Southern Buttermilk Biscuits (Big Mama’s Recipe!)

There’s nothing quite like old-fashioned buttermilk biscuits straight from the heart of Southern traditions. This cherished recipe, passed down from my dear Big Mama, encapsulates the essence of warm family gatherings and heartfelt memories around the table. These bomb buttermilk biscuits are more than just a dish; they’re a taste of our family’s history. Crafted with love, they promise to be the best buttermilk biscuits you’ve ever had. With their soft, flaky interior, these fluffy buttermilk biscuits are a testament to timeless culinary traditions that never go out of style boos.

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Freshly baked buttermilk biscuits stacked on a plate with more biscuits with butter in the background

My Big Mama’s Southern-style buttermilk biscuits have always been a staple in my life.  Every visit to Winona, Mississippi was complete with biscuits made from scratch for breakfasts every morning.  Whenever she used to visit us in Chicago, that’s one of the first things I would ask for, her homemade biscuits.  I can’t think of any other food in my family that has such a rich history.

Thanksgiving, 2012, while in Winona, my husband and I taped a how-to video with Big Mama making her famous biscuits.  We got our entire family, including a special cameo from Big Daddy, involved and ended up having a blast!  She makes it look so easy, but the truth is I am still trying to master them, even 10 years later.  I think the video will not only help all of you, but it still helps me today. So, if you want to give these buttery and delicious biscuits a try, scroll down to the recipe and watch the video!

P.S.: I can’t tell you how special the experience of making this video with my family was. It was a moment I will never forget or take for granted. If there are any family recipes or historical information you want to know about the elders in your family, I suggest you sit down and record it or write it down. We take their stories, knowledge, and wisdom for granted sometimes, and an experience like this is worth a lifetime!

Why you’ll love these homemade buttermilk biscuits

  • Family Tradition: The recipe we have here is a classic that Big Mama swore by, and let me tell you -when it comes to biscuits, Big Mama knows best! They carry the heartwarming essence of a cherished family tradition.
  • Versatile: Whether you’re enjoying them with jam and butter at breakfast, making a biscuit sandwich for lunch, or pairing them with a hearty dinner, these buttermilk biscuits are perfect for any time of day.
  • Simple Ingredients: With just a handful of basic ingredients, you can whip up these easy buttermilk biscuits in a jiffy. No need for any fancy kitchen gadgets or hard-to-find elements.
  • Extra Fluffy: With the perfect balance of shortening and buttermilk, these biscuits achieve a heavenly fluffiness that will have you reaching for seconds (or thirds!).

Ingredients to make old-fashioned buttermilk biscuits

  • Self-rising flour (Big Mama’s brand of choice is Martha White): Self-rising flour is a must-have for biscuit perfection. It already contains the right amount of leavening agents, so you don’t need to worry about adding baking powder.
  • Shortening: This trusty ingredient is what gives Big Mama’s buttermilk biscuits their irresistible tender, and fluffy center. It’s a solid fat, typically made from vegetable oil, that creates those delicate layers in the dough as it bakes.
  • Granulated sugar: Don’t worry, these biscuits won’t turn out sweet. The granulated sugar is just there to add a touch of subtle flavor that enhances the overall taste.
  • Salt: This will help to balance the sweetness from the sugar.
  • Buttermilk: Buttermilk not only lends its signature flavor but also works its magic with the leavening agents in the self-rising flour, helping the biscuits rise to new heights.
  • Melted butter: Brushing melted butter on top of the homemade buttermilk biscuits adds an irresistible richness and glossy sheen that’ll leave everyone craving more.
Ingredients to make buttermilk biscuits

How to make fluffy buttermilk biscuits

  1. Add the buttermilk to the bowl with the shortening and flour mixture.
  2. Next, use your hands to bring together the buttermilk and flour mixture. This will be a shaggy dough somewhat.
  3. Turn the buttermilk biscuit dough onto a kitchen board. Work together with your hands on the board until a dough consistency forms. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to preferred thickness. Cut biscuit dough into circles using a round cutter or the back of a can.
  4. Place cut biscuits onto a greased baking pan and bake.
Collage of steps to make buttermilk biscuits

