Best Buttermilk Biscuits

Paul requests buttermilk biscuits for his birthday every single year.  In fact once he even specifically asked that I forgo making any other dish for his birthday meal as he was concerned that ‘other foods’ might detract from his enjoyment of these buttermilk biscuits.  

We do love our buttermilk biscuits and these are a scrumptious version;  the epitome of flaky dough, tangy flavor, delicate crumb and buttery mouth feel.  Behind the exquisite taste and texture of these buttermilk biscuits lies a genius recipe.  This buttermilk biscuit recipe is designed to be successfully turned out by baking pros and baking novices alike.   The ease of making the biscuit dough corresponds to its quick prep process with minimal ingredients, allowing for the biscuit dough to be started and finished before the oven even finishes preheating.   This deceptively quick and easy recipe relies on some very effective food science.  These biscuits get their impressive lift from the combined powers of baking powder and soda, and their consistent flakiness from the small granules of butter evenly distributed through the dough. Melted butter whisked into cold buttermilk creates the perfectly sized grains of butter, which when shocked with high heat create pockets of steam and flaky layers.  Crank up your ovens and don’t delay, these delicious biscuits are within your reach.

This recipe comes from Cooks Illustrated. While we usually end up changing recipes pretty significantly, in this case perfection needs little improvement!



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup cold buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 475 and prepare a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
  2. Melt butter and in medium sized bowl, let cool for 2-3 minutes.
  3. In a  large bowl whisk together dry ingredients: flour, soda, sugar, salt until combined.
  4. Pour cold buttermilk into warm butter, stir briefly with a fork until mixture forms clumps, it will look curdled. 
  5. Pour buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients and with a spatula, quickly and gently mix to incorporate all the ingredients.  Do not over mix as this will make for tough biscuits, err on the side of just barely incorporated ingredients.
  6. Grease a ¼ cup measuring cup and roughly scoop chunks of batter up and drop into the prepared baking sheet.  The biscuits may differ somewhat in shape and size and look quiet rustic and craggy, this is good.
  7. Bake 11-14 minutes, rotate baking sheet half-way through baking to promote even browning.  The biscuits will be done when the tops are just beginning to turn a light golden brown.
  8. Transfer to a cooling rack and while we do suggest letting them cool slightly before you start munching, you should know that we do not generally follow this rule ourselves!