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Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

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Yields about ten 2-3/4-inch biscuits or eighteen 2-inch biscuits.

For a few delicious variations on this recipe, check out Cheese Biscuits, Fresh Herb Biscuits, and Caramelized Onion Biscuits.

  • 8 oz. (1-3/4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more as needed for shaping the dough
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 2-1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 oz. (8 Tbs.) very cold unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup very cold buttermilk
Mix the dough:

Heat the oven to 500°F and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl and stir with a whisk to distribute the ingredients evenly.

Cut the butter into small bits and toss with the flour. With a sharp knife or a bench knife, cut the cold butter crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Stack 3 or 4 slices and cut them into three even strips. Rotate the stack a quarter turn and cut the strips in half. You should create 6 small bits of butter per slice. Toss the butter bits into the bowl with the flour mixture. Continue cutting all the butter in the same manner and adding it to the flour mixture.

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe

When all the butter is in the bowl with the flour, use your fingers to separate the butter bits (they tend to stick to each other), coat all the butter pieces with flour, and evenly distribute them throughout the flour mixture. Don’t rub the butter too hard with your fingertips or palms, as this will melt the butter. You’re just trying to break the butter pieces apart, not blend the butter into the flour.

When all the butter is evenly distributed, add the cold buttermilk and stir with a large spoon until all or most of the flour is absorbed by the buttermilk and the dough forms a coarse lump, about 1 minute.

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe
Pat and fold the dough:

Dust a work surface with flour and dump the dough onto the floured surface, cleaning out the bowl with a spatula or a plastic bowl scraper. Dust the top of the dough and your hands with flour, and press the dough into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle. Sprinkle a small amount of additional flour on the top of the dough. Fold the dough over on itself in three sections, as if folding a letter (also called a tri-fold). With a bench knife or metal spatula, lift the dough off the counter and dust under it with flour to prevent sticking, if necessary. Dust the top with flour and press the dough out again into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle and repeat the tri-fold. Repeat this procedure one more time (three times in all).

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe
Cut and bake the biscuits:

After the third tri-fold, dust under and on top of the dough, if needed, and roll or press the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick oval. Dip a 2-inch or 2-3/4-inch round biscuit cutter in flour and start cutting biscuits, dipping the cutter in flour between each biscuit. Press straight down to cut and lift straight up to remove; twisting the biscuit cutter will seal the sides and interfere with rising. Use a bench knife or spatula to transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet, placing them about 1/2 inch apart.

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe

Gently gather any scraps of dough, pat and roll out again, and cut more biscuits from the remaining dough. You can gather and roll the scraps two times total and still get good results (the more times you roll out, the tougher the biscuits will be).

Put the baking sheet in the oven and reduce the temperature to 450°F. Bake for 8 minutes; rotate the pan 180 degrees; continue baking until both the tops and bottoms of the biscuits are a rich golden brown and the biscuits have doubled in height, revealing flaky layers on the sides, 4 to 6 minutes more. It’s all right if some butter seeps from the biscuits. Remove the pan from the oven and set it on a cooling rack, leaving the biscuits on the pan. Cool the biscuits for at least 3 minutes and serve them hot or warm (they will stay warm for about 20 minutes).

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on 18 buscuits; Calories (kcal): 400; Fat (g): fat g 5; Fat Calories (kcal): 45; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 3.5; Protein (g): protein g 2; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 10; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 125; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 15; Fiber (g): fiber g 0;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I have made this recipe for biscuits many times; the method is my favorite. I use it for making buttermilk scones, as well. For the biscuits, I usually don't even use a round cutter: Instead, I pat the dough into a square, and cut out square biscuits with a bench knife. It's easier, and there are no scraps to re-roll!

Delicious! The best biscuits I have ever made. I will certainly use this recipe again.

Best biscuit recipe I have tried...

