Big, fluffy, flaky, buttery biscuits. Still hot from the oven, melting with butter and whatever else you like—honey, gravy, we don’t judge.
What could be better than all of those golden brown, buttery layers—never heavy or hard, always soft and delicious—unless it’s the cannabis-infused version?
In this post, we’ll show you how to make the best damn buttermilk biscuits possible, from scratch, in very little time, and we’ll also show you how to make those buttermilk biscuits infused with cannabis joy. From there, it’s up to you whether to serve them with Fried Chicken, Infused Biscuits and Gravy, for the base of Strawberry Shortcake, as a side to any number of other meals—or whether to just eat them, still warm, standing over the sink so the butter doesn’t drip on the floor.
The Best Buttermilk Biscuits
Here’s how to make them.
Remember, even if you skip all of our tips and questions below, the most important part to making buttermilk biscuits is using ice cold butter and buttermilk. The buttermilk should also be straight from the refrigerator. Don’t leave either of these ingredients sitting on the counter while you’re working.
Cold pieces of butter in the dough melt the oven, creating pockets of steam. That is a huge part of what gives the best biscuits that light, soft, airy texture.
Aim to cut the ice cold butter into the dry ingredients just until you see small crumbs the size of peas. When you do, it’s time to add your buttermilk and mix just until the dough comes together.
I keep at least one stick of butter in the freezer at all times, mostly for pie crust and biscuits, and these days I also keep some cannabutter there too!
- 2 tablespoons baking powder (yes, really)
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- ½ cup or 1 stick ice cold or frozen cannabutter, in ½-inch pieces (you can adjust the ratio if you want)
- ½ cup or 1 stick ice cold, unsalted butter, in ½-inch pieces, plus additional melted butter for brushing tops of biscuits
- 1 cup ice cold buttermilk (use infused buttermilk if you want to)
- 1 egg, beaten
- Optional: flaky salt for sprinkling
1. Preheat oven to 425°. In a food processor, pulse salt, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and 3 and ½ cups of flour (all of it except for the extra for dusting) just to combine. If you don’t have a food processor, mix these in a large bowl.
2. Add cannabutter and butter and pulse the food processor—don’t just mix, be careful—until largest chunks are about the size of a pea. If you’re not using the food processor, cut in the cannabutter and butter with a pastry cutter or fork to “flake” it.
3. Whisk together the beaten egg and the buttermilk just before adding to the dry ingredients.
4. Move the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Mixing with a fork, gradually add the egg and buttermilk to incorporate. Knead gently in the bowl, just a few times, until a dry-looking, shaggy dough forms. Transfer the dough onto a clean, floured surface. Pat it into square about 1″-thick with your hands.
5. (Creating multiple flaky layers in the dough comes from cutting, layering, and folding, similar to any other lamination process, such as when you make croissants or other pastry. Never skip these steps.) Cut the dough into 4 square pieces with a knife. Stack the pieces and gently press them down into a rectangle. Flip the dough and dust the surface with flour.
6. Fold one side of the rectangle into the center, and then the other, as if you were folding the dough like a brochure. Turn the folded dough, flatten it again, and repeat twice. (If your dough gets too warm or sticky at any point, put it into the freezer for 10 minutes before continuing.) You will do the folding and turning brochure thing three times total.
7. Roll biscuit dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. You can use a cutter, but then you have to reroll scraps, which is less than ideal. Instead, we like to just cut the rectangle into squares. Whatever you use to cut, don’t twist it.
8. Move biscuits to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Space them 2″ apart just for freezing, and allow them to set in the freezer for 10 minutes so they won’t lose their shape in the oven.
9. Out of the freezer, rearrange your biscuits to touch for baking if you like them that way. See our notes below on spacing.
10. Brush the biscuit tops with melted butter. Put the tray or skillet (whatever you ultimately use to bake them) into the oven. Reduce the temperature to 400°F and bake about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden on top and a deep golden brown on bottom.
What Are Biscuits?
Don’t get it twisted if you’re outside of the US. We mean our buttermilk biscuits, a local delight and heritage bread.
In the US, biscuits are like a dinner roll without yeast, making them flakier and denser. This also makes them a kind of quick bread, using baking powder, baking soda, or both as the rising agent. So these are not the scones or cookies that folks in other parts of the world call biscuits.
How to Make Perfect Biscuits
There is plenty of method to this result. When it comes to homemade buttermilk biscuits, these tried-and-true techniques will ensure you avoid those hopeless hockey pucks my mom made (true story) and help you produce the best, flakiest, most tender biscuits ever:
Cold Fat. It’s icy cold butter (and cannabutter) that creates the steamy pockets and flaky layers in buttermilk biscuits. During the baking process, little pieces of butter melt and release steam, forcing tiny air pockets into the bread. This is what makes the biscuits taste airy and light, and helps lend them a bit of a crispy crust.
Fresh Ingredients. Most people don’t think about stuff like baking soda and baking powder going bad, but they do. Make sure they are still fresh before you try using them to get a decent rise out of anything, including these biscuits.
