September 30th, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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Biscuits. Everybody has an opinion on them - particularly in the South where nary a country breakfast spread exists without a steaming batch fresh out of the oven.

They're also served hot with a side of controversy: lard versus butter, White Lily flour versus run-of-the-mill, twisting or not twisting the biscuit cutter. Generations of home cooks, like Lisa Fain, have sat around the table buttering up their own version and debating the right way to make them.

Fain - a Texas native-turned-New Yorker - writes the Homesick Texan food blog, and has now compiled those nostalgic recipes she grew up with into “The Homesick Texan Cookbook.”

She's not claiming her biscuits are the end-all be-all, but you can bet your cowboy boots they're pretty darn delicious.

Biscuits
Makes 10 to 12 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold (1 stick)
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half or buttermilk

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and grease a baking sheet or cast-iron skillet.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
  3. Cut the stick of butter into pieces and work it into the flour mixture with your hands or pastry blender until it resembles pea-size crumbs. Add the half-and-half or buttermilk, mixing until the dough is a bit loose and sticky.
  4. Pour the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for a minute. Dough should be smooth and no longer wet. You can sprinkle more flour on the surface if you find it's sticking. Make the dough into a ball and hit it with a rolling pin, turning it and folding it in half every few whacks. Do this for a couple of minutes.
  5. Roll out the dough until it's 1/4 of an inch think, then fold it in half. Using a round biscuit cutter (you can use a glass or a cup if you don't have a biscuit cutter), cut out the biscuits from the folded dough. Place on a greased baking sheet or in a cast-iron skillet close together, about 1/8 of an inch apart (so they rise up not out), and bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

NOTE: If you don't want to roll and cut them out, after kneading and beating the dough you can drop the dough onto the baking sheet with a spoon. They're not as symmetrical (dropped biscuits are also known as cat-head biscuits), but they're no less delicious.

Want to share your own batch of biscuit-making tips? Spread the buttery insight in the comment section below.

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Filed under: Baked Goods • Biscuits • Bread • Dishes • Favorites • Make • Recipes • Step-by-Step


soundoff (163 Responses)
  1. Juniper

    Generally I don't read article on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to
    check out and do it! Your writing style has been surprised me.
    Thanks, quite great post.

    July 9, 2014 at 6:17 pm | Reply
  2. Suzan Collins

    I have been looking for a biscuit recipe and this one is excellent. I shaved the butter and used a food processor the same as making a pie crust. DId not have to add any flour at the end and it was fun to pound the dough. Try this unusual method for baking biscuits, you will not be disappointed. Wonderful warm with butter and honey.

    April 2, 2014 at 10:59 pm | Reply
  3. Kristen Brantley

    Debbie, when you add to the buttermilk to those biscuits isn't it better to have the buttermilk at room termperature?

    March 24, 2014 at 4:58 pm | Reply
  4. Grimmcleo

    These have been the best fluffy biscuits I've made yet. Thanks and frankly the idiot comments are just full of bad taste after all opinions are like...... Want healthy, I used organic butter better than any plastic processed crud... And KAF unbleached wheat flour, organic cane sugar... They turned out light fluffy and tasty. I'll try them with a gluten free blend later! And I'm not a CNN fan too much bias for my taste but this recipe is excellent.

    December 10, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Reply
    • Grimmcleo

      Oh and I used organic half/half and agree that near every GF thing has been funky, but may try using oat flour a nut flour and another it's science working the GF thing, over rated but all the processed stuff these days and chemicals added has brought on many food allergies, and the democrat support of Monsanto has poisoned our food supply

      December 10, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Reply
  5. lunagrown

    Well I have these in the oven now and can't wait! My grandmother used to make hers with a dash of yeast for flavor, of course she didn't use butter but usually sausage or bacon lard (not healthy, but they lived without issue well into their 90's) As far as 'healthy' goes, that's like trying to make a pop-tart healthy, it's not supposed to happen. I've tried gluten free and every time they are awful no matter the chef. You want healthy and still good taste, keep your good buttermilk biscuits and change what you put on them. Try homemade jam instead of name brand, or better yet some honey.

