These buttermilk biscuits are the homemade biscuit recipe you’ve been looking for! They are perfectly flaky with a buttery crumb that almost melts in your mouth. A simple recipe that takes less than 30 minutes to make, these buttermilk biscuits can go into your weeknight dinner routine.
I’ve been on a mission to find the perfect biscuit recipe for years, seeking a tall biscuit that is full of flaky layers, has a tender, buttery crumb and can be made for a last-minute dinner or biscuit craving.
This game-changing recipe comes from the talented Brian Hart Hoffman. His use of buttermilk and patting to create those flaky layers are two essential elements to a perfect buttermilk biscuit recipe. The buttermilk is necessary to give these homemade biscuits a slight tang, so any substitution won’t give you the same result. Save the extra buttermilk to make classic pancakes for breakfast the next morning!
Tips to get Perfect Buttermilk Biscuits
In my years of recipe testing, here are some tips I’ve learned on how to make perfect biscuits. Stick to these tips and you, too, can have homemade biscuits in less than an hour.
- Weigh your ingredients: Anytime I work with a dough, I like to weigh my ingredients instead of using measuring cups. I’ve provided both types of measurements in my biscuit recipe below but highly encourage you to invest in a digital scale to make these biscuits and other tender doughs like pie crusts.
- Use cold butter: To get tall biscuits with flaky layers it’s important you use cold butter. As the cold butter melts in the oven when the biscuits are baking, it releases steam and creates pockets of air. This is how you get tender biscuits with lots of layers that are crisp on the outside.
- Pat and layer method: This biscuit recipe has a unique layering method to ensure you get several layers without overworking your dough – this leads to hard and dense biscuits. You simply pat your mixed dough into a rectangle and cut it into fourths, stacking them and repeating the process. I’ll explain more on this later.
- Don’t twist the cutter: A minor step, but very important to get the rise on your buttermilk biscuits. Twisting it seals the edges and prevents rising.
- Final egg wash: This gives the biscuits that perfect golden brown color.
How to make biscuits
When looking to make buttermilk biscuits I wanted to find an easy biscuit recipe that required minimal ingredients. With just 7 ingredients that can all be made in one bowl (I like to use a food processor), these homemade buttermilk biscuits are easy to make.
Simply whisk or pulse the dry ingredients together, adding in the cold butter and pulsing (or use a pastry cutter) until the mixture is crumbly. If using a food processor, transfer to a large bowl where you’ll add in the cold buttermilk and stir by hand until a shaggy dough forms.
Be careful not to overmix, since that will cause the biscuits to become dense and hard. The dough will be fairly crumbly, and you want the butter to be in small pieces and not fully blended into the dough. You can add in a bit of flour or buttermilk if the dough feels too wet or dry.
The pat and layer method
This simple method is how you achieve perfect flaky layers and a tender buttery crumb. Be careful to work the dough as little as possible, not pressing down too hard or letting it get too warm. You can always place the dough in the fridge for several minutes in between pats to keep the butter cold.
To do the pat and layer method, turn out your shaggy dough onto a lightly floured surface. Using your hands, gently pat the dough into a rectangle shape (the size doesn’t matter) and cut into fourths. Stack each fourth on top of each other, and pat back into a rectangle shape.
Repeat the process three more times for a total of four pats and layers, ending with a rectangle shape of dough. You may need to stick the dough in the fridge at this point to keep the butter cold.
Cutting out the biscuits
Roll your cold rectangle of dough with a rolling pin until it’s about ½ to 1 inch thick. Cut into 3-inch circles, making sure not to twist the cutter. I like to dip my cutter into flour before cutting the buttermilk biscuit dough to keep it from getting stuck.
Re-roll any scraps and cut out circles until you have 8-12 biscuits. Place the biscuits 2 inches apart on a prepared baking sheet and stick them in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to re-chill the butter one final time. It’s very important to have cold butter before baking, as this is how you get the air pockets and flaky layers you’re looking for in a buttermilk biscuit.
Egg wash and bake
Remove the biscuits from the freezer and brush with a lightly beaten egg. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes, and serve once slightly cool. These are best eaten warm with softened butter and honey or jam. I like to put Nutella on my warm biscuits, letting the chocolatey spread melt over the warm tender crumb. The biscuits are best the day they are made, but you can freeze leftovers and rewarm in the oven before serving.
Now that I’ve shared my perfect buttermilk recipe, you too can enjoy homemade biscuits anytime you get a craving. They are great on their own or paired with a warm soup or stew during the cold winter months. I also like to make them for breakfast, either with a big dollop of Nutella or turned into an egg sandwich. Put this easy biscuit recipe into your baking routine and you will never buy store-bought ones again!
- 2 ⅓ cups (325g) all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ tablespoons (20g) granulated sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt or 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 200 g (7 oz.) unsalted butter, cold (original recipe 225g)
- ¾ cup (180 ml) buttermilk, cold
- egg , lightly beaten, for egg wash
- Softened butter and honey or jam , to serve, optional
Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Put flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl or a food processor. Whisk or pulse in the food processor until combined. Add cold butter, and cut into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or by pulsing in the food processor, until mixture is crumbly. If you used a food processor, transfer the mixture into a large bowl.
Add buttermilk to the bowl and stir by hand until a shaggy dough forms. Avoid overmixing, it can cause the biscuits to become dense and hard.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Using your hands, pat dough into a rectangle (the size doesn’t matter), and cut into fourths. Stack each fourth on top of each other, and pat down into a rectangle again. Repeat procedure 3 more times. It’s important to work as little as possible with the dough, and not press it down too hard, to insure airy, buttery center and tall biscuits. Also work quickly so that the dough stays cold throughout the process. If the butter starts to melt, place it in the fridge for several minutes.
Gently pat or roll the dough out with a rolling pin until it’s about ½ to 1 inch thick. Cut into 3-inch circles (tip – dip the cutter in flour before cutting, and don’t twist the cutter). Re-roll any scraps until you have 8-12 biscuits. Place biscuits 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. I highly recommend freezing until cold for 10-15 minutes, that way the butter will expand during baking and create those beautiful layers rather than melting down. Brush with egg wash right before baking.
Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve warm with softened butter and honey or jam, if desired.
Biscuits are best easten the same day they are made. Leftovers can be frozen for up to 2 months. Rewarm in the oven before serving.
Recipe by Brian Hart Hoffman, Bake from Scratch