Flaky and Tender Buttermilk Biscuits

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

One of the first recipes I can remember making as a child is buttermilk biscuits.  I made them for almost every holiday, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and often just because. I remember the first time I made them, wanting to follow the recipe exactly, I pulled out a ruler to measure 1/2 inch thickness. I was probably 7-8. True nerd from the beginning. 

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

Buttermilk biscuits never go out of style, and are so versatile they’ll be appreciated at almost any meal. They’re amazing to have for breakfast, alongside a fried egg and bacon (if you’re into that sort of thing).  They’re also perfect for accompanying substantial stews or hearty winter meals.  Best part, you can whip them up in less than 30 minutes. These biscuits are so easy to make, but similar to a really good pie crust, they can be pretty easy to not make well.  The key to making these really flaky and tender is to not overwork the butter into the flour, and to keep uneven pieces of butter in the dough, some the sizes of peas, some the size of course cornmeal.

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

My favorite technique in both biscuit making and pie crust making is to rub the butter in between my fingers as I work it into the dough – the larger pieces of butter melt as the biscuits are baked and create gloriously tender flakes that you can peel apart as you eat it. Wow, my mouth is drooling as I think about it.  I might have to go whip some up now.

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

Buttermilk Biscuits

  • Servings: ~2 dozen, 1 1/2 inch biscuits
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Joy of Cooking


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons chilled butter
  • 3/4 cups chilled buttermilk


  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry blender, or your hands (preferred method), until butter is the size of small peas.
  4. Make a well in the center, and add the milk. Mix with a wooden spoon until dry ingredients are moistened, but do not over-mix.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and form into a ball.  With a floured rolling pin, or your fingers, roll out or pat the dough until 1/2 inch thick.  Cut out 1 1/2 inch rounds using a biscuit cutter or a drinking glass dipped in flour and place biscuits on baking sheet, at least 1 inch apart. Re-roll the remaining dough and cut additional biscuits (these biscuits may be less tender due to the additional rolling, but they’ll still be delicious).  Alternatively, you can roll the dough out into a square (1/2 inch thick), and cut into 1 1/2 inch squares.
  6. Brush the tops of biscuits with melted butter or milk, and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Biscuits are best served warm.

Variations: Try brushing the tops with melted butter and maple syrup, it will create a sweet, caramelized top.

Biscuits  are best served day of, but will keep for 2 days at room temperature, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.


5 thoughts on “Flaky and Tender Buttermilk Biscuits

  1. These look AMAZING!!!! There’s nothing like a good warm biscuit. I really think that making simple, light, fluffy, flaky buttermilk biscuits is a lost art. It’s not hard if you don’t overwork the dough, but somehow so many people either get it wrong or don’t get it at all. You clearly know what you’re doing! I’m drooling!

    • Thank you Tux! I totally agree with you! Sometimes you just have to go back to basics, forego the mixers and machines and just get your hands dirty to make the best flaky baked goods! I was looking at your pepper biscuit recipe and I’ve never tried that method of folding the dough over onto itself – I’ll have to try that they look crazy flaky!!!

  2. I never fix biscuits because I am not experienced, though I have been cooking for 40-something years! 😄 I don’t have to look any further..your recipe is wonderful. Last time I tried biscuits, I used the pastry cutter to incorporate the butter..no more! Wonderful, flaky texture. Thank you!

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