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With a few simple tips and tricks, you can make the best Southern-style light and flaky biscuits from scratch! These fluffy, buttery treats rise a mile high, creating layers upon layers of old-fashioned goodness.

Side shot of a basket of flaky biscuits on a wooden table with jam and honey in the background.
Table of Contents
  1. How to Make Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits | 2-Minute Video
  2. Biscuits are a Southern Staple
  3. Ingredients
  4. How to Make Flaky Biscuits from Scratch
  5. What to Serve with Homemade Flaky Biscuits
  6. Preparation and Storage Tips
  7. Recipe Variations
  8. Tips for the Best Flaky Biscuit Recipe
  9. Flaky Biscuits Recipe

How to Make Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits | 2-Minute Video

Homemade flaky buttermilk biscuits are perfect with country ham, sausage gravy, or jam for breakfast, and equally delicious alongside soup, chili, pot roast, or pulled pork for supper. This popular flaky biscuit recipe is a farmhouse favorite, and will soon become a staple in your kitchen, too! And if you love biscuits as much as we do, be sure to try Aunt Bee’s 3-ingredient biscuit recipe, my go-to buttermilk biscuits, and our favorite drop biscuits, as well!

Biscuits are a Southern Staple

Buttermilk biscuits are a way of life in the South, and every home cook has her favorite version. The perfect Southern biscuit is a combination of crispy and golden brown on the outside, but tender and light on the inside. The biscuits are puffy and tall, not dense or flat, and exhibit that hard-to-achieve cross between a tender crumb and flaky layers.

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. While the recipe and ingredients are incredibly simple, there are a few tricks to mastering the perfect tall, flaky biscuit recipe. Just stick with it, learn as you go, and follow my tips in the instructions below. You’ll ultimately achieve buttermilk biscuit perfection — and boy, is it delicious!

Square side shot of hands serving a tray of homemade buttermilk biscuits with flaky layers.

What Makes Biscuits Flaky

If your ideal biscuits include tall, buttery, flaky layers, then you’ve come to the right place. After years and years of practice, I’ve learned a handful of simple ways to achieve those elusive mile-high treats:

  • Very cold ingredients are essential. Biscuits get their light, fluffy texture when cold butter expands in a very hot oven, creating pockets of steam. That’s why this recipe calls for freezing the cut biscuits for about 15 minutes before baking.
  • The oven must be very hot — in this case, 425° F. When the cold biscuit dough interacts with the high heat of the oven, the water in the butter and buttermilk heats rapidly and releases steam, pushing the dough upward. If an oven is set at a lower temperature (such as 350° F or 400° F), the fat inside the dough heats too slowly and melts before the biscuits can fully rise.
  • Stacking the layers of dough multiple times builds visible layers that are hard to achieve with kneading alone.
  • Cutting with a knife or bench scraper avoids the temptation to twist a round biscuit cutter, which is a big “no-no.” Twisting the biscuit cutter seals off the edges of the biscuits and they therefore will not rise as high.
Close up side shot of flaky biscuits in a blue and white striped towel.

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for Southern homemade biscuits. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking 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 biscuits that perfectly crisp-on-the-outside, light-on-the-inside texture.
  • Baking powder and baking soda: the leavening agents that help the biscuits rise.
  • Kosher salt: enhances the other flavors in the biscuits.
  • Sugar: just enough, but not so much that the biscuits will taste sweet.
  • Butter: for great flavor! Make sure that it’s very cold.
  • Buttermilk: a rich, thick, whole buttermilk is best. Keep the buttermilk nice and cold before adding it to the dough.
Pastry blender over a white mixing bowl

Why Use Buttermilk for Flaky Biscuits

Buttermilk is a classic Southern pantry staple that we always keep on hand! From fluffy pancakes to salad dressinghoe cakes to fried chicken, it’s an important ingredient in so many of our favorite recipes — including these flaky buttermilk biscuits! 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.
  • Texture: the fat and acid in the buttermilk also yields a fluffy, light, and tender crumb.

