Baking Powder Biscuits Article -
Add a Comment

Baking Powder Biscuits

Making great biscuits is easy. It's all about technique.

There are drop biscuits…and then there are flaky cut-out biscuits. They're made from briefly kneaded dough, patted flat and cut with a biscuit cutter.

For tender, tasty results, handle the dough as little as possible.

Basic Biscuits

Most biscuit recipes are variations on the same theme: flour, fat, milk or buttermilk, baking powder, and salt. It's how the ingredients are put together that really matters.

I used the Basic Biscuits recipe.

Cutting in the fat

You can use your hands or a food processor to cut the butter into the flour mixture, but I like using a pastry blender. It's a very low-tech tool that kind of resembles four curved dull blades attached to a handle. Unlike pie dough, you don't need to use ice-cold ingredients to make biscuits--another reason why they're quick to make.

    Crumbly dry mix

    The recipe states, "Cut in shortening with fork or pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs." You want to have a fairly homogenous mixture, rather than having large flakes of butter visible in the flour. If you squeeze some of the flour-fat mixture in your hands, it'll form a ball.

      Sticky wet mix

      After adding the milk (or soured milk, or buttermilk, or half plain yogurt and half milk stirred together), mix the dough just until it's combined. You don't want to overwork it.

        On the work surface

        Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and dust the dough with flour, too. At this point, you're going to do a little quick kneading--not enough to form a tough gluten structure, but enough to work some flour into the dough and help form layers in your flaky biscuits.

          Folding the dough

          Pat the dough flat, sprinkle it with a little more flour, and fold it in half. Turn the dough 45 degrees, and give it another sprinkle of flour and a fold. Repeat once or twice more.

            ...And patting it out

            I don't bother with a rolling pin; I just give the dough a couple of pats until it's about a half-inch thick.

            Now, here's the important step: You need to use a biscuit cutter, a sharp knife, or a pizza wheel to cut your biscuits. (A jelly jar or juice glass is just too dull; part of what makes biscuits puff up as they bake is the sharp, clean edges of the dough.)

            Arrange the biscuits on a baking sheet. Gather up your scraps, gently squeeze them into a ball, and pat the dough flat again to cut out more biscuits.

              Brush with milk

              I like to brush the surface of the biscuits with milk or egg wash before baking, for a little deeper color.

              • Bake the biscuits in a hot oven until the bottoms, not the tops, are a golden brown--if you rely on the color of the tops of the biscuits, they're likely to get too dark.

                Ready to eat

                Serve with butter and jam, honey, or sausage gravy.

