Best Buttermilk Biscuits

Several years ago, The Washington Post ran an article in their food section called “Building a Better Biscuit,” which my grandmother saved for me, and which I have referred to many times since. The article gives some good suggestions: Don’t overwork the dough; to get maximum rise, bake the biscuits soon after they are cut; and use buttermilk, fine sea salt, and a combination of baking powder and baking soda. Light, flaky and buttery, these biscuits are delectable!

The original recipe called for eight tablespoons of shortening, but I, conditioned by my mother, use all butter instead. This recipe can be adapted — I made a cashel blue cheese and chive variation for St. Patrick’s Day — and the dough, unbaked, can be frozen and baked straight from the freezer. I prefer to eat these just as they are, maybe with a little butter, but they also make a nice base for poached eggs, Ben’s favorite way of eating them.

Buttermilk Biscuits
Yield = 8 biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
2¼ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons sugar
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
¾ cup buttermilk plus more for brushing

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Cut the butter into the flour mixture and using a fork, mix the butter and flour until the butter has broken into small bits and flakes.
Pour buttermilk into flour mix. Stir with fork just until the dough comes together to form a mass — Do not over-mix. Gently gather the dough in the bowl to bring together, adding an extra tablespoon of buttermilk if necessary. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Pat the dough into a ¾-inch thick circle. Using a two-inch round cutter, cut the dough into eight biscuits. Transfer to an ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing the biscuits 2-inches apart.
Brush each biscuit lightly with buttermilk. Sprinkle a pinch of sugar over the top of each. Transfer sheet to the oven, immediately increasing the temperature to 425ºF. Bake the biscuits for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack to cool or serve immediately.


  1. Jane says

    Hi, I just tried your buttermilk biscuits and they are very delicious! My daughters love them very much and asks me to make more! You mentioned the dough, unbaked can be frozen and baked straight from the freezer? Do you mean freeze them after cutting the dough into biscuits or before? How long do I have to bake them straight from the freezer?

    Thanks for sharing!

    • says

      I would cut the biscuits first, freeze them on a sheet pan, and then once they have frozen, transfer them to a ziplock bag so they are protected from the cold air. You shouldn’t have to bake them much longer than, maybe just a minute or two, but check after the original time noted, then bake for a few more minutes if necessary. So glad you liked these!

  2. Susan says

    We are looking for a good biscuit recipe. Being Texans, it’s rather embarassing that we don’t have one (all grandmothers are gone & one of mine was a terrible cook anyway). We have a favorite breakfast place here with amazing biscuits…so, want to try these in a slightly different fashion…how do you think they would do in a 8×8 pan, sliced into squares? Or just try it and see what happens?

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