The amount of buttermilk that you need will vary, depending on the day. Start with 1 ¼ cups, and then add more if the dough feels too dry and crumbly. If it’s humid or rainy, there’s already moisture in the air and in the flour, so you will likely need less liquid in your dough. On a cold, dry winter day, you may need a bit more buttermilk to bring the dough together.

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.

Process shot showing how to make flaky biscuits from scratch

How to Make Flaky Biscuits from Scratch

Buttery flaky biscuits made a regular appearance on our weekend breakfast table when I was growing up. Both my mom and my dad perfected their recipe over the years, using a juice glass to pop out the round little gems on a floured countertop before church on Sundays.

Today, I serve biscuits to my own family at least once a week — most often in the bread basket at dinner. No matter which entrée I’m offering, I know that the boys won’t go to bed hungry if these easy flaky biscuits are on the menu!

I’ve included detailed directions in the recipe card below, but here’s the quick version:

  1. Whisk together dry ingredients.
  2. Cut in cold butter.
  3. Add buttermilk.
  4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and pat into a square.
  5. Cut the dough into 4 equal squares.
  6. Stack the squares on top of each other.
  7. Pat or roll the stack into another 8-inch square.
  8. Repeat the cutting and stacking two more times.
  9. Cut the dough into 12-16 squares (depending on how large you like them), and arrange the squares on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  10. Freeze the dough for 15 minutes.
  11. Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter.
  12. Bake in a 425°F oven for 15-18 minutes.
  13. Brush the tops of the biscuits with more melted butter, and serve warm.
Square close up side shot of a platter of flaky buttermilk biscuits.

What to Serve with Homemade Flaky Biscuits

These buttery flaky 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, 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!

For dessert, you can use these homemade biscuits for strawberry shortcake!

On the dinner table, here are some entrées that go well with buttermilk biscuits:

Square side shot of drizzling honey over homemade southern biscuits.

Preparation and Storage Tips

  • Make Ahead: 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.
  • How to Reheat: Reheat day-old biscuits by placing them on a baking sheet in a 300°F oven for about 10 minutes. You can also microwave individual biscuits for 15-30 seconds in the microwave.
  • 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.
Hands holding a tray of flaky biscuits.

Recipe Variations

  • Add cheese. About 1 cup of grated cheddar, Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack would be delicious.
  • Stir in diced pimentos and shredded cheese for “pimento cheese” biscuits.
  • Add seasonings or herbs. Try a bit of garlic powder, thyme, rosemary or chives.
  • Use a biscuit cutter or round cookie cutter to cut dough into traditional rounds instead of squares.
Overhead shot of a basket of flaky biscuits with layers.

Tips for the Best Flaky Biscuit Recipe

  • Properly measure the flour. Always spoon and level the flour or weigh it on a kitchen scale — do not scoop it out of the package. Incorrectly measuring the flour packs it too tightly into the measuring cup and results in dense, dry biscuits.
  • Keep the dough cold. I’ll say it again — the key to tall, fluffy and flaky biscuits is cold ingredients. Don’t forget to chill the dough in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking.
  • Don’t over-mix the dough. Use a fork to gently combine the ingredients…and stop. Otherwise you’ll end up with tough, dry biscuits.
  • Instead of cutting the butter into the dough with a pastry blender or forks, use a box grater to grate the cold butter into dough. The cheese grater is an easy trick that’s much faster!
  • If using a round cutter instead of a knife or bench scraper, be careful that you don’t twist the round cutter. Firmly press the cutter down into the dough, but don’t actually twist. Twisting the biscuit cutter seals off the edges of the biscuits and they therefore will not rise as high.
  • Brush with melted butter. A quick swipe of melted butter before baking helps the tops brown, while additional melted butter adds a ton of rich flavor to the warm biscuits.
Close up side shot of a bowl of buttermilk flaky biscuits on a wooden table.
Square side shot of hands serving a tray of homemade buttermilk biscuits with flaky layers.

