Big homemade weekend breakfasts are one of my favorite things ever and no weekend breakfast is complete without homemade biscuits. These butter biscuits are my “basic” biscuit recipe that I’ve been using for years. They’re quick, simple, and perfect alongside some fried eggs and bacon. Slather on some butter and honey, or maybe your favorite jam, and enjoy your morning. That’s breakfast heaven.
Originally posted 7-27-2010, updated 3-31-2021.
What are Butter Biscuits?
Butter biscuits are a tender, flakey quick bread that is often served with breakfast, or sometimes as a side dish with other meals (similar to what is known as a scone in the rest of the world). I’m calling them “butter” biscuits because this recipe uses butter in the dough, unlike my Freezer Biscuits, which use heavy cream. Both recipes make great biscuits, but the method and texture of the final biscuit are different. These butter biscuits are a bit more sturdy than the cream biscuits and will hold up better to something heavy like sausage and gravy.
The Biscuit Method
This recipe uses a cooking technique called The Biscuit Method. This technique involves working butter or another solid fat into flour. When fat is combined with flour in this way the fat prevents the flour from forming a gluten matrix (like you have with kneaded bread), which leaves the dough quite soft and tender. To keep your biscuits as soft and tender as possible, you’ll want to avoid kneading the dough and work with it as little as possible as you shape and cut your biscuits. You can read more about the mechanics of the biscuit method here.
Use Buttermilk for More Flavor
The recipe below uses a buttermilk substitute (milk + vinegar or lemon juice) because I don’t often have buttermilk on hand. But if by rare chance you do have buttermilk use that in place of the milk and vinegar and you’ll have the most delicious biscuits ever. While buttermilk substitutes provide the same acidity as buttermilk, they don’t quite have as much flavor.
Butter Biscuits are Freezer Friendly
If you have a smaller household don’t skip this recipe just because it makes 8 biscuits! You can either freeze the baked biscuits or freeze the unbaked biscuits to cook later. To freeze the unbaked biscuits, simply freeze them on a lined baking sheet until solid, then transfer to a freezer bag. Label, date, and freeze up to three months. to Bake from frozen, simply add a few minutes to the baking time.
To freeze the baked biscuits, allow them to cool completely to room temperature. Place them in a freezer bag and freeze up to three months. Thaw at room temperature or microwave for 15-30 seconds.
Homemade Butter Biscuits
- 6 Tbsp butter (salted) ($0.84)
- 2.5 cups all-purpose flour ($0.39)
- 1 Tbsp baking powder ($0.06)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda ($0.02)
- 3/4 tsp salt ($0.05)
- 1 cup whole milk ($0.38)
- 1 Tbsp vinegar* ($0.06)
- Freeze the butter for 30-60 minutes before you begin the recipe to make it extra cold and more solid for grating.
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF. In a large bow, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir until well combined.
- Use a cheese grater to grate the butter into the bowl with the flour. Once grated, use your hands to work the butter into the flour until it resembles cornmeal.
- Stir the vinegar into the milk. Pour the milk into the bowl with the butter and flour mixture, then stir until a dough forms.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, then press it into a large rectangle. Fold the dough in on itself in thirds, like folding a letter. Then press it into a rectangle once again, about ½ to ¾-inch thick.
- Use a biscuit cutter or a drinking glass (about 3-inches in diameter) to cut biscuits out of the dough. Gather up the scraps, press them down again, and cut a few more biscuits until all of the dough is used up.
- Place the biscuits on a parchment lined baking sheet. For extra brown tops, brush a little milk on top.
- Bake the biscuits in the fully preheated 425ºF oven for 15-17 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Enjoy warm.
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How to Make Homemade Butter Biscuits – Step By Step Photos
Before you begin, freeze 6 Tbsp butter for 30-60 minutes to make it extra cold and solid. This makes it easier to grate into the batter. When you’re ready to start making the biscuits, begin to preheat the oven to 425ºF. In a large bowl, combine 2.5 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 Tbsp baking powder, ½ tsp baking soda, and ¾ tsp salt. Stir until they are well combined.
Use a cheese grater to grate the semi-frozen butter into the flour mixture. Once grated, use your hands to work the butter into the flour until it kind of resembles cornmeal.
Combine 1 cup whole milk and 1 Tbsp vinegar (or lemon juice). Alternately, you can use 1 cup of buttermilk. Pour the milk into the butter and flour mixture.
Stir until it forms a cohesive dough. Be careful not to overstir. Don’t worry if there is a little flour left on the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too sticky, you can add a little flour in the next step.
Place the dough onto a floured surface and press it down into a large rectangle. Fold the dough in on itself into thirds, like folding a letter. This helps create a few layers in the biscuits. Finally, press it down into a rectangle once again, this time about ½ to ¾-inch thick.
Use a biscuit cutter or a drinking glass to cut the biscuits out of the dough. The glass I’m using is 3-inches in diameter. When you’ve cut all you can from the one piece of dough, gather up the scraps, press it down into a rectangle again, and cut a couple more. I got 8 biscuits out of my dough.
Place the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If you want the tops to get extra browned, you can brush a little milk on top.
Bake the biscuits in the fully preheated 425ºF oven for 15-17 minutes, or until golden brown.
Enjoy warm, slathered with butter and drizzled with honey or a dollop of your favorite jam!