Light and Fluffy Biscuits

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Fluffy Biscuits with plenty of buttery layers are possible with just a few helpful tips and about ten minutes of hands-on effort.

I have included a whole lot of photos with this recipe to illustrate the steps below and show you how simple it can be to make perfectly fully homemade biscuits.

Light, fluffy, reliable homemade biscuits

I’m telling a bit of a story today, so feel free to hit that “Jump To Recipe” button at the top of the page if you’re uninterested in my biscuit-making lesson.

22 years ago, I was a newlywed when I made my first batch of biscuits. They will never be forgotten.

I was feeling domestic and happy as I kneaded and kneaded and kneaded the dough. I quite literally kneaded that dough for at least 30 minutes.

Little did I know that I was absolutely killing those biscuits. While they baked, I noticed that they weren’t really rising, but I figured that I’d just made them thinner than I should have.

Ha! Little did I know at the time. The biscuits were inedible.

My sweet husband attempted to eat them, but oh my. They were horrid. We declared them hockey pucks and I was scared away from biscuit making for a couple years following that attempt.

When I finally decided to attempt making biscuits again, I was thrilled to find a recipe that worked reliably after a few more failed attempts.

Perfect every time homemade biscuits

Fluffy Biscuits

I’ve now been making this biscuit recipe for over 20 years and they are fluffy, delicious, melt in your mouth awesomeness. They are versatile enough to use for biscuits and gravy or with butter and peach jam.

These days, I make this recipe with real butter and I love these biscuits even more than the original. (The original recipe I’ve adapted this from was made with shortening. While those were delicious, I don’t hesitate to tell you these are even better.)

The butter flavor in these biscuits comes through beautifully. They rise light and fluffy while remaining melt in your mouth tender with all those pretty layers.

These biscuits, they are perfection. I shared this recipe here on the website just a few weeks after I started this blog so many years ago.

It was way past time for a photo update and I’m excited to share the recipe with you again today – complete with step-by-step directions and photos to go with each step.

Flaky Biscuit Recipe

Want to know the secret to making all those buttery layers in your biscuits? It’s surprisingly easy – once you stop kneading the ever-loving daylights out of the dough.

Fold the dough. That’s it. Read through the steps and photos below and you’ll see what I am talking about. You absolutely don’t need to beat the heck out of the biscuit dough.

Basically, just smush it together until it holds together and then fold it over on itself several times. That’s all there is to it.

Do not twist the biscuit cutter! Press straight down and pull straight back up after cutting the biscuits.

If you twist the cutter, you’ll seal the edges of the biscuits and they won’t rise nearly so high.

Bonus tip, if you find that your biscuits are rising tall and starting to fall over, pressing a light thumbprint into the top of the biscuit prior to baking can help prevent that.

Biscuit Ingredients

How To Make Fluffy Homemade Biscuits

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

Grate the butter and dump it into the bowl with the dry ingredients.

Grating the butter is a game changer!

Use a fork (or pastry blender, if you prefer that) to cut in the cold butter pieces until the mixture resembles a coarse meal with little pea size or smaller lumps throughout.

Grated butter mixed into the dry ingredients

Gradually stir in milk – seriously, don’t dump all the milk in at once!

Add just enough milk until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. It should still look very dry.

Mix in just enough milk until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. I like to use a silicone mat that has been lightly floured. It makes for very easy clean up.

Knead the dough just a few times until it comes together.

Knead just a few times, folding the dough over onto itself to create those flaky layers. This isn’t the same as kneading bread dough.

Seriously, just trust me on this – knead the dough no more than 15-20 times MAX, learn from me here. Once the dough has “smushed” together, fold it over on itself a few times to finish “kneading it.”

Knead or fold the dough just a few times and then pat out to 1-inch thickness.

Pat the dough out to about 1 inch thick. Cut into circles with a biscuit cutter or round cookie cutter.

Repeat until all the dough is used. Press any remaining pieces together (don’t knead again) and cut biscuits again.

Press straight down and don't twist the biscuit cutter.

