No-Cutter Buttermilk Biscuits

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No-Cutter Buttermilk Biscuits

You know, buttermilk biscuits are as much a part of the Southern culinary landscape as grits and fried okra.  Growing up, there wasn’t a proper breakfast spread that didn’t include them.  Now we didn’t have them every day, but weekend breakfasts and special occasions always included them.  They even made their way to the supper table for certain meals, too.  But I’ll admit that with the advent of the frozen biscuit, the days of crafting a homemade biscuits have gone to the wayside.  Honestly, I’ve been know to toss a few of those frozen hockey pucks on a baking sheet for a busy weekday morning breakfast, too.  But regardless of the convenience,  there is nothing quite like a real homemade buttermilk biscuit.

If you do make them at home, chances are you make your biscuits the same way your mother or grandmother made them.  I know I do.  And not once did I ever see my mother or grandmother use a biscuit cutter. This recipe is for biscuits the way Mom and Nana always made them.  They are quick and easy and don’t make all the mess that rolling out biscuits does.  I do make biscuits that way sometimes, but if I’m in a hurry, this is my go-to recipe.

Others are just perplexed when it comes to homemade biscuits.  If that’s you, don’t fear.  Here are a few of my tips for making the perfect biscuit – without a biscuit cutter that is.


First – WHITE LILY SELF-RISING FLOUR.  Just get some.  I promise it makes a HUGE difference.

Second – For this recipe to bake up pretty biscuits, you’ll want to make sure that the ball of dough you roll out doesn’t have any visible cracks.  This might mean needed it a bit (just a little bit, though) and re-rolling it.  Those little cracks become big cracks when they bake.  They’ll taste the same, just won’t look as pretty.   Let me show you…


Here’s what the pea-size crumbs should look like after you’ve cut the shortening in.

IMG_9567After adding the buttermilk, the dough should look roughly like this.

cracksYou don’t want the biscuit to look like this.  See those cracks?  They get bigger then they bake.

IMG_9570Here’s a biscuit after it’s been rolled up and flattened out.  See – no big cracks.

IMG_9569You can see the thickness here.

IMG_9575Here they are – all pretty and ready for the oven.

No-Cutter Buttermilk Biscuits
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: About 6 biscuits
  • 2 cups White Lily Self-Rising Flour
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F and lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Measure the flour into a large bowl and cut the shortening into the flour with a pastry blender or two forks. The crumbs should be about pea-size.
  3. Slowly incorporate the buttermilk until everything is just combined. Don't overwork the mixture. The dough will be wet and sticky. Working with well-floured hands scoop up about ⅓ to ¼ cup of the dough and form the dough into a ball with no visible cracks. You may have to dust some additional flour over the ball to make it easier to roll. Gently flatten the dough until it is about ¾ inch thick and place it one the baking sheet. Continue with the remaining dough.
  4. Bake for 10 to 12 minute or until golden brown.

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  1. These look delicious. White Lily flour makes the most wonderful cakes. There is a huge difference in this flour and all others. They don’t sell it where I live now and I am tempted to have some shipped to me.

    • Thanks, Addie. It’s the only self-rising flour I use. I think it’s totally worth having some shipped. 🙂 Consider it one of life’s little splurges.

    • Connie Whiting says:

      Just don’t order it in bulk through WalMart! But you can ask them to order you a few bags. I ordered 40 lbs. of Aunt Jemima Buttermilk Cornmeal Mix thru WalMart and it only had 2 months left before it expired. But that was the only way to order it was in 40# lots. There are only two of us and I didn’t think I could use it up that quickly and don’t have that much freezer space. 🙁
      Stacey….I can hardly wait to go out and get White Lilly. Thanks for sharing with us!

    • Debbie Deal says:

      See if Amazon sells this flour-they sell most EVERYTHING and ships everywhere! Good luck with your flour 😉

  2. Thank you for the great tutorial … no cutter or rolling pin is right up my alley!

  3. Stacey, I love this post! Your step by step photos and explanations are so helpful. I know what you mean about the hockey pucks and had a good laugh on that one.
    Have a great day friend,
    ~Donya @A Southern Soul

  4. can you use a pastry cutter? what is a party blender?

