Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

These homemade buttermilk biscuits are soft and buttery with hundreds of flaky layers! This biscuit recipe only requires 6 simple ingredients and they’re ready in about 35 minutes.

stack of homemade biscuits

Biscuits. Let’s do it BIG. Big as in mega flaky, mega fluffy, mega layers, mega golden brown, and mega buttery. It’s quite serendipitous that this “side dish” may taste even more remarkable than the main event. No, no… it WILL taste more remarkable. Just look at these buttery layers! Nothing can compete.

What are Biscuits?

The term “biscuits” has different meanings depending where you live in the world. In the US, biscuits are similar to a dinner roll, but are denser and flakier because they aren’t (typically) made with yeast. Since there’s (usually) no yeast involved and the rising agent is either baking soda, baking powder, or both– biscuits are considered a quick bread, like banana bread and no yeast bread. In other parts of the world, “biscuits” are cookies or even scones.

stack of 3 homemade biscuits

Ingredients in Buttermilk Biscuits

You only need 6 basic ingredients for my homemade biscuits recipe:

  1. All-purpose Flour
  2. Baking Powder
  3. Salt
  4. Cold Butter
  5. Cold Buttermilk
  6. Honey

With so few ingredients, it’s important to reach for quality ingredients and avoid any substitutions. Notice the emphasis on cold? See tip #1 below.

2 images of butter and flour in food processor before mixing and mixture after using food processor

2 images of biscuit dough in glass bowls

Tips for the Best Homemade Biscuits

Let me share what I’ve learned in the world of homemade buttermilk biscuit recipes. I’ve made plenty of mistakes so you don’t have to. These tried-and-true tricks will turn your flat, dry biscuits into the best biscuits ever. And that’s a guarantee.

  1. Cold Fat: For flaky layers and pockets, use cold butter. When little pieces of butter melt as the biscuits bake, they release steam and create little pockets of air– this makes the biscuits airy and flaky on the inside while remaining crisp on the outside.
  2. Buttermilk & Honey for Flavor: Real buttermilk and teeny drizzle of honey balance out the salt. Buttermilk creates the most tender biscuit!
  3. Don’t Over Mix: Never overwork biscuit dough. Overworking and over-handling biscuit dough will result in tough, hard, and flat biscuits. Mix the ingredients together *just* until combined. Dough will be crumbly; that’s normal.
  4. Flatten & Fold Method: The most important step of all is folding the dough together. Turn the scrappy dough out onto a work surface and flatten it with your hands. Form into a rectangle. More below.
  5. Don’t Twist the Biscuit Cutter: When cutting the dough with a biscuit cutter, do not twist the cutter. Press the cutter down into the dough firmly. Twisting it will seal off the biscuit edges, preventing the biscuits from rising.
  6. Bake Close Together: Biscuits rise up nice and tall when they are touching, pressed snuggly against one another in the oven.

How to Fold Biscuit Dough

Flattening and folding biscuit dough creates multiple flaky layers, just as it does when we make homemade croissants. This step will take you no more than 2 minutes and you’ll be rewarded with the flakiest biscuits in the world. First, shape dough into a rectangle:

biscuit dough shaped into a rectangle

Then fold one side into the center:

biscuit dough rectangle with left side folded over

Then the other side:

biscuit dough rectangle with left and right sides folded over forming a skinny rectangle

Turn the folded dough horizontal, gently flatten, and begin that folding process 2 more times.

biscuit dough shaped into a rectangle

The dough should be about 3/4 inch thick and the biscuits will rise as they bake.

brushing honey butter onto homemade biscuits

flaky homemade biscuits with a bite out of one showing the layers

Honey Butter Topping

The honey butter topping is optional, but it will set your biscuits apart from the rest. When the biscuits come out of the oven, brush with a mix of melted butter + honey. You use both ingredients in the biscuit dough, keeping the count at 6 ingredients total.

Serve your homemade biscuits with jam or biscuits and gravy— I love this particular recipe!

I know you’ll enjoy my strawberry biscuit cookies, too. 🙂

Print
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stack of homemade biscuits

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 biscuits
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These homemade buttermilk biscuits are soft and buttery with hundreds of flaky layers! This biscuit recipe only requires 6 simple ingredients and they’re ready in about 35 minutes.


Ingredients

  • 2 and 1/2 cups (313g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for hands and work surface
  • 2 Tablespoons aluminum free baking powder (yes, Tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter, cubed and very cold (see note)
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons (270ml) cold buttermilk, divided
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • optional honey butter topping: 2 Tablespoons melted butter mixed with 1 Tablespoon honey

