Buttermilk Biscuits

Recipe mostly courtesy America’s Test Kitchen.

I have tried making bicuits for years and never been pleased until I found this recipe and now I’m close to satisfied. The secret is in using cake flour. Also not to be neglected, but which is crucial to all biscuit making, is to cut very cold fats into the dry ingredients and not to over-work the dough once the liquids have been added and thereby awaken the gluten making the biscuits tough.

The food processor is indispensable to quickly making these biscuits. If you don’t have one, grate your butter onto a small plate and put into the freezer for 20 minutes. What’s essential is that the butter remain cold and firm so it will not mix with the dry ingredients, but be incorporated into them in tiny little chunks.


Five 2½-3" biscuits and one 1½-2" biscuit.


  1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
8 tbsp butter
¾ cup buttermilk, chilled


Preheat oven to 450°. Make buttermilk from ¾ cup milk and 1 tbsp lemon juice if no buttermilk on hand.

1. In the large food processor bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut up the butter into ¼" dice and sprinkle in. Pulse until a uniform consistency is obtained.

2. Turn out into a large bowl, add the milk and mix with a rubber scraper or spatula until just homogeneous. It will be sticky.

3. Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself a couple of times. Press into a 1-inch thick round and cut biscuits.

4. Place biscuits on baking sheet. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. (Biscuits from the second pass will not be quite as light as those from the first, but hey, that’s life.)

5. Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 12 to 15 minutes.

Variation: Cheese Biscuits

To make biscuits a little like those served at Red Lobster, cut cheddar cheese into ¼ or smaller (smaller is recommended) cubes. Mix into dry ingredients before adding milk.