Buttermilk Biscuits

how to make biscuits
Some summers when I was a kid we’d take family road trips to visit Ma’s kinfolk in Tennessee, up in the Appalachians. My great granny lived in a trailer at the end of a tiny road in a place called Shady Valley next to a little mountain creek that was icy cold — melted snow. That’s where I caught my first crawdad and kissed my second cousin and smoked my first cigarette and picked wild raspberries and hid in a root cellar and played in the rain like you can’t do in Texas. I’d sleep on the couch or in a tent in the yard or sometimes just in the car. It was some pretty magical times.

And my granny made the best biscuits in the world. She never measured, she hardly thought about it — she just mixed up some flour and fat and milk and voila. Bad Ass Biscuits.

Then she went on with the sausage and gravy. Granny, you are breaking my heart! I miss her and her biscuits. So I make my own biscuits now and remember that sweet mountain home. Here’s how you can, too.

How to Make Biscuits Video

Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe

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Buttermilk Biscuits

Old-fashioned buttermilk biscuits

  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter (frozen or at least very cold)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

Instructions

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a big ol’ bowl.
  2. If your butter is frozen, use a coarse grater to grate it into the flour. If it’s just cold, dice it and toss it around in the flour.
  3. Use your fingertips to mix the flour with the butter, sort of squeezing little bits to break up the butter and get it coated in flour. It should look grainy.
  4. Add the milk all at once and mix it up quickly.
  5. Turn it onto a floured board and knead by folding it over itself several times. Thirty seconds of kneading is plenty. Be gentle with it.
  6. Roll or pat it out into 1/2 inch thickness.
  7. Cut with a biscuit cutter or the rim of a glass.
  8. Put on a cookie sheet, ungreased. Bake at 450 degrees Fahreheit for 12-15 minutes.
  9. Eat those hot flaky biscuits and think about my cool granny.

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46 Comments

  1. Dee on May 7, 2010 at 5:53 am

    Thanks now I know how to make Biscuits and it’s easy. Keep the video’s coming we are a watching

    • Hilah Cooking on May 7, 2010 at 12:46 pm

      Thanks for your support and encouragement!

  2. Paul on May 24, 2010 at 6:16 am

    just found you- you have the best cooking podcast ever!

    • Hilah Cooking on May 24, 2010 at 12:43 pm

      Hey there! Thank you!

  3. Jenny on June 1, 2010 at 12:54 am

    You’ve definitely inspired me to go on a rampage to find the best biscuit recipe. So far, I’m between Alton Brown’s and America’s Test Kitchen’s. Do you mind if I blog your recipe?
    Thanks!
    Jenny

    • Hilah Cooking on June 1, 2010 at 7:10 pm

      Blog it up!

      • Jenny on June 4, 2010 at 11:19 pm

        El done-o. I’m a little biscuited out, haha.

  4. Eric on June 3, 2010 at 5:58 am

    Hey Hilah I just discovered your cooking show and I absolutely love it. You are inspiring me to go in the kitchen and try these recipes for my self. Keep up the great work, because I am sure you and your show will go very far. You have fan for life in me.

    • Hilah Cooking on June 4, 2010 at 5:08 pm

      Whoohoo!!!

  5. liban on June 10, 2010 at 8:49 am

    wait…how do i get to see the extra video…i have a deep feeling its goint to be extra hilarious. i liked “you prob have sum people coming over that you dont really like much so give them those funy ass buiscuits.” hahahaha i almost died laughing..

    • Hilah Cooking on June 10, 2010 at 12:28 pm

      Laloali, check out the home page of the website and sign up for the newsletter. Then you’ll get info on the secret webpage and the password to see it. It’s worth it.

  6. Scott on December 7, 2010 at 2:47 am

    Hi Hilah
    I recently discovered your Hilah Cooking podcast and I love you. Best cooking show and figure-out-how-to-do-it demos anywhere. You should be on the Food Network. They need somebody like you, to get it done, keep it real, and keep us smiling through it all.
    Thanks for doing what you do.
    A new fan!
    Scott

    • Hilah Cooking on December 7, 2010 at 1:00 pm

      Thanks, Scott! You just made my day and it’s not even 7 am! Thank you for watching and commenting. It’s great to get feedback from people.
      Yours,
      hilah

  7. Leonardo on December 7, 2010 at 8:18 am

    How are you? Im Leo from Argentina.
    You are a very good cook.
    The way that you explaint how to cook is awesome!!!!!

    • Hilah Cooking on December 7, 2010 at 1:05 pm

      Hola Leo! Gracias por comentar! Espero que los hacen!

  8. Rhoda on December 14, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Your fluffy, delicious Bad Ass Biscuits saved my family from choking on the anti-tank slugs that were my feeble attempts at biscuitry.
    Thanks Hilah!

    • Hilah Cooking on December 14, 2010 at 7:56 pm

      You are welcome, Rhoda! 🙂

  9. SULEI MUSA ADAMU on February 26, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Like magic! how i wished! am not the only person that benefited from this!…..Hilah infact ur unique keep it up!

    • Hilah on February 26, 2012 at 5:26 pm

      Thank you, Sulei! I hope you try the biscuits!

  10. Mary Helen (@MaryHelenOrama) on February 26, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    My Mom has the same sifter!! It also looks quite prarie-dog-like.

    • Hilah on February 27, 2012 at 12:23 pm

      Ha! That sifter was the very same one I grew up with, that my mom always used. Mama don’t bake much no more.

  11. mirriam on February 27, 2012 at 4:58 am

    Hilah,
    am a layman in baking but for the biscuits i tried and my family wants more. do something on the souvery scones and Victoria sandwich cake. i will be grateful.