Buttermilk and Sugar Add Flavor. It may seem like a nothing to just use milk and skip adding sugar, but these ingredients actually lend flavor to your dough. Real buttermilk also helps create the softest, fluffiest biscuit.
But I Don’t Have Buttermilk and I Need Biscuits Now! To create a substitute for 1 cup of buttermilk, you’ll need one of these options: 4 tablespoons whole milk and enough sour cream to fill the cup; 2 tablespoons whole milk and enough plain or plain Greek yogurt to fill the cup; or a cup that is whole milk, plus 1 tablespoon of either lemon juice or white vinegar. If you’re using the lemon juice or vinegar method, let the cup sit and curdle for 5 to 10 minutes, and stir before using.
Don’t Over Mix. Never overwork your dough. It will appear shaggy and even crumbly; that’s normal and fine. Over-handling and overworking biscuit dough produces hard, tough, flat hockey puck style biscuits every time. Mix the ingredients until they are just incorporated.
Aim for Pea-sized Butter and Cannabutter Chunks. If the butter and cannabutter gets into bits that are too much smaller, you lose height and flakiness.
Cut, Flatten, and Fold Method. This is the most important step for the texture of your biscuits. You first cut the dough into layers as described, and then fold the dough together several times. This is you creating layers in the biscuits.
Handle With Care. When folding, pressing, and shaping the dough, be gentle with it. If you use a rolling pin, do not press down too hard on the dough with it. Avoid adding too much flour to the dough by dusting it or the surface when you’re working with it. Excess flour can cause the biscuit layers to separate too much, and the biscuits themselves to topple in the oven.
Don’t Twist the Biscuit Cutter. If you must have round biscuits, and you use a butter, do not twist it, ever. Press down into the dough firmly with the cutter once. Twisting the cutter prevents the biscuits from rising by sealing off their edges.
Bake Close Together for Softer, Taller Biscuits. If you like softer, taller biscuits, place them side by side, just touching, on a baking sheet or in a cast-iron skillet or glass pie plate. Baking pressed snuggly together forces them upward, and also lets you have that pull-apart effect for soft edges. If you prefer crispier sides on your biscuits, keep them spaced evenly apart on the baking sheet.
Questions and Answers
Can I Make These Ahead? Yes—and this is great news for all of you fans of those refrigerator specials. These biscuits, left unbaked, can be made and frozen. First, freeze them uncovered on a baking sheet until they are solid to ensure they will retain their shape. Transfer them to a freezer bag for storage. When you bake them, don’t thaw them! Just bake for a few extra minutes. Easy!
Why Are My Biscuits Flat? Buttermilk is a leavening agent and helps create the most tender biscuit—so leaving it out can hurt. Over mixing may also be the culprit. Overworking biscuit dough leaves you with those disappointing flat biscuits. One final issue to watch for if your biscuits come out flat: twisting the cutter. Twisting the cutter stops the rising by sealing off the biscuit edges.
What Does the Buttermilk Do? When you’re making biscuits, buttermilk lends liquid, fat, and acidity as well as its own unique, cultured flavor. The acidity, together with other leavening agents, helps the dough rise. The fat keeps the results soft and tasty.
Why Are My Biscuits Hard? Oven temperatures that are too high and overcooking can produce biscuits that look good at first, but turn out to be hard and brick-like when you open them up. Using too many dry ingredients or insufficient fats and/or wet ingredients can also harden the dough. To fight hard biscuits, other than following the recipe closely, be sure to line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Persistent issues may be linked to your oven, so consider reducing the cooking time or heat, or using a thermometer inside the oven.
What Does Egg Do in Biscuits? So, so much. We know most people don’t make it that way. But be honest: do you really want to eat whatever most people come up with from scratch? Here’s what eggs do for biscuits: leaven them even more for extra height; create a richer flavor; add fat for more tender fluffiness; and provide additional protein which in turn lends more golden-brown color thanks to the Maillard reaction.
Why Are My Biscuits Are Spreading Too Much? Baking trays that are already too hot, failure to preheat the oven enough, or too much butter in the dough can cause this. To help prevent this, follow the recipe carefully, and flash freeze your biscuits as needed so they go into the oven cold. Also start with cold or cool trays or baking dishes.
What Can I Use Instead of a Biscuit Cutter? A drinking glass works, or an empty, clean can. You can also just press or roll the dough into a rectangle or square, and cut square biscuits—this is what we do.
Why Are My Biscuits Golden Brown On Top, But Burned On the Bottoms? This is mostly caused by baking too close to the heating element or an oven that is too hot or heats unevenly. To help prevent this, use the middle rack of the oven, line your dishes with parchment paper, and turn the tray halfway through the baking time.
Final Thoughts on the Best Infused Biscuits Ever
Go make these ASAP. Whether you’re a closet Pillsbury refrigerator dough fan or a hopeless KFC biscuit addict, these will make you happier—even without the cannabis. Add in your cannabutter, and you’ll never go back.