This basic homemade biscuit recipe can be made in about 20 minutes. The biscuits are easy to make with a light, flaky, and tender texture!
Biscuits are a dinner staple and one of the easiest side dishes to make. They are buttery, flaky, and taste best when served warm from the oven.
Cold fat is cut into the flour until uniform pieces are visible. This helps achieve the desired flakiness in the biscuit dough.
The dough is rolled and shaped before baking then the biscuits are brushed with melted butter as soon as they come out of the oven.
Why this recipe works
- The biscuit method is used to produce a flaky product.
- A good amount of butter is used to create a soft texture with a rich buttery flavor.
- Working the dough as little as possible eliminates toughness and allows the biscuits to rise.
Basic homemade biscuit recipe
It took some trial and error to get this recipe right. I tested it with various amounts of butter, cutting them in different sizes, and arranging them closer and further apart on the baking sheet.
Finally, I ended up a result I am happy with. The process is similar to my basic scone recipe with a few changes to the ingredients.
My basic biscuits don't call for eggs and this particular recipe uses regular milk instead of buttermilk. It's a simple and straightforward recipe that can be made with staple pantry ingredients.
Basic biscuit ingredients
More than likely you already have these ingredients in your pantry. They are everyday staples.
- Flour: Regular all-purpose flour will work best.
- Salt: You only need a little salt but it can be adjusted to taste.
- Sugar: I like to add 1-2 tablespoons but this is completely optional.
- Baking powder: Make sure your baking powder is still good to use or the biscuits won't rise.
- Butter: I prefer to use unsalted butter. Make sure the butter is cold.
- Milk: Whole milk is what I used because it's most of us already have on hand.
To make these homemade biscuits you'll need:
- Pastry blender: A pastry blender is my favorite tool to use to cut the butter into the flour.
- You can also cut the butter with a box grater.
- Baking sheet: I prefer to bake the biscuits on a baking sheet.
- Mixing bowls: These bowls are my favorite. I use them regularly.
- Rolling pin: I like to use this silicone French rolling pin.
What can I use instead of whole milk?
You can substitute buttermilk, light cream, or heavy cream for the whole milk. Use just enough of the liquid of your choice to bring the dough together without having to work it too much.
How to make homemade biscuits
I tried to make this recipe as simple and straight forward as possible. I wanted everyone to be able to have success!
Step 1: Mix the dry ingredients
Combine the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl. Use a whisk to or sifter to get everything very well combined. You want to make sure the baking powder is evenly distributed through the flour.
Step 2: Cut in the butter
Next, you need to cut cold butter into the dry ingredients until small uniform pieces are visible.
There are a few ways to do this...
You can use a pastry blender as I do. Or you can use your fingertips. Or you can use a box grater.
Using a pastry blender: Cut the cold butter into small pieces and toss it into the flour mixture. Grip the handle of the pastry cutter and press the blades down into the butter. Twist the blender a half-turn and then lift up. Repeat this process in quick motions until the mixture looks mealy.
Using your fingertips: Cut the cold butter into small pieces and toss them into the flour mixture. Rub the pieces into the flour by pressing them between your fingertips until the mixture looks mealy.
Using a box grater: Place the butter into the freezer the night before you plan to use it. Grate the frozen butter into shreds with a cheese grater. Work quickly because the butter will start to soften in your hand. Once grated, gently toss it with the flour mixture.
Step 3: Mix in the milk
Add the milk and gently mix just until the ingredients are combined and the mixture holds together. Be extra careful and do not overmix as this will cause tough biscuits that don't rise properly.
Step 4: Knead the dough
Turn the dough out onto your work surface and gently press it together 4 to 5 times.
The dough should be soft and slightly elastic but not sticky. Don't over knead it because this toughens the biscuits. Work slow with short mixing time.
Step 5: Roll and shape the dough
Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a ½ to ¾-inch thickness. I like thicker biscuits so I aim for ¾-inch.
Take care and make sure you are rolling the dough evenly or they'll bake uneven and lopsided.
Dip a 2-inch round cutter in flour and cut out 12 biscuits. Space cuts as close together as possible to minimize scraps.
Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper and arrange the biscuits. Place them nearly touching for a higher rise with softer sides. Or space them further apart for crusty sides.
Step 6: Bake
Bake at 425°F for 10-12 minutes. The tops should be light brown and the sides almost white. The interiors should be moist.
The internal heat will continue to cook them after they are removed from the oven.
Brush the tops with melted butter then transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.
Can I use this recipe to make shortcakes?
Yes, this recipe will work for shortcakes. You may wish to increase the sugar by 2 tablespoons.
If you like these homemade biscuits, you’ll love these other recipes:
- Honey Cream Cheese Biscuits
- Buttery Jam Biscuits
- Parmesan Buttermilk Drop Biscuits
- Drop Biscuits with Cheese, Zucchini, & Tomato