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C).
  2. Make the biscuits: Place the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl or in a large food processor. Whisk or pulse until combined. Add the cubed butter and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or by pulsing several times in the processor. Cut/pulse until coarse crumbs form. See photo above for a visual. If you used a food processor, pour the mixture into a large bowl.
  3. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Pour 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk and drizzle honey on top. Fold everything together with a large spoon or rubber spatula until it begins to come together. Do not overwork the dough. The dough will be shaggy and crumbly with some wet spots. See photo above for a visual.
  4. Pour the dough and any dough crumbles onto a floured work surface and gently bring together with generously floured hands. The dough will become sticky as you bring it together. Have extra flour nearby and use it often to flour your hands and work surface in this step. Using floured hands or a floured rolling pin, flatten into a 3/4 inch thick rectangle as best you can. Fold one side into the center, then the other side. Turn the dough horizontally. Gently flatten into a 3/4 inch thick rectangle again. Repeat the folding again. Turn the dough horizontally one more time. Gently flatten into a 3/4 inch thick rectangle. Repeat the folding one last time. Flatten into the final 3/4 inch thick rectangle.
  5. Cut into 2.75 or 3-inch circles with a biscuit cutter. (Tip: Do not twist the biscuit cutter when pressing down into the dough– this seals off the edges of the biscuit which prevents them from fully rising.) Re-roll scraps until all the dough is used. You should have about 8-10 biscuits. Arrange in a 10-inch cast iron skillet (see note) or close together on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Make sure the biscuits are touching.
  6. Brush the tops with remaining buttermilk. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until tops are golden brown.
  7. Remove from the oven, brush warm tops with optional honey butter, and enjoy warm.
  8. Cover leftovers tightly and store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Baked biscuits freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or in the refrigerator, then warm up to your liking before serving. You can also freeze the biscuit dough. Prepare the dough in steps 2 through 4. Wrap up tightly in plastic wrap (plastic wrap is best for freshness) and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then continue with step 5. Also, after step 4, you can wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days before continuing with step 5.
  2. Baking Powder: To avoid a chemical aftertaste, make sure your baking powder is labeled aluminum free. I usually use Clabber Girl brand and though the ingredients state aluminum, I’ve never noticed an aluminum aftertaste. Alternatively, you can reduce the baking powder down to 1 Tablespoon and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
  3. Butter: Cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Keep butter as cold as possible until you need it. I recommend placing the cubed butter in the freezer for about 15 minutes before you begin.
  4. Buttermilk: You can substitute whole milk for buttermilk if desired. However if you’d like the tangy flavor, which I highly recommend, you can make your own sour milk substitute. Add 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Add enough milk to make 1 cup. (You need 1 cup in the recipe, plus 2 Tbsp for brushing– you can use regular milk to brush on top.) Whisk together, then let sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe. Whole milk is best for the DIY sour milk substitute, though lower fat or nondairy milks work in a pinch. (In my testing, the biscuits don’t taste as rich or rise quite as tall using lower fat or nondairy milks.)
  5. Cast Iron Skillet: If your cast iron skillet isn’t well seasoned, I recommend greasing it with a little vegetable oil or melted butter. Brush a thin layer of either on the bottom and around the sides. No need to heat the cast iron skillet before using, though you certainly can. Place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes before arranging the shaped biscuits in it.
  6. Special Tools (affiliate links): Pastry Cutter or Food Processor | 3-Inch Biscuit Cutter or 2.75-Inch Biscuit Cutter | 10-inch Cast Iron Skillet | Pastry Brush

Keywords: biscuits, buttermilk biscuits

Bonus: How to Get Crispy Biscuit Edges!

Want a crisp edge on your buttermilk biscuits? I have you covered with these 2 steps:

  1. Brush the tops with a little buttermilk, which helps achieve a slightly crispier top crust.
  2. Bake biscuits in a cast iron skillet, which helps promise a crispy exterior.

Biscuits and jam on a white plate

455 Comments

  1. Can I sugar cane sugar instead of honey?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Alissa! You can use the same amount of regular sugar instead.

  2. Megan Bhatti says:

    I’ve made these biscuits – they’re such a hit!

    How far ahead can I make the dough?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Megan! See recipe notes for make ahead instructions for both the fridge and freezer. So glad you enjoy these biscuits!

  3. I was very careful to follow the directions exactly and not overwork the dough or twist the biscuit cutter, but the biscuits turned out super flat! They tasted delicious but they were like one inch thick. So that was disappointing.

  4. This is the perfect southern biscuit! It was love at first bite. Followed all directions which are classic biscuit rules. Full fat buttermilk is best. You can stop looking now, this is the one to try. Another great recipe from Sally. Thanks Sally.

  5. I have been making homemade biscuits for years, but this is by far the best recipe I have ever used! Thanks Sally! By the way, cast iron is the only way to go. Preheating the skillet makes a big difference.

  6. Kristi Muilenburg says:

    I have made terrible biscuits all my life, until I found this recipe. We are talking at least 30 years of bad biscuits. If a person takes the time to read your tips and how to make great biscuits… they will have great biscuits. I’ve used the recipe more than a dozen times now. Biscuits are perfect every time. All I can say is trust the process. Don’t over mix, (I barely mix and dump it all on my counter), don’t twist your biscuit cutter, cold cold cold butter. I freeze mine, as suggested. And you will have the most delicious, tall fluffy beautiful delicious biscuits. Thanks for the fantastic recipe!

  7. Denise Rush says:

    Would like to make this recipe in the air fryer. If this is possible could you tell me what temp and cooking time I should use.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Denise! We haven’t tested this recipe in an air fryer, but please let us know how it goes if you give it a try!

  8. Hi! Love this recipe in taste, and the texture is perfect fresh out of the oven.
    However if i leave the biscuits cool on the counter they collapse very flat after a few hours. Any way to prevent this? I live 8500 ft above sea level if that helps .

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi KC! So glad you love these biscuits. Sounds like an elevation issue. We have no experience baking at high altitude, but some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

  9. The recipe was great! I made it last night and it tasted like pillsbury if not better. Once I get more ingredients i definitely will make a bigger batch and will update when I do.

  10. These buttermilk biscuits were perfect. Followed the instructions exactly and wouldn’t change a thing.

  11. Heather Lloyd-King says:

    these came out wonderful… flaky, and delicious, thank you for the recipe!

  12. Just curious if sifting the flour would be of any benefit? I’ve only made biscuits one other time and while they got super high, they were a little dry. That’s why I want to try the buttermilk… see how they turn out.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Brenda, We don’t find sifting necessary for this recipe. But definitely use the “spoon & level” method for your flour. Do not scoop the flour out of the container/bag with your measuring cup because you could end up with 50% more than you need which would certainly lead to dry biscuits. You can see more about measuring flour in the post How to Properly Measure Baking Ingredients.

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