  5. I love your site and this recipe. When you say “shortening” in this recipe what specifically do you mean?

  6. Stacey, I love your tutorial. I just have a couple of comments. White Lily flour is the ONLY flour to use. I tried learning to make biscuits and until I got my hand on White Lily my husband threw out quite a few hockey pucks from attempts with other flour. And second, my husband would be rather cranky if I only made a pan with six biscuits on it! Thanks for your continued efforts to educate us in Southern cooking.

  7. I am new to making biscuits and I have a question. If you don’t use a rolling pin how do you get the dough flattened out enough and to the right thickness, before you make the biscuits. Do you just knead it up and then mash it down with your hands until you get the dough to about the right thickness. And also if you don’t use a biscuit cutter how do you get the dough to the right roundness. Do you just break off pieces of the dough and then pat it with your hands until you get the right roundness or diameter. Again I am fairly new at making biscuits but when I do I have to use a rolling pin and a biscuit cutter. Thanks

    • Hi John! This recipe is the way that my grandmother and mother have always made biscuits and neither of them use a rolling pin or a cutter. The idea is to use your hands to gather the dough and flatten and form it onto a biscuit shape. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a cutter and rolling pin, this just seems a bit easier to me. 🙂

      • Thank you for your reply Stacey, and for explaining the procedure a little more in depth. Doesn’t sound to difficult and maybe even an amateur like me might be able to master this technique. But just in case I think that I will keep my rolling pin and biscuit cutter close by.

  8. Just found your site, thanks for the step by step. And pictures. Makes it so much easier:)

  9. Where do you find White Lily flour.

  10. I bought my bag of flour yesterday and can’t wait to make some real biscuits for my Yankee husband :). I have recently returned to the south after having been gone with the Army for far too long. Thanks for sharing this and all your recipes.

  11. The recipe says preheat oven to 500 degrees? Bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 500 degrees. Is this a typo?

    Also I found the flour can be ordered at this web site:

    • Great resource, but no, it’s not at typo. 500 degrees is where I bake them. You can do them at 450 if you wish, the time just may need to be adjusted.

  12. Stacy, I love you. I’ve gotten to where I just type in “Southern Bites” and whatever I want. Keepin’ it simple, man. I just saw a Cat’s Head recipe that called for 1 1/2 cup of flour and another 1 1/2 cup cake flour. Whut? I ain’t got time for that. Thanks.

  13. Janice Holloway says:

    Love your recipes! The one adjustment I made was to use Crisco Butter-flavored shortening. Really adds to the butter flavor when used with butter after they’ve
    baked. Yum, yum!

  14. Can you use regular milk instead of buttermilk//

  15. not using buttermilk, will still be biscuits but surely not the same 😉

  16. Thank you so much! My mother and grandmother and all my relatives back until who knows when have never used a cookie cutter with biscuits. My mother has passed away and I have been living in Arizona and just visiting family about once a year. I have been out of practice in my biscuit making and honestly a little embarrassed to ask any of my relatives to remind me how to pat out a proper biscuit. It is almost impossible to find online too. It is all roll out and cut. I was thrilled to find your website after quite a bit of searching. Thanks again!

  17. Two questions: 1) Can I use 1/4 cup butter instead of shortening if I don’t have any on-hand? 2) Can I just dump the dough onto a floured surface and pat it into a square and just make squares? Or would I need to knead the dough if I did it in a square? I only have the use of one arm and kneading would be difficult.

    • Yes, you can use butter. In fact, I use butter more often than shortening. The dough needs to be kneaded a little bit but not too much. Squares would work just fine. Hope this works out for you, Becky!

  18. Jeanne Trigas says:

    My grandmother had a maid, (that was her job title back then) who made the best biscuits in the world. If these biscuits are anything like hers, I will be so happy. I will remember a special woman from my childhood whom I loved like my mammaw.

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