Amish Buttermilk Biscuits

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You’ll love how easy these Amish Buttermilk Biscuits are. We’ll teach you how to make flaky layers in biscuits. They come together in less than 30 minutes!

We love a good homemade bread. It might be my mom’s country white bread, twisted egg bread or the best dinner rolls. But when we need a homemade bread fix and don’t have time to work with yeast, we turn to homemade biscuits!

hand holding a tall biscuit

Homemade Biscuit Recipe

This is another one of our favorite Amish recipes from the Amish Cooking Cookbook. You remember that delicious Amish Shortcake I posted a while ago, don’t you? This is one of those quick breads that is a perfect addition to any meal. It doesn’t take long to whip up and is totally worth the messy fingers.

These buttermilk biscuits can be eaten for breakfast as a biscuits and sausage gravy, lunch or dinner, alongside a simple side dish. If you are lucky enough to find any in the house the next morning, you’ll want to heat one up and spread on some butter and honey. Mmmmm. Not much better than melted butter and honey on a biscuit.

A close up of baking sheet of biscuits

3 Secrets for Fluffy Layered Biscuits

We’ll talk about our three secrets for THE BEST homemade biscuits in detail below, but here they are:

  1. Buttermilk.
  2. Lots of butter.
  3. The “folding” technique.

Buttermilk Biscuits

These easy homemade Amish Buttermilk Biscuits are definitely not your normal biscuits.  They are slightly crispy on the outside, but flaky and soft on the inside. The texture comes from buttermilk so this is definitely not an ingredient you’ll want to leave out.

We highly recommend store-bought buttermilk for the best results in this recipe. Don’t have buttermilk on hand? Easily make buttermilk with milk and vinegar.  Just put one tablespoon of vinegar in a measuring cup.  Fill up the rest of the cup with milk and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Voila… 1 cup of buttermilk! If you need more than one cup for a different recipe, just make the same way, adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar to each cup of milk. I only do this in a pinch for this recipe though.

 **Pro Tip: If you have half & half or heavy cream, you can use that higher fat milk in place of milk for homemade buttermilk. This will give you a thickness closer to store bought buttermilk. ** 

Shortening or Butter in Biscuits

For this recipe, we’ve used both shortening and butter. We find that butter gives them a great flavor, but shortening helps them to have a better texture. You can even do a combination and use half shortening and half butter. Test the recipe and see which your family prefers.

**Recipe Update: Most recently we’ve switched to using butter 100% of the time because the flavor is just that good. Make sure you use real butter, not margarine.** 

a stack of homemade biscuits

How to Make Biscuits

Here are our hints for making biscuits:

  • It’s important to mix ingredients the least amount possible. Whisk the dry ingredients together first.
  • Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter. This allows the butter to get distributed throughout. Make sure the butter is COLD which helps the biscuits stay light and fluffy.  The colder the ingredients are when they go in the oven, the better your biscuits will turn out. The cold butter will melt and leave pockets of flakiness. Hungry yet?
  • Mix the buttermilk in just until the ingredients are combined. Be sure not to knead the dough or overmix it.
  • Folding Technique: Turn the dough out onto a floured pastry mat and pat it into a horizontal rectangle that is about 1 ½ inches thick. Fold the left side of the rectangle over the right side and pat it out into a vertical rectangle. Fold the bottom half up to the top and press it out into a horizontal rectangle again. Repeat the steps above 3 times for a total of 6 folds. Be careful not to overwork the dough while you are doing this. The folding is what creates the pretty layers. Sprinkle a little flour on the layers if the dough starts getting sticky, but just pat gently and handle the dough lightly.

Can you make biscuit dough ahead of time?

Because you are using baking powder instead of yeast, biscuits are best if they are baked right after you mix them.

If you’d like, mix up the flour, then cut in the butter. Refrigerate for a few hours (or overnight) and then mix the buttermilk in right before baking.

stacks of golden brown biscuits

Why are my biscuits dry?

There are several reasons why biscuits could end up dry.

  1. Not enough butter. You won’t have that for this recipe since we use 1 full cup of butter, but some recipes may not have enough butter for the amount of flour.
  2. Not measuring the flour correctly. Be sure to spoon the flour into a measuring cup, then level it with a knife. You don’t want to pack the flour into the measuring cup.
  3. Overworking the dough. Don’t knead this dough. Mix it just until barely blended (and still floury) then fold it as we state in the recipe below. You don’t want to overwork the dough.
  4. Overbaking. Baking the biscuits too long can always cause them to be dry instead of soft and tender.

What is the best way to store biscuits?

You’ll want to store biscuits in an airtight container at room temperature. Biscuits will last for 1-2 days at room temperature.