Flaky Biscuits

5 from 11 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Chilling Time 15 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings 16 biscuits
Calories 247 kcal
With a few simple tips and tricks, you can make the best Southern-style light and flaky biscuits from scratch!

Ingredients
  

Instructions

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Add cold butter, toss to coat in the flour. Use a pastry cutter or two forks to cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is the size of peas. Add the buttermilk and stir with a fork just until a shaggy dough comes together. Gradually add a little bit more buttermilk if the dough is too crumbly (it will be fairly dry – not wet and sticky – but it should hold together).
    Process shot showing how to make angel biscuits.
  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gently pat into an 8-inch square (about 1-inch thick). Use a bench scraper or large knife to cut the dough into 4 equal squares. Stack the squares on top of each other. Pat or roll into an 8-inch square again. Repeat the procedure two more times, cutting into 4 squares and stacking them on top of each other before rolling into another 8-inch square.
  • Use a large knife or bench scraper coated with flour to cut the dough into 12-16 squares. Arrange about ½-inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Freeze for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven.
    Process shot showing how to make flaky biscuits from scratch
  • Preheat oven to 425° F.
  • Brush the tops of the biscuits with half of the melted butter.
  • Bake until golden brown, about 15-18 minutes. Brush the hot biscuits with the remaining melted butter. Serve warm.
    Square side shot of hands serving a tray of homemade buttermilk biscuits with flaky layers.

Video

Notes

  • Properly measure the flour. Always spoon and level the flour or weigh it on a kitchen scale — do not scoop it out of the package. Incorrectly measuring the flour packs it too tightly into the measuring cup and results in dense, dry biscuits.
  • Keep the dough cold. I’ll say it again — the key to tall, fluffy and flaky biscuits is cold ingredients. Don’t forget to chill the dough in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking.
  • Don’t over-mix the dough. Use a fork to gently combine the ingredients…and stop. Otherwise you’ll end up with tough, dry biscuits.
  • If using a round cutter instead of a knife or bench scraper, be careful that you don’t twist the round cutter. Firmly press the cutter down into the dough, but don’t actually twist. Twisting the biscuit cutter seals off the edges of the biscuits and they therefore will not rise as high.
  • Brush with melted butter. A quick swipe of melted butter before baking helps the tops brown, while additional melted butter adds a ton of rich flavor to the warm biscuits.

Nutrition

Serving: 1biscuitCalories: 247kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 4gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 298mgPotassium: 176mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 429IUCalcium: 79mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: buttermilk biscuits, flaky biscuit recipe, flaky biscuits, homemade biscuits
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Side Dish, Sides
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

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Comments

  1. Valerie says:

    5 stars
    Halved the recipe (it’s just the two of us!) and discovered I only had heavy cream and powdered buttermilk in the fridge, but I made it work. I really liked the cutting and stacking method!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thanks, Valerie! I’m glad that you made it work with the ingredients that you had on hand. 🙂

  2. Emily says:

    5 stars
    I made these today and they were fantastic. Everyone who had them raved. The only modification I made was with a pinch of msg. Judge if you must. It’s a biscuit game changer.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thanks, Emily! I hadn’t heard that “secret” ingredient. Good to know! 🙂

  3. Neil says:

    5 stars
    We froze the butter sticks then grated the butter on a box grater and mixed with dry ingredients. Followed recipe and ended up with amazing biscuits.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Wonderful! So glad that you enjoyed them, Neil!

  4. Brad says:

    Can you freeze the uncooked biscuits the night before and cook the next morning?

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Brad! Yes, that should work well. I wouldn’t thaw them before baking. Just add a couple of extra minutes to the total bake time and bake them directly from frozen. Hope you enjoy!

      1. Brad says:

        The biscuits turned out great! Since they were frozen, I had to cover in aluminum foil after about 15 minutes to make sure they were cooked all the way through and not burned on the outside. Thanks for the recipe!