    Regards,
    mirriam

    • Hilah on February 27, 2012 at 12:12 pm

      Hi Mirriam!
      I’m happy you had success with the biscuits! I have a savory scone recipe here. I’ve not heard of the Victoria sandwich cake, but I will look into that.
      Thanks for writing!
      -hilah

      • Lisa on January 25, 2017 at 3:26 pm

        I think what you are looking for is an English cake called a Victoria sponge cake. Check out nigella Lawson or any English cake recipes. If you have’nt found it yet.

  12. Kay on July 19, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    Hi Hilah~
    Just started having fun watching your show. I like what I’ve seen because it’s seems simple and versatile. I wanted to comment on this recipe because my daughter, Charlotte, is comparing the ingredients to Joy of Cooking’s, and I think you mention that’s the recipe you used, so I’m confused. Theirs calls for baking soda and sugar. Did you say add soda on the video? (It’s not listed above as an ingredient) Thanks!

    • Hilah on July 20, 2012 at 9:10 am

      Hi Kay!
      Omigaw. You have saved these biscuits from doom! You’re right. It should read baking soda, not powder. Regular old sweet milk biscuits would require baking powder, but using buttermilk only baking soda is needed to rise. Thanks so much for pointing that out; I fixed it in the recipe.
      I just double-checked my JOC and didn’t find anything about sugar, though. Wondering if they changed it from one edition to another. I have the 2006 version.
      Also, it makes me so happy to hear that you’re cooking with your daughter. It’s such a great way to bond and teach a life skill at the same time.
      Here’s to you and Charlotte and a lot more fun in the kitchen!

  13. Steve on September 11, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Can I use this biscuit dough to make your fried pies?

    • Hilah on September 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm

      Hey Steve! I have never done that, but I think it would work. They will puff up a LOT more than pie crust will. You might even want to try baking them if you use this dough – that seems like it would work better than frying come to think of it. Let me know if you try it!

  14. Yana Ysabel F. Maranan on November 2, 2012 at 2:16 am

    Hilah I love your biscuits. I hope you have some chocolate biscuits.

  15. Celeste on December 22, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    I just tried your biscuit recipe delicious! An easy way to make buttermilk at home is to add 1 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice per every 1/2 cup of milk.

    • Hilah on December 24, 2012 at 11:22 am

      Hi Celeste! That is a great trick to remember. Glad you liked the biscuits!

  16. barbara on January 9, 2013 at 7:14 am

    you list 1 tablespoon of baking soda… is that correct?

  17. TallIowegian on March 8, 2013 at 4:30 am

    Hei Hilah 🙂

    Lovely videos – an engaging photogenic lass clearly foreordained to the constellations of foodie stardom! Groveling aside, beg to offer a variation on tactical biscuitry: Instead of rolling the dough and using the biscuit cutter just gently pat it out and push the edges in to approximately even thickness – doesn’t need to be an even rectangle or circle any shape is fine. Using a sharp paring knife slice to approximate trapezoids – this will yield more crispy edge and a higher rise. Gently push any leftover bits adjacent to eachother on the baking sheet. The biscuits will not be perfectly geometric, but esp with comfort cookery taste & texture outrank presentation:) (standard internet disclaimers: IMO – YMMV – not a physicist – don’t know anyone by that name – come back with a warrant – I was only following orders – &c)

    • Hilah on March 9, 2013 at 9:52 am

      Thanks! I’ll sometimes cut them into squares when I’m in a hurry, too. It certainly is faster! And more crispy edges, yes. 🙂

  18. Tiffany Willis on July 17, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Hilah, I’m out of buttermilk. Can I use milk?

    • Hilah on July 17, 2013 at 2:32 pm

      Hi Tiffany! Use regular milk plus a teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice as a substitute!

  19. Terry on September 4, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    I love good biscuits but was never a maker of good ones. So since I first saw your how to I’ve intended to make them and your fb post today reminded me. They are in the oven now. I had to use the milk/vinegar for the buttermilk. And I haven’t tried one yet, but the dough was good and very light, so I have high hopes. You are my hero!

    • Hilah on September 5, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      Wonderful! I’m sure they turned out great, Terry. And they will probably be even better next time! Thanks for writing!

  20. Brian on November 2, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    Hi I posted your video on our blog. Check it out http://worldofwonder.net/hilah-bonita/
    Thanks so much for all your hard work!

    • Hilah on November 3, 2013 at 9:24 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Brian!

  21. Wayne Harrison on November 11, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Made these with no problem. The tips about not kneading the dough too much really helped and I cook at 8,500 feet. Very light and flaky.

    • Hilah on November 11, 2013 at 7:35 pm

      Thanks, Wayne! Happy to hear that!

  22. Bret Allen on March 25, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Please, Leave A Video On How To Make BLT’S

  23. Lisa on January 25, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    I love that this is your grandma’s recipe! I can’t wait to try it out. I have 2 questions that I would really appreciate your help with. First, have you ever heard of cheddar cheese biscuits with Rice Krispies? And have you ever made fried biscuits in a skillet on the stove? Please let me know. Thanks????

    • Hilah on January 25, 2017 at 3:26 pm

      Hi Lisa!
      I have tried the Rice Krispies biscuits but the recipe I used, I didn’t like much. They were kind of oily and I think maybe had too much butter. I love the idea of them, though, so I might look for another recipe.
      I haven’t tried skillet biscuits

      • Lisa on January 25, 2017 at 3:38 pm

        OMG! You are amazing. I just watched your biscuit video and you answered me that fast. Thanks! You are a Rockstar.

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