                Oct. 25, 2009 10:32 pm
                Very Helpful, Thanks!
                Oct. 26, 2009 7:30 am
                Sounds very good, but where is the recipe? pg
                Oct. 26, 2009 12:04 pm
                What adjustments should be made for high altitude?
                Oct. 26, 2009 6:11 pm
                no recipe?
                Oct. 27, 2009 11:27 am
                Hi Pam and Raymond. The recipe I used is at the top of the page. Click on the red-lettered underlined "Basic Biscuits" text, and that will take you to the recipe page. :)
                Oct. 28, 2009 7:27 pm
                wow I learned a lot from this thx! ^^
                Nov. 5, 2009 8:30 am
                There are some helpful tips here. Thanks a lot. I hope my next batch turns out as good as a professional baker.
                Dec. 10, 2009 11:14 pm
                I can't wait to try this but I know the best biscuits are made with the human touch!
                Dec. 13, 2009 10:37 am
                I followed your steps to the letter and I have never made biscuits so flaky.I used the basic biscuit recipe.Thank You!!
                Jan. 10, 2010 9:10 am
                These biscuits were great. My family can't wait for me to make more!! I really appreciated all of the tips from other member ~ Very helpful ~ Thanks!!
                Feb. 4, 2010 10:07 pm
                Even though the butter doesn't have to be cold, I freeze mine and use a box grater (larger holes). It's fast with good distribution and a lot easier than knives or pastry cutters. Good for pie crusts too.
                Donna Sexton 
                May 5, 2010 4:26 am
                Sounds good but could not get the recipe! Help!
                May 5, 2010 5:28 am
                Click on the lettering to the right of the picture of ingredients. It actually shows in blue on my page.
                May 5, 2010 5:36 am
                on the biscuits what temp. do you bake them, and do you pre heat oven.Also do you put oil in your pan are flip the biscuits themself in oil.
                mary b. 
                May 5, 2010 5:40 am
                I could not find the recipe for the biscuits. Love your recipes ,they are the best.
                pam glisson 
                May 5, 2010 7:07 am
                Can't find article to copy,web address(URL)?? I am not a whiz with computer. I need some help please. Thank You Pam
                May 5, 2010 12:34 pm
                Hi, Go to the very top of your page where the web address is and copy it. Here it is if you can't do that:
Then go to your recipes and add it.
                May 9, 2010 11:06 pm
                These are just basic tips that will help with any recipe. Things my grandmother did and I forgot but now that I am a MEMA, I want to do for my grandbabies!!! THANK-YOU for the tips
                Jun. 2, 2010 4:20 pm
                I'm biscuit-phobic after a really terrible attempt may yrs ago, however I have fond memories of my mom's biscuits she made fresh every morning so am going to give this another try. I am confused about the step listed above where you say to lightly knead. Is the folding you describe in the next section what I might call kneading? I suspect my one and only attempt workrd the dough too much. Tks, Jennifer
                Jun. 16, 2010 6:20 pm
                first time I bake them. Came out very good and flaky. My husband love them, he told me make no changes, "they are just right".
                Jun. 25, 2010 6:03 am
                thanks for the pics..always helpful to see it first! just like mom used to make :)
                Aug. 21, 2010 11:33 am
                oh my, I don't believe this! So glad to see this. I used to make the best biscuits in the world. But grew up in the Northwest, and the cooking here is NOT like the beautiful Southern States. That is, Tenn and Ga. My wonderful Mother-in=law taught me how to make biscuits that would melt in your mouth. But, guys, you use Crisco in the dough, and a cast iron pan to bake them in. With melted bacon grease in the bottom. Then dip your biscuits in the grease, turn them and dip the other side. THAT my friends really makes the most delicious biscuits in the world. Yes, bacon grease is not healthy...but you don't eat them every day. And always use CAST IRON to bake them. Don't forget to heat the pan with the grease b/4 dipping the biscuits. Preheat the oven b/4 baking. 400 degrees and watch the TOPS to be light golden brown.
                chef kay 
                Nov. 8, 2010 2:14 pm
                where is the recipe
                Nov. 14, 2010 8:12 am
                Butter milk is best for biscuits and the more I fold them the more flaky they were.
                Nov. 14, 2010 8:49 am
                Thanks for all the good advice! I like the grated butter idea from a reviewer as well. That sausage gravy sounds yum...
                Nov. 17, 2010 3:12 pm
                I use the grating blade on my food processor to grate the frozen margarine or butter (and cheese, if using). I then add the grated ingredients to the dry ingredients in a big bowl. I gently incorporate the two using my hands. Saves me a lot of work!
                Nov. 29, 2010 7:03 pm
                I LOVE IT
                Dec. 8, 2010 7:38 pm
                Can I freeze these biscuits and bake them as I need them?
                Feb. 14, 2011 1:49 am
                Can you use water instead of milk?
                Mar. 23, 2011 5:47 am
                This is just the recipe I've been looking for. It's so close to what my Grandmother use to bake! I'm going to try it right away. Thanks for this recipe. Chuck
                Apr. 7, 2011 6:23 am
                Sorry,but 1-what type of pan is used? 1-Do I butter the pan? 2-what is the degree set on Preheat or what oven,rack? 3--Do you use butter to make sure the bisquits do not stick? 4--How much dough is ued for a small amount? 5- how much flour do you need? 6-can you make a small amount? 7-need amounts explained for regular Bisquicks? type} until I get Bisquick} Please,I mean I used to make them,but forgot,exactly so you left out a few important directions,Directions that are necessary..thaey may be easy but I need to be refamilarized again,thanks!
                Sharon Toji 
                Apr. 16, 2011 6:34 am
                My mother was such a famous biscuit baker that when Fisher's first invented biscuit mix they offered it to her free if she would advertise that she used it in my folk's restaurant. (She refused.) A major secret to her biscuits was that they were square. That way, you never have to pat out the dough more than once. You pat the dough lightly into a sort of square shape, turn and fold four to eight times to form the flaky layers, then cut with a sharp knife into eight pr sixteen pieces depending on the size of your recipe and the size biscuits you want. She added a little sugar and cut large squares for delicious fresh strawberry shortcake. I discovered a recipe to make the biscuits with oil rather than shortening. You pour the milk and shortening together into a measuring cup, make a well in the mixture of flour, baking powder and salt, and stir in with a large fork using a circular motion until the flour leaves the sides of the bowl. Every one of my children was taught to mak
                Jun. 10, 2011 2:58 pm
                I grew up in the eastern part of Canada ( New Brunswick ) and I loved my grandmothers biscuits.I made them for years and then for some reason stopped--but when I tried to make them again--they didn't turn out so good :( I love hot biscuits and butter ( or margarine) and molasses instead of jam--but I must agree--biscuits are definitely "comfort food" for me--they are good with baked beans too :)I'll try again with this recipe and it will be nice to have "MY" biscuits again.Thanks so much--I love most of your recipes and my new husband loves the oatmeal raisin cookie recipe I got from you :)
                Jun. 10, 2011 3:07 pm
                I have copied this biscuit recipe-- and will make them-- but I'm wondering if any of you have a recipe that I got from a friend a long time ago --she has passed on so I can't get it again from her :( .She made biscuits that were sort of like a cake batter --they were called cheese biscuits and she half filled muffin tins and baked them that way--sort of like a cheese muffin but they were biscuits--I would love to have this recipe again if any of you have it-- not sure how you can send it to me unless you have access to my e-mail address--but would greatly appreciate it if I can get it --thanks
                Aug. 18, 2011 12:10 am
                This recipe was what my Grandma made for years. I remember watching her mix everything by hand to make the biggest, most gorgeous & delicious drop biscuits. Thanks for sharing & making me smile.
                Retired Air Force Guy 
                Nov. 11, 2011 4:38 pm
                I've used several size vegetable cans as biscuit cutters. Use one of those side-opening can openers and remove the top and bottom of the can -- no sharp edges this way. I dip the cutting end in flour as this keeps any dough from sticking and also make a clean cut, not pushed down, biscuit every time. It's an instant cutter that will last you for many years.
                Dec. 27, 2011 3:08 am
                After wondering for a long time what 'biscuits' were (I'm English, now living in Australia), this recipe prompted me to look them up.. I was amused to see that American 'biscuits' are what the English (and Australians) call scones! Not only that, the yummy sounding 'Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuits' recipe elsewhere on Allrecipes is commonly called a 'Cobbler' in England, made with fruit and sweet biscuits/scones or with meat'n'veg and herbed or cheese scones.. Me mum used to make a wonderful Apple cobbler with sultana and nutmeg scones.. Thanks for the reminder. :-)
                Jan. 31, 2012 10:57 pm
                No recipe there.
                Feb. 2, 2012 6:14 am
                Looking very helpful, Sounds good but could not get the recipe! Help!
                Feb. 4, 2012 7:09 am
                Am wondering if Lyn_Sushi is willing to share the apple cobbler with sultana and nutmeg!
                Marti Insko Moon River B & B 
                Feb. 19, 2012 11:19 pm
                I run and bed and breakfast and also teach H.S. culinary classes. Biscuits are all about the method and everyone loves a great biscuit! I have had success in freezing precut biscuits. Just let them thaw for 10 minutes or so prior to baking. Regarding the questions about the pan. I give the baking sheet a light spray of oil and bake at 400 or 375 convection. Don't make the biscuits too thin. They get too dry. Also a short cut- I in essence make my own bicquick by mixing all of the dry ingredients together and I store that in the ref. Then all I have to do is pull out what I need and add buttermilk. I always use buttermilk - much better flavor. Also kneading and folding are two totally different techniques. Only fold over the dough about 6 times, more starts to act like kneading and glutin will form and biscuits will not be soft. If you like softer biscuits, try placing them closer together in the pan. I'm going to try the cast iron skillet/ bacon drippings idea = sounds wond
                May 6, 2012 5:04 am
                Can any of the gluten free flours be used with success in these biscuits?
                May 6, 2012 10:44 am
                Would love to have the receipt I would love to try these Thanks
                Jul. 27, 2012 4:03 pm
                thanx that was very helpful!
                Jul. 31, 2012 6:44 am
                I got the recipe for the baking mix.Then figured out measurement for one batch.The biscuits were great! Just what my sausage gravy needed.Thank you so much.
                Dec. 6, 2012 7:26 am
                I have no lard, can I use oil in a pinch? More or less
                Jul. 13, 2013 8:44 am
                I have been trying to figure out why my biscuits are flat and hard on the bottom....I have been watching for brown tops and cutting with a glass. geez..gonna try to follow these tips...... thx!
                Jul. 27, 2013 6:19 am
                the recipe is the link next to the picture.. words will say "basic bisquits" . Yes, it's a little confusing
                Jan. 10, 2014 1:32 pm
                Thank you! These steps really helped my biscuits, which seemed to always come out kind of hard. Now they are amazing.
                Feb. 11, 2014 4:55 am
                plz tell me if i want to add sugar what shall i do ..i mean how much sugar i can use
                Subscribe Today!

