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Pair these buttery, flaky, mile-high strawberry shortcake biscuits with whipped cream and fresh berries for an easy, made-from-scratch, old-fashioned dessert!

Fork on a blue and white plate with strawberry shortcake biscuits and whipped cream.

If you’re looking for even more delicious strawberry recipes, be sure to try this strawberry cream cheese icebox cake, a strawberry tres leches cake with cake mix, the easiest strawberry cobbler recipe, a strawberry crisp, and this old-fashioned strawberry pie recipe, too!

The best shortcake biscuit recipe yields biscuits that are slightly sweet, golden brown on top, with tender, flaky, buttery layers inside. They’re sturdy enough to stand up to clouds of freshly whipped cream and juicy berries, but they’re not dry or tough. Skip the store-bought sponge cake and the Cool Whip, because you just can’t beat this easy strawberry shortcake recipe!

Table of strawberry shortcake with fresh berries and lemons in the background.

Biscuit Strawberry Shortcake

If you’re not familiar with this old-fashioned dessert, it’s a really basic (yet delicious) pairing. In America, shortcake is a sweet crumbly biscuit that’s typically leavened with baking powder or baking soda, dropped or cut into shapes, and then baked at a high temperature until set.

To make a classic strawberry shortcake biscuit recipe, the shortcakes are split and filled with strawberries (and their juices), plus whipped cream. Many folks even add another layer of strawberries and whipped cream on top of the shortcake, because you can never have too much of a good thing!

Stirring together sliced strawberries for shortcake recipe.

Origin

While the first strawberry shortcake recipe dates back to an English cookbook in 1588, a similar biscuit-and-fruit dessert served with butter and hot cream was popular in America by about 1850. This dessert was called strawberry shortcake, and in some parts of the Southern United States is still prepared using pie crust in rounds (rather than the biscuit base).

In America, it was common to hold strawberry shortcake parties to celebrate the summer fruit harvest. The tradition continues to this day, as June 14 is national Strawberry Shortcake Day!

Grating butter into a mixing bowl.

The Difference Between Shortcake and Biscuits

Shortcake is actually a type of biscuit. The “short” refers to a dough where the fat is cut into the flour to create a crumbly pastry. Shortbread cookies and shortcrust pastry are two other “short” doughs. Shortcakes are basically biscuits (not cake), often with a little bit more sugar than a typical Southern buttermilk biscuit.

For these easy strawberry shortcake biscuits, I simply added sugar to my favorite 3-ingredient buttermilk biscuit recipe, brushed the tops with buttermilk, and sprinkled coarse sugar over them before baking. The end result is tender, buttery, flaky shortcake biscuits that rise a mile high, taste just slightly sweet, and serve as the perfect vehicle for freshly whipped cream and juicy macerated summer berries.

Pouring buttermilk into a bowl.

How to Make Strawberry Shortcake Biscuits that Rise a Mile High

If your ideal strawberry shortcake 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 10-15 minutes before baking.
  • The oven must be very hot — in this case, 475°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.
  • Folding the dough on itself multiple times builds visible layers.
  • Do not twist a round biscuit cutter — just punch straight down and 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 with Sides Touching. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet or in a cast iron skillet so that they’re all touching their neighbors. This will help them “climb” in the oven so that you get that great, tall lift!
Process shot showing how to make strawberry shortcake biscuits in a cast iron skillet.

Ingredients for a Traditional Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for this easy strawberry shortcake recipe. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step baking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Fresh strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice: let these ingredients sit for about an hour so that the berries macerate, creating extra juices that you can drizzle over the biscuits, fruit, and whipped cream.
  • Self-rising flour: a common pantry staple in most Southern households, self-rising flour is simply flour with the leavening and salt already added. 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: to sweeten the shortcake biscuits.
  • Butter: I like salted butter, but you can use unsalted butter if you have it on hand. Make sure that your butter is very cold.
  • 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!
  • Coarse sugar: to sprinkle on top of the biscuits, giving them great flavor and crunchy texture.
  • Heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, and confectioners’ sugar: whipped together, these three simple ingredients create the fluffy, airy, rich whipped cream that pairs beautifully with the juicy berries and buttery shortcake.
Process shot showing how to make freshly whipped cream.

