All-Purpose Biscuits Recipe (2024)

By Sam Sifton

Updated Nov. 13, 2023

All-Purpose Biscuits Recipe (1)

Total Time
1 hour
Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
55 minutes
Read community notes

Homemade biscuits are what take us into the kitchen today to cook: fat, flaky mounds of quick bread, golden brown, with a significant crumb. Composed of flour, baking powder, fat and a liquid, then baked in a hot oven, they are an excellent sop for syrup, molasses or honey. They are marvelous layered with country ham or smothered in white sausage gravy, with eggs, with grits. They make a great Thanksgiving side. And if you've never made them before, you'll be delighted to know that biscuits are easy to make. Really.

Featured in: A Quest for New York’s Perfect Biscuit

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Yield:6 to 8 servings

  • 2cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2tablespoons baking powder
  • 1scant tablespoon sugar
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 5tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, preferably European style
  • 1cup whole milk

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (8 servings)

204 calories; 8 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 2 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 grams polyunsaturated fat; 28 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram dietary fiber; 3 grams sugars; 4 grams protein; 287 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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All-Purpose Biscuits Recipe (2)


Make the recipe with us

  1. Step


    Preheat oven to 425. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Transfer to a food processor. Cut butter into pats and add to flour, then pulse 5 or 6 times until the mixture resembles rough crumbs. (Alternatively, cut butter into flour in the mixing bowl using a fork or a pastry cutter.) Return dough to bowl, add milk and stir with a fork until it forms a rough ball.

  2. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and pat it down into a rough rectangle, about an inch thick. Fold it over and gently pat it down again. Repeat two more times. Cover the dough loosely with a kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.

  3. Step


    Gently pat out the dough some more, so that the rectangle is roughly 10 inches by 6 inches. Cut dough into biscuits using a floured biscuit cutter (or even a glass, though its duller edge may result in slightly less tall biscuits). Do not twist cutter when cutting; this crimps the edges of the biscuit and impedes its rise.

    All-Purpose Biscuits Recipe (3)
  4. Step


    Place biscuits on a cookie sheet and bake until golden brown, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.



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Cooking Notes


No, please don't turn the oven on to 425 degrees as your first step. No need to waste energy while you let the biscuits rest for 30 minutes!


Freeze the butter and then grate it. Use a fork to mix up the dough. Works like a charm and no need to wash the bowl of a food processor!


I'm 78, Southern and these were the best biscuits I've ever made. Probably because I followed the recipe and used 2 tablespoons of baking powder.
Geez and from and a Yankee!


Many of the notes here raise questions or concerns about the amount of baking powder. Everyone should know that baking powder formulations vary from brand to brand. Go to your supermarket and read the ingredients. The products that use aluminum salts in their formulation are likely the ones that result in an unpleasant flavor. Also see Wikipedia article on Baking Powder.


Needed only 3/4 cup milk. Mixed dough before bedtime, wrapped in plastic and refrigerated 8 hours.
Baked for breakfast. They rose to twice their original height, crunchy bottom and top, tender crumb, scrumptious. I think the dough "matured" in the fridge overnight, and so the baked product had less of the raw flour taste that I usually get with my quick breads.


Great recipe that makes for a very light and flaky biscuit, plus is very flexible.
- I did not find 2 Tbsp of baking powder excessive.
- The 30 minute resting period can be skipped if time's short, but it really improves the final texture.
- Works both as rounds and squares -- but squares rise "lopsided" since one or two of the sides won't be cut.
- Buttermilk substitutes nicely for the milk, no baking soda needed.
- Have also swapped a bit of white flour with whole wheat. Also delicious!


Instead of cutting in the butter, I've been using a simple technique I read about for getting the butter worked into the dough. Try melting the butter, either over low heat or low power in the microwave, then pour it into the cup of very cold milk. It will reform in smallish chunks that work into the dough very well.


"European style" here in the US means imported butter that has a higher butterfat content than we ordinarily get with domestic butter. (which means more flavor). European brands I see here include Plugra, Lurpak, Presidente and Kerrygold, if that helps.


I pat that rectangle out on the cookie sheet and then, with a sharp knife, cut square biscuits. I don't saw them to cut, as Sam indicates this will impede their rising. I lay the blade on top and press down through the dough.
This way, no re-rolling scraps of dough.
And since the NYTimes health section has informed us to "stop fearing fat"......., melt some bacon grease, shortening or butter. Make sure it's not hot. Dip each biscuit in the extra fat before baking. Double yum.

Gael C

I have tried these several times and this recipe hasn't failed me yet! Key not twist the biscuit cutter! I like to place my biscuits in a 8 or 9 inch round cake pan so the sides of the biscuits touch each helps them rise and the sides are soft. Great recipe!


I will never understand the use of a Cuisnart in making a biscuit or pie dough for that matter. However, unless you're putting out the biscuits for the Queen, one can simply gather the left-over pieces together and push them into crooked little mounds and bake. The 2nd best advice I received for biscuits was to never roll the dough out twice.


