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Quick and Easy Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

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These Quick and Easy Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits are buttery and full of soft, flaky layers.  You only need a few ingredients to make the all-butter biscuits, and with the help of a dough-folding technique, you will have tall and flaky biscuits in no time!

Buttermilk biscuit with melted butter on top

Easy Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

If you are new to bread making, the quick and easy homemade buttermilk biscuit is a good beginner recipe because you can get used to working with dough.  But, if you’re already a croissant, bagel, pizza dough, or bread-making master, these biscuits are also a great recipe to give yourself a little bread-making break!

You may see buttermilk biscuits are referred to as quick bread – similar to soda bread.  This means no yeast is in the recipe to make the bread rise.  A combination of leaveners and acidic ingredients creates the rising action in these little biscuits.  For this recipe, we use:

  • Baking Powder – Baking powder is a mix of baking soda and a weak acid, like cream of tartar.  To keep the base and acid from reacting in the can, a buffer like cornstarch is included.
  • Baking Soda – Baking soda is also called sodium bicarbonate.  If you watch the Great British Bake Off, chances are you have heard them use this term often.  
  • Buttermilk – Buttermilk is fermented milk and it has a high level of acidity.  The acid in the buttermilk combines with the baking powder and baking soda to make the biscuits tall.  Plus, it tenderizes the gluten in the flour to produce a tender biscuit. 
  • Butter – This is the key ingredient in this biscuit recipe.  More on that below!
Homemade buttermilk biscuit on a table

How To Make Buttermilk Biscuits Fluffy

Butter, cold, cold butter is the answer.  Although, you may have come across recipes that use shortening instead of butter.  And while I’m sure they taste great, I have never tested the biscuits with shortening, therefore, I can’t speak to how they would turn out.

We talked about the leavening agents in the quick and easy homemade buttermilk biscuits.  However, cold butter also plays a key role in the tall, flaky layers of these homemade buttermilk biscuits.  Why, you ask

  • Butter contains water and when cold water is hit with hot air (i.e. the hot oven), the water turns to steam.  As a result, where all the little pieces of butter are in the biscuits, we are essentially creating little steam pockets.  Which makes the biscuits poof up.

Mixing Cold Butter Into Buttermilk Biscuit Dough

Once again, the butter should be cold.  But you may be asking, how do I keep the butter cold when I mix it into the dough?  Because, if you have ever made pie dough, you know that you have to work the butter into the flour to get it incorporated.

I have a couple of tips:

  1. Use frozen butter – I keep a couple of sticks of butter in the freezer to have on hand.
  2. Grate the butter – Use a box grater – like the one you use to grate cheese.  This accomplishes two things:  you aren’t over-handling and heating the butter, and it makes smaller pieces that will distribute more evenly into the flour. 
Stack of buttermilk biscuits

Easy Ingredients To Make Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

What makes the recipe a bonus is you probably have most of these ingredients already.  You don’t need yeast, eggs, or any special equipment to make these quick buttermilk biscuits.  Though, you may want to supplement the biscuits with a sweet homemade chia berry jam!

  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Unsalted Butter – The colder the butter, the better.  I keep sticks of butter in the freezer for these types of recipes.
  • Buttermilk – If you don’t have – or want to buy – buttermilk, no worries, I’ll get to that in a second …
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda – Both are needed for flavor, and texture, to balance the acidity of the buttermilk, and for that lovely rise!
  • Salt and Pepper – Both add flavor.
  • Honey – The honey doesn’t make the biscuits sweet, it simply balances the savory flavors of the biscuit.  

How To Make Easy Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

Prepare the quick dough

  • Grate the butter – Then stick it back into the freezer until you are ready for it.
  • Make the buttermilk – ONLY if you don’t have buttermilk.
    • Pour 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup.  Then, fill with milk to the 1 cup mark.  I prefer whole milk, but 2% also works.  I don’t recommend skim.
    • Let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes – it will curdle and thicken when it is ready.  
  • Measure and stir together your dry ingredients 
  • Stir the grated butter into the flour mix – I like to use a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula to gently stir the butter into the flour just until the butter flakes are coated.  
  • Add the buttermilk and honey – Make a well in the middle of the flour mix, and add 2/3 of the buttermilk and honey.    
  • Stir the dough – You want the dough to be coarse and crumbly, and it will be ready when it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Add more buttermilk as needed in small increments.  I find that I usually don’t need all of the buttermilk, and use the extra to brush the tops of the biscuits.

Form the dough and cut the biscuits

  • Form the dough into a rough rectangle – With your fingertips.  No rolling pin here.  A 3/4-inch to 1-inch thickness.
  • Fold and turn the dough – This is called ‘laminating’ the dough.  Flatten, fold, turn, repeat.  5 to 6 times.
  • Cut the biscuits – I recommend a biscuit cutter because they are sharp.  Press straight down with the biscuit cutter and don’t turn the cutter.  If you turn the cutter, you will seal the edges of the dough and the biscuits won’t rise as tall.

Bake the homemade biscuits and enjoy!