How to Make Easy Biscuits for Strawberry Shortcake

While there are a few different steps required, each component of this strawberry shortcake dessert recipe can be prepared in advance to avoid any last-minute stress. Perfect for entertaining! I’ve included the detailed instructions in the recipe card below, but here’s the quick version:

  • Stir together the berries, sugar, and lemon juice. Let them sit and macerate for at least an hour.
  • Bake the shortcake biscuits, and let them cool for at least 10-15 minutes (or longer) before assembling the dessert.
  • Whip the heavy cream with vanilla extract and powdered sugar.
  • Split the biscuits in half, fill each with whipped cream and berries, and serve!
Square side shot of homemade old fashioned strawberry shortcake recipe served on a blue and white plate.

Preparation and Storage Tips

  • The strawberries need time to “macerate,” which means that you let them sit in the sugar in order to draw out the juices, soften, and become sweet and saucy. They’ll need to macerate for at least 1 hour, but you can do this up to 1 day ahead.
  • You can also prepare the whipped cream up to 1 day ahead and keep it covered in the refrigerator.
  • The biscuits can be baked up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. You can also freeze the biscuits for up to 3 months.
Close up side shot of easy strawberry shortcake recipe on a plate.

Recipe Variations

  • Try other types of fresh berries or fresh fruit when it’s in season. For instance, instead of strawberries, use blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or fresh peaches.
  • If you don’t want to make your own whipped cream, try Cool Whip (thawed) or Reddi Whip from a can. Vanilla ice cream is also a delicious alternative!
  • Small batch: Using a 2 ¼-inch or 2 ½-inch biscuit cutter yields about 9-10 biscuits. For a smaller batch, cut all of the ingredients in half. You can also freeze any leftover biscuits to enjoy at another time when you have more fresh berries available.
  • Grating the butter into the flour is easier, in my opinion, than using a pastry cutter, pastry blender, or food processor to cut or pulse the cold butter into the flour. Any method will work, though, so pick whichever works best for you. Ultimately, you should see small pea-size pieces of butter throughout the flour that resemble coarse crumbs.
Two plates of strawberry shortcake biscuits on a wooden table.

Tips for the Best Biscuits for Strawberry Shortcake

  • Keep the butter very cold. It doesn’t need to be frozen before grating, since I find that frozen butter is much harder to work with. Just a really firm, chilled stick works perfectly.
  • Properly measure the flour. Always spoon and level the flour — 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 10-15 minutes before baking.
  • Arrange the Biscuits with Sides Touching. Place the biscuits on the baking sheet so that they’re all touching their neighbors. This will help them “climb” in the oven so that you get that great, high rise.
  • 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.
Close up side shot of strawberry shortcake biscuits on a table.

Tips for Making Whipped Cream

  • The Best Type of Cream to Use: For a sturdy foam you’ll need whipping cream (30% to 35% fat) or heavy whipping cream (36% minimum). Ultra-pasteurized dairy products will make a decent whipped cream, although the flavors taste a little more “cooked.” Standard pasteurized cream will whip up more easily and hold better peaks, so use that if you can.
  • Keep it Cold! Chilling the bowl, whisk (or attachments), and cream is critical to successful whipped cream. Colder cream gives you higher peaks.
  • Start Slow: Use a lower speed to begin your whipping so that the cream won’t warm too quickly. This will build up smaller bubbles for a more stable foam. Gradually increase the speed as you see the bubbles form and the cream get thicker.
  • Whipping Time Can Vary Greatly: While I give an estimate of about 3 minutes for this recipe, don’t focus on the clock. In this case, it’s important to keep a close eye on the cream itself. The total time required to form the soft peaks will depend on the speed and the temperature of your ingredients. As a result, just watch the cream and notice when you start to see “tracks” or traces of the whisk in the cream itself. At this point, you’re almost to those soft peaks. Go slowly and don’t beat the cream too much. Even just a few seconds too long and your cream can go from soft and fluffy to thick and dense.
Front shot of two plates of easy strawberry shortcake on a table.

