Jump to RecipeJump to VideoLeave a ReviewPin Recipe

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

Light and airy, angel biscuits are small, delicate, and perfectly tender! Leavened with baking powder, baking soda, and yeast, these special biscuits are a delicious cross between traditional Southern buttermilk biscuits and soft yeast-raised dinner rolls.

Basket of southern angel biscuits with milk and apple butter in the background

There’s a little country market near our house that sells trays of homemade angel biscuits, often purchased alongside the shop’s country ham, both of which are used to assemble traditional ham biscuits. Definitely a staple here in Virginia! I’ve tested a handful of different angel biscuit recipes over the years in an attempt to recreate the Yoder’s version in my own kitchen, and I’m happy to report that I’ve finally landed on a winner. In fact, I think these are even better!

This recipe, slightly adapted from James Villas’ book, The Glory of Southern Cooking, is about as classic as it gets. Whether you offer them for breakfast with butter and honey, turn them into ham biscuits for your next snack or party appetizer, or add them to the bread basket at dinner alongside a jar of homemade apple butter, I hope that these little gems will soon become a regular in your home as well!

Cast iron skillet of angel biscuits.

What are angel biscuits?

Think of angel biscuits as a beautiful combination of traditional buttermilk biscuits and yeasted dinner rolls (or Parker House rolls). They include three different leavening agents: baking soda, baking powder, and yeast, which gives them a light, airy texture. Angel biscuits taste like they were heaven-sent!

Whisking yeast with warm water in a small green bowl.

The Secret to Fluffy Biscuits

Angel biscuits should be light, tender, and fluffy. Remember to keep the buttermilk, shortening, and butter cold, and don’t overwork the dough. Stir and roll just enough to bring the dough together, and then stop! Overworking the dough activates the gluten, which can result in dense, tough, or dry biscuits. The yeast as an additional leavening agent also creates a lighter, more delicate texture.

Process shot showing how to make angel biscuits.

Ingredients for Old Fashioned Angel Biscuits

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for the best angel biscuits recipe. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step directions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Active dry yeast: the secret ingredient that makes angel biscuits special. It adds a subtle unique flavor to the dough, and works with the other leavening agents to help the biscuits rise.
  • Warm water: to dissolve and activate the yeast. Make sure that it’s not too hot and not too cool — somewhere in the range of about 110˚-115˚F is ideal.
  • All-purpose flour: I prefer an extra-fine soft winter wheat flour made by White Lily. This low-protein, low-gluten flour gives Southern biscuits that perfectly crisp-on-the-outside, light-on-the-inside texture.
  • Sugar: just enough to feed the yeast, but not so much that the biscuits will taste sweet.
  • Baking powder and baking soda: additional leavening agents that help the biscuits rise.
  • Salt: enhances the other ingredients.
  • Shortening (or lard): for puff! The shortening gives angel biscuits a lighter, airier quality than you get with butter alone.
  • Butter: for that rich flavor!
  • Buttermilk: for its acidity, as well as its fat and liquid content. In conjunction with the leavening agents, the acidity helps the biscuits rise. The buttermilk also gives the biscuits a nice, subtle tanginess and a tender crumb. Keep the buttermilk nice and cold before adding it to the dough.
Pouring buttermilk into a bowl.

Buttermilk Substitutes

Don’t have buttermilk? No problem! In a pinch, you can make your own buttermilk at home to use in this recipe. To do so, pour either 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice or 1 tablespoon of white vinegar into a large measuring cup. Add enough milk to equal 1 cup of liquid. Give it a stir, let it sit for about 5 minutes, and then use it in the recipe as directed.

Covering angel biscuit dough with a cloth.

