Originally Posted December 29, 2013. Updated 12/15/2020
When I was a kid, I always looked forward to my grandmother's baking powder biscuits. We'd eat them with butter and lots of Homemade Jam, and life was good.
Her recipe eventually became the base for our breakfast pizza, and it's been one I've carried with me in life. Odd, because I don't tend to use recipes at all... and when I do, I usually tweak the crap out of them each time!
Speaking of tweaking recipes, if you're willing to put in a little bit more effort, these biscuits provide the base for my Biscuits and Gravy - MY Way! Recipe.
My use of a nice brown roux adds a ton of flavour - SUPER tasty!
This is a recipe that doesn't need tweaking, though. Sure, there are minor variations I'll do - sometimes I'll use milk (as she did), sometimes I'll use buttermilk. If I don't have shortening (as she used) or if I want a richer flavour, I'll use butter instead. It's all good!
As long as you don't over-handle the dough - more on that in a bit - these baking powder biscuits bake up light and fluffy, and are easily split in half. This makes about 6 good sized biscuits, but is easily doubled.
How to Make Baking Powder Biscuits
These biscuits are very easy to make - I’ve been making them since I was very young!
There are a few things to keep in mind that will ensure success, though:
There are only a few ingredients in this recipe, all really basic... but they do make an impact on the final recipe! Specifically:
Be sure to use relatively fresh baking powder. If it’s been sitting in your cupboard for years, it can loose it’s “oomph”.
Yes, that’s a technical term.
Not sure if your baking powder is any good? Stir a bit into a cup of hot water. If it fizzes, you’re good to go!
If it doesn’t fizz, it’s not releasing carbon dioxide the way it should... which means it’s not going to work as a leavener. Get some new baking powder!
You can use shortening, butter, or even lard for this recipe, 1:1. My grandmother used shortening or lard, I tend to use butter.
For really fluffy biscuits, be sure that the fat you use is really cold. I tend to keep butter in the fridge, and shortening/lard in the pantry.
If I’m making a shortening or lard biscuit, I’ll toss the shortening or lard in the fridge the night before.
Also: Do not reduce the fat content!
You can use milk or buttermilk for this recipe, 1:1.
If you want buttermilk and don’t have any, just add 2 tsp of lemon juice to your milk and let it sit for a few minutes.
Whichever type you use, be sure it’s VERY cold when you add it to the mix!
Handling When Mixing
First of all, be sure not to over-handle the dough for this.
You know how you have to knead bread dough? That’s to develop the gluten, allowing it to become stretchy and glorious.
... pretty much the opposite of what you want here. In addition to gluten, you also want to avoid incorporating the fat TOO much - you want little bits of it throughout the dough.
Use a light hand, mix only enough to incorporate, etc. Gentle and minimal handling goes a lot way to ensure light and fluffy biscuits!
Handling the Finished Biscuit Dough
Once you have your dough brought - gently! - together, you’re going to have to flatten it out and cut it into your biscuits.
This is another point where you need to be sure to handle it gently, to ensure a light, fluffy biscuit.
If you use a rolling pan, don’t use a ton of pressure on it, and don’t really press down on the dough.
Think of it more as rearranging where the dough is, rather than forcibly flattening it. Otherwise, just gather the dough on the work surface and gently flatten it out with your hands.
When it comes to cutting the dough out, aim to cut your pieces out as close together and efficiently as possible, to reduce the amount of times you’ll re-roll the dough.
I’ll usually use a round cutter - or an inverted glass - as round biscuits are just “right” to me,
More Breakfast and Brunch Recipes
Looking for more ideas to jazz up your breakfast experience! Here are a few more recipes for you:
Ambrosia Belgian Waffles
Apple Cinnamon Buns
Biscuits and Gravy - MY Way!
Breakfast Bagel Strata
Chai Cinnamon Rolls
Deluxe Pizza Strata
Easy Banana Bread
Easy Cheese Souffle
Fig, Honey, and Goat Cheese Strudel
Ham, Swiss, and Kale Strata
How to Make Peameal and Back Bacon
Maple Walnut Spiced Pumpkin Buns
Rosemary Peach Balsamic Scones
Smoked Gouda and Chive Scones
Strawberry Orange Rolls
The BEST Hash Browns Recipe
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Baking Powder Biscuits
- 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 3 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- ⅓ cup Shortening or Butter
- ¾ cup Milk or Buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 450 F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray, or line with parchment paper.
- In a medium sized bowl, mix together flour, baking powder,and salt.
- Measure shortening/butter into the same bowl, and cut into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or fork(s). The idea is to work it in until it’s evenly distributed throughout, in very small pieces.
- Add milk/buttermilk, stir just until dough comes together. Don’t over stir or beat it. If dough is too crumbly, add a small amount of extra milk. If the dough is sticky, add a small amount of flour.
- Pull dough together into a ball, place on a lightly floured work surface. Gently roll dough out to about ¾ – 1″ thick, and cut into rounds with a drinking glass. (I like to use about 3″ diameter).
- Arrange biscuits on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
- Serve hot!
More Recipes that Remind me of Gramma
Since originally writing this post, my gramma has sadly passed... but her memory lives on.
Here are a few recipes that remind me of her, whether as something she taught me to make, a replica of a retail treat we used to enjoy together, or one of my own recipes that she would request whenever I’d visit, as an adult.
Gramma's Perogies Recipe
Homemade Marshmallow Cones
Homemade Clodhoppers Candy
Puffed Wheat Squares
Honey Dill Dipping Sauce
Paska - Ukrainian Easter Bread
Baking Powder Biscuits
Grandma's Potato Salad
Easy Butterfly Cupcakes
Breakfast of Champions
Mushroom Soup and Eggs on Toast
French Canadian Pea Soup
Beep Drink Recipe