Tender and Flaky Southern Biscuits
Southern biscuits walk the line of being both tender and flaky. By combining white flour, butter, and a generous amount of buttermilk, the dough is first stirred together into a sticky mass. Then this dough is folded onto itself into a smooth dough — this step is where the magic can happen. By striking a balance between folding and patting the dough, you can make a tender dough into a flaky biscuit. These are also sturdy enough to turn into sandwiches or dunk into soup.
- 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus 1/4 cup more for dusting
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, frozen
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Heat the oven: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 450°F.
- Mix the dry ingredients: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
- Grate the butter: Place a box grater over a small piece of parchment paper. Grate the frozen butter on the large holes of a box grater. When you get down to a small nub of butter, chop that nub into 5 to 6 small pieces.
- Add the butter to the dry ingredients: Use the piece of parchment paper to transfer the butter to the dry ingredients. Use your fingers to sift the butter into the flour and break up any clumps of grated butter.
- Mix in the buttermilk: Pour in the buttermilk and beat it in with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Fold the biscuits: Transfer the dough to a lightly floured cutting board. Pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick rough rectangle. Sprinkle the dough with a little more flour, if needed. Fold the dough in half from top to bottom, then pat it back down into its original shape. Repeat with the folding and patting, alternating folding from each side, the bottom, and the top until you have completed a total of 8 folds. At the end, the dough should be a little springy to the touch.
- Cut the biscuits: Pat the dough into a 1-inch thickness. Use a 3-inch round cutter to cut the dough into 6 biscuits. If you don’t get 6 the first time around, refold and pat down the excess dough and cut more as needed. Discard the scraps of leftover dough.
- Bake: Arrange the biscuits in a 10-inch cast iron skillet so that the biscuits touch each other, but not the sides of the pan. Put the skillet in the oven and increase the oven temperature to 500°F. Bake until the biscuits are golden-brown, 15 to 18 minutes.
- Serve: Remove the skillet from the oven and immediately remove the biscuits from the pan to a clean tea towel.
- Storage: Leftover biscuits can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Warm in a low oven or toast in a toaster oven.
For the novice baker, making buttermilk biscuits from scratch might seem like a terrifying culinary endeavor. But truthfully, this flavored buttery quick bread only requires a few simple steps and a really hot oven. You won’t regret whipping up a batch: Each addictive mouthful is loaded with crunchy cornmeal, flaky layers of sharp cheddar cheese, chives and a touch of peppery heat (from the Jalapeños). These biscuits definitely belong on your festive Thanksgiving table.
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup cornmeal (medium grind)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled (cubed)
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, chilled (plus some extra for brushing the biscuits)
- 1-2 Jalapeños seeded (finely chopped)
- 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup chives, thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Transfer the dry-ingredient mixture to the bowl of your food processor along with the cubed, chilled butter. Pulse 3 or 4 times, until crumbly. Then pour in the buttermilk and pulse a few more times until the dough comes together.
- Dump the biscuit dough into the original bowl and fold in the grated cheddar, chopped jalapeños and sliced chives. Be sure not to overwork the dough.
- Using a 1/4 cup measure, pack the biscuit dough into the cup and then release onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough and leave at least 2 inches between each biscuit (you may need 2 baking sheets for this).
- Brush the tops of the biscuits with buttermilk and bake for 15 minutes, or until the tops are crusty and deeply golden.
- Transfer the biscuits to a rack and let them cool slightly before serving/enjoying alongside salted butter.
A different take on traditional biscuits and gravy, this easy breakfast casserole is a fun way to mix things up at the breakfast table.
- 1 can large, flaky biscuits (such as Grands)
- 1/2 pound ground breakfast sausage
- 3 Tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F).
- Prepare a small casserole dish (approximately 7×10) with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Open biscuits, and cut biscuits into quarters.
- Layer half of the quarters in prepared pan.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare gravy.