        1. Blair Lonergan says:

          I’m so glad to hear that, Brad! Good thinking to tent them with foil to prevent them from burning. 🙂

  5. Jill WK says:

    I can see which ingredients, but not how much of each ingredient anywhere. Please advise, thank you so much for your help 🙂

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Jill! The ingredient measurements are included in the recipe box at the bottom of the post. I’ve copied and pasted them here, too:

      4 cups (500 g) all-purpose flour (I prefer White Lily brand)
      2 tablespoons granulated sugar
      1 ½ tablespoons baking powder
      1 teaspoon kosher salt
      ¼ teaspoon baking soda
      1 cup (2 sticks) very cold salted butter, cubed
      1 ¼ cups very cold whole buttermilk, plus more as needed
      2 tablespoons melted salted butter, divided

  6. Amber says:

    How would you suggest to keep the biscuits warm? Wanting to make for Easter brunch- with family arriving at different times, and children running around- I thought perhaps I could make early in the A.M. while everyone is still sleeping…

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Amber! You can definitely bake these in advance and just reheat them when needed. I wouldn’t try to keep them warm for an extended period of time, because they might dry out. You can either serve them at room temp (just keep them in a basket with a towel over them), warm individual biscuits in the microwave for a few seconds when you need them, or reheat a larger batch in the oven at 300 degrees F for about 10 minutes. Have a great Easter!

  7. Annette says:

    5 stars
    Oh my these are the most fantastic biscuits!
    I usually fail making biscuts not with this recipe, I followed your directions to the letter & they were perfect. Flaky, tall, tender!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    I did use another’s suggestion & used my cheese grater & grated my frozen butter & another’s suggestion halved the recipe since it’s only my husband & I.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thank you, Annette! I’m so happy to hear that!

  8. Laurel says:

    5 stars
    Thank you for the wonderful recipe for Buttermilk Biscuits. My daughter and her family were coming for their vacation and I make them for supper. I made two batches and my grandson loved them. I think he at them at every meal until they were gone. They were so flaky and moist.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      I’m so happy to hear that, Laurel. Thank you for letting me know!

  9. Natalie Anderson says:

    5 stars
    Ive been looking up recipes for flaky biscuits to serve with chicken ala king and your recipe and the pictures look absolutely delicious! I haven’t made them yet but your recipe will be the one I use. Thank you for sharing your recipes. Wishing you a blessed day

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you so much, Natalie! Same to you.

  10. Alden MacDonald says:

    5 stars
    I can make anything, but my biscuits are always just ok. This recipe worked phenomenally and the whole dinner party was raving. Thank you for sharing! I’ll never use a different recipe again.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Yay! I’m so glad that they were a success, Alden. Thank you for letting me know!

  11. Erin Williams says:

    5 stars
    These are the biscuits I’ve been dreaming of! So delicious and so easy! I made 4 batches in one week because my family is so obsessed with them. Thank you!!
    Also I froze a batch, stored in a ziplock freezer bag with parchment to separate. It just added 2-3 minutes to the bake time.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Yay! That makes me so happy to hear, Erin. Thanks for your note!

  12. Lisa in Austin says:

    5 stars
    It’s all in the technique! I loved how your stacking method yielded the flakiest biscuits I’ve ever made. Had to sub all purpose for the white lily and whole milk instead of buttermilk but otherwise kept things the same. Thank you for our new fave biscuit recipe!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thank you, Lisa! I’m so happy to hear that the biscuits were a success in your kitchen. Thanks for your note!

  13. Danette Howell says:

    5 stars
    My absolute favorite biscuit recipe! Light and fluffy. Super flavorful. Delicious every single time.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Yay! That’s so good to hear, Danette! Thank you!

  14. Christa K says:

    Have you ever made these the night before? Wondering to save some time in the morning if they’d bake the same right out of the freezer or fridge?

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      We haven’t tested it and can’t guarantee your results. Instead, we recommend baking the biscuits completely and reheating them the next day. They stay fresh for up to 3 days!