    July 9, 2013 at 9:32 pm | Reply
  6. A7XChristen

    I had a great aunt that lived her whole life in a little town in middle-of-nowhere Alabama, and she used to make the absolute best buttermilk biscuits. Her recipe was pretty much the same as Debbie's. Seeing this article though made me remember all of the mornings I spent helping her make biscuits.....and we had them breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And I'm sorry, but to try to make a biscuit healthy is about 10 types of wrong. I make adjustments to other things to make them healthier, but all you would succeed in doing by trying to make a biscuit healthy is ruining it. But in the top 10 of my most favorite things would be one of my aunt's biscuits, lightly buttered, with a big ol' spoon full of her homemade fig preserves on it. yum!

    October 28, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Reply
  7. Jean at DelightfulRepast.com

    Well, I'm one of those people who have never met a biscuit (homemade biscuit, that is) I didn't love! But that said, my biscuits http://bit.ly/a9Ahrc have less butter so might please those commenters who are trying for a "healthier" biscuit. I learned biscuit making from my Southern grandma when I was just a little girl, and she was of the don't-overwork-the-dough school of biscuit making.

    October 8, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Reply
    • Name*jean ford

      Thanks 4 the recipe. It's rumored the Super Bowl is today.., I told my batch of friends I'd bring MY batch of biscuits.
      This helps... As co-founder of
      Benefit Cosmetics-35 years of making makeup not biscuits, I DO need patience, & "follow the directions". Well
      Jean, I'm gonna do it your way. As a renegade in the beauty arena – my twin sis & I have a motto for Benefit- "laughter is the best cosmetic"....
      I'm laughing now knowing that your recipe, daunting as it is, will inspire my laughter.... And maybe a new
      " beauty product"! 💄❗Jean Ford

      February 3, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Reply
  8. Debbie338

    Any idiot can make something taste good by loading it up with fat and salt. It takes real cooking skills to make something tasty that's also healthy. Those are the chefs we should be looking at.

    October 4, 2011 at 10:48 am | Reply
    • Purps

      Guess I'm an idiot. There are biscuits, darlin', not health food.

      October 5, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Reply
    • Roy

      Idiots huh? Well you don't have to eat the whole pan. You can have just 1. That isn't unhealthy. Have fun with your, "Health Food". I don't really care much for it. Portion control.....who knew?

      October 8, 2011 at 9:16 am | Reply
    • Bill89801

      Idiot? Wow – pretty testy today. Maybe you should have some salt, butter, and buttermilk. It might make you a bit more pleasant person.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:18 am | Reply
    • FoodEEMan

      Yes, those of us who enjoy the recipe are all idiots – nice, positive way to get your point across. I suppose anyone with an over-zealous ego can talk down to others and feel better about themselves – was that your goal? Then again, somehow you seem to know more about being an idiot than we do.

      October 28, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Reply
  9. Biscuit Lover

    I've been trying different biscuit recipes for years and never found one I loved. I've tried simple white lily, heard all the rules about not over-working the dough, etc. I followed this recipe exactly as written and it was awesome! Plain and with honey drizzled on it, hands down the best biscuits I've made yet.

    October 3, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Reply
  10. Elizabeth

    These biscuits probably taste very good, but where's the whole wheat flour? Not very healthy.

    October 3, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Reply
    • Let 'Em Eat Cake

      They're biscuits, Honey. Who the f0ck makes them so they're healthy? Next people will be whining because they aren't gluten free. How 'bout fat free, but don't change the flavor? There's a chemistry challenge.

      October 3, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Reply
      • Ruth

        I envy those of you who don't have to be gluten free, but I have developed a recipe that's almost as good.You just can't save 'em, you gotta eat them fresh.

        December 2, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Reply
    • keith

      shut up already and quit trying to push your health kick on everyone else – if you don't like it then go back to your momma and have her buy you some whole wheat bread to keep you from crying

      October 3, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Reply
    • kasey

      You don't eat biscuits to be healthy. Go get yourself a loaf of bread.

      October 3, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Reply
    • fifpharo

      It's a biscuit...its not suppose to be healthy.

      October 5, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Reply
    • Faith

      Just add gravy, it helps the white flour slide right on through.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Reply
    • Kayla

      ......You do know you can substitute a portion of whole grain flour in just about any recipe, don't you? quit yer bitchin

      January 25, 2013 at 10:24 am | Reply
    • Tyler

      If you're worried about healthy, go with a healthy fat like grass-fed butter, eat less of the biscuit to fit your caloric needs and complete your meal with fibrous vegetables. The whole grain everything kick people are on nowadays are used as Bandaids to not eat a variety of vegetables, seeds, legumes, and fruits to get their fiber and micronutrients.