What to Do with Fresh Picked Strawberries

If you have a bounty of fresh fruit that you picked yourself or that you scooped up at the market, here are a few more recipes to use up strawberries:

Square side shot of homemade old fashioned strawberry shortcake recipe served on a blue and white plate.

Strawberry Shortcake Biscuits

Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total: 2 hours
Servings 9 biscuits
Calories 387 kcal
These strawberry shortcake biscuits are tender, flaky, sweet, and buttery! Perfect with juicy berries and clouds of freshly-whipped cream.

Ingredients
  

FOR THE STRAWBERRIES

FOR THE SHORTCAKE BISCUITS

  • 2 ½ cups self-rising flour (I prefer White Lily brand)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) very cold salted butter
  • 1 cup very cold whole buttermilk, well shaken, plus extra for brushing the tops
  • Coarse sugar (or additional granulated sugar), for sprinkling on top

FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM

  • 1 cup very cold heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

Instructions

  • Chill a medium-size bowl and a whisk or whisk attachment or rotary blades of an electric mixer (for whipping the cream).

PREPARE THE STRAWBERRIES

  • Cut the berries into ¼-inch-thick slices and place them in a large bowl. Toss with granulated sugar and lemon juice; set aside and let sit for at least 1 hour.
    Stirring together sliced strawberries for shortcake recipe.

MAKE THE SHORTCAKE BISCUITS

  • Preheat oven to 475°F.
  • Place self-rising flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Using the larger holes on a box grater, grate the stick of butter into the flour and sugar. Use your fingers to coat all of the butter with the flour, and then work the butter into the flour with your fingertips for about 2 minutes. Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.
    Grating butter into a mixing bowl.
  • Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add the buttermilk, and stir with a wooden spoon (or with your hands) just until a shaggy dough comes together.
    Pouring buttermilk into a bowl.
  • Turn the dough onto a well-floured work surface. Fold the dough over onto itself 6-8 times, just until it comes together. Pat the dough into a rectangle that’s about ¾ inch thick. Use a 2 ¼-inch or 2 ½ -inch round biscuit cutter to punch out the biscuits (do not twist the cutter). Arrange the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or in a 10-inch cast iron skillet with sides touching. Re-roll the scraps and cut out additional biscuits until all of the dough is used. Brush tops with additional buttermilk; sprinkle with coarse sugar.
    Process shot showing how to make strawberry shortcake biscuits in a cast iron skillet.
  • If time allows, place the biscuits back in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to chill again before baking.
  • Bake for 12-16 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the biscuits cool for at least 10-15 minutes before using as shortcakes.

MAKE WHIPPED CREAM

  • Using the chilled whisk or electric mixer attachment and bowl, whip the cream with the vanilla and the confectioners’ sugar until it holds soft peaks (about 3 minutes).
    Process shot showing how to make freshly whipped cream.

ASSEMBLE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKES

  • Slice the biscuits in half and fill with strawberries and whipped cream. Serve immediately.
    Fork on a blue and white plate with strawberry shortcake biscuits and whipped cream.

Notes

  • Keep the butter very cold. It doesn’t need to be frozen before grating, since I find that frozen butter is much harder to work with. Just a really firm, chilled stick works perfectly.
  • Properly measure the flour. Always spoon and level the flour — 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 10-15 minutes before baking.
  • Arrange the Biscuits with Sides Touching. Place the biscuits on the baking sheet so that they’re all touching their neighbors. This will help them “climb” in the oven so that you get that great, high rise.
  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1biscuit with fruit and whipped creamCalories: 387kcalCarbohydrates: 43gProtein: 7gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 118mgPotassium: 247mgFiber: 3gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 760IUVitamin C: 57mgCalcium: 72mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: biscuit strawberry shortcake, biscuits for strawberry shortcake, strawberry shortcake biscuits, strawberry shortcake recipe
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in May, 2020. It was updated in April, 2023.

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!

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Comments

  1. Rae says:

    I am Lazy ..so my version is with Bisquick. canned whipped cream. and a microwave

    1. Blair says:

      That sounds delicious too, Rae! 🙂