Classic Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

The key to a tender flaky biscuit is White Lily Self-Rising Flour and a gentle hand. The ingredient list is pretty basic and can be found on the back of flour bags everywhere, but this one is adapted from White Lily.

If using a brand of flour other than White Lily: Add an additional tablespoon of buttermilk to accurately hydrate the dough, and bake for a total of 15 minutes.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: 6 (3-inch diameter) biscuits


  • 2 cups (280 g) White Lily self-rising flour (see Recipe Note for substitutes)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, packed
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter to brush on the biscuits


1 Preheat and set up: Preheat the oven to 475°F. Place a little flour in a shallow dish and keep it next to your dough.

2 Cut in the shortening: Put the flour in a large bowl. Add the shortening and cut it into the flour with a pastry cutter or two forks until the shortening is covered in flour and the size of small peas.

Southern buttermilk biscuits - green bowl with flour and pastry cutter

3 Make the dough: Slowly pour the buttermilk around the bowl in circles, fluffing the flour with a fork as you go. Continue to stir with a fork until the flour is moistened and the dough looks shaggy. You will have some loose flour. That’s ok. Overworking the dough leads to dense biscuits.

Southern buttermilk biscuits - buttermilk being poured into bowl with flourButtermilk Biscuits Recipe green bowl with shaggy dough

4 Knead the dough: Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it gently about 5 or 6 times. It will just come together. Use your hands to shape it into a 7-inch round that is an inch thick.

Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe - woman forming dough wtih hands Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe - woman forming round of dough Southern buttermilk biscuits - woman forming a round of dough

5 Cut the biscuits: Dip a 3-inch biscuit cutter in the shallow dish with flour, then cut out the biscuits. Push straight down and lift up. Don’t twist. It can pinch the sides together and inhibit the rise.

Gather the remaining dough pieces to form the last biscuit or two by hand; don’t knead, and roll out the dough again.

Homemade Biscuit Recipe - woman cutting biscuits out of a round of dough with a biscuit cutter

6 Bake the biscuits: Place the biscuits on a baking sheet so they are touching each other. Bake for 12 minutes until the biscuits have risen, spread a little, look bumpy on the surface, and are slightly golden and toasted.

Homemade Biscuit Recipe - baking sheet with six biscuits on it

7 Butter the biscuits: Remove from oven. Brush with melted butter. Remove the biscuits from the pan and place on a baking rack to cool. Or eat them immediately because hot biscuits are tasty and delicious.

Homemade Biscuit Recipe - biscuits brushed with butter.

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  • Lana

    This Southern Mom has made thousands of biscuits with raising five kids and all their friends and now our family of 18. Long ago I stopped rolling them out and cutting them and it makes no difference. I use a 4 Tablespoon scoop and scoop them onto a stone baking sheet. Then I flour the tops with a flour duster and pat them flat. I can have them ready for the oven before it is even up to temp and no messy counter to clean up.

    • Summer

      Hi, Lana! Wow! That’s a lot of biscuits. Thanks for sharing your no mess tips and tricks. I’m going to try that the next time I make a batch.

  • Kevin

    That is the same way my Mother makes hers. White Lily unbleached self rising flour, vegetable lard and buttermilk. it makes all the difference.

    • Summer

      Hi, Kevin! Thanks for your comment. When I tested biscuits side by side I was amazed at how tender the White Lily biscuits were. I am now a devoted fan!



    • Carrie Havranek

      Hi Sharon. Have you ever tried it with mayo? I’ve also seen and made baking recipes that require mayo and it’s often a surprise when you tell people it’s in there!

  • Michael Coulman

    Standard biscuit recipe proportions, but no mention of lard with all the talk of what “Southern cooks swear by.”

    • Carrie Havranek

      Hi Michael, thanks for your comment. Actually, in the very first paragraph our writer mentions lard, and talks about the result of the versions she tried with lard, which she says turned out “bland and pale.” Hope you try the recipe!