                In Season

                Not The Same Old Chicken
                Not The Same Old Chicken

                We have so many top-rated chicken recipes, you'll never run out of dinner ideas again.

                Slow Cooker Time Savers
                Slow Cooker Time Savers

                Imagine dinner making itself in the slow cooker while you relax or do other things.

                Subscribe Today! Only $7.99
                Subscribe Today! Only $7.99

                Delicious recipes, party ideas, and cooking tips! Get a year of Allrecipes magazine for $7.99!

                Related Videos

                E-Z Drop Biscuits

                See how to make quick-and-easy drop biscuits from scratch.

                How to Make Cream Biscuits

                These light and flaky cream biscuits are so easy it's practically cheating.

                Basic Biscuits

                See how easy it is to make fluffy, flaky homemade biscuits.

                Most Popular Blogs

                Read our blog

                Recently Viewed Recipes

                You haven't looked at any recipes lately. Get clicking!
                Quick Links: Recipe Box | Shopping List | More »
                Argentina  |  Australia & New Zealand  |  Brazil  |  Canada  |  China  |  France  |  Germany  |  India  |  Italy  |  Japan  |  Korea  |  Mexico

                Netherlands  |  Poland  |  Quebec  |  Russia  |  SE Asia  |  United Kingdom & Ireland  |  United States