Our Southern buttermilk biscuits taste amazing with their crunchy golden crust and fluffy interior, and make your whole meal so much better.
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Why This Recipe Works
- It uses a butter and lard combo. The butter adds flavor, while the lard improves the flaky texture.
- The dough is made by hand instead of in a food processor. This keeps the handling of the dough gentle and minimal, which keeps it tender.
- They are rested briefly before baking. Letting the biscuits rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes before baking helps them rise better.
- They are baked on a pizza stone. This prevents the biscuits from burning on the base in the hot oven.
- They are baked at a high temperature. This helps the biscuits rise higher as they bake.
Want to make these delicious Southern buttermilk biscuits from scratch? Let's talk about the key ingredients you'll need to make Southern buttermilk biscuits.
- Flour: Many people like to use White Lily flour here in the South, but I have good results using generic all-purpose flour.
- Butter: This fat provides lots of flavor to them.
- Lard: This fat makes them lighter and flakier than if you only use butter.
- Buttermilk: This thick, acidic dairy liquid provides flavor and moisture. If you're dairy-free, substitute with an equal volume of non-dairy milk and add a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar.
- Baking Soda/Baking Powder: You'll use a combination of both of these rising agents for a tall, fluffy biscuit. The baking soda reacts with the acid in the buttermilk to help them rise.
How to Make
Measure out all the ingredients for our Southern buttermilk biscuits: all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, butter, lard, and buttermilk.
- Whisk all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl until well blended.
- Add the butter and lard to the flour mixture. Pinch the cubes of fat and mix them with the flour until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
3. Gradually pour in just enough buttermilk to make a sticky dough, mixing with your hand as you pour. (Yes, you'll have sticky fingers!) Make sure to pick up all the flour from the bottom of the bowl, but don't handle the dough more than you need to. Be gentle!
4. Roll out the biscuit dough on a floured surface to ¾ inch thick, then cut out the rounds with a biscuit cutter. Gently re-roll the scraps and cut more.
5. Place the biscuits on a baking stone and make sure the sides are just touching each other. Let them stand at room temperature for 10 minutes, which will help them rise higher.
6. Bake them at 450°F for 15-20 minutes. They should be tall and golden on top.
7. Let them cool on a wire rack for a few minutes, then place on a serving plate.
8. Enjoy right away!
The acid in buttermilk inhibits some of the gluten formation, producing a more tender biscuit. It also reacts with the baking soda to help the dough rise, while its fat content also adds extra richness.
We prefer to bake them at a higher temperature (450° F) for a shorter period of time. The high temperature is what gives them their rise and makes them tall and fluffy. It also crisps up the outside perfectly while the inside is perfectly flaky and tender.
In my recipe, I use both butter and lard. Why two kinds of fat? Well, butter provides a fantastic flavor, while lard increases the flakiness. Lard and shortening create flakier biscuits because they "shorten" the gluten strands in the dough, giving a lighter result.
Lard and shortening also melt at a higher temperature than butter. The slow release of steam from the melting lard improves the rise and flakiness.
We prefer to use lard rather than shortening because it's an all-natural fat, as opposed to processed shortening. In fact, lard contains less saturated fat than butter and no trans fat, unlike shortening.
The cold butter (and lard or shortening) in the recipe melts more slowly when they are cooking in the oven. As it slowly melts it forms pockets inside the biscuit which is what gives this bread it's traditional flaky texture.
Wondering how you should serve these buttermilk biscuits? Here's some great ideas!
- Plain with butter, honey, or various jams and jellies.
- With sausage gravy.
- With soups and stews.
- With a meal instead of dinner rolls.
- At breakfast with eggs and bacon.
- Make Ahead: To freeze unbaked biscuits, flash freeze them first on a tray, then place in a zip-top plastic bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Bake directly from frozen and add a few extra minutes to the baking time.
- Leftovers: Any leftovers should be frozen right away to keep them fresh. Since there's no preservatives in these biscuits, they go stale and dry very quickly.
- Freezing: Freeze baked ones in a zip-top plastic bag for up to 1 month. Defrost at room temperature, in the microwave, or in a 350°F oven until warm.
- Make a buttermilk substitute by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar into a measuring cup, then pour in milk until you have 1 cup of liquid. Stir to combine and let stand for 10 minutes before using.
- Be careful not to overwork the dough, or the Southern buttermilk biscuits will be tough. Mix the dough until just combined, and be gentle when re-rolling the leftover scraps.
- Avoid twisting the cutter; just push it straight down. Twisting the cutter can seal the sides together, inhibiting the rise.
- Place them with their sides just touching on the baking stone or cookie sheet. It will make them have soft sides and rise higher.
- Let them sit for 10 minutes on the tray before baking to get a lighter-texture and a higher rise.
Other Southern Recipes You'll Love
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Southern Buttermilk Biscuits
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl.
- Dump in the chilled butter and lard and rub them into the flour by pinching the chunks of fat. Stop when the mixture has a breadcrumb-like texture.
- Add about half of the buttermilk and stir with your hand to start bringing the dough together. Pour in the rest of the buttermilk in one or two more additions, gently working the dough until all the flour and buttermilk are incorporated and a soft, sticky dough has formed.
- Turn out the dough onto a floured surface, scraping out the bowl to get all the dough.
- Sprinkle the top of the dough liberally with flour and roll the dough to ¾ inch thick.
- Using a 2 ½" round biscuit cutter dipped in flour, cut out as many biscuits as you can from the first roll. Don't twist the cutter, as doing so will seal the sides together, inhibiting their rise.
- Gently re-roll the scraps and cut more, being careful not to overwork the dough. Place the biscuits with their sides touching on the baking stone or cookie sheet. Let them rest at room temperature for 10 minutes for a higher rise.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes at 450°F. They should be well risen and golden brown.
- Make sure the butter and lard are cold; it will make the dough flaky.
- Handle the dough gently.
- Push the cutter straight down without twisting it.
- Placing the biscuits with their sides touching will help them rise higher and have soft sides.
- Bake on a pizza stone to prevent burnt bottoms on the biscuits.
Our Southern buttermilk biscuits was originally published on September 7, 2017. It was updated with resized photos and updated content on October 1, 2022.