Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

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Skip the can of refrigerated biscuits! You can make flaky layers all on your own with this easy recipe for flaky buttermilk biscuits.

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits | Good Cheap Eats

I have to admit, the canned refrigerated biscuits is a brilliant idea. They are easy to make, fun to eat, and provide hours of holiday entertainment. Speaking of entertainment, I loved smacking those cans against the side of the kitchen counter to get them to open. Tell me I’m not the only one to do that…

On the other hand, the ingredients list is pretty atrocious and the regular price is fairly high for what you get. (Yes, I know, sales plus a coupon gets you a better price, but still, it’s junk.)

As I mentioned early in this series, convenience foods are not always convenient to make. That’s why food manufacturers make the big bucks producing them. Sure, the trail mix is a no-brainer, but other items take some time to make or leave a mess in their wake. Their rewards, however, are usually worth it.

Such is the case with these flaky buttermilk biscuits.

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits | Good Cheap Eats

Making buttermilk biscuits yourself.

To speed up the process, I use my food processor, one of my three top time-saving gadgets. You can use a pastry blender, two knives held together, or a fork, but the food processor makes biscuits happen in less than half the time.

If you have six children, I recommend using a food processor. And making a double batch.

I found this recipe in theΒ The New Doubleday Cookbook that my sister bought me as a wedding present 20 years ago. She liked the cover. That’s how she chose it. It’s proven to have some great recipes in it. This biscuit recipe being one of them.

I have always thought that the trick to giving these biscuits their flaky layers was the fact that you sift the flour twice. However, Amy says that her trick is the folding. So, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s both.

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits | Good Cheap Eats

Making it cheaper.

It’s been a while since I bought the refrigerated biscuits in a can, so I had to do some homework to find out. I asked on Facebook. The consensus is that you can get 8 biscuits for about $2.68 when not on sale. This makes them 33 cents a piece. Sale price plus coupons gets your price point much lower if you want to buy the prepared kind.

My ingredients costs broke down like this:

  • unbleached, non-bromated flour $0.30
  • hormone-free butter $0.36
  • buttermilk $0.32
  • allowance for salt, powder, soda $0.25

The full batch of 12 biscuits cost $1.23 or about 10 cents a piece. Making your own biscuits from scratch is clearly the better deal, especially when you take into consideration the better quality of ingredients.

My kids love these biscuits something fierce. Since I (or my 10yo) usually make a double batch, they each got three, much more than they get if I had merely opened a can. We have these often for breakfast with butter and jam. I’d say our satisfaction meter is off the charts.

Tools I use for this recipe:

diy-convenience-150This is part of theΒ DIY Convenience Foods series. Scroll through the archives and discover all kinds of great treats you can make yourself.

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits | Good Cheap Eats

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About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Kelly says

    Do you think these could be frozen?

    • We’ve been chatting about this on the facebook page. I have never frozen these, however, if I were going to, I’d freeze them unbaked. I know they will be good, I’m just not sure how flaky they will. Wanna be the guinea pig and let us know how it goes? Freeze them on a lined sheet until firm, then package in a freezer bag. Bake as directing, adding five minutes if needed. That’s my rec.

      • Lisa says

        I make my own with a similar recipe and have tried freezing with poor results. I froze cut biscuits and baked them from frozen, just like Pillsbury’s. The biscuits turned out flatter than the fresh baked, so much different that we would either try freezing baked biscuits or stick to enjoying them fresh.
        The folding makes the flaky layers!

    • I’ve still not tried using a food processor for biscuits, but need to do so. It sounds so easy and yours look gorgeous!

      I’ve had mixed results baking frozen biscuits, but just had a really great experience. I’m not sure if there was something different about the recipe I used or not, but I baked them at a lower temp. 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. They rose really well!

      • Lynette W. says

        I was gonna ask about freezing too! To my surprise, its the first comment! I was gonna say, probably lowering the temperature (just like the Pillsbury) with a longer cooking time, say 375 for 22 – 25 minutes should help them to rise up after being frozen and still flaky!

  2. Sharon says

    Two things… #1) Yes, I think the biscuits could be frozen. I have a similar recipe that I have frozen several times before. They’re always best fresh, but still very good after freezing. You do have to up the baking time a few minutes.

