Buttermilk Biscuits 101 and Honey Butter Recipe

My childhood Sunday dinners would often include buttermilk biscuits slathered with butter and drizzled with golden honey.  The recipe we used most was one from Land O Lakes fell by the wayside until a few weeks ago when I decided to make them again.

There is something wonderful about them.  Comforting and inviting.

My mom received Treasury of County Recipes from Land o’ Lakes as a gift and it quickly became one of of our most loved and used cookbooks.  (Unfortunately, it is only available used.)

Don’t let the shortening in the recipe scare you–you can use butter, but the shortening makes them so flaky and tender. It’s worth using in this recipe. (I have to say that because I’m a girl who likes to use butter over anything else in baking.)

I offer this as a 101 because I know that making homemade biscuits is not something everyone does these days when you can buy a tube from Pillsbury in the refrigerator section at the grocery store.

Homemade Honey Butter

Give them a try, I say. You may just never go back. (My notes appear in italics.)

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits
From Land O Lakes

For Biscuits:
2 cups (500 ml) all-purpose flour
4 tsp. (20 ml) baking powder
1/2 tsp. (3 ml) salt
2/3 cup (150 ml) shortening (I use butter flavored Crisco)
3/4 cup (180 ml) buttermilk

For Honey Butter

1/2 cup (8 Tbsp or 1 stick) softened butter
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla


For buttermilk biscuits:
Heat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

In large bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening until crumbly.

Stir in buttermilk just until moistened.Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth (1 min.). Roll out dough to 3/4-inch (2 cm) thickness. Cut into 8 (2-inch or 5 cm) biscuits; place 1-inch apart on cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 to 14 minutes or until lightly browned.

For honey butter:
Beat butter for a few minutes with an electric mixer. Add honey in a slow stream. Add vanilla. Beat for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Store in the fridge. Makes about 1 cup.

How-To Pictures and Note:

In large bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. (I usually give the dry ingredients a quick whisk.)

(Cut the shortening into pieces and add it to the flour.)
“Cutting” the fat into the flour means that you are breaking the fat into smaller pieces and coating them with flour. This makes for a tender, flaky biscuit (or pie crust) because during baking, the fat and water molecules in the butter or shortening will melt and the water will escape as steam, creating pockets of air–hence a flaky texture. You want to avoid complete mixing of the flour and shortening.

Possible tools for cutting shortening in– pastry blenders, food processors, your hands, or two knives held parallel to each other.
For these biscuits, I prefer a pastry blender because the shortening is soft. When I use ice cold butter, I like to use my hands–a personal preference because I like to feel the flour and butter between my fingers.

For a much faster way–use a food processor and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. I don’t recommend this method for shortening, unless you freeze it. Food processors work better with cold butter. Also, before adding the liquid, you want to place the flour/butter mixture in a separate bowl. Add the liquid to the food processor will give you over-mixed dough–i.e. tough dougn. Food processors have powerful motors and so it’s easy to over do it.
(You can also click here to learn about How To Cut In Shortening.)

You want the shortening to be in small lumps with a few larger lumps scattered here and there.
Stir in buttermilk just until moistened.

I like to make a well in the center of my dry ingredients and draw the dry ingredients into the center a little at a time as I stir with a fork. You really don’t want to over mix the dough. It will become tough. The key to flaky biscuits is working the dough as little as possible.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface.

I like to just barely push the dough together by hand and then I will knead it gently–just to make sure there aren’t large portions of unincorporated flour.

Roll out dough to 3/4-inch (2 cm) thickness.

(You can either use a rolling pin, or press it down with your hands.)

Cut into 8 (2-inch or 5 cm) biscuits. (I usually get a few more than 8 because I like to re-roll the scraps. Some bakers recommend not doing this because the seconds may be a little tougher than the firsts.)

Place 1-inch apart on cookie sheet. (I line my baking sheets with parchment.)

(This picture isn’t great, but you can sort of see how there are some layers there. Once the biscuits are baked, you’ll really be able to see it.)

Bake for 10 to 14 minutes or until lightly browned. (Or forget to turn the timer on and wait until you remember the biscuits are burning. It’s okay. They are good when they get a little more brown, too.)

Other tips/variations:

You can easily flavor these with chopped herbs or grated cheese.

They are great with soups or anything with gravy involved, but are best the day they are baked. If you have leftover biscuits, store them in an airtight container. To reheat, either place in a warm oven for a few minutes, or microwave for 10 seconds.

You can also bake the biscuits partially and freeze them. To bake, heat oven to 425 and bake for 5 to 10 minutes. (You may have to play around with this because the center may stay cold while the top gets too brown.)

To make ahead, follow recipe up until adding the buttermilk. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

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  1. Is that a silicone mat (the red one?) you’re using when you pat out the dough?

    Dough sticking to the counter is the bane of my existence (I guess if that’s the worst thing in my life, I’m OK).

    Have a great weekend, Lindsey!

  2. I love all of your great step by step photos, I never have the patience for it, but it’s so nice to see! Your biscuits look beautiful!

  3. seriously… my mouth is watering. now can you just find a yummy, but not too difficult (as in not too time consuming) recipe for chicken and biscuits?

  4. OK, so I am trying these tomorrow. I have not had the greatest luck with biscuits, but you have given me the courage to try again.
    I know the honey butter will turn out!
    I may have to fly you here for a weekend of cooking and baking round the clock….

  5. Aren’t you the greatest!! I stink at biscuts, and it is one of my goals this year–to learn how to make them. I have to hang my head in shame as a southern girl….


  6. I’ve been making a lot of biscuits lately and freezing them. The last batch was cheddar and scallion. I prefer the flavor of chives, so I’ll have to try this recipe!

  7. I have no idea what has happened to the pictures! I’ve spent a couple of weeks trying to figure it out. I think I just need to repost them.

    Stay tuned–I’ll get them up next week.

  8. Thank you bunches for taking the time to put the pictures again! They look so yummy! Will let you know if I get to make biscuits.Lovely site will pop in often!

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