Tips for making the best buttermilk biscuits

  1. Don’t Overmix: When combining the buttermilk with the flour, be gentle and mix only until everything comes together. Overmixing can lead to tough biscuits, and you want them to be as soft as a cloud.
  2. Rolling Matters: Aim for a uniform thickness when rolling out your dough to ensure even baking. Whether you like them thick or thin, consistency is key.
  3. Sharp Edges: Use a sharp biscuit cutter to ensure clean cuts. This helps the biscuits rise uniformly. You don’t want to twist the cutter or can in the dough. Twisting can seal the edges of the dough together and keep the biscuits from rising.
  4. Biscuit Placement: For biscuits with softer edges, place them touching each other on the baking sheet. If you prefer crispy edges, space them apart.
  • Butter: Want to add an even richer, buttery flavor to your biscuits? Swap out the shortening with an equal amount of cold unsalted butter.
  • DIY Buttermilk: No buttermilk on hand? No worries! Make your own DIY version by mixing 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Let it sit for about 5 minutes until it thickens slightly, and voilà! You’ve got a tangy buttermilk substitute.
  • Cheddar Cheese and Chives: Add a savory kick to your homemade buttermilk biscuits by mixing in shredded cheddar cheese and finely chopped chives into the dough.
  • Berries: Take your biscuits to the next level by adding a burst of fruity goodness! Gently fold in fresh or frozen berries like blueberries, raspberries, or diced strawberries into the dough.
  • Honey Butter: Upgrade your buttery topping with some honey! Mix together softened butter with a drizzle of honey to create a luscious honey butter spread, and slather it on your warm biscuits.
Buttermilk biscuits on a sheet pan with parchment paper

What to serve with your Southern buttermilk biscuits

How to store & reheat buttermilk biscuits

Once the biscuits have cooled to room temperature, transfer them to an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag. Properly stored, these gems can stay fresh for about 3 days at room temperature.

To reheat, simply pop the biscuits in the microwave for a few seconds wrapped in a damp paper towel. But if you want to keep it fluffy and soft I suggest preheating your oven to 300°F and let the biscuits gently reheat for a few minutes.

How long will buttermilk biscuits last in the fridge?

To keep the buttermilk biscuits fresh and tasty, simply store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator and they will stay delicious for up to 5-6 days.

Can I freeze buttermilk biscuits?

Yes! Just transfer your cooled biscuits into an airtight container or a resealable freezer bag, and pop them in the fridge. They can be frozen for up to 3 whole months!

Close up of buttermilk biscuits on a plate

Frequently asked questions

Can I make the biscuit dough ahead of time?

Absolutely! Preparing the biscuit dough in advance can be a time-saver. After forming the dough, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container, then refrigerate. Just remember to bring the dough back to room temperature before rolling it out and baking for the best results.

Do I have to use buttermilk?

While buttermilk is the traditional choice for making these Buttermilk Biscuits, you can use a simple homemade buttermilk substitute if you don’t have it on hand. Just mix 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice, let it sit for a few minutes, and you’ll have a tangy buttermilk alternative ready to go!

Can I make these biscuits without shortening?

Yes! If you prefer to avoid shortening or don’t have it on hand, you can swap it out with an equal amount of cold, cubed butter. The biscuits will turn out just as flaky and delightful with that buttery goodness.

Buttermilk biscuits on a sheet pan with one biscuit cut open in half

Thanks to Big Mama’s recipe, we’ve unlocked the secrets to creating homemade Buttermilk Biscuits easy that are tender, fluffy, and simply irresistible! With each bite, you’ll experience the love and warmth passed down through generations, just like the cherished family traditions of Big Mama. These biscuits are not only a treat for your taste buds but also a reminder of the joy that comes from sharing food made with care and affection.

More Biscuits Recipes

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Close up of buttermilk biscuits

Buttermilk Biscuits

These are my big Mama's buttermilk biscuits made the old-fashioned way, a Southern staple! Fluffy, tender, and easy to make!
4.78 from 31 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Course: Bread
Servings: 12 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 cups self-rising flour Big Mama’s brand of choice is Martha White
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons shortening cold in large chunks
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter melted plus more for preparing pan

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425F. Set rack in upper third position. Prepare 9-inch round baking pan by brushing bottom with melted butter.
  • In a large bowl, add flour, sugar, and salt and stir to combine. Create a well in the center of the flour.
  • Using your hands, add cold shortening into the middle of the flour mixture and start mixing into the flour, keeping in larger pieces, about the size of a nickel.
  • Pour in cold buttermilk and use a fork to mix until you have a shaggy dough. Do not overmix. Flour your hands and turn dough onto lightly floured surface (it’s okay to have small unmixed flour at the bottom of the bowl) and gently bring dough together until more cohesive.
  • Turn the biscuit mixture onto a kitchen board. Work together with your hands on the board until a dough consistency forms and add flour as/if needed.
  • Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough into a round of ½ thickness. (You should see streaks of shortening peeking through the dough.) If dough sticks as you roll it out, add a little flour to your dough and/or board.
  • Use a 2-inch biscuit cutter (or a cleaned out back of a can) to cut out 12 biscuits. Place in prepared pan. The biscuits will fit snugly and the sides will touch.
  • Bake until biscuits have risen and are light golden brown, about 15-18 minutes then brush biscuits with melted butter. Serve warm and enjoy!

