These Super Flaky Southern Biscuits are sky-high, with lots of flaky layers. There are two secrets to getting extra flaky biscuits: grating the butter and folding the dough!
Side dishes are my favorite part of a meal. And these Super Flaky Biscuits rank up there as one of the best.
The interior of the biscuits is soft and flaky, with lots of buttery layers. The bottom of the biscuit is crisp from the butter meeting the piping hot baking sheet.
I also love them in a bread basket for holiday meals.
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Top tips for flaky biscuits
- Make sure the butter is COLD. Freeze it for 30 minutes, then grate it on a box grater for best results.
- Don’t over mix the dough. Over mixing will lead to tough biscuits.
- Use a dough folding technique (more on that below) to create the layers.
- Cut the dough with a sharp knife. If you opt to use a biscuit cutter, don’t twist the cutter—just pull straight up!
- Refrigerate the dough before baking for ultra fluffy biscuits.
What makes biscuits flaky?
The combination of cold butter and heat from the oven creates flaky layers in biscuits. It’s important to keep the butter as cold as possible when making biscuits to ensure the layers rise in the oven.
The best technique for keeping butter cold while making biscuits is to freeze it for 30 minutes, then grate it on a box grater.
You could also use the grater attachment of your food processor to grate the butter.
- Cold unsalted butter will make the flakiest layers in the biscuits.
- Any brand of all-purpose flour works great.
- Baking powder will help them rise sky-high.
- Sea salt adds flavor. Cut the salt in half if you use salted butter.
- Buttermilk adds a gentle tang to the biscuits (YUM!).
How to make homemade flaky biscuits
Place one stick of butter in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then, grate it using a box grater or the grater attachment of your food processor.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and add the grated butter. Toss it gently with your hands.
Pour in the buttermilk, and stir gently with a spatula to form a slightly shaggy dough. The shagginess is a good thing! It’ll come together more as you work with it.
How to fold biscuit dough
Pour the biscuit dough onto a workspace lightly dusted with flour. Gently pat it into a rectangle that is approximately 2 inches high.
Fold the dough in half, then pat it into another rectangle that is 2 inches high. You can use a rolling pin (gently!) or your hands to pat it into shape.
Repeat this process of folding once more. Then, pat the dough into a rectangle that is 1 inch high.
Use a sharp knife to cut the biscuits into 12 uniform biscuits. Place the biscuits on a sheet pan. I always line the pan with a silicone baking mat to ensure that nothing sticks.
You can see the layers in the unbaked biscuit, ready to rise!
Refrigerate the biscuits for 30 minutes between rolling and baking to ensure that they rise even more. When the cold butter meets the hot oven, it expands and creates those super flaky layers!
The end result is a perfectly flaky biscuit.
Variation: self rising flour
This recipe calls for flour, baking powder, and salt. Traditional Southern biscuit recipes call for self-rising flour, which contains those three ingredients.
Self-rising flour can be substituted for the flour, baking powder, and salt (see recipe notes for the how-to).
Flaky Biscuits: Frequently Asked Questions
You do not need self rising flour to make biscuits. Instead, you can use a mixture of all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Those are the ingredients in self-rising flour.
If you are making round biscuits, a drinking glass works well instead of a biscuit cutter. Or, you could make square biscuits by cutting the biscuit dough with a knife.
Hard biscuits are the result of over-working the dough. Only stir the dough enough to barely combine the ingredients. Then, work with the dough very gently, using your hands to pat it into shape.
Flat biscuits are likely the result of the butter being too warm. Start with frozen butter and handle the dough as little as possible to ensure that the butter is cold when the biscuits go into the oven. Also, refrigerate the biscuits for 30 minutes before baking to make them even flakier.
You can make your own buttermilk by mixing a scant 1 cup of milk with one tablespoon of acid, such as lemon juice, white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
Can I make biscuits ahead of time?
You can make the biscuits up to 12 hours in advance of baking them. Shape the biscuits, then place them on a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake them.
You can also freeze cooked and cooled biscuits. Wrap them tightly in foil, and place in a large zip-top freezer bag for up to two months.
Biscuits are best reheated in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F and place biscuits in a layer of aluminum foil.
Bake for 10 minutes for thawed biscuits or 18–20 minutes for frozen biscuits.
What to serve with biscuits
– Use for biscuits & gravy
– With eggs and bacon
– With butter and jam
– Drizzled with honey
– With soup or beef stew
– Alongside a pot roast
– With baked or fried chicken
– With a holiday ham or roast
– With strawberries and sweetened whipped cream to make strawberry shortcake
They’re a lovely addition to a holiday menu, too. They can be made ahead and frozen, and then reheated in the oven from frozen or thawed.
These Super Flaky Southern Biscuits are perfect for gift giving, too. They’d be a great addition to a meal for a friend who has just had a baby, gotten out of the hospital, or is grieving a loss.
I served them as a side for my White Chicken Chili with Potatoes and White Beans (also great for packing up and taking to a friend). Wrap them in a basket with a pretty tea towel, and they’d be a welcome sight to a neighbor who has just moved in, too!
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and/or comment below!
Super Flaky Biscuits
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Place the butter in the freezer for 30 minutes to harden.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Once the butter is hard, grate it using a grater or a food processor. Add the grated butter to the flour mixture and toss gently with your hands to combine, gently breaking up any clumps of butter with your fingers.
- Pour in the buttermilk and stir until a soft dough forms. It should be somewhat shaggy.
- Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently pat into a rectangle that is about 2 inches high. Fold the dough in half, and use a rolling pin to gently roll the dough into another 2-inch high rectangle. Repeat two or three more times, and roll the final rectangle until it is approximately 1-inch high. You should end up with a rectangle that is approximately 8 inches wide by 6 inches long (it doesn’t need to be perfect).
- Cut the dough into 12 square biscuits with a sharp knife. Place the biscuits on a sheet pan and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F. Bake the chilled biscuits for 10–14 minutes, or until lightly golden brown on the bottom. Serve warm with butter.