Southern Biscuits

My family hails from the West Coast of the United States. I grew up eating pancakes and waffles for Saturday morning breakfast and shopping at Costco for ALL.THE.THINGS. After I married and my husband changed jobs, we relocated to the Bluegrass. Kentucky is geographically part of the Midwest, but culturally it is more southern. Biscuits and gravy is a staple breakfast at every restaurant (or hotel chain). Local self-rising flour is purchased with a recipe for biscuits on the back of the package, and I don’t blame them – southern biscuits are delicious! They are also simple to make. This recipe is based on a recipe printed on the back of the bags of self-rising flour from our local mill. 

You only need 5 ingredients to turn out a delicious biscuit; three if you use self-rising flour. These biscuits make the perfect snack or a delicious side to any meal. They also make for a yummy breakfast smothered with chocolate gravy (yes it’s a thing!), sausage gravy or butter, honey and jam. 

I do think that buttermilk is essential to these biscuits. It gives the biscuit the tenderness you are looking for in the layers of flaky goodness. I always keep buttermilk on hand for recipes after years of trying the substitutes because it just turns out better using real buttermilk. If you want to try a substitute (they won’t be 100% the same), you can mix equal parts of sour cream with milk together and add a teaspoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Let it sit in the fridge for 5 minutes before using.

However, if you are baking with sourdough and have sourdough discard on hand, you can replace the buttermilk with cold sourdough discard from your fridge. This makes for an insanely delicious biscuit with the subtle hint of sourdough. The sourdough has the same acidic properties of buttermilk, which enhances the tenderness and flavor of the biscuits. 

A few other tips for a light and fluffy biscuit:

If you want circle biscuits, don’t twist the cutter or it will seal off the edges and you won’t get the rise you’re looking for
  1. Keep your ingredients COLD: this is key. Some people keep their bowl in the fridge before working with their dough, others use frozen butter. I try to work quickly so my hands don’t warm up the butter too much. Cold butter creates the air pockets in the biscuits when they are baked quickly at high heat.
  2. The dough should be rolled thick (1- 1 ½ inches high )–be careful of rolling too thin.
  3. Use a biscuit cutter or bench knife (or sharp knife). Don’t twist the cutter when cutting the biscuits out (it seals off the layers and they won’t rise as well).
  4. Use a light hand–be careful not to over mix the dough. Biscuit dough is like pie crust in that way. You don’t want to activate the gluten in the dough.

Whatever you choose to make, if you follow these steps I am sure they will turn out delicious. So without further ado…amazing Southern Biscuits. I hope you love them as much as we do.


Buttermilk Biscuits 

  • 2 cups of plain flour (pastry flour) or all-purpose flour 
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick, I prefer unsalted butter)
  • ¾ cup cold buttermilk
Roll your biscuits an inch to an inch and a half thick for tall biscuits

Alternatively you can try the sourdough biscuits with this recipe:

Sourdough Discard Biscuits

  • 2 cups of plain flour (pastry flour) or all-purpose flour 
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick, I prefer unsalted butter)
  • 1 cup cold sourdough discard

Note: If using self-rising flour, omit the salt and baking powder


  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. 
  3. Using a pastry cutter or the holes on a box grater, cut in the butter with the flour. A pastry cutter is a very handy tool for this purpose. You want pea-sized pieces of butter throughout the flour mixture. If you freeze your butter it will grate easily into the mixture which is another great option. The colder you can keep the butter, the better.
  4. Make a well in the center of your flour mixture and pour in the cold buttermilk OR the cold sourdough starter and mix with a fork until it holds together.
  5. When the mixture is just combined, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and fold over two to three times. Pat into a square or circle. 
  6. Roll out to 1-1½ inches thick and use a bench knife to cut 12-15 rectangular biscuits. If you want circular biscuits, use a biscuit cutter dipped in flour. 
  7. Place the biscuits on a parchment-lined baking sheet. For soft-edged biscuits place them in the center of the pan touching each other. For crispy biscuits place them apart.
  8. Bake biscuits for 10-12 minutes. Brush tops with melted butter. Enjoy!

Recipe notes: You can use shortening in place of butter in the biscuits.

Please share this recipe if you enjoyed it! Post a photo and tag me @amybakesbread so I can see your bake 🙂

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  1. Excellent recipe, photos, descriptions, and hints! This makes for a fabulous biscuit!! Thank you!! 🙌🏻🥐😋