posted in Dinner at 6

How to Make Light and Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

I went to breakfast with blogger friends Kathy and Amanda at Hash House a Go Go in San Diego (Hillcrest) the other day. If you ever visit San Diego and you’re very, very hungry for breakfast, Hash House is the place to hit up. The plates are humongous… I mean seriously big. The food is amazing. The girls sampled French Toast and Sage Fried Chicken. I attempted to eat light with an egg white scramble, a rather large mound of mashed (instead of fried) potatoes, and a giant buttermilk biscuit. Picture a nicely risen biscuit and stack 4 of them together- that was the size of this biscuit. The biscuit was delicious, but it wasn’t the light and flaky biscuit I’d been craving. I decided to make it my mission to create Light and Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits.

The biscuit dough can be made in the food processor or by hand. Butter is cut into the dry ingredients and then mixed with buttermilk.

I’ve made flaky pastry many times by using the dough-folding method so I thought it might be a good idea to try this for the biscuits. The dough is rolled out and then folded into thirds like you’d fold paper to put into an envelope.

Then it’s rolled out again and you repeat the folding.

Roll it out one last time.

Punch out your biscuits with a biscuit cutter (or the bottom of a glass).

Place biscuits on a baking sheet…

…and bake them until they have risen nicely and are golden brown.

If you eat them right away, you can take advantage of the ease of melting butter and the soft, tender, flaky insides.

A little dollop of jam or a drizzle of honey completes these perfect little biscuits.  And they turn out light and flaky, just as I was hoping.

Yield: 12 to 14 biscuits

Prep Time: 25 min

Cook Time: 12 min

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

There is nothing better than a light and flaky, melt-in-your-mouth buttermilk biscuit… topped with a smear of butter and a drizzle of honey.


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. chilled butter, cut into pieces
1 cup buttermilk


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly spray baking pan with nonstick spray (or line with parchment paper).

2. Mixing with the food processor: Place flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the dry mixture together a few times to blend. Add butter and continue to pulse until fine crumbs form. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and stir in buttermilk with a wooden spoon until the dough is mixed together and a little sticky.
Mixing by hand: In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add butter and use a pastry cutter (or use your fingers) to work the butter into the dry mixture and form fine crumbs. Stir in buttermilk with a wooden spoon until the dough is mixed together and a little sticky.

3. Turn dough out onto a floured surface; knead lightly and form into a small round. Roll dough into a 9×5-inch rectangle (1/2 inch thick); dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Fold dough crosswise into thirds (as if you’re folding a piece of paper to slide into an envelope). Re-roll dough into another 9×5-inch rectangle (1/2 inch thick). Fold into thirds again; roll into another rectangle. Cut dough with a 2 3/4-inch biscuit cutter to form 12 to 14 dough rounds. Gather scraps and gently pat the dough together again to cut more biscuits.

4. Place dough rounds, 1 inch apart, on prepared baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes, or until biscuits are golden. Remove from pan; cool 2 minutes on wire racks. Serve warm.


*Reader tip- use White Lily Flour to get the rise and flakiness of the perfect biscuit.


To see photos of the breakfast I had at Hash House a Go Go & additional San Diego food tour photos, see this post on Amanda’s blog.

Other biscuit recipes on the blogs that you might enjoy:
Sweet Potato Biscuits by Cookin’ Canuck
A Biscuit Tip Sheet by Dorie Greenspan
Blue Cheese Scallion Drop Biscuits by Smitten Kitchen
Bacon- Cheddar Drop Biscuits by Two Peas and Their Pod
Light and Flaky Gluten-Free Biscuits by Gluten Free Cooking School

32 Responses to “How to Make Light and Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits”

  1. postedJan 27, 2011 2:58 AM

    I’ve used this technique for years – read about it in Southern Living. The other secret is using White Lily flour. I’ve never gotten quite the rise or the layers of flakiness with any other flour. It’s hard to find outside of the deep south, though (for instance, I live just south of DC and they don’t sell it here), so I have my MIL bring me some when they visit from Alabama or I stock up when we visit the beach in NC.

  2. postedJan 27, 2011 6:46 AM

    I’ve also used the folding technique for years ever since I’ve started making biscuits and ditto on what Ginny said. White Lily is the ONLY flour I will use on my biscuits, and no, it doesn’t matter to me that they’ve moved out of the south. It is still only White Lily in this southern kitchen. :)

  3. postedJan 27, 2011 7:34 AM

    Hi Lori –
    Kara from Green Harbor, MA.
    Random question…want to cook a meal for a family of 6 dealing with special needs child & mom w. cancer diagnosis. I know they enjoy steak. Is there a way to cook steaks, so that they will reheat well? Want to keep it simple.

  4. postedJan 27, 2011 7:40 AM

    Well, I think you can say “mission accomplished”! The biscuits look just fantastic.

  5. postedJan 27, 2011 8:04 AM

    All you have to do is look at your photos to see how flaky these biscuits are. Your inviting photos, and easy to follow technique, make this recipe move to the top of my “must try” list. I didn’t know about White Lily flour, but I’ll look for it now.