Place the biscuits on a baking sheet or in a baking pan. It’s okay if the edges touch.

Bake for 14-16 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges begin to brown.

Light, flaky, perfect every time homemade biscuits

Mom Sanity Tip

I spent a lot of years cooking with little ones underfoot. If you want to enjoy a few moments of peace and quiet, give the kids a few extra edge pieces of dough to play with at the table.

Just be sure to discreetly toss that particular dough ball in the trash when it is time to put everything on the baking sheet. If your kids are a little older and paying attention, let them bake it for themselves.

I made impromptu biscuits for many meals over the years, just to give the toddlers something to occupy themselves with during that half hour before dinner.

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Perfect every time homemade biscuits

Fluffy Biscuits

5 from 6 votes
Light, fluffy, absolutely reliable biscuits really are possible with a few helpful tips and about ten minutes of hands-on effort.
(original recipe adapted from and with thanks to AllRecipes)
Pin Print Review
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 biscuits

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup cold butter, grated
  • 3/4 cup milk, plus 1-2 tablespoons only as needed

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Grate the butter and dump it into the bowl with the dry ingredients.
  • Use a fork (or pastry blender, if you prefer that) to cut in the cold butter pieces until the mixture resembles a coarse meal with little pea size or smaller lumps throughout.
  • Gradually stir in milk – seriously, don't dump all the milk in at once! Add just enough milk until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. It should still look very dry.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. I like to use a silicone mat that has been lightly floured. Knead just a few times by folding the dough over onto itself. (Seriously, just trust me on this – knead the dough no more than 15-20 times MAX, learn from me here).
  • Pat the dough out to about 1 inch thick. Cut into circles. Repeat until all the dough is used. Press any remaining pieces together (don't knead again) and cut biscuits again.
  • Place the biscuits on a baking sheet or in a baking pan. It's okay if the edges touch. Bake for 14-16 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges begin to brown.

Nutrition

Calories: 203kcal · Carbohydrates: 27g · Protein: 4g · Fat: 9g · Saturated Fat: 5g · Cholesterol: 23mg · Sodium: 370mg · Potassium: 215mg · Fiber: 1g · Sugar: 3g · Vitamin A: 273IU · Calcium: 98mg · Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

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{originally published 6/15/11 – recipe notes and photos updated 10/2/20}

Light and Fluffy Homemade Biscuits

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Tracey says

    I tried many recipes for biscuits and this one seems to be the only one I can get to work! I use the food processor method of mixing it.5 stars

  2. Leila says

    I just had to make these for breakfast after I saw your photo on Instagram. They turned out PERFECTLY. Oh my gosh, so easy and the flavor is divine.5 stars

  3. marie says

    You make your biscuits like I have for many years. I was taught by my mother, who made the best biscuits I have ever tasted. But my favorite story about making biscuits is the story my mother told ma about her first try. She made them like she thought they should be made but when it got to the ingredients she put baking powder and baking soda and when they came out of the oven they were blue. I loved that story, she was 15 years old. Needless to say they were not edible.

    • Mary Younkin says

      What a fun story! I’ve heard that can happen with powder and soda together, but I’ve never seen it. I loved hearing that this matches your mother’s recipe and you love the biscuits.

  4. Larry says

    Those are some fantastic looking biscuits and would be even better when split and topped with some good sausage gravy – makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

  5. Henriette Hall says

    Perfect un-complicated recipe.
    Hot Oven and as Mary states==DO NOT OVER-KNEAD.
    My only addition is: when you cut the biscuit out–go straight down with your cutter–
    do not twist it–straight down and pull cutter straight up. If you twist, the edges
    will seal and your beautiful biscuits will not rise as high.

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hi Henny! Yes! I actually noted that tip about cutting straight down as well. It makes such a big difference. And over kneading has killed many a biscuit recipe!

    • Henriette says

      See what me–miss smarty pants gets for jumping straight to recipe ? The No Twist and
      No Knead forever–are 2 of the most important Biscuit Rules.5 stars