Buttermilk Biscuits with Variations

Prep Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
25 mins

Warm, flaky, and irresistible, biscuits are an old-fashioned indulgence that never goes out of style. Baking tender homemade biscuits is so satisfying -- the pleasure they offer requires only a modest amount of effort. With a bit of practice, you can get them in the oven in less than 10 minutes.


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling and cutting

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into bits, plus 4 tablespoons melted

  • 1 ½ cups low-fat buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a food processor, pulse flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt to combine. Add cold butter; pulse until mixture is the texture of coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Add buttermilk; pulse just until dough is moistened, 2 to 3 times.

  2. Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface; knead just to combine (do not overwork). Roll with a floured rolling pin (or pat with hands) to a 1-inch thickness. Cut out rounds with a floured 2 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter.

  3. Transfer to a baking sheet, 1 1/2 inches apart. (Reroll and cut scraps only once.) Brush top and sides of rounds with melted butter. Bake until biscuits are puffed and golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cook's Notes

To make biscuits without a food processor, whisk dry ingredients in a bowl, then cut in butter with two knives or a pastry blender; gently mix in buttermilk with a fork.


BISCUIT VARIATIONS CHEDDAR In step 1, add 2 cups grated cheddar to dry flour mixture, and reduce cold butter to 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks). In step 3, after brushing biscuits with butter, sprinkle them with 1/2 cup more grated cheese. BLACK PEPPER In step 1, add 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper to dry flour mixture. In step 3, after brushing biscuits with butter, sprinkle them with 1/2 teaspoon more cracked black pepper. MIXED HERBS In step 1, add 1/2 cup mixed chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, chives, thyme, and rosemary (use less of intensely flavored herbs), along with buttermilk.

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