t read the method until after the biscuits were in the oven. This time I prepared the proper laminated version for the top of a chicken pot pie. Even the scrap that I gathered together from the crisply cut edges and mashed together into globular biscuits of a sort were light and exceptional.

    But I couldn’t help myself. I added 1/4 tsp of baking soda because of all the acid. I wanted insurance. It didn’t hurt anything.

    1. Little Ms. I-Already-Know-Everything, I do the same thing. (And even on my own site. You can image jut how happy I make our director of recipe testing, Beth Price!) Glad you stuck with it and delighted the wee bit of baking soda help. Any photos, by any chance?

      1. Sorry. It was gone almost as soon as it hit the table!

        But I know I’ll make them again — just as easy as airy! I’ll try to remember to send a pic when I do. And I’ll certainly incorporate this method into scone-baking as well.

        I’m also sending a link to a Southern friend who’s presently living in France. I can just picture her serving them to her vrai fraçaise landlady.

          1. If you’re asking me, I never buy unsalted butter. I think unsalted butter is devoid of flavor and I’ve never detected the tiny amount of additional saltiness in my baked goods.

  2. 5 stars
    These biscuits were a cinch to make and very tender. I froze my cubed butter in my stainless steel stand mixer bowl for about 10 minutes and then proceeded to mix the ingredients with my stand mixer, and I skipped the refrigeration step. The dough is sticky but I used parchment paper on my counter to roll them out and dusting with flour along the way helped. These baked up perfectly at the 13-minute mark and they were quite delicious and light in texture. I froze half of the uncooked biscuits for later by placing the dough circles in a single layer in a baking dish and tightly wrapping the dish with plastic wrap.

    1. Does using the stand mixer to mix in the buttermilk not overwork the dough? I was planning on using my food processor but just to cut in the butter. If you’re having success using your KitchenAid, then I’m going to go ahead and mix in the buttermilk (just) to the dough prior to dumping it out on the silpat. I’m going to use my silpat to try folding the dough over several times too, like shown on your video — soooo much easier than doing it with my hands. Plus watching the video showed me not to worry about adding too much self-rising flour onto the dough while folding. I’m usually trying to work in as little flour as I can. Many thanks for the very helpful video — just like standing at the elbow of the cook when learning techniques involved in baking. Since we’ve retired, I’ve been trying to get into baking more. It’s fun learning what I’ve picked up so far but seeing a video on making my biscuits flakier is a basic technique I really needed to SEE!

      1. Hi Michelle, Nathalie is the best biscuit baker! I interned with her for 2 years and learned so much from her. Her folding technique makes biscuits so light and fluffy. I would use a gentle hand though when mixing the dough otherwise you might end up with a tough biscuit.

  3. 5 stars
    I have always been a cornbread girl and with a fresh cup of hot coffee, nothing was better. But you know with age comes wisdom and variety is the spice of life. Biscuits made with White Lily and folded over, wow! Just yummy wow!

  4. 5 stars
    I used this recipe after many failed attempts! I wanted my grandma’s biscuits and I nailed it with this recipe!

    1. Dina, you made our MONTH by telling us this! Thank you! It never ceases to amaze me how food can instantly take you back to another place and time. I’m grateful you were able to recreate something from your grandma with this recipe. We so appreciate you taking the time to let us know.

  5. 5 stars
    I’ve made these biscuits twice now – once as written and once with a tablespoon of sugar. The biggest difference that I noticed was that the biscuit bottoms in the batch with sugar were much crisper than those without. I used the mixture of regular and cake flour that a commenter above mentioned because I haven’t made the commitment to buying soft flour online – yet. I also skipped the round cutter and just sliced into rectangles with my bench scraper; they might not have been as pretty but they were still layered, flaky and delicious.
    The genius of this recipe is in the folded layers. It creates such a light, layered biscuit so easily and quickly. I have looked for an outstanding yet quick biscuit recipe for years and I’m pretty sure I’ve finally found it!

    1. Love that you’ve found your go-to biscuit recipe here, Jenny! And yes, the sugar will definitely add to the caramelization and crisping where the biscuit meets the hot sheet pan. We so appreciate you taking the time to let us know that you, too, love the ethereally flaky layers.

      1. 5 stars

        I am still using this recipe as my go-to for biscuits—but making it just now, I noticed that it says “makes about 18 biscuits.” Ha! Not in this house! I’ve just been slicing the dough up with a bench scraper and what started out as 18 biscuits a year ago, is now down to about 9. That’s 9 big beautiful buttery babies. Still works perfectly (with a few extras minutes in the oven) and now I don’t feel so bad about not sharing.

        1. Hah! I love everything about what you just wrote, Jenny. Everything. And 9 biscuits is how it should be in your household with no shame whatsoever—it has no place around food. Love that you followed up and thanks for the reminder to indulge when we find something that speaks to our soul!

      2. Do you think adding sugar would keep them from rising their highest?

        I’m not a very experienced baker but am going to try these with both buttermilk and some buttermilk powder I have on hand, and wondered what you personally thought of adding sugar.

        1. Michelle, love that you’re exploring baking and asking questions and trying things! This may sound like a dumb question but may I ask why you’d like to add sugar? Is it to impart just a subtle sweetness to the biscuits or were you looking to make them more like shortcakes to serve at dessert?

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