Since posting this recipe I’ve received a ton of emails thanking me for this recipe, because it works! Read the comments to see some of the positive feedback I continue to get. I can’t thank my readers enough for taking the time to let me know how well this worked in their kitchen. I will constantly be updating my biscuit arsenal so you’ve come to the right place.
If you need proof of how easy my special technique is, watch the video. You’ll learn and you’ll laugh as two twin six-year old boys make the biscuits. My point is that if they can do it with my instruction, you can too? They made the biscuits in the picture.
How a Yankee Learned to Made the Best Southern Fluffy Biscuit Ever!
My husband has a memory of his Southern grandmother who made biscuits every day of her life. He remembers well the visits to the farmhouse in East Tennessee, sleeping in a feather bed under six or eight quilts, waking up to fluffy biscuits made on a wood burning stove, served with homemade pear honey and apple butter.
I talked about this a little bit when I shared a flaky biscuit recipe, which is delicious, but as my husband’s brother pointed out after he read the post, that flaky biscuit is not Meemaw’s biscuit.
She didn’t make flaky biscuits. Meemaw made fluffy biscuits.
I stand corrected. After many dozen biscuits, trying this and trying that, this is that biscuit that he lovingly remembers and has yearned for.
Biscuits and pie dough can either bring a baker or home cook down or make them legendary.
There is this myth that our Southern grandmother’s came out of the womb making biscuits and pie dough from scratch without a recipe and they always came out perfect.
The truth is that they started very young, had instruction and learned a little more every day. Baking fluffy biscuits or flaky pie dough became second nature just as walking and talking. During their childhood, they weren’t stressed in the kitchen trying to reinvent the wheel. They were picking up cues about flour, shortening and milk and how to balance them out, only they didn’t know it at the time.
It was simply kitchen time with good smells and the excitement of a hot biscuit with jam or honey only fifteen minutes away.
So I did some kitchen time to uncrack the mystery of the Southern Fluffy Biscuit.
Finally, after many tries using various recipes, I came up with this myself. It felt right to me. Although these are made with butter , not lard or shortening, this is the biscuit that most takes him back to his childhood.
I have a secret about biscuits that you need to know.
It’s not the recipe as much as it is the technique, so pretend you’re in my kitchen and follow along. You will be so happy when you open your oven.
I trust this recipe, because it’s my own, and I finally have the “feel” of the biscuit in the same way I’ve mastered the “feel” for pie dough and homemade pasta. It was worth the time and worth the mistakes along the way, and far better than anything that pops out of a can.
A few Biscuit Making Tips for the Southern Fluffy Biscuit
- Use all purpose soft wheat flour. White Lily is what I use, which is 100% pure soft white winter wheat. If you don’t have access to soft wheat flour, you can still use all purpose flour. It will be good, but perhaps not as soft. If you do use AP flour, you will use more buttermilk. The heavier grain requires up to 1/3 cup more. Start at a tablespoon at a time. (Some bakers use self-rising flour; I don’t, and I’m not opposed to it, it’s just the way I do it).
- Weigh your flour if you can. 1 cup of flour weighs 128 grams. 2 cups is 256 grams. This ensures that you didn’t use too much flour. If you don’t weigh, spoon the flour into the measuring cup, as opposed to packing the cup.
- Crumble ice cold butter into the flour mixture until you have medium sized crumbles (not too big, not too small) and freeze for 15 minutes. This takes the butter back to cold and keeps it intact. As the biscuits bake, the butter melts.
- Real buttermilk is awesome, but if you don’t have it on hand, make your own buttermilk. I always make my own with white vinegar. 1 tablespoon of vinegar into cup. Fill the cup with milk. Wait 15 minutes; it will get thick.
- Whisk the dry ingredients before adding the butter.
- Put a pinch of baking soda into the buttermilk. I’ve seen this tip in several recipes and adapted it for my own.
- Don’t expect biscuit dough to look like bread dough or pie dough. That would make for a very tough biscuit. The dough should be wet and sticky. Wetter than your intuition tells you.
