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It was a photo from my friend Beth that set me on a quest to perfect my homemade biscuits. Hers rose into lofty layers with crisp edges that concealed a tender buttery center. They were everything a biscuit should be.
I had to know: Did she scoop or weigh her flour? Did she whisk or sift her dry ingredients? Did she knead or fold her dough? Did she use plain milk or buttermilk?
She patiently answered my questions and even passed along her base recipe from a vintage Betty Crocker cookbook. I got to work.
A dozen tries ensued in my kitchen: all butter, just shortening, a blend of both, mixing my hand, then in the food processor, and again, in the stand mixer; regular milk, buttermilk, powdered buttermilk... Here's what I discovered.
Here are the key steps I learned to making fluffy, flaky, buttery, tender homemade biscuits.
- For the best texture and flavor skip the shortening and use all butter.
- Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or a couple of butter knives instead of using a food processor. Less mess and I consistently got the flakiest results from cutting the butter in by hand.
- Use buttermilk instead of regular milk, it adds just the right tangy depth of flavor.
- Use baking powder as the primary leavening agent. When I used more than ¼-teaspoon of baking soda, the alkaline flavor came through.
- Be gentle with the dough when kneading and rolling for maximum height.
- To maximize layers, dip your biscuit cutter in flour between each cut. And cut straight down, resisting the urge to rotate back and forth.
- Bake biscuits in the top half of the oven to prevent over-browning on the bottom.
What To Do With Leftover Biscuits
Homemade biscuits are best when they're still warm from the oven. So what should you do with leftover biscuits? Two words: Biscuit Crackers. They are incredible! I got the idea from the brilliant cookbook: Carla Hall's Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration. The method is simple: with a sharp, serrated knife, cut leftover biscuits top to bottom into ⅛-inch thick slices. Arrange them on a buttered baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 350˚F, flipping them halfway through. Carla calls for 25 minutes (15 on the first side and 10 on the second), but I liked them better with a shorter cooking time. Cool completely on the baking sheet and serve. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
Biscuit Crackers are a delicious snack and a perfect pair for some of my favorite soups: Tomato Bisque, Chicken Noodle Soup, Turkey Pot Pie Soup or Chicken Pot Pie Soup.
Can You Freeze Biscuit Dough?
Freeze biscuit dough to make homemade biscuits that are almost as good as those made from fresh dough. I recommend rolling and cutting the dough so that the biscuits are pre-formed. Freeze uncooked biscuits in a single layer on a baking sheet and transfer to a freezer bag once frozen (I like to write baking instructions with a sharpie on the outside). You can bake biscuits straight from the freezer or thaw them in the refrigerator the night before you plan to bake them. Either way, bake at 450˚F. I prefer to bake them straight from the freezer (they tend to rise higher than those thawed overnight), adding a minute or two to the baking time.
How To Make Homemade Biscuits
Step 1: Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add buttermilk and stir into a shaggy dough.
Step 2: Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead several times into a cohesive dough. Roll or pat dough to a ½-inch thickness. Dip a 2 ½-inch biscuit cutter in flour and cut biscuits straight down, without twisting.
Step 3: Transfer biscuits to un-greased baking sheet. Bake in the upper half of the oven at 450˚f for 10-12 minutes. Serve hot or warm.
- 2 cups all purpose flour 272g
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup cold, unsalted butter cut into ½-inch cubes
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- Adjust rack to upper half of oven and preheat to 450˚F.
- Sift flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda into a large mixing bowl.
- Cut butter into dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two butter knives, until mixture looks like a coarse meal. Add buttermilk and stir into a shaggy dough.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently about 10 times. Roll or pat dough to ½-inch thick loose round or rectangle. Dip 2 ½-inch diameter biscuit cutter into flour and cut biscuits straight down (for maximum height and layers resist the urge to twist the cutter). Transfer to ungreased baking sheet and bake in 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot or warm.
- Once you've cut the biscuit dough, you can freeze for later baking. Freeze on a baking sheet, transferring to a freezer bag once frozen. Bake at 450˚F from frozen (my preference) or thaw in the refrigerator overnight. If baking from frozen, add a minute or two to baking time.
