Buttermilk Biscuits

We WERE speaking of buttermilk just yesterday, remember?  Okay, so.  I thought today I would write a post on How To Make Homemade Biscuits.  Because the making of homemade biscuits is a lost art.  Or an art that never was, here in Yankeeland. Either way, it’s a sad, SAD state of affairs when homemade biscuits become a dying breed.  It’s a sure sign of the decline of a culture.

But never fear.  Making a homemade biscuit is not difficult.  It just takes a little bit of know-how.  And a fresh carton of buttermilk.  (Or a buttermilk substitute.)

Buttermilk Biscuits

This recipe is from the Mrs. Rowe’s Favorite Recipes — a cookbook I got from the Rowe’s Family Restaurant in Staunton, Virginia.  This cookbook is LITERALLY falling apart and I can’t seem to find it online.  I’d love to replace it.  The next time my parents stop through Staunton on their way to visit me (they always stop at Mrs. Rowe’s for b’fast) I am going to have them inquire.

Buttermilk Biscuits
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. baking powder
  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. With a pastry blender (or two knives if you don’t have a pastry blender) cut the shortening into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.  This part is important.  Unlike a pie crust, you do not want big chunks of shortening.
  3. Stir in just enough buttermilk so the dough leaves the sides of the bowl and rounds up into a ball.  (You may not need the entire cup of buttermilk.)  Do NOT overmix.  This makes the dough tough.  You want it light and flaky.
  4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly 10-15 times.  Roll out or pat into a circle that’s about a half-inch thick — not too thin.
  5. Cut into circles with a biscuit cutter (or the rim of a glass, if you don’t have a biscuit cutter) and place them in an ungreased baking pan.  You can space them about an inch apart if you want them crusty around the edges, but I usually place them close together so they are softer.
  6. Bake at 475 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until they are light brown on top.  Eat them immediately, slathered with butter and topped with your choice of condiment — honey, molasses, apple butter, sausage gravy…  The list is infinite.

Photo credit: purchased on iStockphoto

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21 Responses

  1. Mmmm … homemade buttermilk biscuits. Think you’re in Yankeeland? I’m much further north than you! No one makes biscuits here 🙂

  2. Yummy. I want a pastry blender. Perhaps for Mother’s Day. Oh my word, when did I become a person who requests kitchen items for gifts? Heaven help me. And I wanted pictures of the whole process, but I guess I’ll survive.

  3. Hi Jo-Lynn
    Thanks for sharing your recipe. Unfortunately we don’t take dairy at my house because of allergies. However, yesterday my toddler and I made whole wheat waffles but added a 0.25 teaspoon of cardamon spice. Yummy!

    On another note. I wanted to say Thank you to you. I was visiting here a few days back and you had a link to Darren’s workshop, “Build your blog in 30 days” I joined that, what invaluable information. Thanks for leaving the link on your blog. I needed that information considering I have just been blogging actively for almost one month!
    Thanks 🙂

  4. Oh- that looks like a good one (your picture is pretty convincing). I’m a southerner who is VERY picky about my biscuits and I just haven’t found the perfect recipe yet. I’ll have to see if these are as good as they look! I’m going to make them Saturday morning- can’t wait!

  5. Thanks for sharing the recipe! Im about to send you an email with some information 🙂

  6. I need to know about american biscuits.

    Here biscuits are what you call cookies.

    So your biscuits are what we call……..?

    They look a bit like scones – do you know scones?

    However we don’t serve scones with gravy or savory dishes – which is what you (generalizing here) seem to do! We serve scones with butter or cream and jam (which you call jelly I think!)

    I can’t think of anything we serve like this – except maybe Yorkshire Puddings – which isn’t sweet, but made with almost a pancake batter.

    Any ideas?

    See what a confusing place the world can be!

  7. LOL, JanMary, the world IS a confusing place! Scones are different than biscuits. (We have scones.) Biscuits are more savory, more flaky, more buttery, more greasy, lol. Biscuits are often served with fried chicken or other Southern dishes. They are also used to make sandwiches, often with ham inside. At our fast food restaurants, for breakfast you can get “sausage, egg & cheese biscuits” for instance.

    Biscuits are DIVINE. 🙂

  8. I think I found a similar/updated version of the book… 🙂


    I think this is an Australian store, but looking at the Google Preview, it’s definitely the same restaurant. And if you search, the buttermilk biscuit recipe is there! Almost the same ingredients… listed as 4 tsp baking powder instead of 1 heaping tbsp. Anyway, I found it available used through Barnes & Noble here:


    Also found the exact title on Amazon.com, but available from other sellers, not actually from Amazon.


  9. I LOVE making biscuts, dumplings too. No one does it anymore, so it is always a treat when I make them for holiday’s and family dinners.

  10. I am so glad you posted this. I remember my grandma’s biscuits (and my mom’s, when she still made them) and when my grandpa died and we were getting the stuff out of his home, I grabbed Grandma’s biscuit cutter. It has a red wooden handle and I am sure it is much older than I am.

    Can’t wait to try these.


  11. I just wanted to add my own discovery for convenience in home-made biscuits.

    I always hated trying to get the shortening all perfectly cut into the flour, so I putt the shortening and all other dry ingredients in the food processor with the dull plastic blendy-thing attachment (that’s a technical term, BTW) and let her rip. Perfectly blended crumbly dough mix… dump into a bowl and add buttermilk! YUM and EASY!

  12. Yeah, I’ve never tried that but I bet it would work well. I’ve noticed that Ina Garten does her pie crusts in the food processor.

  13. I am into trying to make things homemade in a packaged world. Thank you for this recipe. I know that my family will love!
    This is my first visit to your site. Very nice. I will be back.

  14. This looks like something I could actually do! Nah. I’ll let FavoriteSon do it. He’s the bread maker in the family. Actually, he’s the one who loves fresh baked bread and USES the bread maker in the family.

  15. I just referenced your buttermilk post because I want to make some banana bread with some old bananas… and now I might just have to use my leftover buttermilk to make these… they look so delicious!

  16. Hey, I’m a Yankee, born and bred, and I make biscuits! I think I had my first real biscuit on a vacation down south when I was in Jr. High, and it was love at first bite. My mom always made store bought ones from a can, but when I got married I learned how to make the real thing. There’s really nothing as good a biscuit hot from the oven covered in melting butter.

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