Buttermilk Biscuits

Do you love biscuits? Crave them? Or ignore their very existence (the horror!)?

I’m a biscuit lover and one of the main reasons is that they are a perfect side dish to whip up that fulfills that carb craving without having to plan ahead like you need to do for breadsticks or rolls. Plus, the biscuits you see here combined with this other-worldly ham make up the most perfect combination in the history of ever and may be the only reason needed to make these lovies.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Flaky, soft and tender, these beautiful buttermilk biscuits are absolute biscuit perfection. In fact, I consider myself pretty much a biscuit failure when it comes to the classic kind (these drop biscuits, on the other hand, are easy and fabulous) until these buttermilk biscuits came into my life. I’ll admit, it does help to have a food processor because successful biscuits are more in how you handle and work with the dough than anything – the key being not to overwork and let the butter get too warm since the little bits of cold butter melt and sizzle while baking creating pockets of steam and thereby making the biscuits ultra-flaky. And trust me, you want ultra-flaky. However, if you don’t have a food processor, never fear, you can still make these babies, just take care to work quickly and carefully.

A really fantastic buttermilk biscuit recipe needs to reside in every person’s recipe arsenal, wouldn’t you agree? So save this recipe, or better yet, just make them! Then you’ll have no choice but to be convinced of their awesomeness.

Buttermilk Biscuits

One Year Ago: Crab and Goat Cheese Ravioli
Two Years Ago: Smoked Mozzarella and Penne Spinach Salad
Three Years Ago: Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding Pie

Buttermilk Biscuits

Yield: Makes about 12

Buttermilk Biscuits

I struggled making biscuits for years. They were never very tender. Until I got a food processor and I firmly believe that delicious biscuits are more about how you work (the key being not to overwork) the dough rather than the actual ingredients. Using a food processor keeps the butter colder and the dough comes together more quickly. If you don't have a food processor, you can use a pastry blender or two forks or knives to combine ingredients, just take care not to overwork the dough and let the butter get too warm.


  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 9 tablespoons very cold butter cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, more or less (here is a guide for making your own buttermilk)


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture is like coarse meal and the butter is in small, pellet-sized pieces (slightly smaller than a pea). This will take a few short pulses in the food processor.
  2. Pour in the buttermilk and mix/pulse only until just combined. The dough should start to come together but you don't want to overmix the dough. If there are lots of dry patches throughout the dough, add a bit more buttermilk, just a tablespoon or two at a time until the dough comes together.
  3. Scrape the dough out of the food processor or bowl onto a lightly floured counter. Gently pat (do not roll with a rolling pin!) the dough to about 1/2-inch thick. Gently fold the dough in half or in thirds, repeating for a total of 4-5 times and pressing it gently to 1-inch thick after the last fold. These folds, combined with the cold butter, are what help to create flaky layers in the biscuits.
  4. Use a round biscuit or cookie cutter to cut into circles. Do not turn the cutter while pressing into the dough, just press firmly enough to cut all the way through the dough.
  5. Line a large, rimmed cookie sheet with a silpat liner or parchment paper. Place the biscuits on the pan with the sides barely touching each other. This helps the biscuits rise up instead of out. If you like crustier sides to your biscuits, space them further apart. They won't rise as high but they'll have golden edges.
  6. Bake for about 10-12 minutes until the biscuits are lightly golden on top and bottom, taking care to not overbake. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from this recipe at southern.food.com

66 Responses to Buttermilk Biscuits

  1. Carlin says:

    I love making biscuits and am always on the hunt for the best recipe. These were amazing and are my new favorite! I have a question about cutting the biscuits- I can usually get 6 biscuits out of the original time I roll it out. Then I’m left with a bunch of star-like pieces that I press together again. I can get 4 or 5 more out of that. I keep putting the pieces back together, making sure not to overwork the dough. The biscuits all turn out delicious, but the ones from that first cut are definitely the best, in both texture and appearance. Is there a way to get them all to look that good?

  2. Jamie says:

    These are so great as written but if anyone is curious, I sometimes just use 1 stick (8 T) butter and substitute kefir for buttermilk (I always have extra kefir to use up, don’t always have buttermilk) and they are still delicious. Plus, I just pat in a square and cut them into 12 or 16 squares so I don’t have any extra to re-roll out and cut. Lazy…I know.

