Buttermilk Biscuits are perfect for any breakfast. This easy recipe combines just 3 ingredients in a simple approach to this beloved Southern staple!
Making perfect, mile-high, tender, flaky biscuits is an art for sure. But, it doesn’t have to be super complicated. I’ve been making biscuits for something like 30 years, so I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way to make the process, dare I say it… easy! Equipping yourself with these little nuggets of knowledge will turn you into a biscuit-making master for sure.
What are buttermilk biscuits?
Buttermilk biscuits are a popular breakfast staple in the South. These flaky, tender, and slightly tangy biscuits are usually enjoyed as a side dish or for breakfast.
Buttermilk biscuits are super versatile. You can enjoy them with jams, jellies, butters, and honey. They make delicious breakfast sandwich and buried in gravy, especially my sausage gravy!
How to substitute milk for buttermilk:
Don’t have buttermilk on hand? Only have regular milk? No problem! While there may be a slight change in flavor, you absolutely can convert regular milk into a buttermilk substitute with the help of vinegar or lemon juice:
- You will need 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice for every 1 cup of milk.
- Start by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a 1 cup liquid measuring cup. Then add enough milk to create 1 cup. Stir the milk and lemon juice or vinegar really well.
- Let the mixture sit at room temperature for about 5 to 10 minutes. The milk will curdle slightly and thicken. It will also develop a tangy flavor similar to buttermilk.
- Once your improvised buttermilk has thickened slightly, it is ready to use.
What type of flour to use when making buttermilk biscuits:
Let’s talk about flour. Southern cooks are quick to tell you there’s only one flour when it comes to making biscuits and that’s White Lily (and no, this is not sponsored). White Lily flour is milled from a soft winter wheat which gives it some distinct advantages in terms of biscuit making.
This wheat is low in protein. And, protein is what creates gluten when it’s introduced with liquid. Gluten is what gives things like baguette and pizza dough its deliciously chewy texture.
But, we don’t want chewy biscuits, so we want to do everything we can to reduce the gluten formation when making biscuits. Starting with a flour that is lower in protein means there’s less gluten development. It’s a little insurance policy against gluten, if you will. Less gluten means tender, flaky, high-rising biscuits. Just how we like ’em!
How to convert all-purpose flour into self-rising flour:
Now, I much prefer to go with White Lily Self-Rising Flour because it already has the baking powder and salt well mixed in and saves me a few steps. I like to buy it in smaller bags and then store it in the freezer for a longer shelf life. (I also keep self-rising flour around to make my delicious Pecan Chewies.)
If White Lily All-Purpose flour is all you have around, simply add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt for every cup of flour that you’ll need.
How to measure flour:
How you measure your flour is super important. Here are a few helpful steps I take to ensure the flour is ready for perfect biscuit results:
- Sifting flour is great, but not necessary. Simply run a fork through it to lighten it up a bit.
- Then, use a spoon to spoon the flour into your dry measuring cup.
- Level off your flour along the rim of your measuring cup with the flat edge of a knife or a straight-edged surface.
*Special Tip: Do not pack or jam the measuring cup with flour. Also, avoid scooping the flour with the measuring cup. This can throw off your liquid to flour ratio.
How to turn out the dough?:
When it is time to turn out the dough. You only need three things: a floured surface, a flat surface (countertop or pastry mat), and this helpful video above that walks you through each step of turning out dough.
Here are the main steps written out for you too:
- Knead the dough a few times to get it all together.
- Flatten out the dough into a rectangle. You can use a rolling pin here, but I just use my hands.
- Fold the dough over on itself in a tri-fold fashion to help create those flaky layers.
- Flatten back out into a rectangle. You’ll want to do this tri-fold thing 3 or 4 times to get all those flaky layers in there.
- Finally, flatten the dough out to about 3/4 to 1-inch thick.
- Grab your sharp biscuit cutter, and you are all ready to cut those biscuits out!
Tips for cutting biscuits out of dough
- Use a sharp biscuit cutter to cut the biscuits out.
- Do not use dull-edged things, like a glass. This can seal the edges of the biscuits together and prevent them from rising.
- Use a quick up and down motion to cut the biscuits out. Don’t twist the cutter. This will also seal those edges together.
- Transfer the biscuits to a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or some parchment paper.
- Place the biscuits based on your desired edge – crunchier and flatter vs. more tender and higher. If you want your edges to be more tender, place them on the pan nearly touching. If you want a crunchier edged biscuit, make sure there is a little more space between each biscuit.
- Between cutting out biscuits, smoosh all the dough together and knead it a few times before flattening it out again. There’s not really a need to do the tri-fold layering step again at this point.
- Don’t mind square biscuits, and want to save a step? Use a pizza cutter when you first flatten the dough out and cut the dough into roughly 3-inch squares. It will keep you from having to rework the dough and save you some time. Yeah, you’ll have square biscuits, but they’ll be just as delicious.
- Brush the biscuit tops with a little melted butter and bake! You can also brush melted butter on them when they come out of the oven too. The more butter the better!
Easy Buttermilk Biscuits
- 2 cups White Lily Self-Rising Flour
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup cultured nonfat buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 450°F and line a baking pan with a silicone baking mat or a piece of parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, measure the flour by spooning it into a dry measuring cup and leveling it off.
- Next, cut the butter into the flour. Do this by using a pastry blender to cut the butter into pieces the size of a small pea. Or freeze the butter and grate it on a box grater then stir the flour and grated butter together.
- Add the buttermilk and stir until just combined. The dough should be like thick mashed potatoes, but not too sticky. Add a little more flour if too sticky, or a little more buttermilk if it won't hold together.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it a few times if it's not holding together too well. Flatten the dough out into a rectangle and fold it over on itself in a tri-fold fashion. This helps to create those flaky layers. Continue lightly dusting the dough and the counter with flour to keep things from sticking. Then flatten it out into a rectangle again and tri-fold once more. You'll want to do this about 3 times.
- Finally, flatten the dough out into a rectangle that's about 3/4 to 1-inch thick and use a floured, sharp 2 to 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut the dough out using a quick up and down motion – being sure not to twist the cutter. Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking pan, placing them nearly touching for soft, tender edges or farther apart for crunchier edges.
- Rework the dough and flatten it out to cut more biscuits out. You should get between 10 and 12 biscuits. Brush the tops with the melted butter and bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
If nutritional values are provided, they are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.