  6. postedJan 27, 2011 8:26 AM

    Dare I say these look even better than the ones we had at the Hash House? I love all of those flaky layers. Now if I can just procure some of that White Lily Flour. :-)

  7. postedJan 27, 2011 9:53 AM

    ooh, I LOVE Hash House a Go Go! They have a special place in my heart for putting red beer on the brunch menu.

  8. postedJan 27, 2011 10:10 AM
    Cheryl Stoy

    My mission for February…practice my folding technique and locate some White Lily Flour somewhere in Colorado or on the web I hope…

  9. postedJan 27, 2011 1:46 PM

    Ohhhh my….I LOVE buttermilk biscuits and these look amazing. We’re having a serious round of snow and freezing weather in Boston and these would be perfect dunked in some hot soup…Yum. Totally making these!

  10. postedJan 27, 2011 2:54 PM

    wow, they are beautiful! Thanks for the tips!

  11. postedJan 27, 2011 3:35 PM

    Those biscuits are gorgeous, Lori – so light and flaky! Heading off to see Amanda’s pics of your adventure. Thank you for linking to my biscuits.

  12. postedJan 27, 2011 9:32 PM

    I love the sound of your homemade biscuits and must try the Hash house a Go Go next time I visit San Diego. Thanks for sharing!

  13. postedJan 28, 2011 4:00 AM

    Those look marvelous! I have to say I’m surprised that after 3 rollings they are still so flakey, marvelous!

  14. postedJan 28, 2011 10:10 AM
    Leslie Green

    There is nothing better than homemade biscuits slathered in butter!

  15. postedJan 28, 2011 12:51 PM

    So I’m surfing and I start reading about how you went to “Hash House” and I’m thinking…it couldn’t be the same one we used to go to…but then I see “Hillcrest” and I click on the link and see the eclectic pic of their food and O.M.G! it’s the same one! Before my husband was my husband and we were still in the shmoopy stages we would go there every Sunday for breakfast. I think we were one of their first customers when they first opened and we still tell people about their food. Now we’re east coasters and haven’t been there for a bzillion years, but it’s fun to take a trip down memory lane. :-)

    OH, and the biscuits do look super yummy!

  16. postedJan 28, 2011 1:04 PM

    Oh yum! And they raised so beautifully too. I would love one right now!

  17. postedJan 28, 2011 1:18 PM

    I started searching for cakes and chocolates recipes in the internet and I came across your blog :) The biscuit looks yummy in its soft and rounded shape! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  18. postedJan 28, 2011 1:29 PM

    they look delicious and must be real good!
    I must make them, thanks for sharing!

  19. postedJan 29, 2011 12:27 PM

    yumm!!! They look like pillows of heaven :)

  20. postedJan 29, 2011 12:29 PM

    These biscuits look so light & fluffy & divine! So wish I was enjoying one right now!

  21. postedJan 29, 2011 8:04 PM

    Love the photos! Did you happen to take a look at Alex Guarnaschelli’s ICINB biscuit recipe? I noticed there’s no actual butter spread in the biscuits, but rather heavy cream. She mixes the ICBINB with other ingredients and uses it as a spread. The cream biscuits, however, are amazing. They’re incredibly rich, though. VERY rich.

    • January 30th, 2011 @ 6:54 AM

      @Anna, That’s interesting- I was under the impression that there was ICBINB in the biscuit recipe (by the way she was talking).

  22. postedFeb 4, 2011 6:44 PM

    Ive been curious about this method of biscuit making. On the one hand it goes against the “light touch” rule of thumb, but on the other hand it’s pastry-esque. I know what I’m trying this weekend!

  23. postedSep 27, 2011 1:10 PM

    Delicious! I have tried many a homemade biscuit recipe. My husband kept asking me to just buy him some from the store……until I made these bad boys! They are fantastic! No more store bought for us. The hubs eats these like it’s his job….good thing his a skinny guy!

  24. postedDec 13, 2012 12:35 PM

    Is there a trick to get the tops to look so golden? Mine always come out looking pale and speckled no matter how long I leave them in or at what temperature.

    • December 13th, 2012 @ 9:25 PM

      not sure!

  25. postedJan 6, 2013 10:28 AM
    Keith L. Baty

    Thank You,My Family Love Them,

  26. postedJan 31, 2013 9:15 AM

    I would like to know if they are super sticky with only 2 cups of flour or does it end up more on the 3 cups side after kneading?

    • January 31st, 2013 @ 12:40 PM

      honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve made them so I don’t recall.

  27. postedOct 7, 2013 12:27 PM

    Very helpful instructions 😉 I will try to do something similar…

  28. postedApr 8, 2014 8:41 AM

    Well I’m from Sierra Mesa San Diego, Calif. Moved to Kansas I come home every year to see my Mom so when I come home got tell mom about Hash House a go go
    We’ll have to eat breakfast there when I come this year! I’ll try the recipe before then. But I would like to get that white lily flour!

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