Bring everyone to the table with the lightest, fluffiest, most tender biscuits imaginable. These old-fashioned biscuits are made with buttermilk, so they’re melt-in-your-mouth soft with a lovely fluffy golden top and lightly crisp bottom. And best of all, they are ready to enjoy warm from the oven in under 30 minutes. This tried-and-true easy buttermilk biscuits recipe is an instant family favorite!
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Old Fashioned Fluffy Buttermilk BIscuits
This summer we spent a few nights at Harris Ranch on our way to visit the coast. Located on Interstate 5 outside of Coalinga, midway between Northern California and Southern California, Harris Ranch is a popular spot for travelers to stay overnight when traveling between those areas. You might know Harris Ranch for their beef which is sold in retailers throughout the Western US.
Besides the amazing beef dinners we had at the Harris Ranch steakhouse and restaurant, I fell in love with their biscuits.
They have a teeny bit of sweetness which is almost neutralized by the buttermilk, and are delightfully light and fluffy. I would say these tender and soft biscuits are similar to a combination of dinner roll and biscuit.
That deliciousness sent me on a quest to make a familiar yet fabulously different kind of biscuit – an old fashioned buttermilk biscuit. And I am sure you will agree that this easy recipe checks all of the boxes: It’s practically foolproof, takes less than 30 minutes to prepare from scratch, and makes the fluffiest biscuits possible every time.
I also love that the recipe only includes a handful of wholesome ingredients like all-purpose flour… and yes, you can even make buttermilk biscuits without buttermilk!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- All-purpose flour – This is the most standard ingredient for biscuits, but you can swap it with cake flour if you prefer a lighter texture.
- Sugar – Granulated sugar is commonly used in biscuits, but you can swap it with honey or brown sugar for a different flavor profile.
- Baking powder – This makes the butter rise so don’t skip this.
- Salt – It enhances the flavor of the biscuit. You can use any salt substitute or omit it if desired.
- Baking soda – Helps with leavening so don’t skip this one too.
- Butter or shortening – Butter is the most popular choice for biscuits, but shortening can also be used for a flakier texture.
- Buttermilk – This recipe calls for buttermilk. If you don’t have one, check our guide below on how to make one using regular milk.
- Egg – This acts as a binding agent and adds richness to the biscuit.
Kitchen Tools Needed
How to make buttermilk for Biscuits (from regular milk)
No buttermilk? Not a problem! You can actually make buttermilk from scratch. Simply stir in 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to 1-1/4 cups of milk.
Let it sit for 10 minutes until it starts to curdle. The acid from the vinegar or lemon juice causes the milk to curdle slightly. It adds tanginess to the milk, similar to that in buttermilk. Plus it gives extra tenderness and mixes with the baking soda to give an extra rise for taller, fluffier biscuits.
Try These Easy Biscuit Recipes Made Without Buttermilk
- Easy 3 Ingredient Biscuits
- Biscuits and Sausage Gravy
- Bisquick Cheddar Biscuits (Cheddar Bay Biscuits)
- Mini Cheese Biscuits
- Drop Biscuits with Self Rising Flour
The Best flour for biscuits
Although I love using self-rising flour for easy biscuit making, in this recipe all-purpose flour is the best flour for buttermilk biscuits. This allows you to have a bit more control over the amount of leavening agent added (baking powder) which is key when working with acidic buttermilk.
I recommend choosing a high-quality, all-purpose flour like King Arthur Flour. I prefer to use organic flour, when available, for my baking needs.
How to make Rolled buttermilk biscuits from scratch
Here is how to make tender buttermilk biscuits that will literally melt in your mouth!
Then, stir together the buttermilk and egg. Pour into the middle of the flour mixture.
Stir just until biscuit dough comes together, it will be sticky. Do not overmix for the most tender buttermilk biscuits.
Pat the dough into a thick, flat rectangle on a lightly floured surface.
Dip your biscuit cutter into flour, then press the biscuit cutter straight down and up (do not twist!). Place biscuits on the prepared baking sheet about 1″ apart.
Recipe Variations And Tips
- Make these tender buttermilk biscuits for two by turning this recipe into a small batch buttermilk biscuits recipe. Simply half the recipe, using the same instructions and baking times. Bake the biscuits in a square casserole dish or quarter baking sheet.
- For even lighter, flakier biscuits, substitute up to 1/2 of the butter with Crisco shortening. You can find easy to cube or grate Crisco sticks at your local grocery retailer near the shortening.
- Bake the biscuits on parchment paper or Silpat liner to keep the bottoms tender. Ideally they are light and slightly crispy on the bottom, but if you bake them directly on the cookie sheet they are more likely to become dark golden and crispier.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! To freeze unbaked biscuits: After the biscuits are cut, freeze the cut biscuit dough by separating the biscuits between wax paper or parchment paper and storing them in a freezer-safe container. Use within 1 month.
To thaw: separate the cut biscuits and layout on a greased baking sheet (or line with parchment paper) and let defrost at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.
For baked biscuits, wrap them in foil and freeze for up to 3 months.
Biscuits are baked in the oven and served alongside the main meal. Dumplings are steamed and cooked in hot liquid, like soups and stews, and are have a denser, heavier texture.
Full Recipe For The Best Biscuits With Buttermilk
Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits
- Baking sheet, sheet pan, or cookie sheet
- 2 1/2" biscuit cutter
- 3 cups all purpose flour divided
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1½ tablespoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅔ cup butter or shortening, 1-inch cubes or grated, or a mixture of butter and shortening)
- 1⅓ cups buttermilk (see notes for using milk)
- 1 large egg
- Preheat oven to 375º F. Prepare the baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a Silpat liner. For biscuits with a crispier bottom, grease the baking sheet.
- In a large bowl, whisk together 2¾ cups of flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Cut in butter or shortening, using a dough whisk or pastry cutter until it is the size of small peas. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
- In a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk and egg. Pour into the well of the flour mixture. Stir just until biscuit dough comes together, it will be sticky. Do not overmix.
- Add 1/4 cup of flour to a shallow bowl to dip the biscuit cutter into, then use that flour to lightly flour the countertop or wooden board. Place the biscuit dough on top of the flour. With floured hands, pat dough into a 1" thick flat rectangle or square.
- Dip the biscuit cutter into the flour, then press the biscuit cutter straight down and up (do not twist!). Place biscuits on the prepared baking sheet about 1" apart.
- Bake at 375ºF for 20-23 minutes, until lightly golden on top. Serve warm with butter and honey or jam, or with sausage gravy.