Though he was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Brian is a citizen of the world whose background as a flight attendant and career in publishing have allowed him to travel the globe in search of the best baked goods. He’s fallen in love with specialties from France, Portugal, England, and even Japan, but his Southern roots have given him a soft spot for good, old-fashioned Southern biscuits. Rich, buttery, and flaky, Brian’s go-to Buttermilk Biscuits are an ode to the perfect Southern biscuit. White Lily flour is the not-so-secret ingredient, giving them a soft, pillowy crumb that’ll keep you coming back for more.
Get to know Brian
Brian is the editor-in-chief of Bake from Scratch magazine, and also serves as president and chief creative officer of our publishing company, Hoffman Media. Brian first fell in love with baking as a child, learning to bake at his mother’s side, and has been an avid home baker ever since. He founded Bake from Scratch in 2015 to celebrate all things baking, as well as the talented bakers, pastry chefs, and bloggers who make the world of baking such an inspiring and diverse community.
Brian is also the author of The Coupe, which celebrates craft cocktails and vintage collections. Prior to joining the company in 2007, Brian worked in the airline industry, which allowed him to live in six cities throughout the United States and visit all 50 states. His career as a flight attendant instilled a deep love of traveling in him, which he brings to our magazine through recipes and stories inspired by baking culture around the world.
- 3½ cups (438 grams) White Lily All-Purpose Flour
- 2 tablespoons (24 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon (9 grams) kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking soda
- 1¼ cups (284 grams) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 cup (240 grams) whole buttermilk, chilled
- 1 large egg (50 grams), lightly beaten
- Flaked sea salt, for sprinkling
- Softened butter and honey, to serve
- Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, kosher salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Using a pastry blender, cut in cold butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in cold buttermilk until a shaggy dough forms.
- Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat dough into a rectangle, and cut into fourths. Stack each fourth on top of each other, and pat down into a rectangle again. Repeat procedure 3 more times. Pat or roll dough to 1-inch thickness. Using a 2½-inch round cutter dipped in flour, cut dough without twisting cutter, rerolling scraps as necessary. Place biscuits 2 inches apart on prepared pan. Freeze until cold, about 10 minutes. Brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve warm with softened butter and honey.
Love this recipe but I can’t find a whole buttermilk to save my life! Where can one find this unicorn!?
When in doubt, a cup of whole milk with 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice added in will work! The important thing is to get that acidic tang, and both lemon juice and vinegar will give it to you in a pinch. Happy baking!
Ive tried a number of buttermilk biscuit recipes but this one is absolutely the best. I grate the cold butter on a box grater which makes all the difference. The real key though is the rolling, cutting and stacking of the dough. So many beautiful flaky layers!
Just made this recipe tonight & the biscuits were lovely. However, can you explain to me why there are discrepancies in weight measurements between using American tablespoon, teaspoon, etc vs grams.
For example the salt & baking powder both call for 1 tablespoon, but the grams provide for two different weights.
2 tablespoons (24 grams) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon (9 grams) kosher salt
1 tablespoon (15 grams) baking powder
½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking soda
I also ran into this issue w/ the Brooklyn blackout cake last week & was wondering if I’m missing something.
We use gram weight for our volume measurements because each ingredient can weigh differently, helping our baking be more exact. Sugar is heavier than flour, and kosher salt is lighter than the finely powdered baking powder and baking soda. Even though thy fill the same spaces in volume, they will weigh differently each time. We hope this helps!
YES…. I’m totally an American baker…. But I use what the recipe calls for grams, or oz’s because it often times makes THE difference.
Thanks Kyle Grace!
I figured there was a reason behind it, but wasn’t sure. For “smaller” items like salt, baking soda, etc. I like to pull out my measuring spoons, but I tend to weigh most everything else.
So should I be measuring with cups and spoons, or with a scale?
We always suggest using a scale when baking, but you can always use cups and spoon measurements as long as you do the spoon and sweep method so that your flour or other dried ingredients aren’t too tightly packed!
I was excited to try this recipe after searching for White Lily flour. I ultimately had to pay a premuim price on Amazon. The biscuits turned out too salty. After looking at other biscuit recipes the amount of salt is consistently 1 teaspoon. I made them again with less salt and they were perfect.
