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? *How Do I Make Self-Rising Flour?–Renee Schettler

HOW DO I MAKE SELF-RISING FLOUR AT HOME?

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.
Kelly Alexander

Prep 30 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 45 mins
Side Dish
Southern
18 biscuits
123 kcal
4.95 / 19 votes
Print RecipeBuy the Southern Living: No Taste Like Home cookbook

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Equipment

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

Ingredients 

  • 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

Directions
 

  • 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%)

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!


Originally published April 28, 2014

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Comments

  1. 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!

      1. I enjoyed watching the two videos. I’ve recently begun making biscuits using self-rising flour and just like the second recipe EXCEPT that I use 2-1/4 cups of self-rising flour, 1 cup of heavy cream AND 2 Tablespoons of melted butter. I stir them together just until mixed. Since I use cold cream, the butter forms little pieces all over the dough! I usually do not fold the dough but next time, I might try folding the dough. I make mine on a Silpat so folding the soft dough sounds a lot easier if I let the Silpat help me do it.

        Would love to see the video David said you were planning if you could advise me where it is!

        1. Michelle, thanks for the insight into your biscuits! As far as videos about biscuit-making, you won’t find a more perfect and august teacher than Nathalie. If you want to see the videos we’re making (none is about biscuit make), you’ll find one here. Let it run and the remainder will also show.

  2. 5 stars
    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.

  3. 5 stars
    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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

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