Tall, buttery southern buttermilk biscuits with flaky, fluffy, tender insides, and crisp edges are easy to make using just 3 ingredients!
These buttermilk biscuits have been a fan favorite on Sweet Tea and Thyme before Sweet Tea and Thyme was even Sweet Tea and Thyme!
They’re easy, with only three ingredients, and take only a little over half an hour to make. I mean, what’s not to love, right?
These are classic southern buttermilk biscuits, I promise every southern grandma will tell you this is the way they did it back in the day (or this but with Crisco. Crisco is southern grandma baking crack, y’all.)
It’s a really, really simple recipe: cut the butter, mix in the buttermilk, and fold. A lot of folding. I just did a video making the biscuits on Instagram (which you can now see in my Highlights on my profile), and showed the folding technique. It’s simple, y’all, don’t worry. We’re folding to make flaky, delicious biscuits. It’s a quick little labor of love.
Here are my secrets to the best southern buttermilk biscuits:
Biscuit Secret #1: Self-rising flour.
You need a soft, delicate flour with very little protein and some leavener in it. You can use AP flour, and I have a note in the ingredients on how to make your own self rising flour.
Biscuit Secret #2: Cold, cold, cold fats.
Freeze (or refrigerate) your fat, whether it be bacon lard or some good ole Crisco, but I use high fat, sweet unsalted European butter which I get from the farmer’s market. Kerrygold butter is good to use for this. Regular American butter is high in water content, especially in comparison to European butter, so if you want to get some serious flaky layers, try to find the highest fat content butter around.
I sounded so stuffy, but I promise it’s just so you get the best results.
Biscuit Secret #3: Keep it all cold.
And I do mean all of it. Flour, butter, buttermilk, the cutter you use. All of it. The colder it is the better. Not frozen, of course, but incredibly cold so that the butter can’t melt and ruin your light, delicate biscuits.
Biscuit Secret #4: Don’t twist your cutter.
If you do, you close off the layers and lose the height for your biscuits before you even bake. You’ll end up with a short, dense, heavy biscuit. Just use an up-and-down motion, don’t twist. Press Down, Lift Up.
Biscuit Secret #5: Don’t roll your dough out.
You want these barely man-handled. After combining the ingredients, gently and quickly make the dough into a rectangle and fold, press, fold, press, fold, and finally press into a rectangle about 1-inch thick.
Biscuit Secret #6: When you fold your dough, do it in thirds for quicker layers.
Or in halves, to make perfect layers. Fold onto the middle, then flatten out again. Or if cutting in half, just stack each half on top of each other, then press back down into a thinner rectangle.
Biscuit Secret #7: Shove everything in the freezer before baking.
Those buttery layers need to stay layered (and not melted into the dough) right before hitting that hot, hot pan in that hot, hot oven.
Biscuit Secret #8: Space.
Keep your buttermilk biscuits apart on the sheet, the crunchier the edges. Keep them close, you get a fully soft biscuit all around.
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- 2 cups self-rising flour *see note
- 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 3/4 cups buttermilk, cold
- melted butter
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set in oven while it's preheating.
Place the flour and butter in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until the pieces of butter are about the size of a pea.
Stir in the buttermilk until just combined, then place bowl in freezer to chill dough while you clear your counter/work surface and clean it to make sure there are no crumbs or debris that can get into your dough.
Dust the work surface with flour, keeping extra flour on hand, and flatten the dough with your hands into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Fold the dough by thirds onto itself, then flatten again using your hands. Repeat this 2-3 more times, flattening the dough into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle, and folding by thirds.
For the last time you flatten the dough, flatten it to 3/4 inch to 1 inch thick. Dip a 2-inch diameter biscuit cutter into your excess flour and cut biscuits using an up and down motion. Never twist, that will seal up the edges and cause your biscuits to not get as tall as they would.
Place biscuits onto a freezer safe plate and freeze for anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. They can be frozen up to overnight.
Place the biscuits on the hot prepared baking sheet quickly in the oven and bake for 13-15 minutes or until the tops are golden.
Remove to cool and brush melted butter on tops. Serve with honey butter, jam, gravy, etc.
To create homemade self rising flour, substitute in all purpose flour and add 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp kosher salt to it before cutting in the butter. This recipe will call for 2 cops all purpose 1 tbsp baking powder and 1 tsp kosher salt.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 147 Total Fat: 6g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 16mg Sodium: 343mg Carbohydrates: 19g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 1g Protein: 3g
Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.