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Light and flaky, rich and buttery, these easy drop biscuits are a quick way to add a special homemade touch to any meal. Pair the buttermilk drop biscuits with a pot of chili or stew for supper, smother them with sausage gravy for brunch, or add fresh strawberries for a shortcake dessert. There’s no rolling or cutting necessary, so they’re ready for the oven in about 10 minutes!
Easy Drop Biscuits
Traditional flaky, Southern buttermilk biscuits will always have my heart, but these buttermilk drop biscuits are definitely my go-to when I need homemade biscuits fast!
In the Southeastern United States, “biscuits” are typically soft leavened quick breads, similar to scones (but not sweet), and made with baking powder and/or baking soda instead of yeast. Drop biscuits are made by scooping biscuit dough from the mixing bowl and “dropping” it onto baking sheets. They’re a delicious addition to a breakfast or brunch spread, but they’re equally tasty when served as a side dish with a cozy dinner. Homemade buttermilk drop biscuits are your “every day” biscuits — perfect for busy evenings when you don’t have time to fuss with a more demanding dough.
What is the difference between drop biscuits and rolled biscuits?
While the ingredients and taste are very similar, drop biscuits differ from traditional rolled biscuits in a few specific ways:
- Preparation: To make traditional biscuits, cold fat is carefully cut into flour before the liquid is added, the dough is kneaded and rolled, and individual biscuits are cut and baked. By contrast, drop biscuits are just stirred together, dropped onto the sheet pan, and baked. Drop biscuits are quicker (and less messy) to prepare than their classic counterparts.
- Texture: Since you’re not kneading or folding over the dough, drop biscuits do not develop the same distinct, flaky layers that you find in more traditional rolled biscuits. Additionally, since drop biscuits are stirred together (rather than cutting cold fat into the flour), some drop biscuits can lack that light, flaky crumb.
- Ingredients: Drop biscuit dough is wetter and stickier (thanks to more liquid and melted butter) than traditional biscuit dough, so it cannot be rolled or kneaded.
- Rise: A really great buttermilk biscuit rises “a mile high” in the oven. By contrast, drop biscuits do not touch each other as they bake and do not “puff up” quite as much as traditional biscuits.
Why This is the Best Drop Biscuit Recipe
Classic biscuits rise high and develop tall, flaky layers when the cold biscuit dough interacts with the high heat of the oven. The water in the butter, shortening, and buttermilk heats rapidly and releases steam, pushing the dough upward. By contrast, drop biscuits are often dense and tough, because they are lacking those little chunks of cold butter and lard that you typically find in regular biscuit dough. Not these, though!
I learned a trick from America’s Test Kitchen that changed the drop biscuit game, making this the best drop biscuit recipe ever! The key? Stirring together the warm melted butter and the very cold buttermilk, which forms little clumps of butter. These clumps of butter get mixed into the dough, release steam in the oven just like a traditional biscuit, and give the drop biscuits that classic light, flaky texture that we all know and love!
Ingredients for Buttermilk Drop Biscuits
This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a batch of drop biscuits from scratch. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.
- All-purpose flour: I prefer an extra-fine soft winter wheat flour made by White Lily. This low-protein, low-gluten flour gives Southern buttermilk biscuits that perfectly crisp-on-the-outside, light-on-the-inside texture.
- Baking powder and baking soda: the leavening that helps the biscuits rise.
- Kosher salt: to enhance the other flavors in the biscuits.
- Sugar: just enough, but not so much that the biscuits will taste sweet.
- Melted Butter: for great flavor and texture!
- 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 mixing it with the melted butter.
What does buttermilk do for biscuits?
