There's nothing like fluffy, buttery homemade honey butter biscuits any time of the day! This homemade biscuits recipe is made with only six ingredients, they bake until beautifully golden brown, and are brushed with honey butter.
We love brunch around here, you'll never find a Saturday or Sunday morning without us making a little mess together in the kitchen and serving up plates of croque madame sandwiches, blueberry muffins, or slices of apple crumble cake if it's fall time.
We also love a good cheddar bay drop biscuit recipe with brunch, those are too good to resist!
But a mainstay for us is a good, flaky biscuit. Y'all know I'm a Southern magnolia, a recipe for biscuits from scratch are built in the DNA!
And if you love biscuits, these biscuits will leave you wishing you made a few more batches (even if you make two!) because they are light, flaky, with a touch of sweetness but full of sweet honey flavor. They're fast. easy to make. and fantastic for a Sunday dinner or a holiday side dish as well, which is why I love this recipe so much!
Make yourself some homemade honey biscuits, drizzle on enough honey butter to summon Paula Deen to your house, and enjoy your meal, honey.
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A History of Biscuits
Before biscuits were the light, soft, tender biscuits we know them as today, biscuit making (and eating) was not as enjoyable. They were dense, flavorless, and hard. Since the ancient times, Europeans would eat these bland, hard biscuits (called hardtack) because they were easy to make.
This stuff was so durable that it could last for 6 months, and the Royal Navy of Great Britain would have it for sailor's rations. It's said they were also used as postcards because they were so durable.
Once colonizers came to the States, they brought the hardtack with them to sustain them.
But in the south, things changed.
The rich plantations that had trafficked in Africans to successfully grow soft wheat for flour and tend to the animals, now had buttermilk, lard, butter, and soft flour to make beaten biscuits.
These were biscuits that were beaten for literal hours by enslaved women until they were slightly risen more like a flaky cracker instead of dense hardtack. These cracker-like biscuits can be found in the first cookbook written by an African American: What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking, 1881.
This was before baking soda and baking powder were invented, so leavening was difficult without yeast, which was hard to store and expired quickly.
But once these leaveners came around in the 1840's, with the fact that the South produced soft winter wheat, which has lower protein than the North's hard winter wheat, the biscuits were now light, tall, and tender, the fluffy biscuits we know of today.
A box grater or pastry cutter (also called a pastry blender) - use a box grater to get the frozen butter into pea sized pieces.
Biscuit cutter - these are a must in my opinion. I've used glasses before, but because their edges just aren't as sharp, they won't make these biscuits grow as tall.
Large mixing bowls and a whisk - must haves in baking biscuits.
a cast iron skillet or a baking sheet - I love either option for biscuits. You may want to line your baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
An oven thermometer - this is just helpful any time you use an oven. The right temperature oven = sky high biscuits!
Silicone or Rubber Spatula - this makes mixing your ingredients a breeze (clean up too!)
- All Purpose Flour - if you can find soft winter wheat flour in the grocery store grab it! White Lily Flour is a great brand, just don't grab the self-rising flour.
- Unsalted Butter and Melted Butter - you want some frozen butter for the biscuits themselves, and melted butter for that yummy honey butter glaze.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda - we're using both because that baking powder is a failsafe for the baking soda. What do I mean? If you don't have enough acid in your buttermilk or the substitute, that baking powder (which has acid in it) comes in clutch to keep those fluffy biscuits rising high.
- Honey - a given, since we are making honey buttah biscuits, here. 😉 Use a local raw honey
- Buttermilk - this is what puts the south in your mouth! The tang of buttermilk is a classic addition, it's the acid that lifts up the biscuit to tall heights.
How to Make Biscuits with Honey Butter
Step 1 | whisk together all the dry ingredients for the biscuits in a large mixing bowl, then add in the grated butter or cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter.
Step 2 | Stir your wet ingredients into the flour mixture with a silicone spatula until it is well absorbed and the dough is kinda shaggy looking.
Step 3 | Drop biscuit dough onto a generously floured surface and use your hands to pat down the biscuit mixture into a rough thick rectangle, about ⅓-inch thick.
Step 4 | Begin folding the biscuit dough like an envelope. Once it is envelope-shaped, flatten it out with your hands or a rolling pin and turn it 90 degrees and repeat at least 3 times. This is giving it a gentle knead that creates the flaky layers.
Step 5 | wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put in the fridge to chill the butter again so your biscuits end up super tall.
Step 6 | roll the dough out to a flat rectangle again, about ½ inch thick, and use your biscuit cutter to cut out the dough. Bonus points if you mash the scraps together and make more biscuits.
Step 7 | Melt the butter in a saucepan and then mix it and the honey in a small bowl and brush it over the tops of the unbaked biscuits.
Step 8 | Place the biscuits onto a prepared baking sheet lined with silpat or parchment paper or in a hot cast iron skillet, and bake until golden brown and tall honey! Serve these honey butter biscuits hot and when you're serving pour on even more melted honey butter for extra decadence.
- Put your butter in the freezer for 15 minutes before making the biscuits, so it's easier to grate.