  • Place the biscuits on the baking sheet – Close together, but not touching.  The reason for this is I prefer the biscuits to get golden all around the edges.
  • Brush the tops of the biscuits – With the remaining buttermilk.  If you had to use it all, you could just brush the tops with milk (or buttermilk, if you bought it).  Brushing the tops of the biscuits makes them golden brown.
  • Bake – Ovens will vary, and baking times may vary too.  I find 20 minutes to be a great bake time.
  • Enjoy! – The biscuits are divine when they are warm.  
Buttermilk biscuits on a cutting board

Recipe FAQ

I don’t have buttermilk. Can I make it?

Yes. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Fill the measuring cup with milk to the 1 cup mark. The only milk I don’t recommend using is skim milk.

Can you make the biscuits with shortening instead of butter?

There are many biscuit recipes that use shortening instead of butter. I have not tested it, and I can’t say for certain how they taste or turn out.

I want make more biscuits. Can the recipe be doubled?

Yes. Keep in mind this will be a lot of dough to work with. So some elbow grease will be required to fold and flatten the dough.

What size biscuit cutter should I use?

I use a cutter that is almost 3-inches in diameter. However, any size will work.

Do I have to use the flatten, fold, turn technique?

If you aren’t concerned about having a lot of flaky layers, then you don’t have to laminate the dough so many times. I highly recommend it though.

Bite of a homemade buttermilk biscuit
Buttermilk biscuit with melted butter on top
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4.75 from 4 reviews

Quick and Easy Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

Yield: 6 3-Inch Biscuits
These Quick and Easy Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits are tender and full of butter flavor, nestled in tons of flaky layers.  Having a good biscuit recipe is a staple in any baker's kitchen and this one is easy with only a few simple ingredients.  Don't have buttermilk in your fridge?  No worries – you can make your own!
Prep15 minutes
Cook20 minutes
Total35 minutes


  • Baking Sheet Unlined


  • 2 cups (plus more for dusting) all purpose flour (spoon & level to measure)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (optional)
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold (VERY cold & grated (see Notes) )
  • 1 cup buttermilk, cold (reserve and set aside 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or any sweetener)


  • Using a box cheese grater, grate the cold butter onto a piece of parchment paper. Put the grated butter in the freezer until ready to use.
  • In a liquid measuring cup, measure out the buttermilk. Place it in the refrigerator until ready to use. See Notes for Homemade Buttermilk.
  • Preheat oven to 425F degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine with a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula.
  • Remove the butter from the freezer and add it to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined. 
  • Remove the buttermilk from the refrigerator and reserve and set aside 1 tablespoon – this will be used to brush the tops of the biscuits. 
  • Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add the honey and 2/3 of the buttermilk to the dry ingredients. Mix gently and add more buttermilk as needed until the dough is coarse and crumbly and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. You don't want the dough to be too wet, and you may not need all of the buttermilk.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using your hands, gently work the dough together and form into a rough rectangle.  If the dough is sticky, lightly flour the top of the dough.  
  • Once the dough has come together, fold the dough in half. With your fingertips, gently flatten the dough.  Rotate the dough 90 degrees and fold in half again, gently flattening the layers again.  Repeat this step 5-6 more times.   Keep the surface lightly floured as needed to avoid the dough sticking to your work surface. The folding and rotating is what creates the flaky layers in the biscuit.
  • Flatten the dough to approximately 3/4 to 1 inch thick.  Dip the biscuit cutter into flour. Starting in one of the corners of the dough, gently press the biscuit cutter straight down – making close cuts to get as many biscuits as you can before having to re-work the dough. Note – The number of biscuits you get will depend on how thick your dough is and what size biscuit cutter you use. Re-flatten and cut any remaining dough.
  • Place the biscuits close to each other, but not touching, on the baking sheet. With a pastry brush, brush the reserved buttermilk on top of each biscuit.
  • Bake the biscuits until the tops are golden brown, about 18 – 20 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and serve warm!  You can also brush on some melted butter or honey before serving.  
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  1. Homemade Buttermilk – Pour a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup, then pour milk to the 1 cup mark.  Stir and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes before using.  I prefer whole milk, but 2% will also work.    
  2. Cold Butter – Butter is, by far, the most important ingredient in this recipe, and it needs to be VERY cold before using.   I even go so far as to just keep sticks of butter in the freezer for recipes that need very cold butter.
  3. Grate the Butter – Grating the frozen butter on a cheese box grater is a great way to get small pieces of butter evenly distributed into your dough, without having to over-handle the butter.   A pastry cutter will work as well, just cut the butter into tablespoons before using.
  4. Work by Hand – When preparing your dough, I do not use a rolling pin because I don’t want to over-work the dough or melt the small butter pieces in the dough.  The folding and flattening technique is an easy alternative and it gives you more control of the dough and its thickness.
Course: Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Author: Erin Cernich


Calories: 440kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 595mg | Potassium: 147mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 475IU | Vitamin C: 0.02mg | Calcium: 102mg | Iron: 4mg
Nutrition information is calculated by a third-party and should only be considered an estimate and not a guarantee.
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