How to Make Angel Biscuits

While they require a bit more resting time than traditional Southern biscuits (thanks to the yeast), these old fashioned angel biscuits are well worth the wait! I’ve included the detailed instructions in the recipe card below, but here’s the quick version:

  • Activate the yeast in warm water.
  • Stir together the dough in a large bowl, using a pastry blender to cut the shortening into the dry ingredients.
  • Chill the dough for at least a couple of hours (or a couple of days)!
  • Roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Cut out the biscuits, arranging them in a cast iron pan, or on a baking sheet.
  • Chill again while you preheat the oven.
  • Bake, brush with melted butter, and serve!
Square overhead shot of a pan of angel biscuits

Serving Suggestions

These easy angel biscuits are suitable for just about any meal, at any time of day. Serve them on their own for breakfast with honey butterjam, or apple butter. Add eggs on the side, or stir up a skillet of sausage gravy. In Virginia, country ham biscuits are a classic snack!

On the dinner table, here are some entrées that go well with the old fashioned angel biscuits:

Drizzling honey over a stack of angel biscuits

Preparation and Storage

  • Make Ahead: Chill the dough (covered) in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (or up to 3 days) before rolling and cutting. You can even cut the biscuits out in advance, arrange them in the pan, and keep them in the fridge for a couple of days. Then just bake them off when you need them!
  • Storage: While they’re best served warm, straight from the oven, leftover biscuits will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat day-old biscuits by placing them on a baking sheet in a 300°F oven for about 10 minutes.
  • How to Freeze: Allow the baked biscuits to cool to room temperature, then wrap tightly in an airtight container or Ziploc freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw on the counter overnight or in the microwave for a few seconds.
Front shot of a basket of angel biscuits

Recipe Variations

  • Swap out the shortening for lard or extra butter. The shortening (or lard) gives the biscuits a more delicate, puffy texture than they would have with just butter alone.
  • Make your own buttermilk using the instructions provided above (a combination of milk and either vinegar or lemon juice).
  • Angel biscuits are typically smaller and more delicate than classic Southern buttermilk biscuits. I use a 2-inch biscuit cutter to keep them on the smaller size. Feel free to use a juice glass or a larger cutter if that’s what’s available.
  • To prepare a larger batch of biscuits, double all of the ingredients. Bake on a large baking sheet or in two separate cast iron skillets.
Three angel biscuits on a plate with honey on top

Tips for the Best Angel Biscuit Recipe

  • Use warm water when preparing the dough — not too hot and not too cold. You want the water to feel like warm bath water (about 110˚-115˚F). If it’s too hot you will kill the yeast; too cold and the yeast will not be activated.
  • Dip the biscuit cutter in flour before you cut out each biscuit. This will prevent the angel biscuit dough from sticking to the cutter.
  • Don’t twist the round cutter. Firmly press the cutter down into the dough, and then pull it straight back out. Twisting the biscuit cutter seals off the edges of the biscuits and they therefore will not rise as high.
  • Arrange the biscuits close together. Place the biscuits in the skillet or on the baking sheet so that their sides are touching. This will help them “climb,” rather than spread, in the oven.
  • Brush with melted butter. A quick swipe of melted butter adds a ton of rich flavor and buttery taste to the warm biscuits.
Close up front shot of angel biscuits on a basket on a table.

More Biscuit Recipes to Try

Cheddar Biscuits with Chives and Bacon

50 minutes mins

3-Ingredient Buttermilk Biscuits

50 minutes mins

Drop Biscuits

27 minutes mins

Basket of homemade angel biscuits on a breakfast table.