- Make your own buttermilk with a few simple ingredients! Use whole milk mixed with lemon juice or a few drops of white vinegar, let it sit for a couple of minutes, and use as buttermilk.
- Biscuits do their best being extremely cold and then moving into an extremely hot oven, so pop the cut biscuits into the fridge or freezer while the oven preheats and do a little tidy before throwing them right into the oven
- Keep all your ingredients cold. Buttermilk? Cold. Butter? Cold. ...Maybe not the honey, though. It would be impossible to move!
- Use fresh baking soda and baking powder. They have a lifespan of about 6 months before they lose their potency, which means you risk flat biscuits the older they are.
There are so many things that go with a batch of these biscuits, y'all!
- Serve honey butter biscuits at a big brunch as part of a breakfast charcuterie board.
- They're a crucial aspect of those popular honey butter chicken biscuits with the juicy pieces of fried chicken in between the buttery biscuits you see in restaurants and on social media, because the combination of sweet and salty is just too good to resist. Fantastic for lunch or breakfast!
- Serve it at your next cookout alongside the cornbread!
- Make honey butter biscuits for Thanksgiving dinner or Easter! They're fabulous with candied yams, roasted turkey, glazed ham, and mashed potatoes covered in savory gravy!
- Whip up of your favorite spreads like cinnamon butter or apple butter to go along with your biscuits along with the honey butter as options!
- Make a hot honey butter with a dash or two of your favorite hot sauce.
Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Instructions
Store honey butter biscuits in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Rewarm them in a low 300 degree F oven on a baking sheet until they are warmed through.
Let baked biscuits sit on a wire rack until completely cool. Then, wrap each of the leftover biscuits individually in heavy-duty aluminum foil and store in a gallon-sized freezer safe zip-top bag or airtight container. Freeze biscuits for up to 3 months.
Buttermilk is a classic ingredient in biscuits because it is fermented! Meaning it's full of tanginess from the fermentation so not only is it providing yummy flavor, but that acid is what is needed to work with the leaveners in the dough.
If you don't have buttermilk, use whole milk with the juice of a lemon or a ½ teaspoon of white vinegar. Let it sit for a few minutes until you notice the milk starting to get thicker, then it's ready to use.
My recipe uses multiple ways to help make the biscuits rise: baking soda and buttermilk, the baking powder (which already has an acid within it), and the 'faux laminating' of the butter and dough, which we put in the fridge/freezer to keep the butter cold so that it steams up in the oven.
So here's the reasons your biscuits may not have risen:
1. You overworked the dough. If you're using regular all purpose flour (or bread flour!) you have a lot of protein in the flour. If the gluten is over-activated, you'll create the network needed for making loaves of bread, which is too much for biscuits.
2. Your butter melted while you were kneading and you didn't chill the dough. Those layers that make for perfectly flaky biscuits are caused by the butter! If it melted before getting into the oven, you won't be getting them.
3. Your leaveners are old. When making the tallest of biscuits, you want the freshest of baking soda and baking powder. They lose potency as they age, with a life span of about 6 months.
The best flour to use for biscuits is a soft winter wheat, or soft red wheat, flour. This type of flour have much less protein in them than hard wheat, which is what your common all purpose flour is made of, so it's less likely you'll overmix the dough.
A few popular brands that carry soft winter wheat are White Lily, Eden Foods, and some indie brands online.
More Biscuits and Rolls
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Honey Butter Biscuits
HONEY BUTTER BISCUITS
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 6 tablespoon salted butter frozen and grated
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup buttermilk very cold
Honey Butter Glaze
- 2 tablespoon melted salted butter
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Once they’re thoroughly combined, whisk in the frozen grated butter.
- Pour in the honey and the buttermilk, stir with a silicone spatula until the dough is thick and kind of shaggy, with all the liquid absorbed.
- Transfer your biscuit dough onto a work surface with a light dusting of flour, flatten and fold the dough with your hands into a rectangle. It's alright if the dough seems like it's just a little too dry, as you work the dough the buttermilk will moisten the dry flour mixture.
- Fold the dough by thirds onto itself, then flatten into a rectangle again using your hands. Repeat this at least 3 more times, flattening the dough into a ½-inch thick rectangle, and folding by thirds to build the flaky layers in your biscuits.
- Optional step: wrap the folded dough with plastic wrap and set in the fridge or freezer to chill for 5 to 10 minutes. This will ensure you have cold butter that'll keep your dough laminated and flaky, like when making croissants.
- Unwrap the biscuit dough if you chilled it, and flatten the dough to 1 inch thick. Dip a 2-inch diameter biscuit cutter into a little excess flour and cut biscuits using an up and down motion. Never twist, that will seal up the edges.
- Brush the mixture of melted salted butter and honey onto the tops of the biscuits, so they'll be golden brown when ready.
- Place the biscuits onto the hot cast iron skillet quickly in the oven and bake for 13-15 minutes or until the tops are golden.
- Brush or drizzle on some of the melted honey butter on top of the biscuit.
- Enjoy warm!