Skip to Content

THE SECRET TO PERFECT SOUTHERN BISCUITS

THE SECRET TO PERFECT SOUTHERN BISCUITS. Do you want a crunchy top? Do you want a soft flaky inside? Do you want buttery flavor for your perfect southern biscuits? Yes? Perfect!

A close up photo of biscuits in the pan for THE SECRET TO PERFECT SOUTHERN BISCUITS

Hello Close Up Biscuits

You know that Loaves and Dishes is ALL ABOUT  biscuits, southern food, comfort food and food that feeds the soul. I’ve shown you these Sweet Potato Biscuits and I’ve shown you how to improve canned biscuits. I’ve shown you my recipe for Southern Buttermilk Biscuits. Some of you continue to say, “I just don’t know the SECRET to perfect southern biscuits. We will fix that today.

Follow these 12 steps (Plus one Pro Tip) and you won’t go wrong in making the perfect southern biscuit. It is VERY important that you follow each direction closely.

12 STEPS TO PERFECT SOUTHERN BISCUITS (+1 PRO TIP)

INGREDIENTS for THE SECRET TO PERFECT SOUTHERN BISCUITS

  1. USE THE RIGHT FLOUR

It is important to use the right flour to make the perfect Southern Biscuit. Personally, I’ve tried at least 6 different flours and while I have had a 30 year obsession with a different kind of flour, White Lily Self Rising Flour is the BEST for making biscuits.

Only use the White Lily Soft Winter Wheat Self Rising flour (and they aren’t paying me to say that) because that soft winter wheat makes your biscuit dough soft and pliable. As a result, your biscuits will turn out lifeless, hard and hockey-puckish if you don’t.

Here is what I’m talking about – CLICK THE PHOTO it is an affiliate link and you can click straight through to Amazon to have it shipped to you if you don’t have it available to you in the grocery.

2. USE THE RIGHT FAT

It is super important to use the right fat in your biscuit. It is especially true to this fat if you are new at making biscuits. Use Crisco. I know. I know. I like to use all natural fats like butter myself because that is what I preach.

However, if you are new to making biscuits, I want you to be a success and want you to use what is easiest to use. Therefore, use Crisco.

This photo is an affiliate link and you can use it to click straight through to Amazon.

EQUIPMENT for THE SECRET TO PERFECT SOUTHERN BISCUITS

 

3. USE THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT

Do NOT try to mix the biscuit dough up with your hands. In fact, you want to touch the dough as little as possible.

When cutting in the Crisco – use a pastry cutter like the one pictured. I only use Deiss tools in my kitchen (and they aren’t paying me to say that – although they did give me this particular pastry cutter – I’ve been using Deiss for well over a year and everything has held up to my kitchen abuse).

Mix the ingredients together with a rubber spatula until it just comes together and then turn it out on a floured board and knead a few times.

4. USE THE PASTRY CUTTER AS FOLLOWS:

Use the pastry cutter in both a chopping motion and rocking back and forth over the top of the fat. This cuts the fat into small pieces. 

Therefore, the flour starts to look a little clumpy. When it seems like the clumps are mostly pea sized and the flour has started to look coarse, stop. You are finally done.

5. KEEP EVERYTHING COLD UNTIL READY TO USE

Keep your flour and crisco and milk in the fridge until you are ready to use them because cold ingredients help the fat (Crisco) to stay cold. The fat in the mix is what expands during baking to make soft little crunchy pockets in your biscuits!

TECHNIQUE for THE SECRET TO PERFECT SOUTHERN BISCUITS

6. TOUCH THE DOUGH WITH YOUR HANDS AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE

The fat in the biscuit will melt from just the temperature of your hands so touch the biscuits with your hands as little as possible. When kneading, only knead a few times until the dough feels buttery soft.

7. DO NOT OVER FLOUR THE BOARD OR THE DOUGH

Only use enough flour to keep the dough from sticking because adding too much can make the dough tough.