Hey--what's with this "cover the dough and allow it to rest for 30 minutes??" Are you kidding? Cut those puppies and pop them right into the oven at 425 degrees F and watch them head for the sky. Why take such a simple recipe and complicate it?

Regular old American unsalted butter works just fine. So does 1% milk or whatever kind you have in the fridge. Start with 2/3 cups and work your way up, as the dough requires.

2 T of baking powder?? Ewww.... See comment below.


to take this recipe to a new level of perfection. Take about 4-6 ozs. of sharp cheddar cheese, cut it into 1/4 inch squares (more or less) and mix them into the flour before you add the milk. Do not use the food processor to add the milk, use a spoon or fork to mix. When the biscuits are done, the cheese will have melted throughout and you will swoon with pleasure.


I prefer Strawberry Shortcake made with biscuits. These are perfect with a little more sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon of gr. coriander. yum!

As a basic biscuit they were perfect.


I saw this recipe and and five minutes later I was in the kitchen looking for the ingredients and pre-heating the oven. I think the recipe is forgiving-I used 4 Tsp aluminum free baking powder, no sugar, and just used a fork (no food processor) to cut the butter into the flour. I used 2/3 cup half & half instead of milk (what I had on hand)! I kneaded the dough, pressed it out by hand, and cut into squares with a knife. I am having them with honey and tea right now and they taste delicious!


I made these this morning and they were delicious. I accidentally missed the step where I was supposed to fold the dough over a couple of times. As a result, they were pretty flat. However, the two that I made from the leftover scraps, were tall and fluffy, which was more ideal, of course.


Super easy and tasty recipe. I’ve made these three times and the biscuits always come out perfect. I recommend setting your over rack a little higher than the middle (assuming your oven heats from hot coils on the bottom) so that the bottoms of your biscuits don’t cook too fast. Having a perfect biscuit with a burnt bottom is never fun.


I’ve tried a few times to make biscuits and they’ve never quite worked. These were great.- nice rise. I would make them again. I actually tried this recipe twice. The first time I mistakenly added baking soda, not powder. They looked nice yet the flavor was horrible, as to be expected. At a minimum it was an interesting science experiment.


Needs a tad more salt! It’ll be wet.

Skyler A.

I left out the sugar and held back some of the milk based on how wet the dough felt and they came out great. Very basic and trusty biscuit recipe:)


I don't know -- I've had really great biscuits and I'm still on the search for that perfect recipe!I made these exactly as directed, and then with buttermilk. No difference. I used brand-new baking powder, but the loft was the same as my older baking powder. I used a sharp biscuit cutter, but these still didn't have the loft I want. They are generally soft, without a nice crisp outside and tender inside.These are best eaten the same day for best flavor.


Used buttermilk, goofed and forgot to let dough rest but turned out great nonetheless. Flipped oven to convection for last 5 minutes for better browning.


Very good biscuits! Personally I will add a little more salt and more butter next time. While the biscuits were delicious and rose nicely, they were a little dry and bland for my taste. Adding some salted butter when consuming could be a good solution as well.

Julie KN

I usually make the Scott Peaco*ck/Edna Lewis recipe (also on this site) because to me it seems like the gold standard. I tried this recipe to switch things up. These biscuits are tasty, but tbh, the Peaco*ck/Lewis biscuits are just as easy and far superior. I do not understand laminating biscuit dough. You get a lighter, more fluffy, tender biscuit without it. It seems to be a chef-y thing that emerged in the last few decades. Doeanyone have insight? Is there a history of laminating biscuit dough?


Absolutely fantastic recipe that requires no adjustments. Sam Shifton KNOWS what he is doing. Trust the recipe. Thank you.

CC Baker

Good simple recipe to make with kids, really great recipe. Instead of a biscuit cutter, I cut into squares with a sharp knife.

abbie s

Made as written, although I doubled the recipe, it made 13 3” round biscuits.I brushed them with melted butter before baking. They took a while to brown, baked about 18 minutes, I might try upping to 450° while keeping a close eye on them.Delicious and softly flaky!


Too wet and too sweet.


I don't know what I did; while these were light and delicate, they had a dumpling-like texture rather than a flaky interior with a crisp crust. I baked them on a pot pie, but I do that all the time with biscuits from other recipes.


Tried and trusted. I've made this multiple times they always turn out wonderful! I do freezer and grate my butter.

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All-Purpose Biscuits Recipe (2024)


What is the secret to a good biscuit? ›

There are several secrets to good biscuits:
  • Use a good recipe.
  • Measure carefully (flour is compressible). ...
  • Used chilled ingredients. ...
  • Use a flour made from soft wheat if you can. ...
  • Cut the fat (butter, shortening or both) into the flour with a pastry cutter until the pieces of fat are pea sized.
Apr 27, 2021

Is all purpose flour better for biscuits? ›

This flour has too much protein to be used well in cakes, cookies, biscuits and pie doughs. all-purpose flour – this flour has plenty of gluten developing protein (10-12%), but not as much as bread flour, which makes it more suitable for many cakes, cookies, biscuits and pie dough.