Tools for Making Biscuits

  • Pastry Cutter: I use this tool all the time. It cuts butter into flour perfectly for streusels, crusts and other pastries.
  • Pastry Mat:: This silicone mat keeps your cupboard clean and makes rolling out pastries so easy.
  • Biscuit Cutter: LOVE these handled cutters that come in different sizes.
square image Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe
square image Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe

Amish Buttermilk Biscuits

4.80 from 20 votes
You'll love how easy these soft, flaky Amish Buttermilk Biscuits are. They come together in less than 30 minutes. Hints for making them perfectly.
Servings 14
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

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Ingredients
 

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter (very cold)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup flour (for dusting the pastry mat & dusting while rolling)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Combine the dry ingredients together in a bowl. 
  • Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. If you feel the flour with your hands, you should feel the butter chunks in it. That's the texture you want so don't over mix it at this point. 
  • Add the buttermilk and mix just until combined. The dough will be slightly sticky.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured pastry mat and pat it into a horizontal rectangle that is about 1 ½ inches thick. Fold the left side of the rectangle over the right side and pat it out into a vertical rectangle. Fold the bottom half up to the top and press it out into a horizontal rectangle again. Repeat the steps above 3 times for a total of 6 folds. Be careful not to overwork the dough while you are doing this. The folding is what creates the pretty layers. Sprinkle a little flour on the layers if the dough starts getting sticky, but just pat gently and handle the dough lightly.
  • After 6 folds, gently pat the dough into a rectangle that is about 1 inch thick. Use a sharp circle biscuit cutter and press down through the dough, then lift up. Do not twist the cookie cutter or shuffle it around. Just push down, then pull straight up. 
  • Place biscuit on a silicone baking mat. 
  • Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter.
  • Bake at 475 degrees  Fahrenheit for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (without opening the oven) and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes.
  • Allow the biscuits to sit for 2-3 minutes before serving.
  • Serve warm.

Video

Notes

The calories shown are based on the recipe making 14 biscuits with 1 serving being 1 biscuit. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate.

Nutrition

Calories: 284kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 481mg | Potassium: 221mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 460IU | Calcium: 105mg | Iron: 1.2mg
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Calories 284
Keyword bread recipe, buttermilk, comfort food, how to make biscuits

I updated this recipe to make it better on June 10, 2017. I hope you love it even more now!

flaky biscuits title image

About Lizzy T

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Joanne Hinsperger-Scott
4 years ago

Oooh! I think I saw a small bag of glluten-free cake flour at the grocery store. I will have to buy a bag and test out your recipe and technique! Unfortunately, my food has to be gluten free and mostly dairy free, but since I started buying organic butter (about $6 to $9 Canadian per half a pound depending on brand), I seem to have less issues with butter, except for the fact that my taste buds no longer like the taste of butter like they did 50 plus years ago. Will also have to substitute the cream … hmm… Read more »

Nadia
2 months ago

I’m a bit confused, this recipe says 2 cups flour and 2 cups cake flour, so altogether 4and a half cups of flour. Is that correct?

Heather Is Odd
5 months ago

5 stars
OMG!!! I had forgotten about the folding. The taste was there but they just weren’t sky high. I make cat head biscuits and it was starting to bum me out. Thank you so much. and btw, I totally want to try the cinnamon roll recipe. I know my husband will just gush

Cheri
1 year ago

5 stars
Hands down my favorite biscuits I’ve ever made! My family loved them… It’s going to be my new go-to recipe!

Robert Martin
3 years ago

I will make these. One comment. Buttermilk is unique in flavour and while the vinegar and milk method produces the required acidity…it is not Buttermilk. As always thanks.

SoftballMom
3 years ago

5 stars
Made these today. I didn’t have a biscuit cutter so I just used a knife and cut them into squares. They fluffed up so much, some looked like toppling towers. Kinda fun and super delicious!

Jan
3 years ago

I’m confused- the written recipe calls for 1&1/2 Tbsp baking powder and 1 tsp baking soda. Your video shows 1 tsp baking powder and 1&1/2 tsp baking soda. Which is correct?

Anonymous
3 years ago

5 stars
A-mazing! Totally worth the 30 min! Tall, fluffy, and delicious!

Nathan Ryan
4 years ago

White Lily flour. You’re welcome.

Geraldine Phinney
4 years ago

5 stars
Wow, these biscuits turned out perfectly; they were crisp with lots of tender layers. We loved them. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe Lizzy. It was easy to follow with wonderful results. I will be making these tasty treats often. Served with clam chowder for a memorable dinner. Made for What’s on the Menu tag game. (BK)

Jodi Manning
4 years ago

These look great! Is cake flour necessary?

Susan
4 years ago

5 stars
Wow. Just Wow. Tall layers of buttery deliciousness. So worth the effort over opening a “can” of refrigerated biscuits.

Penny
6 years ago

A friend and I make dinner for about 40-45 hungry kids at a local community center 4 notes month. We thought we’d try breakfast for supper – biscuits and gravy; sausage & bacon; scrambled eggs and fruit. We cook offsite only have an afternoon to prepare. Could we make 80-90 of these by increasing the ingredients. Or should we try to make separate batches?

Betty Gee
6 years ago

5 stars
Best biscuits I’ve ever made!!!!! Thank you!!!

Martha
6 years ago

Hi. Can you please explain what shortening is. I know my mom and grandmother used Crisco, but I haven’t used that in about 40 years. Is there an alternative? Thanks.