  3. Katie says:

    Maybe this is a dumb question, but could I use a blender (high end) or a bosch mixer instead of a food processor? I guess I don’t know exactly what a food processor does…? Thanks.

    • Mel says:

      Probably not, you’d be better off cutting the butter in with a pastry blender or two knives. A food processor has a blade that chops quickly and is great for things like biscuits, scones and pie crusts. By hand would work just as well…just not quite as easy (but definitely not hard).

      • Jamie says:

        I actually use my blendtec all the time to cut the butter in. It works great, just use the pulse button and check the consistency after a few pulses. I don’t add the buttermilk in the blender though. I just dump the flour mixture in a bowl and do the rest by hand. Sometimes since I have my blender dirty anyway, I’ll make a couple more batches of the dry ingredients/butter mixture and dump them in ziplock bags and put them in the freezer. Makes the next few times I make biscuits super easy!

  4. Carlie says:

    I made these for dinner tonight for biscuits and gravy and they were wonderful!! They were so fast too!

  5. Brandi says:

    I made these last Saturday night in preparation for Sunday breakfast, one less thing to do when I’m running around like a headless chicken. I let the dough chill all night and then I cut them out and chilled them again. They were SO good. I did add a little extra baking powder and a couple tablespoons of sugar (for personal preference) though. I’m making these again tonight for dessert (strawberry shortcake!)

  6. Kim says:

    I made these tonight (to go with your chicken noodle stew) and was totally impressed – I have tried several biscuit recipes, but these are far and away the best! The whole meal was a winner and my most picky dinner time eater ate his whole meal (plus a second biscuit.) perfect recipe and your site continues to never fail me.

  7. Laura says:

    I’ve made these a few times with sausage gravy, and they are fantastic! Definitely easier than I expected, and better than “tube” biscuits 🙂

    I second Katie’s motion for a sausage gravy recipe!

  8. Melissa says:

    This is now my go to biscuit recipe. Mixing in the food processor makes it very easy. Thanks Mel!

  9. Nicole H says:

    I pulled out my food processor to make these this morning, and they turned out fantastic! It was the first time I’d made biscuits this way, and it definitely won’t be the last. When folding over the dough, I sprinkled with dried blueberries. Yum! Next time, we’ll have to try them with sausage gravy.

  10. Katie E. says:

    Mel, you are my favorite ever. It’s like having a best friend that I go to for recipes! For several years, you’ve been my go-to for everything. I’ve made these biscuits – they are great – I am wondering if you could pretty-please ever add a recipe for sausage gravy that would make these some killer biscuits and gravy?? In all your spare time…I know…I have 5 kids, too, from ages 10-4. Thanks! 🙂

  11. M says:

    Hi Mel,

    I am planning to make these biscuits. They definitely look melt in your mouth flaky. I love how they maintained their height. I am curious, and although I realize the question is probably redundant because, well because you are Mel… But do you freeze these to bake at whim later?

    Thanks again, M

    • Mel says:

      Good question! I haven’t done that but I think it could work really well.

      • M says:

        Well that’s shocking. I plan to freeze them on a tray first before bagging them in freezer bags. I also often pat biscuit dough into a square 9×9 baking pan and then cut it into 12 biscuits using a bench knife to prevent over handling the dough. And of course it’s handy when I am pressed for time.
        Thanks Mel

  12. Ariel says:

    Tried a few other recipes…and they never came out right. This recipe is amazing. They came out perfectly.

  13. kristin says:

    Do you think these could be made the night before and just pop them in the oven in the morning?

  14. Tami says:

    I just made these for the first time tonight and my husband could not stop eating them. He was so excited that we finally found a light and fluffy biscuit recipe after twenty years! Thanks for your explanation about not overworking the dough and keeping the butter cold.