    #2) I must be missing something. I don’t see when to add the butter. Am I assuming correctly that you add it after sifting the flour in the food processor?

    • Good catch. Yes, I added it. Thanks.

    • Becky says

      I was wondering this too – my guess is that they are added on step 2 to form the crumbs.

      Does anyone know how to make 3/4c of their own buttermilk? I know you can add vinegar? Lemon juice? but not sure how much to add to how much milk to make 3/4c buttermilk….

      • I edited the recipe last night to accommodate the missing butter instrux. Are you not seeing the change?

        I prefer to use real buttermilk, but you can use 2 1/2 teaspoons vinegar and add milk to make 3/4 cup.

        • Becky says

          So sorry, I had this window open for a few days and didn’t see the refresh – totally my fault!!!

          Thank you!

          • No worries. I just wanted to make sure the change went through. Thanks.

  3. Erin says

    Oh boy, I’d love to try these with the chicken recipe from a few days ago. I think I’d better hit the gym…

  4. Mandi says

    I’m with Amy — I think it’s the folding too! I’ve recently started folding my biscuits, and they’re so flaky now, whereas they weren’t before. I’m pretty sure that’s the only change I’ve made!

  5. Claire says

    I have frozen un bake biscuits before. They turned out wonderful. I thawed a little first then baked. Yours loo in s perfectly flaky!!!!

    The half & half, does it just brown the tops?

  6. Wendy says

    I love this series. Question does not pertain to this. When you make your homemade tamales what kind of a masa do you use? We tried making some and was very dry? Thanks in advance.

  7. Krista says

    What size biscuit cutter do you recommend? I halved the recipe and made these tonight and got about 5 but I had to use a tall drinking glass as I would’ve maybe gotten 3 and a half with my 3 inch cutter. My husband loved these. I said, well, these are from the same woman who has the pizza recipe we love (the pan pizza)…maybe I should make more of her recipes. His response? “There you go.” πŸ™‚ Thanks!

  8. Ha! Love it. Send him the link to the book. πŸ˜‰

    Great question, by the way. My cutter is a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter. I bought a set of three from Walmart awhile back. It’s the smallest of the set.

  9. Claire says

    Made this recipe Tuesday night to go with the turkey pot pie pasta for dinner. I doubled it. Oh, I’m glad i did! We are a family of 9 and we ate them all!

    I folded and they actually came out flaky!!!!! Who knew? I wish I did sooner πŸ™‚

  10. I use a recipe that is very similar–I think the only difference is that mine calls for a whole stick of butter (1/2 cup) instead of 1/3. I would say the secret to getting lots of layers and height is definitely in the folding. I NEVER sift my flour–for those of you looking to save some time, you really don’t have to. I measure it into the bowl, add the rest of the dry ingredients, cut in the butter, and mix in the buttermilk. I fold it over a bunch of times as I’m kneading, and then leave them nice and thick to cut. They always rise sky high and have tons of flaky layers. YUM!!

  11. WendyG says

    These sound great, I think the kids and I will make them tonight. My husband is famous in my parents’ house for eating up a pan of those nasty (but tasty) flaky refrigerator biscuits when we first started dating. I don’t think he’ll ever live that down πŸ˜€

    I’d love to know where you get hormone-free butter for $2.16/lb. I need to get myself there!

    • Costco’s brand is hormone-free. It didn’t used to have the label, but the last few times, it has.

      • Katie says

        Just a side note: There is no way it is “hormone-free” as all milk has hormones in it. If anything it would be “no hormones added”. As a dairy farmer this confusion is an irritation for me πŸ™‚

  12. Lesley says

    How many times do you fold?

    • That’s what I mean by “knead 7 to 8 times”. Fold it over, flatten and do it again.

      • Stephanie says

        So you basically have a flattened circle then fold in half and flatten back to a circle and repeat? I just made them and did not fold but instead kneaded it and have no flaky layers. Thanks!

        • I am so sorry you didn’t get the layers. I can see how that could be misleading. I’ll edit the instructions. Thanks for letting me know!