Angel Biscuits

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Chilling Time 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 18 biscuits
Calories 132 kcal
Light as air, these old fashioned angel biscuits taste like they're sent from heaven!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 (0.25 ounce) packet active dry yeast (about 2 ¼ teaspoons)
  • ¼ cup warm water (110°F – 115°F)
  • 2 ½ cups White Lily all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup shortening, diced into small pieces and chilled (or sub with lard)
  • ¼ cup salted butter, diced into small pieces and chilled
  • 1 cup whole buttermilk, well shaken
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine the yeast and the warm water. Set aside and let it proof until bubbly and foamy, about 5-10 minutes.
    Whisking yeast with warm water in a small green bowl.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the shortening and butter. Use a pastry cutter or two forks to cut the shortening and butter into the flour mixture until incorporated. The mixture should resemble coarse meal. You will still see flakes of shortening and butter throughout, which is good!
    Process shot showing how to make angel biscuits.
  • Add the yeast mixture and the buttermilk, stirring with a wooden spoon until a soft, sticky dough forms. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.
    Pouring buttermilk into a bowl.
  • Once the dough is chilled, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll out to about ½-inch thickness. The dough will be fairly sticky, so flour your hands, if necessary, to prevent it from sticking. Use a biscuit cutter to cut out rounds (I use a 2 -inch cutter). Firmly press the cutter down into the dough, but do not twist. Twisting the biscuit cutter seals off the edges of the biscuits and they therefore will not rise as high. Roll the scraps and continue to cut more biscuits.
  • Arrange the biscuits with sides touching in a 12-inch cast iron skillet, or on a baking sheet. Cover and place the pan in the fridge to chill for about 10-15 minutes while you preheat the oven.
    Covering angel biscuit dough with a cloth.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Bake the biscuits, uncovered, in the center of the oven until golden brown, about 15-17 minutes.
    Cast iron skillet of angel biscuits.
  • Brush the warm biscuits with melted butter. Serve!
    Basket of southern angel biscuits with milk and apple butter in the background

Notes

    • Use warm water when preparing the dough — not too hot and not too cold. You want the water to feel like warm bath water (about 110˚-115˚F). If it’s too hot you will kill the yeast; too cold and the yeast will not be activated.
    • Dip the biscuit cutter in flour before you cut out each biscuit. This will prevent the angel biscuit dough from sticking to the cutter.
    • Don’t twist the round cutter. Firmly press the cutter down into the dough, and then pull it straight back out. Twisting the biscuit cutter seals off the edges of the biscuits and they therefore will not rise as high.
    • Arrange the biscuits close together. Place the biscuits in the skillet or on the baking sheet so that their sides are touching. This will help them “climb,” rather than spread, in the oven.
    • Brush with melted butter. A quick swipe of melted butter adds a ton of rich flavor and buttery taste to the warm biscuits.
    • Recipe adapted from James Villas’ book, The Glory of Southern Cooking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1biscuitCalories: 132kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 2gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 168mgPotassium: 75mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 121IUVitamin C: 0.001mgCalcium: 34mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: angel biscuit recipe, angel biscuits, easy angel biscuits, old fashioned angel biscuits
Course: Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

Square overhead shot of hands serving a chicken pot pie recipe with biscuits
Overhead image of a bowl of chili mac on a dinner table with cornbread
Hands serving a platter of sheet pan sausage and potatoes

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. Ute Oubari says:

    Hi Blair!

    I am excited to try your recipe for Angel Biscuits! But I just realized I bought White Lily self-rising flour instead of White Lily all-purpose flour. I am a novice baker, and now I am a little worried. Can I use the self-rising flour instead of the all-purpose flour? I would appreciate your advice!

    Thanks so much!

    Ute

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Hi! It should still turn out okay, you’ll just want to omit the baking powder. Hope that helps!

      1. Ute says:

        Thank you so much! I will do as you advise. I plan to try the receipe this weekend, making the dough tomorrow and baking them on Sunday.

        Have a wonderful weekend!
        Ute

        1. The Seasoned Mom says:

          We’d love to know how it turns out for you! Have a great weekend as well, Ute.

  2. Ute Oubari says:

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for posting this recipe and for giving me the advice regarding the self-rising flour! I made the dough yesterday and let it chill overnight. I rolled out the dough and baked them this morning. I managed to get twenty-four 2 inch biscuits from the dough, and they were so good that my husband and I ate half of them at breakfast! They were so light and had the perfect texture. I am very happy with the results! I look forward to trying more of your recipes!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      That’s amazing, Ute! So glad that they were a hit! Thank you for taking the time to let me know. 🙂