What are the 5 steps to the biscuit method? ›

Making biscuits is basically composed of seven steps:
  1. Mix some dry ingredients.
  2. "Cut" in some fat.
  3. Mix in some liquid.
  4. Knead the dough.
  5. Roll out the dough.
  6. Cut biscuits.
  7. Bake.

What are the 2 most important steps when making biscuits? ›

The two keys to success in making the best biscuits are handling the dough as little as possible as well as using very cold solid fat (butter, shortening, or lard) and cold liquid. When the biscuits hit the oven, the cold liquid will start to evaporate creating steam which will help our biscuits get very tall.

What not to do when making biscuits? ›

5 Mistakes You're Making With Your Biscuits
  1. Mistake #1: Your butter is too warm.
  2. Mistake #2: You're using an inferior flour.
  3. Mistake #3: You use an appliance to mix your batter.
  4. Mistake #4: You don't fold the dough enough.
  5. Mistake #5: You twist your biscuit cutter.
Feb 1, 2019

What makes homemade biscuits taste better? ›

Buttermilk adds a tangy flavor to the biscuits and makes them slightly more tender. Butter: We use salted European butter in this recipe. It will work with unsalted or salted butter. I like the extra saltiness of salted butter, but you can reduce the salt to 3/4 teaspoon if you prefer.

Which liquid makes the best biscuits? ›

Just as important as the fat is the liquid used to make your biscuits. Our Buttermilk Biscuit recipe offers the choice of using milk or buttermilk. Buttermilk is known for making biscuits tender and adding a zippy tang, so we used that for this test.

Does sifting flour make biscuits better? ›

The solution: Use half cake flour and half all-purpose flour. This combination will give you a biscuit with light and airy interior with a pleasant, satisfying bite on the outside. Also, sifting the flour and other dry ingredients will give you a smoother, airier dough.

What kind of flour do Southerners use for biscuits? ›

White Lily brand flour, especially the self-rising flour, is the gold standard among Southern cooks who make biscuits on a regular basis. White lily, self rising. I use it for everything except those thing I make using either cake flour or yeast. If I'm using yeast I use King Arthur flours.

Is it better to use milk or buttermilk in biscuits? ›

What's the Difference Between Buttermilk Biscuits and Regular Biscuits? As the names might suggest, regular biscuits do not contain buttermilk, while these do. Regular biscuits are typically prepared with milk or water instead. Buttermilk adds a nice tang to the biscuit flavor and helps them rise better.

How can I get my biscuits to rise higher? ›

Bake them close to each other.

Biscuits are an exception to this rule: Placing them close to one another on your baking sheet actually helps them push each other up, as they impede each other from spreading outward and instead puff up skywards.

Which is better for biscuits butter or shortening? ›

However, I do like the height and tenderness shortening lends in cookies. That's why I would suggest using 50% butter and 50% shortening – or some similar combination – to get the best of both worlds if you're baking cookies. However, when it comes to pie crust and biscuits, I prefer 100% butter.

What is the basic biscuit formula? ›

The basic formula is as follows: 2 cups AP flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 6 tablespoons butter, 1/2 cup milk—and the add-in(s) of your choice. I'm giving you two savory options. The red is a sun-dried tomato and cheddar biscuit with paprika and a touch of cayenne.

Should you use cold butter when making biscuits? ›

The cold chunks of butter are important because as they melt into the biscuit while baking they create tiny pockets of steam that puffs and lifts the dough. These pockets turn into that beautiful light and flaky texture we crave with biscuits.

How long should you knead biscuit dough? ›

DO NOT OVERMIX. Dough will not be completely smooth. Gather dough into a ball and knead on lightly floured surface quickly and gently, about 6 to 8 times, just until no longer sticky. The kneading is meant only to flatten the pieces of fat into flakes, not to blend fat completely with the flour.

What is the most important step in biscuit making? ›

Mixing. The multi-stage mixing method is preferred for its ability to produce consistent doughs which are not fully developed. Blending all dry ingredients to rub or cut the shortening into the flour until fat is fully distributed and pea-sized lumps are visible.

Are biscuits better with butter or shortening? ›

The butter version rises the highest — look at those flaky layers! The shortening biscuit is slightly shorter and a bit drier, too. Butter contains a bit of water, which helps create steam and gives baked goods a boost.

Why are my biscuits not light and fluffy? ›

The biscuit mix itself is a simple combination of all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. For light and fluffy biscuits, steer clear of any flour made from 100% hard red wheat; this style is relatively low in starch and high in protein, readily forming gluten in a high-moisture dough.

What is the secret to high rising biscuits? ›

Cut off uneven edges and put these scraps to the side; clean cuts on all sides will encourage rise. Pat scraps together to make 1 odd-shaped ninth biscuit.

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