8. DO NOT OVER KNEAD (OVER WORK) THE DOUGH

Kneading the dough (doubling it over on itself) a few times is all that is needed to make biscuits perfectly.

STYLE for THE SECRET TO PERFECT SOUTHERN BISCUITS

9. MELT BUTTER IN THE BOTTOM OF YOUR RIMMED PAN

For a buttery crunchy bottom crust, melt butter into your rimmed half sheet pan as your oven comes to temp but be very careful not to burn the butter.

The butter should be bubbly and sputtering when you remove the pan from the oven then work quickly and put the biscuits onto the pan and return it to the oven.

10. CUT THE BISCUITS STRAIGHT DOWN WITH THE CUTTER

Do not twist your cutter as you cut the biscuits jug push the cutter straight down through the dough because this allows the biscuits to expand properly in the pan as they bake.

PAINT EVERYTHING for THE SECRET TO PERFECT SOUTHERN BISCUITS

11. PAINT THE BISCUIT TOPS WITH EVAPORATED MILK

For a crunchy top crust, paint the tops of the biscuits with evaporated milk before baking. Just work quickly and paint it on because this makes an unbelievably crunchy top.

12. PAINT THE BISCUIT TOPS WITH BUTTER AFTER BAKING

For that buttery crunchy top crust, make sure to paint the biscuit tops with melted butter as soon as they come out of the oven. As a result, you won’t be sorry.

PRO TIP for THE SECRET TO PERFECT SOUTHERN BISCUITS

SPRINKLE A PINCH OF KOSHER SALT IN THE PAN BEFORE BAKING AND AGAIN AFTER PUTTING BUTTER ON THE TOPS.

Because adding a pinch of salt both times gives a tiny bit more flavor. You won’t be sorry. Only a tiny sprinkle.

PHOTO INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE SECRET TO PERFECT SOUTHERN BISCUITS

A photo showing the dry ingredients together in a bowl for Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Combine the dry ingredients

A photo showing the dry ingredients being whisked together for Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Whisk the dry ingredients together.

A photo showing the crisco being cut into the dry ingredients for Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Cut in the shortening with a dough cutter.

A close up photo of the flour mix when the crisco is cut in for Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

A close up of how the flour looks when the crisco is cut in – should look kind of crumbly like this.

A photo of the buttermilk being added for Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Add the buttermilk

A photo of the wet dough with the buttermilk mixed in for Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Mix the buttermilk into the flour until it just comes together and looks like this.

A photo of a floured bread board for Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Flour the board where you will turn the dough out.

A photo of the cut biscuits painted with evaporated milk for Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Knead the dough a few times adding in a sprinkling of flour, then pat out to an inch thick and cut into biscuits. Paint with evaporated milk.

A photo of the biscuits being scooped from the pan for Southern Buttermilk Biscuits THE SECRET TO PERFECT SOUTHERN BISCUITS

Ready for your plate!

IF YOU ENJOYED THE SECRET TO PERFECT SOUTHERN BISCUITS, YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY:

The Secret to Perfect Old Fashioned Pinto Beans

The Secret to Perfect Southern Collard Greens

The Secret to Perfect Southern Sweet Tea

The Secret to Perfect Southern Fried Apples

The Secret to Perfect Chicken Fried Steak

THE SECRET TO PERFECT SOUTHERN BISCUITS close up photo from the side

The Secret to Perfect Southern Biscuits

Follow these 12 secrets and your biscuits will be top notch! 
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: southern biscuits, homemade biscuits
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 24
Calories: 300kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 Cups Self Rising Flour White Lily Soft Winter Wheat plus extra for dusting the bread board and for kneading.
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Granulated white sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Kosher salt divided
  • Cups Crisco Shortening
  • 2 Cups Very Cold Buttermilk
  • Cup Evaporated Milk
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted sweet cream butter - melted
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted sweet cream butter - divided

