The Best Southern Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe

Y’all, my hubby is a Northern Transplant from the south. Born and raised in South Carolina, his Southern roots show in nearly everything we do. From gardening (“No, honey, okra isn’t necessary in so many beds..”) to the food we make. And that includes things like cornbread and biscuits.

For those reading this who are not American, buttermilk biscuits might look like scones – you know, the ones served with strawberry jam and fresh whipped cream – but they are not scones.

buttermilk biscuits with strawberry jam and vanilla double cream Greek yoghurt
Buttermilk biscuits with strawberry jam and vanilla double cream Greek yoghurt. Photo by Jeanie Beales.

The difference is that buttermilk biscuits don’t have egg in the dough, nor is sugar added. For Americans biscuits are quick breads that use baking powder and/or buttermilk as leavening.

They are often eaten as an accompaniment to a meal – as with a soup or stew, or savory filling, whereas in Australia, the UK, and many other parts of the world, the closest cousin to buttermilk biscuits are scones, served as a sweet teatime snack, due to their butter, jam and whipped cream topping.

Buttermilk biscuits are soft and puffy, and nothing like what the rest of the world calls biscuits – those hard, sweet crunchy bites of bliss. Biscuits to the rest of the world are called cookies in the US – as in choc chip cookies or Oreos.

Buttermilk biscuits are a staple, like the bread of life almost. I love, love, love making these! Even though they use *white* flour, they are still a must in my family!

Of course, you CAN use wheat flour or a combination of white and wheat. We just like them with all white flour. It gives it that “specialness”. You know, biscuits that are fluffy, moist, and have so much flavor, it’s hard to stop at one. Or two. Or three….

Fluffy homemade biscuits go great with homemade jam, chili, or beef vegetable soup. Try spreading them with homemade butter for another delicious treat!

As you can see in the photos, the southern buttermilk biscuits, still warm from the oven, were served as a lunch dish.

Buttermilk biscuits with beef prosciutto
Buttermilk biscuits with beef prosciutto, cucumber, rocket, Dijon mustard and parsley. Photo by Jeanie Beales.

I used beef pastrami, cucumber, baby rocket, chopped parsley ,and Dijon mustard.

Feel free to use whatever you have available in the garden – thin sliced tomato, lettuce and maybe top off with what’s in the refrigerator like slices of cheddar cheese or a wedge of Brie, with some roasted red peppers… the choices are endless.

I also used some buttermilk biscuits as a sweet treat, but instead of cream I have taken to using vanilla flavored double cream Greek yoghurt – it is absolutely divine.

fresh warm buttermilk biscuits

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups flour you can use white, wheat, or a combination of both
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons shortening I use palm shortening
  • 2 cups buttermilk

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425 F / 220 C.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Add in cold butter and shortening and cut in until mixture is crumbly.
    butter ready cut into dry ingredients
  • Add buttermilk and combine just until all flour mixture is mixed in.  BE GENTLE!
    dough ready to be either dropped or lightly pressed and cut into shapes
  • Pat out very lightly on a floured board until about ½ to ¾ inch thick.
  • Using a biscuit cutter, or other sharp end (not a glass!*) cut out your biscuits.
    heart-shaped buttermilk biscuits
  • Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake in oven for 15-18 minutes until golden brown.

Now, as for why not a glass…

I know you’ve heard everyone say that it’s okay, and best to use and all…but, truth be told here.  It “seals” the ends up and you don’t get as high of a rise on your biscuits.

Trust me. Try it for yourself. Next batch of buttermilk biscuits you make, make 1/2 with a biscuit cutter or a sharp knife cutting them out and 1/2 with a glass and see which ones rise better for you. You can usually pick them up at a dollar store or Target pretty cheaply.

The other problem people have with biscuit height is that their baking powder isn’t fresh. You CAN use it for up to a year, but I recommend replacing it after 6 months, to keep it as fresh as possible.

If you really wanted to, you could skip rolling out the biscuit dough and cutting it and just make buttermilk drop biscuits.

Just drop a 1/4 cup of the dough into a small pile on the baking sheet and bake as you would normally. They still are the most fluffy buttermilk biscuits this side of the Mississippi. Or that side. Whichever you prefer.

This recipe is great for pantry storage, too, as you CAN mix the first 4 ingredients and store them in a glass jar on your pantry shelf.

To make a larger batch, quadruple the dry ingredients, label and store. When ready to use, remove just 4 1/4 cups of the baking mix and combine with the wet ingredients given in the recipe above to make your batch of Southern Buttermilk biscuits. You’ll get four batches out of your big jar of dry ingredients.

buttermilk biscuits pin

last update: February 8th 2021 – Jeanie Beales

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2 thoughts on “The Best Southern Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe”

  1. You list salt as one of your dry ingredients in the directions. You do not list salt in your ingredients list. How much do you use?

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