- Don’t roll with a rolling pin. Simple form into a ball, and pat down in the same bowl you’ve mixed it with.
- Use a sharp biscuit cutter, an up and down motion, not twisting.
- Biscuits should kiss, which means they touch in the pan. This helps them to rise as they bake.
- Use a cast iron griddle. I recommend something like the
Lodge L9OG3 Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Round Griddle, 10.5-inchBake at a high heat. I bake at 450 for about 15 minutes for a medium sized biscuit. Check at 13 minutes.
- Don’t worry that they don’t all look alike. These are homemade, not out of a can.
- Make a double batch and freeze. Believe it or not, they are good popped into the microwave. If you know you’re going to freeze them, bake them a few minutes under and then bake them right from freezer.
- Feel free to add in herbs (but add it to the dry ingredients before you add the butter). Try these cheddar bacon chive.
- Add in fruit, such as berries, but flour the fruit first so it doesn’t turn your biscuit purple. Try these blueberry thyme biscuits. I demonstrated these strawberry biscuits at Williams Sonoma.
- Turn biscuits into dessert. Try these chocolate chip cookie biscuits or these classic shortcake biscuits.
- Make my husband’s favorite biscuit, the sweet potato biscuit.
- Serve with the very best jam or jelly you can find.
Make Successful Southern Fluffy Biscuits
Make several dozen biscuits and get to understand biscuit dough. Then you can tailor the recipe to your own specific taste. Your own hands, eyes and taste buds will tell you what to do. I will go so far as to say that you might follow this recipe exactly and not be happy with your biscuit. But, hold on, keep trying. It might be that second batch that you added a touch more flour to, or took out of the oven one minute earlier and you found your perfect biscuit. For example, Mr. ST likes these biscuits two minutes less baked than I do. We are both right.
Here’s a recipe for sausage gravy. You can use the sausage of your choice.
I can promise you, if you follow these instructions, you will make the best Southern fluffy biscuits ever!
Turn Fluffy biscuits into sandwiches with this Black Pepper Herbed Biscuit.
Make Shortcake Biscuits.
I wish you the best in making biscuits in your home, just like someone’s grandmother used to make. I so appreciate the numerous comments here on this biscuit post.
Please connect with me on instagram and I would love for you to come back. There are many more biscuit recipes to come. Let’s be friends. Subscribe and never miss a new recipe.
- 2 cups White Lily flour all purpose (softened wheat flour) NOT self-rising
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted cold butter
- 1 cup buttermilk. (use ¾ cup at first and then see if you need more)
- pinch baking soda for buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 tablespoons milk (for brushing on biscuits)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar.
- Cut butter into flour with pastry cutter or simple use hands to mix in, but not smear.
- At this point put the flour and butter mixture into freezer for 15 minutes.
- This is a good time to make your own buttermilk if you don't have buttermilk. I prefer the store bought, but if you don't have it on hand, see below.
- Add a pinch of baking soda to the buttermilk. (This is a good tip!)
- Take flour mixture out of freezer.
- Add in ¾ cup buttermilk. If you are using all purpose flour (not the soft wheat flour) you will probably need to add up to ¼ cup more buttermilk. Add a tablespoon at a time. Stir with a wooden spoon. Mixture will be wet and sticky. You want that.
- Flour the counter or mat. You can at this point continue to make the biscuits in the bowl you've mixed it in, if there is room and the bowl has a flat bottom. (I use a wooden salad bowl. Makes clean-up easy). Watch the video to see how.
- Flour hands and form into a ball. Knead no more than 8-10 times with hands. Less is best. Pat down to an inch and a half thickness.
- Using a biscuit cutter, cut biscuits with up and down method. Do not twist.
- Place on baking sheet or cast iron pan, touching. Brush with milk.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes. Check at 15. All ovens are different.
- Brush with butter when they come out of oven.
- Pour 2 teaspoons white vinegar into measuring cup. Fill cup with whole milk up to ¾ cup. Let sit until milk thickens.