Whoa, your biscuits look amazing!! Makes me want one RIGHT NOW!! Will use your tips with my next batch.
Marissa Stevens says
I love to hear that, Liz! Thank you.
I made this tonight for dinner because of course we're having breakfast for dinner. That little bit of sea salt makes them next level and we won't even talk about how flaky they are lol. I ate two hot out the oven! I baked mine for 10 minutes and gave them a egg wash so they were really golden brown, thanks for the great recipe !
Marissa Stevens says
I love to hear this, Jennifer!! Thank you for coming back to let me know!
Kelly | Foodtasia says
Just look at those layers! Gorgeous! So appreciate all the work you've done to turn out the best biscuit. And such beautiful photos. I just want to reach in and grab one!
Thanks so much for your kind words, Kelly! xo
Ros @ ZenHealth says
Pinned! I love to try different biscuit recipes. These are on the list to try for sure. Thanks for sharing.
Love to hear that, Ros! Thank you!
Ha! I'm with Dawn on the leftover biscuits! 😀
The flaky layers in these are look so amazing, and I love all of your detailed tips and tricks. Wishing I was pulling my tray out of the oven right now. 🙂 ~Valentina
aww, thanks, Valentina!
I remember when I first came across "biscuits" and I spent ages trying to work out if they were the same as our British "scones"! Eventually I came across a site that answered my question in that your biscuits are more flaky and buttery. Scones are more dense and contain more sugar and fat. These definitely look deliciously flaky Marissa. Yum Yum! I'd love these warm with some strawberry jam!
So similar, right? Love your idea about strawberry jam!
Matt - Total Feasts says
I love a good biscuit, I mean who doesn't. Yours look so flaky, and delicious. But, can we talk about your idea for biscuit chips. That is a revelation, and I'm definitely going to try those this weekend!
Thanks Matt! Biscuit crackers are amazing! Total game changer. 🙂
My oh my! You definitely have perfected the flakiest biscuit! Thanks for sharing all your helpful tips and hints too!
My pleasure! Thanks, Kevin!
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen says
OMG! That top up close shot! I want to grab one, smear it with butter and chow down Marissa! Well done!
ha! Now that's the kind of response I always hope for. 😉 Thanks, Mary Ann!
Katherine | Love In My Oven says
Marissa, I am that person who eats a million fresh biscuits right out of the oven! With a ton of butter. These are so flaky and beautiful!!
Thank you, Katherine! I'm right there with you.
I can't look at these biscuits without a little tear coming to my eye! I want these! Nowww! Shared!
You crack me up! Thanks so much, Annie!
Thank you, Beth. And thank you for the inspiration!
David @ Spiced says
I'm with Dawn here. Leftover biscuits? I don't understand that term. Is it a foreign language? Haha! But seriously, we never have leftover biscuits here. Those biscuit crackers look amazing...but see the comment above. 🙂 These biscuits look amazing, and I'd say you earned the title of Master Biscuit Baker! I'd gladly peel apart these layers and slather 'em with grape jelly. Yum!
Ha! I love that title. And you and Dawn need to make extra so you can try those biscuit crackers - trust me. 😉
Dawn - Girl Heart Food says
The only thing I'm perplexed about here is LEFTOVER BISCUITS?? I mean, is there even such a thing 😉 ?? These look heavenly, Marissa! Love how buttery, flakey they look. Pinned! Hope you're having a wonderful week! XO
You crack me up, Dawn! It is hard to stop eating them for sure. You have a wonderful week too!
What a fabulous post, Marissa! I love all your tips, the photography is amazing (and mouthwatering) and those leftover biscuits crackers look scrumptious in their own right! Such a clever idea. Thanks so much for the inspiration!
Thank you so much, Katerina!! The biscuit crackers are a game changer for leftover biscuits! (Though I can't take credit for the idea. 🙂 )
Gorgeous flaky layers! These biscuits turned out bakery perfect, Marissa.
Thanks so much, Angie!