The Food Lab's Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe

A close up of a freshly baked buttermilk biscuit

Liz Voltz

Why It Works

  • Cutting the butter into the flour with a food processor ensures that it is incorporated rapidly before it has time to soften or smear.
  • Using a rubber spatula to bring the dough together builds in extra-flaky layers before you even roll.
  • Laminating the dough by folding it over itself a few times delivers even more flaky layers.

I've been getting requests for my take on buttermilk biscuits for years, so I decided to spend a few weeks perfecting my recipe for the book. My version comes out tender and crisp, with tons of extra-flaky layers. The recipe is also designed so you can add whatever flavoring you like directly into the biscuits, whether it's cheese, scallions, bacon, black pepper, or honey.

Recipe Facts

4.5

(7)

Active: 30 mins
Total: 50 mins
Makes: 8 biscuits

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 10 ounces (2 cups) all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pats, plus 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter for brushing

Directions

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 425°F. Whisk together the buttermilk and sour cream in a small bowl.

    buttermilk and sour cream being whisked together in bowle

    Liz Voltz

  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and process until blended, about 2 seconds. Scatter the cold butter evenly over the flour and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal and the largest butter pieces are about 1/4 inch at their widest. Transfer to a large bowl.

    collage: squares of butter and a flour mixture before and after pulsing to produce a coarse texture

    Liz Voltz

  3. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until just combined. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead until it just comes together, adding extra flour as necessary.

    collage: butter and flour mixtures combined with liquids; the loose mixture on a work surface; the mixtures kneaded into a cohesive block

    Liz Voltz

  4. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12- by 8-inch rectangle. Using a bench scraper, fold the right third of the dough over the center, then fold the left third over so you end up with a 12- by 4-inch rectangle. Fold the top third down over the center, then fold the bottom third up so the whole thing is reduced to a 4-inch square. Press the square down and roll it out again into a 12- by 8-inch rectangle. Repeat the folding process once more. (See note for Cheddar Cheese and Scallion variation.)

    collage: dough has been rolled out into a rectangle with one third folded in; the other third folded in; top third folded down; bottom third folded up to form a small packet

    Liz Voltz

  5. Roll the dough again into a 12- by 8-inch rectangle. Cut six 4-inch rounds out of the dough with a floured biscuit cutter. Transfer the rounds to a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Form the dough scraps into a ball and knead gently 2 or 3 times, until smooth. Roll the dough out until it’s large enough to cut out 2 more 4-inch rounds, and transfer to the baking sheet.

    a baking sheet with cut out circles of biscuit dough

    Liz Voltz

  6. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the melted butter and bake until golden brown and well risen, about 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and serve.

    A close up of a baked buttermilk biscuit

    Liz Voltz

Special equipment

4-inch biscuit cutter, rolling pin, bench scraper, baking sheet, parchment paper

Notes

To make Cheddar Cheese and Scallion Biscuits: In Step 4, sprinkle 6 ounces grated cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup sliced scallions over the 12- by 8-inch dough rectangle before folding it the second time, and continue as directed.

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