- In a heavy skillet, brown the ground breakfast sausage over medium high heat until fully cooked.
- Sprinkle the cooked sausage with 3 Tablespoons of flour.
- Use a wooden spoon to stir flour into sausage until completely absorbed.
- Lower heat to medium, and cook flour/sausage mixture for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add milk, and stir to combine.
- Add salt and black pepper.
- Stir frequently until mixture comes to a slight boil.
- Taste, and adjust seasonings as desired. (I usually add more black pepper)
If the gravy is too thick, add a bit more milk. You want the gravy to be thickened but not too thick, not “globby,” it should still be slightly runny.
- Pour gravy over the cooked biscuits.
- Layer the remaining uncooked, quartered biscuits over the gravy.
- Place casserole dish on a baking sheet, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. If they start to over-brown, you can cover with foil for the last 10 minutes or so.
- Serve immediately.
Add your own signature spin with a few teaspoons of your favorite herb, such as thyme or rosemary.
- 3 cups self-rising soft-wheat flour
- 1/2 cup yellow self-rising cornmeal mix
- 1/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
- 1/4 cup shortening, cut into pieces
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon yellow cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 500°. Whisk together first 2 ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in cold butter and shortening with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas and dough is crumbly. Cover and chill 10 minutes. Add buttermilk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.
- Turn dough out onto a heavily floured surface; knead 3 or 4 times. Pat dough into a 3/4-inch-thick circle.
- Cut dough with a well-floured 2 1/2-inch round cutter, rerolling scraps as needed. Sprinkle cornmeal on ungreased baking sheets; place biscuits on baking sheets. Lightly brush tops with 2 Tbsp. melted butter.
- Bake at 500° for 13 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
We tested with White Lily Bleached Self-Rising Flour.
Cat-head biscuits are delightfully huge, crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside homemade biscuits. Their size and crunch make them ideal to serve with a thick, hearty gravy. The name comes from their colossal size, about that of a cat’s head. They bake longer and at a lower temperature than their smaller cousins. If you don’t have bacon drippings on hand, cook a pound of bacon before you start this recipe, reserve the drippings, and serve the bacon with the biscuits and gravy.
- 5 tablespoons warm bacon drippings
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 1/2 cups self-rising soft-wheat flour (such as White Lily)
- 1 1/3 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
- Parchment paper
- Tomato Gravy
- Preheat oven to 375°. Stir together bacon drippings and butter.
- Place flour in a large bowl. Stir in drippings mixture and buttermilk, stirring just until a dough forms.
- Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface. Knead twice.
- Divide dough into 8 equal portions. Pat each portion into a 31⁄2-inch round biscuit (about 3⁄4 inch thick). Arrange 2 inches apart on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until tops are very lightly browned.
- Meanwhile, prepare Tomato Gravy. Serve biscuits immediately with Tomato Gravy.
- 2 tablespoons bacon drippings
- 1 cup finely chopped Vidalia onion
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose soft-wheat flour (such as White Lily)
- 2 cups peeled, seeded, and finely chopped tomato
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup milk
- Heat bacon drippings in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add onion, and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle onion with flour, and cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes.
- Add tomato and next 3 ingredients. Cook, stirring often, 6 minutes.
- Add milk, and bring to a light boil; reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, stirring often, 2 minutes. (If gravy becomes too thick, add more milk for desired consistency.)
These 6-ingredient biscuits get a spicy kick from jalapeno pepper.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
- 1/4 cup buttermilk, or as needed
- Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Sift the dry ingredients into a small bowl. Work the butter into the flour with a fork until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the jalapeño. Mix in the buttermilk a little at a time, adding just enough so that it comes together into a smooth ball of dough. Do not overwork the dough.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a 7-inch round, 1/2 inch thick. Using a 1-inch cookie cutter, press out 12 rounds. Reroll scraps to make additional biscuits. Transfer the rounds to the baking sheet. Bake until the tops are golden and the bottoms browned, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.