Flaky Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits with Fresh Herbs

You will be hard-pressed to find someone who turns down these from-scratch buttermilk biscuits filled with flaky layers and surrounded by a crisp, golden brown crust. As a twist on traditional buttermilk biscuit recipes, my version adds fresh herbs and a dash of black pepper, meaning they smell even more amazing while you patiently wait for them to bake.

Stack of three homemade buttermilk biscuits with honey.

Three Reasons Why You will Love These Easy Buttermilk Biscuits

  1. Buttery flavor, fluffy texture: I use butter in my biscuits because it produces fluffy biscuits with a better flavor than those made with shortening. A combination of buttermilk and cream in the dough creates tender biscuits on the inside with lightly crisp exteriors.
  2. Good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner: These homemade biscuits are easy to customize for every meal. Because the biscuits start with simple ingredients, this is one of my favorite recipes to "dress up" with mix-ins like cheese or fruit or repurpose by baking the biscuits atop a creamy casserole.
  3. Did I mention they are "easy"?: Simple recipes are often the best recipes, with this biscuit recipe being a great example. The dough can be made in as little as 10 minutes, meaning that you can have fresh, piping hot biscuits ready to eat in under 30 minutes.
Stack of three buttermilk biscuits on a baking sheet.

Pro Tips for Baking Beautiful Buttery Buttermilk Biscuits

  • Keep butter cold: As with scones, cold pieces of butter are the key to flaky biscuits. If your butter melts too early or becomes too warm, you will be left with flat biscuits. Return your butter and/or dough to the refrigerator or freezer as necessary throughout preparation to keep it cold.
  • Don't overwork the dough: For a perfect biscuit, knead the dough briefly, just to distribute the butter and shape it into a rectangle. Too much flour and overworking will result in a tough biscuit.
  • Check oven temperature: Always bake biscuits at a high temperature (425F for this recipe.) High temperatures cause the leavening agents in the dough to react quickly, leading to a rapid rise. They create pockets and layers of steam in the biscuits, contributing to their flakiness and allow them to bake quickly, ensuring that the exterior becomes golden brown and crisp while the interior remains tender.

Ingredients and Special Equipment

Check the recipe card at the bottom of this post for specific quantities.

Ingredients.

Ingredient Notes

  • Flour: Use a reputable gluten-free flour blend instead to make thie recipe GF friendly.
  • Black pepper: Adds a nice kick of heat to complement the herbs. May be omitted altogether if you prefer a more traditional buttermilk biscuit.
  • Sugar: Substitute 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup.
  • Unsalted butter: Keep your butter very cold while making this dough, or use frozen butter. See my "Pro Tips" above, for more.
  • Buttermilk: If you don't have real buttermilk, then make your own buttermilk substitute using whole milk and lemon juice or white vinegar. Combine one cup of buttermilk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar, stir, and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  • Fresh herbs: I use a combination of fresh parsley and thyme, but you can use sage, rosemary, or fresh basil. Substitute 2 teaspoons dried herbs for the fresh herbs or omit them altogether (see Variations section, below.)
  • Egg wash: One egg mixed with 1 tablespoon cream in a small bowl. You can also use melted butter, plain cream, or buttermilk to brush the tops of the biscuits.

Special Equipment (Optional, but Helpful!)

Equipment for Blending Butter into Flour Mixture

Pastry cutter.
  • Pastry cutter: Cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients by pressing the cutter down and cutting through the ingredients, incorporating the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Food processor: Pulse the butter and flour mixture 8-10 times, until the mixture is coarse and the butter is the size of peas.
  • Box grater: Use the large holes of a box grater to shred the cold or frozen butter. Toss the butter pieces with the flour mixture.
  • Clean hands!: Use your hands to rub the cold butter into the flour mixture.

Other Equipment

  • Rolling pin
  • Pastry brush
  • Bench scraper: Helpful for gathering up scraps of dough on your work surface
  • Round cookie cutter or a round biscuit cutter: Approximately 2-½ inches in diameter.

Step by Step Photos and Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425℉. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper or lightly grease the surface.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and pepper.

3. Add the cold butter and cut it into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or by rubbing it with your fingers. Alternatively, pulse the mixture 8-10 times in the work bowl of a food processor. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl before continuing.

4. Mix in two tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, like parsley, thyme, or sage.

5. Combine the buttermilk and cream in a medium bowl, or in a liquid measuring cup with a spout. Add the wet ingredients to the butter and flour mixture. Mix with a spoon, rubber spatula or dry hands to evenly incorporate, until the dough starts to stick together in clumps.

6. Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape dough into (about) a ¾-inch thick rectangle.

7. Using a 2½ inch round cutter, cut rounds from the dough and place biscuits onto the lined baking sheet, spacing apart. Reuse scraps of dough by patting them back together.

8. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the egg wash.

9. Bake the biscuits 12-15 minutes, until they are puffed and the tops are golden brown. Serve warm with butter and/or honey.

Tray of homemade baked buttermilk biscuits.

Buttermilk Biscuit Recipe Variations

Easy ways to dress up (or dress down) my original recipe using basic ingredients.

  • Classic buttermilk biscuits: Omit the herbs and black pepper, for a more traditional take on the buttermilk biscuit.
  • Scallion-cheese biscuits: Add 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese and 2 minced scallions to the flour and butter mixture before adding the wet ingredients.
  • Salted biscuits: After adding the egg wash, sprinkle the top of the dough with some flake salt or coarse salt before baking.
  • Drop biscuits: Instead of cutting the biscuits into circles, drop them onto the baking sheet in small, irregular, spoonfuls.

Making You Biscuit Dough in Advance

  • Refrigerated dough: After you mix the butter and flour mixture (but before you add the buttermilk and cream), you can store the mixture in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  • Frozen dough: Biscuit dough can be fully prepared and cut into shapes before freezing. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet in the freezer and let the dough freeze until solid. This usually takes a few hours. Once the biscuit dough is frozen, transfer the individual frozen portions to a freezer bag for longer storage. Bake as directed directly from the freezer, allowing for a few extra minutes of baking time.

Storing your Baked Buttermilk Biscuits

Baked biscuits can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container or a zip-top bag for up to 2 days. Freeze biscuits in a plastic zip-top bag or airtight container for up to one month. Reheat the biscuits wrapped in foil in an oven or toaster oven set to 350F.

Single buttermilk biscuit on a baking tray.

What to Serve With Your Buttermilk Biscuits

Although these easy buttermilk biscuits are delicious eaten fresh from the oven, here are some of my other favorite ways to enjoy them:

  • Casserole topper: These are the best biscuits to use atop a hearty casserole like my chicken pot pie, and one batch makes the perfect amount for a 9X13 baking dish.
  • Strawberry shortcake: Omit the herbs and pepper. Sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar. These biscuits are now part of a simple last minute dessert during the summer months.
  • Breakfast and brunch: Serve the warm biscuits alongside hearty sausage gravy as an entree, or butter biscuits with some salty butter, drizzle them with honey, and make them a side dish.
Close up of a homemade buttermilk biscuit with honey.

Have leftover Buttermilk after Baking Biscuits? Use it up by Making These delicious Recipes

Buttermilk biscuits with butter and honey.

Homemade Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits with Fresh Herbs

Julie Hession
These light and fluffy buttermilk biscuits are delicious for a hearty breakfast or baked on top of chicken pot pie. Make them a bit smaller to use for hors d'oeuvres or to pass around during a big holiday meal.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 16 biscuits
Calories 236 kcal

Equipment

  • pastry brush
  • pastry blender / cutter (optional)
  • 2½ inch round cutter

Ingredients
 
 

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup very cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (see Notes)
  • 1 cup cold buttermilk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon cream (for egg wash)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 425℉. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it (see Notes.)
  • In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and pepper.
  • Add the cold butter and cut it into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or by rubbing it with your fingers. Alternatively, pulse the mixture 8-10 times in the work bowl of a food processor. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl before continuing.
  • Mix in the chopped herbs.
  • Combine the buttermilk and cream in a medium bowl, or in a liquid measuring cup with a spout. Add the wet ingredients to the butter and flour mixture. Mix with a spoon, spatula or dry hands to evenly incorporate, until the dough starts to stick together in clumps.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press it out into (about) a ¾-inch thickness.
  • Using a 2½ inch round cutter, cut rounds from the dough and place them onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing apart. Reuse scraps of dough by patting them back together.
  • Brush the tops of the biscuits with the egg wash.
  • Bake the biscuits 12-15 minutes, until they are puffed and the tops are golden brown. Serve warm with butter and/or honey.

Notes

  • I use a combination of fresh parsley and thyme for my biscuits, but you can substitute fresh sage, rosemary, marjoram, basil, or oregano.
  • Use 2 teaspoons dried herbs if you don't have fresh herbs.
  • I recommend baking these biscuits on parchment paper or a silpat, as the bottoms will brown less-quickly.  Just keep an eye on them if you opt to use a greased baking sheet! 

Nutrition

Calories: 236kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 420mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 471IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 118mg | Iron: 1mg
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