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. That's super hot! 
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and a ½ tsp salt together with a whisk. The whisk helps mix things very well.
  • Drop the Crisco into the flour mixture and use a pastry cutter to cut the crisco into the dry ingredients. Rock the cutter and make chopping motions until the crisco is in small pieces and the flour has a wet clumpy appearance throughout (see photo). Do NOT use your hands to mix the crisco in.
  • Keep the buttermilk in the fridge until ready to use. Add the buttermilk all at once and mix together with a rubber spatula until it just comes together.
  • Place ½ a stick of butter (4 Tbsp) in a rimmed half sheet pan (jelly roll pan) and allow it to melt in the oven as the oven comes to temp. Do not allow the butter to burn. You will hear it bubbling probably. The butter should be melted and bubbly (but not black) by the end of the next 3 steps.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface (it will be very wet looking) and sprinkle the surface with a small amount of flour. Knead the dough by folding it over on itself about 6-8 times. Sprinkle on enough flour as you go to keep it from sticking to the board.  It is going to stick to your hands a little no matter what you do. The dough should feel soft and smooth when it is ready.
  • Using your hands pat and press the dough down into a flat circle that is 1” thick (no need to use a rolling pin).
  • Cut the biscuits using a biscuit cutter and cut in a straight motion down towards the counter. DO NOT twist the cutter. Remove the hot buttered pan from the oven. Sprinkle half of the remaining salt onto the hot buttered pan.
  • Gently lay the cut biscuits onto the hot pan into the butter. The biscuits may touch one another. Put the biscuits in the pan quickly so as to return the pan to the oven as quickly as possible. Brush the tops of the biscuits with evaporated milk using a pastry brush. Sprinkle some of the rest of the salt over the tops of the biscuits. Return the pan to the hot oven. Shut the oven door and DO NOT open it again for at least 10 minutes.
  • Bake biscuits for 18-25 minutes. The biscuits are done when they are golden brown and risen.
  • On removing the biscuits from the oven, brush with hot melted butter. This recipe will yield 18-24 biscuits.

Notes

See the post for the Pro Tip!

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
The Secret to Perfect Southern Biscuits
Amount Per Serving
Calories 300
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @loavesanddishes or tag #loavesanddishes!

 

A VERSE TO SHARE

I think it is so interesting that my Bible says that the following verses are not included in the earliest manuscripts of the Bible. Finally, it also says that other ancient witnesses do not include these verses, seems like they would. 

Why would that be? I am not really sure. Therefore, I just thought I would point that out. Hence, you can be the judge for yourself.

Mark 16: 9-20

When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene,out of whom he had driven seven demons.  She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.

Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.

Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.

He said to them,

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons;they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

and, first of all, also, another, furthermore, finally, in addition

Overhead view of the whole pie Fudge Chocolate Pecan Pie
Previous
Fudge Chocolate Pecan Pie
A photo of the baked muffins in the pan for Blueberry Mini Muffins with a Crumble Top
Next
Blueberry Mini Muffins with a Crumble Top
Recipe Rating




Amber

Sunday 12th of April 2020

Get rid of this junk Crisco and use butter. You can definitely taste the difference.

Wendi Spraker

Sunday 12th of April 2020

Hi Amber, Thanks so much for allowing me the opportunity to explain (again) why I use Crisco in this recipe. Most people viewing this recipe are doing so because they have failed with biscuits in the past. They need an easy, failproof way to make delicious flaky beautiful biscuits. Crisco Shortening offers this as it is pretty darn failsafe as long as you keep it very cold before using in the biscuits. Butter does not always render such a perfect result. Please, feel free to use butter if you desire. But from your comment it seems like maybe you already have biscuits downpat and don't need any of the advice in this article. Feel free to look elsewhere for a recipe with butter OR use butter in place of the Crisco and I wish you the best with getting perfect results.

Marilyn Jennings

Sunday 29th of December 2019

This is the best recipe i have found for biscuits. I have made a lot of recipes and this is by far the best. The biscuit by itself is so tasty and then add a little salted butter and even better. The jams taste good as well. These are light and fluffy too. I did use the White Lily flour. My mom always used this. But hers never tasted this good. Sorry Mom. The only thing i did different was to sift all the dry ingredients together. Thanks for sharing. GOD bless!!!