I have made biscuits for about 50 years, but these are the flakiest ever. I substatuted shortening and used almond milk instead of Buttermilk (alergies). I have been sending this site on to everyone. I could not stop eating them and I have gained 5 lbs (ugh). But I am happy. God Bless

This is the most perfect biscuit recipe ever. I use a food processor to combine the dry ingredients. I freeze the butter, grate it into the dry ingredients, then pulse. I freeze the buttermilk until it is very very cold and then pulse it into the mix. I cut the biscuits using a 2 x 3 row grid using a sharp knife with a downward (not slicing) motion. Thanks FC - this is the best!

I have made this recipe many times and we're always happy with how light and flaky they are. I cut the butter into small pieces, and then freeze. Then I pulse the dry ingredients in my food processor, and then pulse in the butter (rather than cutting in by hand). I pulse in the wet ingredients and then finish folding by hand. Easy and delicious!

A little awkward the first time around to balance the stickiness of the dough with maneuverability, but this recipe is sensational. We pigged out on the batch just dipping them in fresh Alabama honey. Yum.

These are without question the best biscuits I have ever tasted. My guests and family rave about them. If you are having trouble with the recipe, you are not following directions, because they turn out perfect EVERY time. I never roll the dough, I just pat it to the desired thickness every time I fold it and just before I cut the biscuits. Do not overwork the dough or twist the biscuit cutter and use VERY cold butter and buttermilk and you will have PERFECT biscuits every time! :)

I didn't have any buttermilk so I substituted sour milk and they turned out wonderful. Very flakey and golden. I will definitely make this recipe again when I have buttermilk!

Yum! What's the serving size and calories per serving?

Have no fear this technique gets better with practice! Every time I make a stew or crock-pot favorite my husband and boys request this to accompany. Try not to handle the dough too much and don't roll too flat. I also stick the chopped up butter & buttermilk in the freezer for about 10 min. prior to marrying it with the dry ingredients. Oh...definitely use their tip on cutting biscuits straight down and NOT twisting as we tend to do with cookies. These little steps are the precursor to a perfect outcome.Def. give it another try because they have seriously perfected the ingredients. :)

Flavor was wonderful, but I followed the recipe and they didn't rise. I've made biscuits before and these were the ugliest I've made. I'll try it again, just to see if it's a fluke, but my first attempt was not good.

i love this recipe! i gave the dough a few kneads before rolling it out which helped pull it together but did not effect the outcome. i will say that the butter did start to seep out and burn in the oven (which was rather smoky and i do not have a stove hood) but it was worth it. i also placed the biscuits directly next to one another on the sheet pan to help them rise. i have made a lot of biscuits using different recipes and this has yielded the best results. this is a very good and reliable technique and i will use this as my go-to recipe.

The BEST biscuit recipe. If you handle it to hard and if the butter/shortening is too soft it will incorporate too much, and not produce the biscuit layers you are looking for. Tiny lumps are GOOD!!! I prefer to roll it out a little thicker to give a nice puffy biscuit.

I just made these, and they were well worth the extra effort. My husband and I have agreed that they are the best biscuits we've ever had. Fluffy, flakey, layered, and delicious!

The flavor was fairly good; but despite following the directions exactly and rolling them out to an appropriate thickness, they were flat and not flakey. Very disappointing.

Yummy! Will make again.

Take into consideration that this is my first time making biscuits when reading this. I followed the directions exactly and got very flaky thin biscuits. I would definitely roll them a little thicker next time but was overall satisfied with the flavor and texture.

Simple, delicious and almost foolproof.

Really good flaky biscuits though the amount of butter seeping out of some of them was a tad bit scary at first. Don't roll the dough out too thinly otherwise they won't rise as much. If you roll them to half an inch, you should get nice puffy biscuits though you probably will get less in number.

This recipe is similar to of the ones that I have used. Two differences make a world in the process and the result is excellent. The difference is the folding of the biscuits which aids in the cooking. The second is the start with a hotter oven. I do not cut the biscuits with a cutter. I take the final mass placing on a cookie sheet then I slice the biscuits into 2x3 or 3x4 rows/columns. The result is a less "handled" biscuit with better taste.

I was surprised this much folding / handling of dough produced such a nice, tender biscuit, but it works. I've made the recipe a few times now and gotten great results every time.

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