Buttermilk is a classic Southern pantry staple that we always keep on hand! From fluffy pancakes to salad dressing, hoe cakes to chocolate cake and fried chicken, it’s an important ingredient in so many of our favorite recipes — including these drop biscuits from scratch! The buttermilk serves a couple of purposes in an old-fashioned biscuit recipe that you can’t achieve with regular milk:
- Flavor: the buttermilk gives the biscuits a nice, subtle tanginess
- Acidity: the acid in buttermilk helps the biscuits rise, because the acid from the buttermilk reacts with the alkaline baking soda, causing it to give off carbon dioxide. Baking powder will also react with buttermilk’s acidity to a small degree.
I get my buttermilk at a local country market near our house — and this is the REAL stuff — the liquid that runs off a batch of fresh butter. It makes the most delicious biscuits and cornbread! The buttermilk that you buy in a grocery store is probably just cultured milk (check the label) — which is a far cry from the real thing. If you have access to a local dairy or similar small market, I highly recommend getting your hands on the ultra-thick, ultra-rich buttermilk that will truly make your homemade biscuits stand out.
How to Make Drop Biscuits
This process could not be easier — just stir, drop, and bake — the simple drop biscuits are ready from start to finish in less than 30 minutes.
- Whisk Together Dry Ingredients. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt.
- Stir Together Wet Ingredients. In a separate bowl, stir together the warm melted butter with the very cold buttermilk. You should see little clumps of butter form, which is good — that’s what you want in your dough!
- Add Wet Ingredients to Dry Ingredients. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and fold with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, just to combine (be careful not to over-mix).
- Scoop and Drop. Spray an ice cream scoop (or small measuring cup) with cooking spray and use the scoop to drop the batter 1 ½ -inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. The biscuits will not spread too much in the oven.
- Bake. Bake the biscuits on the middle rack in a 475°F oven for 12-14 minutes, or until they’re nice and golden brown on top. Brush the warm biscuits with melted butter, allow them to cool for a few minutes, and then serve!
How to Serve Homemade Drop Biscuits
Biscuits are a staple in many homes because they’re so versatile! Serve them on their own for breakfast with honey butter, jam, or apple butter. Add eggs on the side, use them to make an egg sandwich with sausage, bacon or cheese, or stir up a skillet of sausage gravy. In Virginia, country ham biscuits are a classic snack or meal at any time of day!
On the dinner table, here are a few entrées that go well with buttermilk biscuits:
- Crispy Fried Chicken, Cornflake Chicken or Pecan-Crusted Chicken
- Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Oven-Baked Pork Tenderloin, Cider Braised Pulled Pork, or BBQ Pork
- Oven BBQ Chicken Breast or Grilled BBQ Chicken Breast
- Egg Salad or Chicken Salad
- Shrimp and Grits
- Crock Pot Ribs or Baked Baby Back Ribs
- Crab Cakes or Crab Imperial
- Shrimp Creole
- Dutch Oven Beef BBQ, Cast Iron Skillet Filet Mignon, Grilled New York Strip Steak, Steak Salad or Bourbon-Glazed Beef Tenderloin
- Crock Pot Chili, Classic Beef Chili, “Good Luck” Southern Chili, Easy White Bean Chicken Chili or Texas Chili
- Beef Stew, Chicken Stew or Brunswick Stew
- Southern Fried Catfish
- Frogmore Stew
- Grandmother’s Hamburger Soup, Corn Chowder, Tomato Soup or Split Pea Soup
- Ranch Style Beans, Southern Lima Beans, Slow Cooker Cowboy Pork and Beans or Black Eyed Peas with Bacon
- Rosemary Oven Roasted Chicken
While they’re best served warm, straight-from-the-oven, you can bake the biscuits up to 3 days in advance. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature.
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 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.
Tips for the Best Drop Biscuits
- Very Hot Oven: It’s important to bake the biscuits in a very hot oven — 475°F — which helps the biscuits rise quickly. The water in the butter and buttermilk heats rapidly and releases steam, pushing the dough upward.
- Preheat Oven Early: Before you even get started with the ingredients, make sure that your oven is preheated. It can take some ovens quite awhile to get to 475°F! Once the dough is stirred together, scoop-drop-and-bake quickly.