Wendi Spraker

Tuesday 31st of December 2019

Making biscuits is a real art and it takes some practice. I'm glad you've enjoyed my recipe! Thanks for letting me know!

Elliott

Friday 8th of November 2019

Hi Wendi! I think you may have helped me solve a mystery. I tend to get obsessed with one particular food at a time and for the last week I've been on a mission to make the perfect biscuit. After making several batches very similar to your recipe, although very good, I still felt there was something missing. Shortly before finding your recipe, it dawned on me—it wasn't the inside of the biscuit that perplexed me, it was the crust. I envisioned a crust that was sweet, crumbly and flaky, almost akin to a pastry. By the look of your biscuits, I think your addition of the evaporated milk brush is the answer. Like you, I'm not a food scientist but I think I see what's going on. When the water is removed from milk it leaves not only the concentrated fat but also the sugar, which is caramelized in the heating process of evaporation. By brushing with evaporated milk, you're getting the fat butter would provide, but also the browning, tenderizing and flavoring power of caramelized sugar, just like with a pie crust. Very clever on your part!

I also think you're on to something with the addition of baking powder to the self-rising flour. My great-grandmother gave me her recipe and hers called for self-rising flour, but also both a pinch of baking soda and cream of tartar, which together acts as an additional leavening agent. I'm sure it gives a little extra boost of fluffiness.

I can't wait to try this out. Thank you so much for the tips! On a side note, it's depressing that people can't even share recipes on the internet without some mean-spirited jerk using the comment board for therapy. Your response was a lot nicer and more professional than mine would've been. Don't let those people get you down. You have a great website here and I'll be certainly be back for more recipes. Happy holidays!

Wendi Spraker

Friday 8th of November 2019

Hi Elliott! Are you my long lost sibling? That is how I go about recipes as well.... with an obsession until it is EXACTLY like I want. I LOVE the science behind cooking and totally recommend Cooks Illustrated Magazine, if you don't already read it. It's expensive and comes too infrequently, but is a JOY! Anyway, I am not exactly sure what makes these biscuits work, I'm just glad that they do. I started with a recipe that my daughter had in her high school cooking class cookbook. That teacher had recommended the evaporated milk on top. I read web sites and tried recipes and finally found two videos on YouTube of little old ladies making biscuits to get the rest of the recipe together. With a little from this and a little from that until it was where I wanted it. (Don't forget to ALSO brush butter on the top after baking! That makes a world of difference!) . Enjoy! I hope you signed up for the newsletter!

Calisson

Monday 8th of April 2019

I'm wondering why you use baking powder with self-rising flour?

Wendi Spraker

Tuesday 9th of April 2019

Hi Calisson, I'm not the best at the science. All I can say is that it works. :) . I will say, it is because these biscuits need more than what is supplied in the flour. But they are fluffy and perfect!

Penny

Friday 5th of April 2019

Yummy! I finally got biscuit making down. I watched my mom make these as a child and her biscuits were always fluffy and flakey at the same time. Bless her heart, she tried to show us girls how to make them but as an experienced baker she didn’t use actual measurements! It’s was a cup of this and dash of that, a spoonful of this (literally a spoon!) and mix, mix, mix! I finally gave up and decided canned or frozen biscuits were going to be all I could make. Maybe even Bisquick biscuits, which are okay, but not moms. Than I came across a recipe so similar to yours. And after several attempts I finally made my moms biscuits! Secret? No over mixing, over kneading, not twisting the biscuit cutter, and by all means, let those babies touch each other! That actually helps them to rise in the pan! Thank you for sharing another wonderful recipe! Totally love your scriptures at the end of your recipes as well!

Wendi Spraker

Friday 5th of April 2019

Awwwwww Penny! What a wonderful story about your mom! A special and delightful cook, no doubt! Thanks for letting me know! :) Have a great day!

shares