  15. fmandds says:

    I made these last night with half whole wheat(King Arthur’s) and half all purpose. I thought I was going to need all the buttermilk so I just poured it all in. Turns out I did not need it all so I did as the previous poster, Courtney, and heavily floured my work surface. They came out great!! I would never have thought to fold the dough as I would think I would over work it and it would become tough. Didn’t happen. I make your cream biscuits all the time but now I can add this since they rise nicely.

  16. Courtney says:

    These were absolutely heavenly! I poured the whole 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk in before realizing that it could be more or less. The dough was too wet and sticky, so I just pulled it out onto the floured surface and worked in extra flour as I did the folding and it worked great! I also grated the cold butter with a cheese grater so that I could just add it to the dry ingredients in the stand mixer without getting out my food processor. Had this with chicken and rice soup! It made 9 large biscuits for me! So so good!

  17. Kirsten says:

    These are seriously awesome! Just tried one straight from the oven and am trying not to eat 5 more!!

  18. Megan Parr says:

    These are MAGICAL! The BEST homemade biscuits I have ever made or eaten. So fluffy, so tender, and moist! I definitely didn’t need the whole 1 1/2 cups of milk. Glad I didn’t just pour it all in! Thank you for this!

  19. Kerry says:

    A simple question which I never know for sure..salter or unsalted butter? And the real thing right not margarine?

    • Mel says:

      Kerry – Definitely use butter (you won’t get the same results with margarine) and I always use salted butter. If using unsalted, increase the salt in the recipe a bit.

  20. Julie Housley says:

    Oh my goodness! For the first time ever I made biscuits that can’t be used as trebuchet ammo! Thanks, Mel.

  21. Jolie autry says:

    Mel!! Thank you!! My husband and dad, both southerners living in the north, YEARN for a good biscuit. I stopped trying b/c mine turned out tough and flat (hockey pucks!). Found this recipe today and we are so excited! Easy and delicious, especially with beef stew (and below zero temps outside)! Thank you!!

  22. Keelin says:

    Thanks Mel! I just made these biscuits and they came out perfectly! This is exactly what I was looking for. The food processor is key.

  23. Melanie M says:

    Made these tonight and loved them! The grating butter method worked just fine for me- thanks for the tips on folding and another great recipe. So glad I don’t have to buy pop-can biscuits ever again!

  24. Sierra says:

    I’m so very excited about this post. I’m from the South and I have a very high biscuit standard. I can’t seem to meet it no matter how hard I try. I will try these tips. They sound like just what I’ve been looking for.

  25. Jenny Grusy says:

    Mel, love your website! Have made these biscuits 3 times now and LOVE them. I had been looking for the perfec biscuit recipe and now I’ve found it! Thanks so much! I’m excited to try out more recipes of yours!

  26. Alexis says:

    These were the best biscuits! I have tried a few other recipes and have not been impressed but these were amazing! I also used the frozen butter/grating method and it worked great, thanks for the tips on folding the dough, it was so flaky and perfect!

  27. Tiggerr says:

    Just wanted to let you know your site looks good in Safari on a Mac too.

  28. Lindsey says:

    Made these this morning to serve with sausage gravy and they were fabulous. I only have a small food processor so I worked in batches. I mixed all the dry ingredients together and put a little more than a cup in the food processor, added about a third of the butter, gave a few quick pulses, then added a third of the buttermilk. I then would dump that into a large bowl and repeat until it had all been through the food processor then a few quick stirs in the big bowl to get all the batches to come together.
    First time making and they were perfect!

  29. norniea says:

    I just made these this morning with whole wheat flour. I added a bit more butter because the dough seemed a little dry, not sure I needed to though because after baking there were little pools of butter on the pan! But boy, are they good!
    Thanks Mel! Love your site. It is my #1 go-to recipe place. 🙂

  30. Gianna says:

    Boy do I love biscuits.

  31. Phyllis says:

    I love them, and I made them without calling my Mama:)Thank You Mel

  32. Elisha Petersen says:

    I just found your website and LOVE all the recipes!!!