Yes I’m going to reduce it from one tablespoons and 1 teaspoon when I make it again they were basically an edible but looks so delicious and the consistency was so perfect.
Same with me, to salty. I didn’t have a problem with any part except to much salt.
These biscuits are absolutely delicious. Wow! Best I have ever eaten. So light and fluffy on the inside, and just a bit of light crunch on the outside. So buttery and light. Perfect. I need to work on my technique – I was not very good on the cut and roll outs. Will do better next time. And I halved the salt. Thank you for this recipe.
Are the kosher salt measurements correct? One tablespoon of Morton coarse kosher salt weighs 15 grams on my Cuisinart scale. I agree with Patricia. A tablespoon seems like a lot.
Great question, Valerie! When it comes to salt, the gram measure is the most accurate, and we recommend using a scale when measuring salt for all recipes. The reason for this, is that salt varies by weight across brands and types. For example, Diamond Kosher salt weighs 9 grams/tablespoon and Morton Kosher salt weighs 15 grams. That’s a big difference between the same type of salt. Morton All Purpose sea salt has a tight granule and weighs 18 grams/tablespoon! So you can see that the weight can range up to 100% for the same volumetric measure of salt. When developing this recipe, we used Diamond Crystal Kosher salt (9 grams), but you can use any salt just as long as it weighs 9 grams.
I agree with Patricia. Mine came out salty. I actually wasnt going to add the salt because my usual recipe doesnt call for any.
When Bake from Scratch recipes call for Kosher Salt, what coarseness should I look for in the store? Is there one that is as fine as ordinary table salt? Can is just use table salt in the same weight as the recipe indicates? Thanks!
Thanks for reaching out! We use Diamond brand Kosher salt. It is a larger grain, but it has a characteristic lighter structure. It also dissolves well and incorporates throughout. You can use table or sea salt in the same weight, but we recommend using non-iodized salt so that it does not affect the taste.
I use a whisk to stir air into the flour before measuring, and then gently fill my measure using a spoon, then leveling off.
These were so delicious! My husband is from Alabama and he said that these are the best biscuits that he’s ever had. I took the advice of the one reviewer who said that she freezes her butter and then grates it. That made it really easy to incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients. I skipped the step about putting the biscuits in the freezer and also used regular AP flour (couldn’t find White Lily and didn’t feel like ordering it online) and the biscuits were light and flaky and had a delicious little crispy crunch on the outside.
Also, the person who said that the biscuits were too salty must’ve accidentally used iodized salt and not kosher salt. I followed the recipe exactly and my biscuits were not salty at all.
This one’s a keeper!
No, this recipe calls for all purpose flour, they probably used self rising. Self rising already has he salt and baking power. If you add any salt, it will be too strong. If you use self rising skip he salt an baking powder. If you look at other White Lily recipes that don’t call for salt, it’s because they’re using self rising.
I just ordered my first White Lily flour online for my Thanksgiving baking; self rising and all purpose. I asked White Lily on their Instagram page which is best for biscuits, they replied the self rising is best for biscuits. You use all purpose flour in this recipe, I want to make this recipe as it sounds and looks so good, but how would I modify the baking powder when using the self rising flour in this recipe? Just skip it? Will it have the same results? Thank you in advance!
We have not tested this recipe with self rising, so we can’t tell you how it would turn out. Self-rising flour already contains baking powder and salt, so if you do want to give it a go, I would recommend skipping the baking powder completely and reducing the salt by one teaspoon.
Has anyone ever tried this recipe with the White Lily self rising flour instead of the All Purpose? It’s what I already have on hand. What adjustments would you suggest making? Thanks in advance for the help!
We have not tested this recipe with self-rising, but if you attempt it, I would recommend leaving out the baking powder altogether and reducing the salt by one teaspoon. Let us know if you do give it a try!
My freezer isn’t large enough to accommodate the cookie sheet with biscuits. Can I place them in the fridge til they’re cold?
I am totally in the same boat with you on that one! I have a smaller cookie sheet that I use, then I transfer them back onto the larger sheet pan before baking. You also use any platter that might fit your freezer. Hope this helps, and happy baking!