- Don’t over-mix the dough. Just fold together to combine the ingredients…and stop. Otherwise you’ll end up with tough, dry biscuits.
- Brush with Melted Butter: A quick swipe of melted butter adds a ton of rich flavor to the warm biscuits. Don’t skip this step!
Variations for this Easy Drop Biscuit Recipe
- Add Cheese: A cheddar drop biscuit is a great companion for a bowl of chili or soup! Fold ½ cup of grated cheddar into the dough before scooping and dropping. You can also use Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, or even Parmesan cheese in this recipe.
- Herbs and Scallions: A ¼ cup of thinly sliced green onions would be a nice addition to this dough. Try sprinkling some fresh minced rosemary, thyme, dill, or basil in as well.
- Green chilies and cheese makes these biscuits a fun addition to a Tex-Mex meal.
- Diced pimentos and some grated cheddar will give the biscuits even more Southern flare.
- Sweet Drop Biscuits: Add more sugar — about ¼ cup — and a dash of cinnamon. Use these as a shortcake dessert with fresh berries and whipped cream.
More Biscuit Recipes to Try
- 3-Ingredient Biscuits
- Aunt Bee’s 3 Ingredient Biscuit Recipe
- Grandma’s Sweet Potato Biscuits
- Flaky Biscuits
- Cheese Biscuits
- Southern Buttermilk Biscuits
- Cheddar Bay Biscuits (with cheese and garlic powder)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (I prefer White Lily brand)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup very cold buttermilk
- 8 tablespoons warm, melted, salted butter (plus additional 1-2 tablespoons melted for brushing)
- Preheat oven to 475°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, stir together 8 tablespoons of warm melted butter with the cold buttermilk (you should see little clumps of butter form, which is good).
- Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and fold together just until everything is combined (do not over-mix).
- Spray an ice cream scoop with cooking spray and use the scoop to drop the batter 1 ½ -inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake on the middle rack of the 475°F oven until the tops are golden brown – about 10-12 minutes.
- Brush the biscuits with the remaining 1-2 tablespoons of melted butter, then transfer to a wire rack to cool for a few minutes before serving.
- Add Cheese: A cheddar drop biscuit is a great companion for a bowl of chili or soup! Fold ½ cup (2 ounces) of grated cheddar into the dough before scooping and dropping. You can also use Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, or even Parmesan cheese in this recipe.
- Herbs and Scallions: A ¼ cup of thinly sliced green onions would be a nice addition to this dough. Try sprinkling some fresh minced rosemary, thyme, dill, or basil into the dough as well.
- Green chilies would be a fun addition for a Tex-Mex meal.
- Diced pimentos and some grated cheddar will give the biscuits even more Southern flare.
- Sweet Drop Biscuits: Add more sugar — about ¼ cup — and a dash of cinnamon. Use these as a dessert with fresh berries and whipped cream for shortcake.
- Recipe slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.
This recipe was originally published in September, 2020. The photos were updated in July, 2022.
This recipe was my first attempt at making biscuits from scratch and they turned out perfectly! Quick and simple to make, and so delicious and fluffy! My guests were singing great praises of them!
Yay! So glad that you enjoyed them, Nolan! They’re definitely one of my family’s favorites as well. 🙂
Any recommendations/changes for high-altitude baking? Above 5000 feet?
Hi, Josh! Unfortunately, I’m not the best to ask for these recommendations, since I live at the base of the Blue Ridge mountains and never do any high altitude baking of my own. That said, there are some helpful tips in this article, that may apply to the biscuits. For instance, you might need to add a little bit more liquid to bring the dough together. https://blog.wilton.com/high-altitude-baking/
Great recipe easy and delicious…thank you for sharing.
I am going to give it my best making the drop biscuits, I haven’t made them in 20 plus
I live in a RV so I am going to use my air fryer.
Let us know if that works, Glenda!
Wonderfully moist & so easy to make!