I made Bon Appetit’s Best Buttermilk Biscuits last week, and they were pretty dang good. A little tang from the buttermilk, plenty of layers, crisp tops and soft centers ready to fill with a pat of butter or a spoonful of jam.
I made a few changes to BA’s recipe. For one, I kneaded my biscuits together fully by hand, instead of using a pastry cutter, or the food processor BA suggested. You’ll find directions below for hand-kneaded biscuits, a slight adjustment from BA’s version. I did look back at BA’s video after setting my biscuits in the oven, and felt like I over-kneaded my dough. If you make these, by hand or in the food processor, be sure to leave decent-sized butter chunks in your dough, and allow the dough to stay crumbly.
I also cut back the butter a tiiiiiiny bit, removing 2 tbsp from the dough, and skipping the butter-brushed tops altogether. Some might call this heresy, but I felt there was a ridiculous amount of butter in the BA recipe and wanted to dial it back, if only a bit. I’ve written up the recipe with the full amount of butter, so you can decide for yourself how much to include.
Also, this was the first time I made biscuits using a biscuit cutter! In the past, I’ve used a glass or a mason jar ring to make my cuts. My biscuits were fine, even great, but I didn’t get the beautiful distinct layers that I got with my biscuit cutter. If you’re making biscuits on the regular, I’d recommend picking up a set of biscuit cutters or a round cookie cutter.
Bon Appetit's Best Buttermilk Biscuits
A flaky buttermilk biscuit recipe. My riff on Bon Appetit's Best.
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into half-inch cubes and chilled
- 1 cup chilled buttermilk
- more butter, melted, for brushing (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 425 F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and baking soda. Mix together thoroughly.
- Add the cubes of butter to the bowl. The key to flaky biscuits is to keep the butter cold and preserve a few chunks throughout the dough. Use a pastry cutter, knife, or fork to cut and crumble the butter into the flour. You can also use your fingertips to work the butter in, using a gentle touch and rubbing the flour and butter together.
- Continue to work the flour and butter together, until any chunks of butter are pea-sized or smaller. You do want to have many pea-sized chunks left at this point– be careful not to overwork the dough.
- Create a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Use a fork or spoon to mix until all of the ingredients are just incorporated. Again, careful not to overwork. The dough will be craggy and uneven at this point.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter or work surface. Pat into a large rectangle about 1 inch thick. Cut into 4 even pieces. Stack the pieces on top of each other, and roll or pat gently until about 3/4 to 1 inch thick again.
- Cut into 12 pieces with a knife, or use a biscuit or cookie cutter. If re-rolling scraps, try to stack the scraps together and flatten gently, instead of kneading or rolling together.
- Place the biscuits on a parchment-lined baking sheet with at least 1 inch between each biscuit. Place in the freezer to chill for 10 minutes.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 400 F, and bake for 20-25 minutes until tops are golden-brown.
I was able to use 14 tbsp butter in the dough (instead of the 16 tbsp listed) and still ended up with a light, flaky biscuit. I also skipped brushing the tops of the biscuits with more butter.
You can make these biscuits up to one month ahead of time. Freeze on a baking sheet, then transfer to a ziploc bag or airtight container for storage. Bake directly from frozen, adding 5 minutes to the baking time.