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Nothing beats warm flaky old fashioned biscuits straight from the oven. This fool-proof homemade biscuit recipe is easy to make and requires just 6 ingredients.

A bowl of freshly baked Flaky Old Fashioned Biscuits

Comfort food of comfort foods! Warm, flaky biscuits that pull apart in the middle for a little pat of butter are so yummy. That is why they are a staple of southern cooking and once you make them, this will be one of your favorite go-to recipes as well. No need to buy a mix or can ever again! Now you can make biscuits quick and like a pro, with this easy, 6-ingredient recipe.  Warm, flaky, old fashioned biscuits are the best! These biscuits go with almost any meal and are easy to throw together in a hurry.

Can I use baking soda in place of baking powder?

Yes. Baking soda has 3 to 4 times the strength as baking powder so you’ll need to reduce the amount called for in this recipe when making a substitution.  To replace the 1 tablespoon of Baking Powder in this recipe, use 1 teaspoon of Baking Soda instead. That’s it, and it will still make some delicious, warm, flaky, old-fashioned biscuits.

Can I use self-rising flour instead of all-purpose in this biscuit recipe?

Yes, you can. Self-rising flour contains flour, baking powder and salt. While it is hard to predict the exact ratios of flour to baking powder to salt in the mixture, you will most likely still get great results.  Be sure to leave out adding any additional baking powder or salt until you’ve seen how it turns out with your particular brand of self rising flour. For best results, simply follow the recipe using all-purpose flour.

If you like this recipe you may be interested in these other similar recipes involving biscuits:

A bowl of freshly baked Flaky Old Fashioned Biscuits

How to cut fat into flour to make homemade biscuits:

Homemade biscuits require you to cut fat (like butter or shortening) into a flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal or sand. There are several options to do this.

  • GRATER: The easiest way to cut fat into flour is to grate it using a cheese grater.  This works particularly well for cold butter.
  • PASTRY CUTTER: A traditional, old fashioned way to cut fat into flour is to use a pastry cutter. This specialized kitchen tool has 3 to 4 curved blades attached to a handle so that you can cut the fat into the flour using a rocking motion.
  • FOOD PROCESSOR: A food processor is a great modern small kitchen appliance that makes it really easy to cut fat into flour. Simply place your flour mixture into the bowl of the food processor along with your cold fat. Using the S-blade, pulse the mixture together until it resembles coarse meal or sand.
  • TWO KNIFE METHOD: The hardest method uses two knives to cut the solid fat into the flour by cutting the knives parallel against each other. Hold one butter knife in each hand. Criss cross the two knives to form an X-shape, with the flat sides of the blades touching each other. Place the knives in this shape into the fat and flour and slice the blades against each other in an outward motion repeatedly, similar to how scissors work.

Butter or shortening: Which is best for making a biscuit?

Like many pastries, biscuits require a solid fat source to achieve their flaky texture. Every source of fat will yield a slightly different result as they have different flavors and result in a different texture. 

  • SHORTENING: For the tallest biscuits, use shortening because it has a higher melting point. As they bake, the flour and shortening are forced apart until the shortening melts. By this point, the biscuit will be set, creating that highly sought-after flaky texture.  For the best flavor, use butter flavored shortening, as regular shortening often lacks a little bit in the flavor department. 
  • BUTTER: Butter provides a great flavor for your biscuit recipe, but has a lower melting point than shortening. Because butter contains somewhere around 15% water, you’ll notice some shrinkage as the water evaporates during baking, resulting in a shorter biscuit.
  • COCONUT OIL: A popular trend in baking today is to use coconut oil. Coconut oil can be used to make a flaky biscuits, but you’ll want to measure and freeze the coconut oil first.  Because coconut oil has such a low melting point, it’s best to make smaller biscuits so that the baking process happens faster and more evenly, forcing apart the fat and flour as quickly as possible.
  • Nothing beats warm flaky old fashioned biscuits straight from the oven. These biscuits are easy to make and require just 6 ingredients. Try this fool proof old fashioned method!
    LARD: If you want to make these the way our not-so-distant ancestors did, use lard. Lard is very similar to shortening,  but usually comes from pig fat. It has a distinctive flavor that many enjoy.

PRO TIP: Always ensure that whatever fat you use in your homemade biscuits is as cold as possible. Cold fats that haven’t softened yield the flakiest biscuits.

