This Southern Flaky Buttermilk Biscuit recipe yields perfection. They’re buttery, flaky, tall and deliciously savory biscuits. Pair them with softened butter and apricot jam or use them for your favorite breakfast biscuit sandwich.
Even though I was born in the South (hi, Fulton county), my love for biscuits didn’t begin until I went to high school and would leave my four hour tennis practices depleted and hungry. Luckily there was a Popeyes right by the courts, but I never wanted to ruin my dinner completely so instead of getting chicken and a whole plate, I’d just order two biscuits with a side of butter and honey. Oh man, they were SO good. I couldn’t be more excited to share these Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits!
I Love Biscuits
That experience turned me into a hardcore biscuit-loving human. I love biscuits of all kinds but to be honest, ones made with shortening are it! And guess what, I’ve never baked them. I’ve always opted for full butter. And yes, they’re good, delicious even, but they’re not like this. I’m here to say that if you’re shy to bake with shortening, so was I but we’re here together, let’s do it!!
Last week I had the pleasure of going to lunch with Carla Hall and she was so amazing. We talked for a few hours about all sorts of things. She’s such a beautiful person, even better in person than what you see and know from TV.
I’m so happy to be sharing this biscuit recipe from her latest cookbook, Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration. I love how the book traces soul food’s history from Africa and the Caribbean to the American South, giving me context in ways that warm my heart and teach me a whole lot.
How To Make Buttermilk Biscuits
- A food processor makes this easy!
- Add the dry ingredients. We have all-purpose flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. And then mix it up.
- Use the grating attachment. It eliminates the need to cut the butter into cubes.
- And then, add the shortening and butter. The food processor cuts these two things up in the mixture so easily. It easily mixes the shortening and cold butter into the flour. I can’t recommend it enough. If you don’t own one, you can use a big box cheese grater. Alternatively you could also use a pastry blender.
- Transfer to a bowl, and then pour in the buttermilk.
- Mix it using a spatula. Until it forms a ball. And then dump it out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Pat it gently. This recipe doesn’t require a rolling pin; you can simply use your hands and pat the dough gently into a 1/2-inch square.
- Fold it over like a letter. This creates those amazing layers. And it’s an important step. So fold it over itself. And then form it into a 3/4-inch thick square.
- Stamp out biscuits using a lightly floured 2-inch cutter. No need to twist and turn the cutter. Simply push down.
- Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet, super close together. No need to put them on a sheet of parchment paper. But you can if you want to!
- Refrigerate the biscuits from 15 to 30 minutes. You want them nice and cold.
- Bake ’em! They bake at a super high temperature (450 degrees F) for 15 minutes. As a result, they’ll explode to tall, flaky biscuits. And they’ll be beautifully light brown color.
- Serve warm along with softened butter and jam.
Tips and Tricks for this Flaky Buttermilk Biscuit Recipe
- Everything needs to be cold. This means cold butter and cold shortening and cold buttermilk. This ensures a flaky buttery biscuit.
- Be gentle with the dough. No need to over knead this biscuit dough. Just mix it until everything is incorporated.
- A food processor makes things easy. This dough is SO simple to make in the food processor but you can do it in a big bowl with a cheese box grater.
- Don’t twist and turn the biscuit cutter. That seals the edges together which prohibits proper rising. Just be sure to press straight down.
- Use part shortening and butter. I know that shortening can be annoying to buy. As a result, it gives these biscuits their signature texture and fluffiness.
- Trans-free Shortening is the move! I found mine at Whole Foods by the brand Spectrum. It’s trade-free, too!
- Can you make buttermilk biscuits ahead of time? Yes, absolutely. These freeze well. Make them until they’re formed biscuits. Stick in the freezer for 1 hour. And then transfer to a freezer-safe container/bag. Bake from frozen and add a few minutes onto the baking time.
These biscuits are SO good. Their texture is dreamy. Like little fluffy clouds. I’m making them for Thanksgiving for sure, and so should you.
Here’s a link to Carla’s cookbook + Instagram.
And if you make these Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits let me know on Instagram!
Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for shaping the dough
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter frozen, plus more; for pan
- 2 tablespoons trans fat-free vegetable shortening
- 1 1/2 cups cold buttermilk shaken
To Make the Dough with a Food Processor:
- Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse a few times, until well mixed. Add the shortening and pulse until fine crumbs form. Switch to the grating disk attachment. With the machine running, push the frozen butter through the feed tube.
- Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and toss to make sure all the butter shreds are coated with the floury crumbs. Add the buttermilk and fold in using a rubber spatula, running the flat of it through the center of the mixture and then around the edge while you rotate the bowl. Keep at it, being as gentle as possible, until the dry ingredients are evenly hoisted.
To Make the Dough by Hand:
- Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl with an open hand, using your fingers as a whisk. Add the shortening and use your fingertips to pinch it completely into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Using a box grater, grate the frozen butter on the large holes into the flour. Toss until all the pieces are coated. Add the buttermilk to the flour mixture. Using your hand as a spatula, gently mix until there are no dry bits of flour left. The dough will be sticky.
- Lightly coat your work surface with nonstick cooking spray, then flour. (The spray keeps the flour in place.)
- Turn the dough out onto the prepared surface and gently pat into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle. Sprinkle the dough with flour, then fold it in thirds like a letter. Repeat the patting, sprinkling, and folding twice, rotating the dough 90 degrees each time. Pat the dough to 3/4-inch thickness. It should no longer be sticky.
- Flour a 2-inch-round biscuit cutter and press it straight down into the dough. Transfer the round to the prepared pan, placing the bottom side up. Repeat, cutting the rounds as close together as possible and spacing them 1-inch apart on the pan. Stack the scraps, pat to 3/4-inch thickness, and cut again. Refrigerate the rounds until cold, at least 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Butter a baking sheet. Or line a sheet pan with parchment.
- Bake until the tops are golden brown and crisp, about 16 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes on the pan before serving hot.
Looking for more breakfast recipes? Here are some favorites:
- Best Blueberry Muffins
- Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
- Conchas (Mexican Pan Dulce)
- Crispy Waffles
- Olive Oil Fried Eggs
- Earl Grey Scones
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