  13. Erin says

    Just made these with half whole wheat pastry flour and half all purpose flour. My kids have been subjected to 100% whole wheat everything when we eat at home, and when we go out, they get junky white bread with hydrogenated oils. These are much lighter and flakier than any other biscuit recipe I’ve tried, and hopefully this will convince my family that we can eat “junk food” from home that is both tastier and better for us.

    • Yay! I find that my family does really well with half-and-half. I often do 1/2 ww and 1/2 wh for pasta as well. No complaints there since it’s not too wheaty.

  14. Christian says

    Going to try this in a dumpling recipe that calls for refrigerated biscuits. Trying to avoid pre-processed foods from the grocery store.

  15. Susan says

    I’m going to try these today, but perhaps roll the dough thinly and stack layers…maybe like the pull apart ones. The picture appears to be pull apart layers…how did you accomplish this?

    • It’s the folding of the dough. I’m baking a double batch right now for breakfast. Yum!

  16. Stephanie says

    I know this is an older recipe but I am hoping maybe you’ll answer my question anyways…. lol here goes it. I am trying to make this old football recipe healthier ( http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/cheeseburger-cups). Do you think I can use your recipe in it and finally ditch the canned dough stuff that has more ingredients that I can list or pronounce? Also can I make the dough and throw it in the fridge for a few hours or a day and it still be okay? Any help would be awesome.

  17. Mad Baker says

    I don’t know what kind of lightly floured surface you are working with, out maybe you have magic kneading fingers, either way I don’t have that. I spent about 30 minutes folding my dough and it still was basically soup. I did everything you said, but can’t get close to rolling it out to cut biscuits or of it. I finally got frustrated with it and just the it in my stand mixer. We’ll see how that turns out. Clearly this recipe isn’t for me.

    • That would be very frustrating. I’m sorry to hear you were disappointed. This recipe should not be sticky or wet in any way. Did you use real buttermilk?

  18. kathy says

    Hi I was just wondering probably a dumb question ,but would these be fine to make and refrigerate overnight?

    • I don’t think that’s dumb. I think it would be fine to do, but I haven’t tried it before.

  19. I’m going to try this recipe to add to my chicken dumpling recipe I found yesterday. I prefer to make anything I can versus buy pre-made store bought. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Anna says

    I used this recipe try make homemade hot pockets and it turned out perfectly!

  21. Marlene Overby says

    I would like a recipe similar to the Pillsbury buttermilk biscuits to make monkey bread. My family is going to be very disappointed if we don’t have them for our family get together. Any suggestions??

  22. Yvonne says

    I made these this morning but accidently added a stick of butter 1/2 cup). Luckily I didn’t misread the amount of salt πŸ™‚ These doubled in size and were flaky layers just like the canned ones. I used frozen butter as its easier for me to cut into tiny pieces. I didn’t knead the dough like I would bread dough. I think I usually over work biscuit dough. I patted it out some with my hands then gently rolled it out and folded in thirds like an envelope 3 or 4 times before cutting. I did sift the dry ingredients and put the biscuits in refrigerator while waiting for my oven to get to the right temp. I also didn’t twist the cutter when cutting them, just pushed down and lifted up.

    Definitely making these again. Thank you for the recipe.

  23. Amy Lathrop says

    I tried this today with plain kefir in place of the buttermilk and it turned out great! I was reading your post on homemade buttermilk, and was contemplating ordering the starter for that but since I already make kefir myself, I decided to try it and it worked! Not sure if anyone else would try that substitution but me, but I’ll leave the comment here just in case ?

    • Sounds great! I ran out of my buttermilk due to poor planning, so I’m restarting again. We used half plain yogurt and half milk last night and that sub worked beautifully as well. Glad to know there’s another great sub!

  24. Tiffanie says

    Could I use butter for the tops? I don’t have any half and half.

  25. Valerie Vallet says

    Have you ever used this bisquit dough to make monkey bread? And if so how did it turn out?

  26. Mashelle Inman says

    Just made these. Best recipe for biscuits I have ever used!! Easy and delicious!

  27. Kaycee Walz says

    I want to try these with gluten free flour. Any concerns with this recipe that should make that challenging?

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