Brunch 101: How to Make Tender, Flaky Biscuits

Baking, Cook, How-To, Learn, Primers

Homey, fresh baked biscuits are a staple of breakfast and brunch menus, whether smeared with sweet preserves or topped with creamy gravy. The secret to tender, flaky biscuits?Β When cutting the butter into the flour, work quickly so it doesn’t melt too much before you put the biscuits in the oven. And don’t overmix the dough.


The old-fashioned biscuits below can be rolled and cut out into any shape. Round is the classic form, but you can also roll out the dough into a rectangle and cut the biscuits into squares. This way, there are no dough scraps to reroll.


Try this classic recipe for baking powder biscuits, or scroll to the bottom of this post for more unique flavor combinations.


You can also make these into drop biscuits by dropping the dough by tablespoonfuls onto the pan. The biscuits will be slightly irregular in shape and more rustic looking, but the peaks in the batter will get browned and crisp, while the insides will stay moist.

Baking Powder Biscuits


2 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

6 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3/4 cup whole milk


Stir together the dry ingredients
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper or butter the pan lightly. In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Incorporate the butter
Add the butter pieces to the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter just until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of small peas.
Pour in the milk
Pour in the milk and mix with a fork or silicone spatula just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Take care not to overmix the batter, which could create tough biscuits.
Shape the dough into a round
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently a few times until it clings together. Using a light touch, roll or pat out the dough into a round about 3/4 inch thick.
Cut out the biscuits
Using a 3-inch round biscuit cutter with straight or fluted sides, cut out dough rounds, pressing straight down and lifting straight up.
Place the biscuits on a pan
Place the dough rounds on a half-sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Gather up the dough scraps, roll or pat them out again, cut out more dough rounds and place them on the pan.
Bake the biscuits
Bake the biscuits until lightly browned, 15 to 18 minutes. Serve the biscuits right away, or let them cool slightly on a wire rack before serving. Makes about 10 biscuits.


More biscuit recipes:


Cheddar-Herb Biscuits Sweet Potato Biscuits
Buttermilk Chive Biscuits Cheddar-Bacon Biscuits

15 comments about “Brunch 101: How to Make Tender, Flaky Biscuits

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  3. Betty

    I used ur receipt to make biscuits last night, April 15, 2013. The biscuits burned out ok, but they could have been better. I think I over did something which made them a little flat and hard. My family still ate the biscuits anyway because they tasted good and crunchy. I don’t have a pastry blender, so I used the flork. Also while kneeding, I turned the dough into the middle to get the flour on top and began shapping it back. I think this is where I may have gone wrong. Suggestions please on my next batch.

  4. Betty

    Also, I did substitute the flour for self rising. Could this have caused a problem?

  5. Trista

    I’ve made these twice now and they’re delicious (not to mention super easy!). My only recommendation is to add an extra 2 tbsp. of butter because without it, they taste a little doughy.

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  10. Liz

    A little trick I have learned to make biscuits without a pastry cutter is to use a square grater. You just need to put the butter in the freezer for a few mintutes and then grate it against the large side of the grater, while over parchment paper. Then put the shavings in with the dry ingredients and mix.

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