Why do my biscuits tip over?
Thanks for reaching out! It’s hard to say without seeing how they topple, but it sounds like either the ingredients aren’t cold enough or the biscuits were cut too thick. Make sure that the butter and buttermilk are as cold as you can get them, and that you are cutting to a 1-inch thickness. You can even put your bowl of flour in the freezer for several minutes before you start if you live in a warm environment. Also, when handling biscuit dough, be careful not to overwork the dough, which will lead to the development of too much gluten. It’s possible that overworked dough can cause the biscuits to rise irregularly.
I have now made this recipe twice (you have to be able to replicate the data, right?) and both times it turned out perfectly. Super delicate, gorgeous layers, and incredibly tasty. I have finally figured out biscuits!!
Tried this recipe earlier today and it is a keeper! I made it exactly as noted except I lifted the frozen butter trick, slicing it out on a mandolin instead of grating it. I did still pop the uncooked cut out biscuits in the freezer tho. I never like my biscuits and these had me enthralled…. 😀 Amazing w Steens.
Wonderful! Thanks for the mandolin tip 🙂
These were phenomenal! The only changes I made were to use a food processor for cutting in the butter to reduce handling time and used less salt.
These biscuits are amazing; tall, perfectly balanced, and very buttery. I made the recipe exactly as stated weighing all of the ingredients and the biscuits came out perfectly. My new favorite!
Terrific recipe! This is the third recipe I’ve tried for buttermilk biscuits (and I’ve read many more). Even bought the pastry blender. I will not be looking for another recipe. This is the one. Thank you!
I just made these with white lily self-rising flour. They are easily the best biscuits I’ve ever made.
I did not use baking powder, and I only used 3 grams of diamond crystal kosher salt.
Thank you for the wonderful review! We are so happy you loved the biscuits!
Forgot the stars…
I made these by hand instead of my usual processor. They flattened and spread while baking so they were not high and flaky. Perhaps, I didn’t cut in the butter into small enough pieces? Also, I used sea salt instead of Kosher salt and did not salt the tops. They were way too salty.
Excellent recipe – wish I could leave a photo! Just returned home to the Inland Northwest from our annual trip South. Picked up 10 pounds of White Lily for $5 so I could try this recipe. Couldn’t be more pleased! Thank you.
Oh sweet wonders of wonders… I am sitting here with the extras in front of me willing more space in my tummy. Perfection and gasp, they actually look like the photo (except for 1 biscuit who rose like the elephant toothpaste experiment – guess I need to mix better). Everything light fluffy and beyond delicious. Found new school day breakfast for picky kid. Used the butter box grater trick – genius, and had to make my own buttermilk with the vinegar fix. Make this recipe.
Best biscuits ever. I have tried (and failed) with so many recipes. These came out so perfect and tasty that I just couldn’t believe that I finally had success. Hurrah! Husband, grandchildren, and even son-in-law were impressed.
How do I make these ahead of time? Do I freeze the raw dough after forming into biscuits?
Thank you for your question! After cutting out your biscuits, arrange them on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze. When frozen solid, transfer the biscuits to a freezer bag and mark it with the date and baking instructions. These should keep frozen for up to 2 months.
Also, note that they may take a little longer to bake if frozen for an extended period of time.
Hope this helps, and happy baking!
I have tried multiple biscuit recipes recently and none of them produced a light, fluffy, flaky biscuit like my mom always makes. I was told by several people that White Lily flour was the secret and I have to say I agree. I can only find WL self rising where I live and it works great! I omitted the baking powder and since I only had salted butter, I omitted that too. I also cubed the butter and incorporated it using my food processor. This method has yielded wonderful results repeatedly. The egg whites on top give these biscuits a perfect golden finish. I will not try any other recipes…this is the one!!!!!
Fantastic biscuit recipe! Now my go to recipe!
Wonderful light and flakey biscuits. I Used Lily White flour for the first-time in baking biscuits. I am astonished how much lighter they are. Thank you for a great recipe.
I’ve made these twice. Second time I doubled the recipe and both times I got the best biscuits I have ever had. I don’t see me making any other recipe in the future.