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, mega buttery, and mega nerdy as we dive deep into this side dish sensation. And 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 (312g) 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

606 Comments

  1. Could I substitute maple syrup for the honey? I’m out of honey.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi B, you can simply omit the honey if you don’t have any on hand. Enjoy!

  2. I made a double batch of these this morning… That produced 9 square biscuits (I didn’t have a biscuit cutter so I just maintained the rectangle shape while folding, and cut with a butcher knife, 3×3). They were flaky and wonderful, and I didn’t notice any chemical taste from the high amount of baking powder. I didn’t have honey on hand, but they still were delicious. This recipe is a keeper!

  3. This is the best biscuit recipe! Every other recipe I’ve tried, my biscuits always came out like a hockey puck, and tasting like chalk. These turned out perfect. It’s now my go-to recipe for biscuits. I did substitute the buttermilk for 1 scant cup milk plus 1 tbsp of vinegar. I used clabber girl baking powder and had no weird tastes.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      So happy you loved them, Lorin!

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