Butter brushed onto a freshly baked biscuit

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

This recipe first appeared on The Stay At Home Chef on March 12, 2013

Butter brushed onto a freshly baked biscuit
Nothing beats warm flaky old fashioned biscuits straight from the oven. This fool-proof homemade biscuit recipe is easy to make and requires just 6 ingredients. 
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter or shortening cold
  • 1 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter for brushing (optional)
Instructions
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  • Grate your butter using a cheese grater and stir into the flour mixture OR cut butter into small pieces and use a pastry cutter to cut the fat into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal or sand.
  • Gradually pour in the buttermilk or milk, stirring until the dough just comes together.
  • Turn the dough out onto a clean countertop and form it into a ball.
  • Press the dough flat until it is 1-inch thick. Use a circle biscuit cutter or a drinking glass to cut out your biscuits. Combine leftover scraps and continue re-pressing and cutting until all dough is used.
  • Place cut biscuits on an un-greased baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for about 12-15 minutes, until the tops are nicely browned. Brush the tops with melted butter, if desired.
Notes
PRO TIPS:
  • Keep your butter or shortening as cold as possible. Place it into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes before using in the recipe for extra flaky results. 
  • Handle the dough with your hands as little as possible. 
  • Work quickly to keep your dough cold. If you need to, pop the formed biscuits into the fridge for 15 to 30 minutes to chill before baking. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1large biscuit | Calories: 310kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 556mg | Potassium: 301mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 500IU | Calcium: 142mg | Iron: 2.1mg
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Buttermilk Biscuits

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Joyce

5 stars
OMG ! Girl you rock ! I am sitting here enjoying the best tasting biscuits I’ve ever had thanks to you ! Just want to say thank you for all your wonderful recipes time and effort you put in your show ! May God Bless you in all you do ! ???????

Frances A Gonzalez

5 stars
Your recipes never disappoint, I always go to your site first when I need something, thanks

Katana

5 stars
I’ve literally made this recipe 4 times in a week. Going to have to triple the batch because these are amazing!!!! Thank you!

Jacquie Young

4 stars
There is not enough flour, for a first time person they may be very disappointed but others can adjust the amounts to suit the recipe. Other wise they were the lightest fluffiest biscuits we ever ate.
Thank you.

Douglas Hoffman

5 stars
you are the best rachel to share your knoledge

TIffany

My son has different food allergies, and we use a palm oil shortening for most things. Would that work in this recipe? Any adjustments that I should make? Thank you!

Reg Sypher

5 stars
I live in Australia and the substitute for shortening I use is Copha or I freeze a blckk of butter and grate it over the flour and also if you flour your biscuit cutter each time and don’t twist it you all get a beeter rise.

Tamar

Hi Rachel, I just found your blog while looking for biscuit recipes. I have tried some of these on a recent trip to the States and I am hooked! No commercial version exists here that I have ever seen so I would love to make my own.

Unfortunately, I have never heard of shortening and I don't believe it is available where I live (nor is lard easily attainable). Would you say replacing it with butter should work? Or is Margarine more similar/preferable?

You can use butter but it will produce a different result because butter has a lower melting point. I would try refrigerating the cut biscuits before baking will help and increasing the baking temperature by 25 degrees. It is harder to produce as flaky biscuit with butter but it isn't impossible.

Tamar

Thanks, I will give it a try.

Have you tried these with coconut oil or wheat flour? Just wondering because they look amazing but hubby is diabetic so whole grains means he gets to eat more.

I haven't tried it myself, but I do wonder if it could work. The problem would be that coconut oil's melting point is 76 degrees, which means the fat would melt too fast for the biscuit to become flaky. If I were to try it, I'd actually freeze the cut out biscuits first, before putting them into the oven.

As for wheat flour, you could always substitute it, however, it will produce a more dense final product.

I know how difficult it can be to cook diabetes friendly! Keep at it because it is worth any sacrifice!

Shel Canuet

5 stars
I wish I could make buttermilk biscuits like my Mother could.

Mercy

Hello, I have this probelm to cook for my parents because they are both diabetic too. For substituting whole wheat in any recipe, professional chefs advise to use half whole wheat with half white flour, because 100 percent whole wheat will result in a very dense bread. The white flour helps lighten it of course. Irish Soda bread also uses whole wheat flour well.

LINDA BARNHART

I can’t believe how wonderful this biscuits are. I really don’t like biscuits, but I do love sausage gravy. I tried your recipe yesterday. I tried a tiny bite when they cooled, and proceeded to eat two wedges, PLAIN. I didn’t do something correct, as they were globby, but I just proceeded. Maybe I shouldn’t have used the whole cup of buttermilk. I used frozen butter, and I keep frozen flour in the freezer. These are absolutely the best ever biscuits. I have lots of gravy left, so we are looking forward to more of these buttery wonders today. I… Read more »

Loreal

5 stars
Loved it; great recipe!
I used baking soda instead of baking powder; expired milk, instead of buttermilk. The biscuits came out great!

Terra Garcia-Chang

5 stars
Just finished baking these and they came out so yummy! I followed the recipe exactly, with butter and buttermilk and they are so tasty. I highly recommend!

Cindy Pimley

5 stars
Love Love all her recipes!!

5 stars
Oh my goodness! My first time making biscuits from scratch. I tried the Bisquick ones and they came out hard and not very tasty. This recipe is a keeper. My two little girls and myself loved your biscuits! They are flavorful and flaky. We enjoyed eating them with grape jelly. I had to stop myself after the 3rd one.☺️

Ragina Bass

5 stars
Made as directed with butter and they came out perfect. I’ve been wanting to make biscuits for a long time and always failed before. These got it right on the first try. Saving this recipe and will double next time!

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