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A Biscuit Connoisseur's All-Time Favorite Biscuit Recipe

A lifelong search for the perfect biscuit led me to this flawless recipe, and I’m never going back.

Published Dec. 10, 2021.

I was raised in the South and have eaten just about every type of biscuit out there, from drop and pat-in-the-pan to blueberry and potato.

I will always have a soft spot in my heart for my Southern grandmother’s fluffy biscuits, but I’ve learned over decades of biscuit eating that there’s another component that can really make a biscuit unforgettable: flakes. A crispy, flaky exterior concealing a fluffy, buttery core is what biscuit dreams are made of. I’ve spent years searching for the perfect recipe, and I finally found it in our Ultimate Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits.

Ultimate Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

These buttery, superflaky biscuits consistently rise up tall and true. (Not yet a member of our websites? We've freed up this recipe for three months.)  
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Every ingredient and technique called for in this recipe is perfectly optimized and meticulously designed to produce the flakiest, tastiest biscuits you have ever put in your mouth—I’m telling you; they’re perfect. Read more about former Cook's Illustrated test cook and dough expert Andrew Janjigian's recipe development process, but here’s a shortlist of what sets them apart:

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  • Freezing and grating the butter: A cold temperature is a biscuit’s best friend, and that starts with freezing the butter so that it doesn’t melt while you’re incorporating it into the dough. And grating the butter ensures perfectly sized strips that get mashed into flakes as you repeatedly fold the dough. Which brings me to . . .
  • Lamination: Borrowing from French patisserie, this recipe incorporates lamination, a process of repeatedly folding and turning the dough. The butter gets flattened and sandwiched between layers of dough over the course of dozens of folds. In the oven, the water in the butter turns into steam, which causes the biscuits to rise tall and proud. The butterfat essentially fries the thin strips of dough around the edges, creating the shatteringly crispy flakes we’re after. Steam trapped in the interior of the biscuit ensures a superfluffy core. 
A crispy, flaky exterior concealing a fluffy, buttery core is what biscuit dreams are made of.
  • Resting the dough: Resting the dough allows the flour to hydrate and stretchy gluten to form, which provides the biscuit dough with strength and structure as it rises. This ensures a tall, substantial biscuit.
  • Slicing the sides: Using a floured chef’s knife and confident, decisive cutting motions to slice off the sides of the dough creates square biscuits with exposed layers on all four sides. This way, the biscuits don’t rise unevenly because one side is folded over itself. Never fear, though! You can dust those trimmings with cinnamon sugar and bake them alongside the biscuits for an extra treat.

Our Ultimate Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits recipe calls for a bit more time and a few more steps than your average recipe, but these biscuits are worth the effort. I hope you’ll try them out for yourself and discover what a perfect biscuit looks—and tastes—like. (Just don’t tell grandma!)

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