  33. Rachel Russell says:

    Swooning over the new website! Love how you can click on a category and see every thing with a PHOTO! Have already tried out 3 things this week that never caught my eye in ‘word form’ only before. LOVED the Cuban Street Tacos, Chicken Hoagies and the Magical Layered Brownies are best thing I think I have ever made. .Ever. AND in the last few months- have finally mastered your Best Chocolate Chip Cookies- finally did the measuring flour thing with a knife and . what do you know?. .no more flat cookies- huh! Who knew that made such a huge difference?? THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. Valerie says:

    I would like to have dinner with you and your family. I think it would be a blast!!

  35. The new design looks great! Congrats!

  36. Kasia Petersen says:

    Your bread is the best! But the pumpkin bars were what sucked me into your blog.

  37. Kara says:

    I love to eat. That means I better be able to cook. Which I can! And thanks to tried and true recipes from Mel’s Kitchen, life is even better!

  38. Mel says:

    Hi Jenni – I have a Cuisinart Food Processor (I’ve never had one until a few months ago; my husband surprised me for my birthday) and I believe it is 12 cup capacity.

  39. Amy Schumacher says:


  40. Thesha says:

    Awesome, these look delicious!

  41. Amy V says:

    These sound yummy!! Is there a Sausage Gravy recipe that goes with these biscuits?

  42. Beth Bilous says:

    I am so making these this weekend. Made some Lemon curd to go over them.

  43. Mariann says:

    Mel, I’m going to have to start calling you the food psychologist. You draw me in with your descriptions and before I know it, I’m making something I had no intentions of making – and loving it.

  44. Pris says:

    Will make these biscuits tonight. Am Spring cleaning and need a treat!

  45. Renee says:

    These look very good! The recipe is similar to a recipe I have been making from Bobby Flay that he used on his show “Throwdown”. He actually won against a lady from the south known as “the biscuit lady”. It is very good. Mmmm. Makes me want one now. 🙂

  46. Joanne Hensley says:

    You have one of the best sites out there, and I LOVE coming here and reading,…yes, reading your recipes. Better than a good book,lol. Thanks for making it such an enjoyable place!

  47. Marilyn says:

    A food network kitchen with lots of counters pace and pantries

  48. Phoebe says:

    Mel- I love making biscuits and my family loves eating them. I bought a quart of buttermilk this week to make the rosemary and buttermilk marinated chicken this weekend. However, I wanted to ask if you have ever used (or heard of) Bakewell Cream. It is a product made in Maine and makes fabulous biscuits. I would be happy to send you a can of it so you can give it a try. A little website redesign and 5th anniversary present. Just email me and let me know.

  49. These biscuits look terrific. I am definitely going to have to try these because I too have had a problem making biscuits-mine never rise that much and get super fluffy. I’m excited to try while wheat biscuits now too!

  50. Amanda says:

    You are right, the secret is in the temperature of the biscuits before they go in the oven. I work by hand then put the biscuits in the fridge for 30 minutes before baking. Perfect rise every time. No hockey pucks! 🙂

  51. Nicole says:

    I was going to send you a message this week asking if you would PLEASE make a post on biscuits! They have been the one thing that I can’t seem to master, and I just continue to go to the bag of frozen Pillsbury biscuits in my freezer….thank you so much for this post. I think I’ll try them tonight!

  52. Jenni says:

    Hi Mel: Can you tell me how big your food processor is? The last time I tried a recipe using a food processor for a dough, I had to make it two batches. I guess mine is on the small end? It’s a Cuisinart Blender/Processor duo.Thanks for the recipe!

  53. Becky says:

    These look great! You have never let me down in the carb department!

  54. Teresa R. says:

    I love biscuits but haven’t been able to make good ones. Living in the South, a good biscuit is important and my grandmother made the best biscuits. I was never able to duplicate her biscuits, even though she showed me how many times. She said it was all in the way you handle the dough.

  55. We love biscuits … our recipe uses much less butter. I’m going to try your recipe and since butter is one of my main food groups, I’m sure I’ll love them! YUM!

  56. Amy P says:

    I started being able to make awesome biscuits without a food processor a couple years ago when I learned to freeze & shred my butter. Just put the amount of butter on a plate, freeze for ~15 min (or longer), and shred it like you would cheese directly into the flour mixture. Perfect little cold bits of butter! And then just handle lightly and quickly from there. Much less cleanup than a food processor too 🙂

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