A quick and easy buttermilk biscuit recipe, simple to put together even for beginners. Made with just five ingredients!
I have been making my own biscuits for years now – it was one of the first recipes I started baking as a newlywed! This is my go-to biscuit recipe now, because it’s so quick and easy to pull together.
We have these with so many things: With a bowl of chili, with soup, on top of a casserole… But just as often I’ll whip up a batch for breakfast and serve them with fresh fruit, cream cheese and jam (my homemade Freezer Raspberry Jam is a favorite). A treat on any morning?
Ingredients you’ll need
Here is a visual overview of the ingredients in the recipe. Scroll down to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for quantities!
- Buttermilk substitute: Combine ⅔ cup regular milk with ½ teaspoon white vinegar (or lemon juice) stirred in if you don’t have any buttermilk. Let it sit on the counter for 5 minutes, then stir again before using.
- Butter: Feel free to use shortening in place of the butter.
Step by step photos
1) Combine dry ingredients, then 2) add cold cubed butter and 3) cut the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbs form.
4) Add the buttermilk and 5) stir just until combined.
6) Tip on floured surface and pat down to 1 inch thickness.
7) Cut out biscuits and 8) bake.
- Ingredient temperature: This is super important when making biscuits! Ingredients should be as cool as possible, and the butter and buttermilk should come straight from the fridge.
- Stirring: It’s very important to not overmix biscuit dough, and do not knead! Only push the dough slightly together with your hands. It will look scraggly and feel very wet, but that’s exactly the kind of dough that makes a great biscuit!
- Biscuit cutter: Use a sharp biscuit cutter, a dull one will yield flatter biscuits that don’t rise properly during baking. It also helps to lightly flour the inside, and wipe the inside of the cutter to remove any leftover dough after every biscuit you cut. It’s also important not to twist and turn the cutter as you cut out the biscuit – this will stick the layers of the edges together, yielding flat biscuits.
Biscuits should be eaten shortly after baking, while still warm. They do keep wrapped in a clean tea towel at room temperature for a day, but they do get increasingly dry.
However you enjoy your biscuits – they are always easy and delicious! Two words that are music to my ears ?
Buttermilk adds liquid, fat and acidity to the biscuit dough.
The acidity, specifically, helps the biscuits to rise in combination with the baking powder.
If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, combine ⅔ cup regular milk with ½ teaspoon white vinegar (or lemon juice) and leave it to sit on the counter for 5 minutes before using.
There are several reasons for dry or tough biscuits:
Too much flour: If you mess up the fat to flour ratio in the biscuits, they will come out dry and tough. It’s important to measure your flour correctly: Spoon it into the measuring cup, don’t scoop. Do not pack the measuring cup with flour/don’t press it down to fit more in – the flour should be in a fluffy pile. Then, level off the measuring cup with the back of a knife.
Problems with leavening: If your baking powder is expired, it can’t work as well and the biscuits will not rise properly. This results in dense and tough baked goods. Make sure to use baking powder that isn’t out of date, and add the exact amount given in the recipe.
Heavy kneading: The dough for biscuits must be handled as little as possible! I know it’s tempting to knead to make it smooth, but this is the biggest mistake you can make with your biscuits. Do not knead the dough, do not work it too hard. A shaggy, crumbly, messy dough is the only way to get perfectly fluffy biscuits.
Baking: Biscuits need high heat, fast. If you fail to preheat your oven, or use a lower temperature than indicated in the recipe (yes, it really is 450°F!), your biscuits will fail to rise in the oven and come out tough.
In terms of flakiness, shortening is definitely best for biscuits: It melts less into the flour and helps to keep the gluten from developing.
I personally much prefer the flavor of butter in biscuits, though. This is why I always use all-butter and compromise that tiny bit on fluffiness.
Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup cold butter cubed (that’s 8 tablespoons or 1 stick)
- ⅔ cup buttermilk plus 2-4 tablespoons extra as needed
- 1 tablespoon melted butter to brush on the baked biscuits
- Prep:Heat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet.
- Mix dry ingredients:Add flour, baking powder and salt to a mixing bowl and combine very well.
- Cut in butter:Add cold butter cubes to dry ingredients and cut in (using a pastry cutter or your hands) until crumbs forms.
- Finish dough:Add buttermilk, then stir only a few times until no dry flour remains. Add a few more tablespoons buttermilk if dough seem dry. Do not overwork as you stir! Dough should feel very sticky. Immediately turn out on a floured surface.
- Cut biscuits:Using slightly damp fingers, press dough to 1 inch thickness (it will seem very thick, but 1 inch is correct). Cut into ~2 inch circles using a biscuit cutter and place on prepared baking sheet. Push dough scraps together and flatten with fingers to cut out more biscuits.
- Bake:Bake in hot oven for 8-10 minutes, until lightly golden on top. Do not overbake, or biscuits will be dry. Immediately brush with melted butter and serve warm.
- use well chilled butter and buttermilk straight out of the fridge for best results
- stir the biscuit dough just until combined; scraggly and messy dough makes the fluffiest biscuits
- use a sharp biscuit cutter, a dull one will yield flatter biscuits that don’t rise properly during baking; try not to twist the biscuit cutter to get a straight cut
- Buttermilk: Combine ⅔ cup regular milk with ½ teaspoon white vinegar (or lemon juice) stirred in if you don’t have any buttermilk. Let it sit on the counter for 5 minutes, then stir again before using.
- Butter: Feel free to use shortening in place of the butter.