Video

Notes

Tips for making the best buttermilk biscuits

  1. Don’t Overmix: When combining the buttermilk with the flour, be gentle and mix only until everything comes together. Overmixing can lead to tough biscuits, and you want them to be as soft as a cloud.
  2. Rolling Matters: Aim for a uniform thickness when rolling out your dough to ensure even baking. Whether you like them thick or thin, consistency is key.
  3. Sharp Edges: Use a sharp biscuit cutter to ensure clean cuts. This helps the biscuits rise uniformly. Avoid twisting the cutter, as this can seal the edges and prevent the biscuits from rising properly.
  4. Biscuit Placement: For biscuits with softer edges, place them touching each other on the baking sheet. If you prefer crispy edges, space them apart.

Nutrition

Calories: 168kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 21mg | Potassium: 68mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 35IU | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 0.4mg
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Filed Under:  Biscuits, Breakfast, Oven

Comments

  1. You should make more videos with you Big Mama and Big Daddy. Y’all are so sweet girl. And she make them biscuits just like my Big Mama. I love this. More videos like this are needed in times that we live in now. I know she does a good fried chicken, can we have a video please.

  2. Here it is 2020 in the middle of the Corona Virus pandemic and I’m just now discovering this video. Your grandmother is so precious and I sincerely hope she is still with you! I loved watching her make her biscuits and I loved that your entire family got involved in making the video. I’m 76 and my mama is 99 and still working her crossword puzzles. She is quite frail and doesn’t cook anymore but she cooked a lot of biscuits for our big family over the years. I’s the oldest of seven children and my daddy was a carpenter and built houses and barns. Mama cooked and washed clothes seemed like all the time when I was growing up. Thank you for taking the time to make this video and for sharing it with us. I wish I had done this for my mama and her coconut and chocolate cream pies with the flakey, tender crust and the real whipped cream on top! God bless you and your Big Mama and your entire family! 🙂

    1. Oh thank you so much! Unfortunately, my Big Mama passed away last year but it makes my heart so so happy to have this video.

  3. So glad you made a video, was so sweet to see your grandmother making biscuits and it surely helped to show the measurements for the recipe. I used to use Crisco quite a bit, but try to use butter now instead. I wonder how they’d turn out with butter?
    Thanks so much for sharing, wonderful memories to make to share with your family.

    1. I’ve got a great all butter biscuit recipe you should definitely check out right here on the blog.

  4. Hi Jocelyn,

    I just discovered Big Mama’s Biscuit recipe on Youtube and have a question for you. Before your grandmother baked her biscuits, she said, “its going to take the biscuits but a few minutes to rise.”. Do you have any idea how long we should let the dough rise before baking? There’s no mention of a rising time in the recipe. When I heard Big Mama say this, my first thought was that she is brilliant! Most recipes for baking powder biscuits don’t call for a “rise” so this may be why her biscuits are so special.

    1. Hi Andee, just about 10 minutes should do it. And yep she is a genius!

  5. I never have buttermilk in the house. Is it possible to substitute something else and have them turn out like yours?

    1. Hi Sharyn, it won’t have the exact same flavor but you can always add lemon juice or vinegar to milk to create a buttermilk substitute to use in a pinch.

  6. Big Mama, I LOVE YOU! You are so cute – thank you so much for showing us how to make your biscuits, and thank you Jocelyn for bringing this fabulous lady into our home! And, I loved the background music. Has Big Mama made any other videos?

  7. That has got to be one of the most precious videos I’ve ever seen. I can’t wait to make these biscuits for my boys, compliments of Big Mama of course! You are so lucky to have her in your life. Love your blog and look forward to trying many of your lovely southern recipes.

    1. Thank you so much!! 100% compliments to Big Mama, she is such a gem. I really appreciate your sweet comments!

4.78 from 31 votes (11 ratings without comment)

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