      October 20, 2013 at 11:17 pm | Reply
  11. Truth

    Speaking of biscuits, my fav type:
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYyBZE0kBtE&w=640&h=390]

    October 3, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Reply
    • Franklin

      Love that rick-o-shay biskit!

      October 3, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Reply
  12. Debbie

    Lots of interest in biscuits and I admit when I saw the headline I clicked right on it. Biscuits recipes are like...well you know...everybody who makes them or eats them has a favorite. Personally I have been making biscuits for 50 years and eating them for 8 more and I have tried a bunch of different ways of making them, looking for the holy grail of biscuits. Some things are a matter of taste but there are also some hard and fast rules to a good biscuit. First of all, that is way, way too much butter/lard/crisco for two cups of flour. I'm a born Southerner and even I don't use that much fat. The biscuits will be crumbly with that much. Using half and half should cut the separate fat even more. I use buttermilk that is fat free and only 1/4 cup of fat for 2 cups of flour. Using lard makes the biscuits crispier and they also taste good cold. I use that when making something like country ham and biscuits for a finger food gathering. Crisco is okay for eating them hot but not good cold. Butter is about the same as lard as far as texture the it does add a different flavor. Secondly and maybe using all that fat is the reason for doing this, but working the dough that much will most assuredly make hocky pucks. Biscuits should be mixed gently and kneaded only enough to make the dough cohesive, then patted out to the desired thickness. Kneading that much is for yeast bread and a rolling pin is for cookies and pie crust.

    October 3, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Reply
    • Mindy

      I agree with Debbie...working a dough of any type THAT much will make it tough! I've never heard ANY recipe say to beat and whack your dough like that. I'll listen to someone who's been making them for 50 years..not you!

      October 3, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Reply
    • Joanne-in-Canada

      Hi Debbie
      loved your comments how about posting your recipe? you truly sound like a biscuit angel!
      Joanne

      October 3, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Reply
    • kasey

      Debbie, you're spot on. Great comments. I've been making biscuits since I was 10, and you never, ever want to knead them. Only work in enough flour to make a very soft dough, then either pinch off biscuits and pat them down, or roll them out and cut them. My one grandmother used Crisco, and that's the recipe I use today (gonna try the lard, though). My other grandmother used lard in the dough, then rolled them out, slathered them with softened butter, then folded over and slathered them again, repeating several times. It was time consuming, but I've never tasted a flakier biscuit.

      October 3, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Reply
      • Debbie

        Thanks for your comments. My recipe is very simple.

        2 cups self rising flour (I prefer White Lily)
        2 teaspoon baking powder (I know there's baking powder in the SR flour but trust me on this)
        1/4 cup of crisco or lard (depending on when you're eating them. Crisco for hot, lard for cold)
        Enough buttermilk to make a soft dough (amount varies depending on the weather and the flour. Make them a few times and you'll get the hang of it.) It's bout 3/4 cup though. ( I do not use sugar although you can if you like the taste of it. I have not found that it helps a baking powder rise at all. Yeast is different. It does needs sugar.)

        Mix dry ingredients. Cut shortening or lard into flour mixture with fork, pastry cutter or hands. Add buttermilk and stir gently then turn onto a floured surface. It should be sticky at this point so use plenty of flour on your work surface and your hands. Fold/knead only 4-5 times to incorporate the dough into one piece. Pat out to about 1/2 inch thick and cut with anything round. Place in a greased pan or better yet a stone like Pamper's Chef sells. They will rise more if they're touching, spread out more if they're not. Bake at 400 degree preheated oven until golden brown. Time varies by oven but it's about 12-15 minutes. When they come out of the oven immediately brush with a little melted butter. Hope you enjoy them.

        October 3, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Reply
    • Pasinez

      Honey, how's it go "those who can't teach"? Not true with you, huh? It appears you have both talents and a gift for words too.

      October 3, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Reply
    • Joanne-in-Canada

      Thanks so much for posting your recipe, will be giving these a try for Thanksgiving (which here in canada is Monday)

      October 4, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Reply
  13. Multi-Tasking @ Work

    OMG....Delish! now I'm really hungry. I don't care how it's made as long as it's fluffy & flaky & hot.

    October 3, 2011 at 11:35 am | Reply
  14. Kevin the NBC Page

    Pregnant cornbread.....!

    October 3, 2011 at 11:21 am | Reply
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