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Old Fashioned Buttermilk Biscuits

These Old Fashioned Buttermilk Biscuits are a childhood favorite. Serve them with butter and syrup or filled with ham or sausage.
4.8 from 32 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Baked buttermilk biscuits in a cast iron skillet on a wooden board.

These Old Fashioned Buttermilk Biscuits are one of my favorite memories from childhood. Served with butter and syrup for breakfast or filled with a slice of ham or sausage, they’re moist, substantial, and totally delicious! Now, if you’re thinking of the kind of homemade buttermilk biscuits that rise high and turn out flaky, then this is not that recipe. These biscuits are made with oil, not butter and the result is incredible!

This recipe was a long time coming. A really long time. As in years.

Baked buttermilk biscuits in a cast iron skillet on a wooden board.

I know that I’ve admitted before that there are two things that are my biggest failings in the kitchen. One is pie crust. Can’t make one to save my life. It was a really big day for me when they came out with those nice ones in the dairy section at the grocery store.

But pie crust isn’t such a big deal, really. Lots of people have trouble with pastry dough. I could get over that one.

The other one, however, was my biggest shame. Biscuits.

😲 What Southern Cook Can’t Make Biscuits!?

Who ever heard of a Southern cook who couldn’t make a biscuit? It was just unbelievable. They’re one of the most basic elements of southern comfort food.

And it’s not like I haven’t tried. Over the years I’ve wasted enough flour trying to make a decent biscuit that you could have baked a dozen of William and Catherine’s royal wedding cakes with it. Honestly.

I tried every biscuit recipe I could find following each one to the “t.” I sifted my flour just so. Had the buttermilk at room temperature. Cut in the shortening till it was the perfect consistency. Nothing worked.

They were a complete disaster every time. The tops cracked. They burned on the bottom. They were dry and they fell apart. And it frustrated me to no end.

🔍 Searching for the Perfect Recipe

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was trying to make the wrong kind of biscuit. What I was longing for was the old fashioned buttermilk biscuits I grew up with. And they were nothing like the tall, flaky, light ones that everyone raves about. Not at all.

The biscuits that I grew up eating and which were produced by nearly every cook in my little corner of south Georgia were not light. They weren’t flaky and they surely weren’t tall.

Those biscuits were moist! They had an almost chewy texture and they never, ever fell apart. You could slice them open, put a piece of ham or sausage in them and close them back up like a sandwich. Those biscuits had substance!

💡 The Right Fat Makes All the Difference

After all these years I’ve finally realized what made those childhood biscuits different. The difference was oil. Believe it or not – oil.

My childhood biscuits were not made with solid shortening at all. Our south Georgia cooks made up their dough using soft winter wheat flour, buttermilk, and vegetable oil.

There was no cutting in of shortening involved at all. They just dumped the ingredients into a bowl, mixed it up a little, formed the biscuits, and popped them in the oven.

And guess what else – I have now made pans full of perfect south Georgia biscuits! I cannot explain to you how relieved I am. Whew. I thought for a while there that I was gonna have to give up my Southern cook credentials.

❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • These biscuits are so moist and substantial you can use them as you would bread.
  • Kids love them with jam, jelly, or syrup.
  • They’re just good!

🛒 The Simple Ingredients You’ll Need

Ingredients needed for the recipe: butter, buttermilk, vegetable oil, salt, and self-rising flour.

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  • Self-Rising Flour (if you have White Lily brand flour in your area, be sure to use it; if not, any brand will work)
  • Buttermilk (gives the dough a rich, tangy taste)
  • Vegetable Oil (use any neutral-flavored oil such as canola)
  • Salt (optional but I like to add a bit to boost the savory flavor)
  • Butter (for finishing the tops after baking)

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

🥄 How to Make Old Fashioned Buttermilk Biscuits

If you’d like to try my version of old fashioned buttermilk biscuits, one of the things I’d recommend is to try finding some White Lily flour. It’s a Southern flour made from soft red winter wheat and it makes a tremendous difference in your baked products. If it’s not available where you live, any self-rising flour will work. Your biscuits just won’t be quite as tender :-)

Sift the Flour and Add the Wet Ingredients

A cast iron skillet coated heavily with cooking spray.

STEP 1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet or cast iron skillet generously with cooking spray and set aside.

STEP 2. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl (or not – most flours don’t really need sifting these days).

STEP 3. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the buttermilk followed by the oil and the salt.

Mix the Dough

STEP 4. Mix the ingredients together just until all the flour is moistened. Try to avoid over mixing. You’ll have a fairly rough, shaggy dough. That’s okay – it’s supposed to look like that.

STEP 5. Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and gently knead it just 4 or 5 turns. That’s all you want to do – just enough to bring the dough together.

Form the Biscuits

STEP 6. Now, for these biscuits instead of using a biscuit cutter, you’re going to roll them with your hands like you would a dinner roll. Just pinch off a portion a little larger than a golf ball and roll in between your palms a few times. Be gentle. Then flatten it into a disk.

STEP 7. Place the biscuits on either a greased baking sheet or in a cast iron skillet with the sides touching. That will help them rise a little more.

Bake in a Hot Oven

Basting baked biscuits with butter in a cast iron skillet.
STEPS 8 and 9.

STEP 8. Place the baking sheet in the upper third of the oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Check a couple of minutes before the end of the cooking time and if the tops are not quite brown enough, turn on the broiler briefly to finish browning.

STEP 9. While the biscuits are cooking, melt a little butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove the biscuits from the oven and brush immediately with melted butter.

Add Butter and Syrup for a Treat

A split biscuit filled with butter and drizzled with honey.

If you really want to experience a south Georgia treat, split one of these biscuits open while it’s still good and warm. Add a pat or two of butter and drizzle it with a little honey or cane syrup. Oh, yeah.

And there you go – the biscuits I remember from childhood. I was afraid I’d never figure out how to make them. I feel all grown up and everything :-)

🍽 What Goes With Buttermilk Biscuits?

Anything. Anything in the world. But if you need some suggestions, I’d say try my biscuits with sausage gravy, or steak and eggs, or maybe tomato gravy with over easy eggs. They’re all really good!

Baked buttermilk biscuits in a cast iron skillet on a wooden board.

❓ Questions About Buttermilk Biscuits

How do I store leftover biscuits?

Wrap any leftover biscuits and store them in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Rewarm in the microwave or oven.

Can I make them ahead?

Yes, you can! The best way to make biscuits in advance is to make and roll out the dough and place individual unbaked biscuits on a cookie sheet in the freezer. Freeze for a couple of hours and then transfer to a freezer bag or container until you’re ready to bake. Place still frozen biscuits on a baking pan and bake at 425 degrees adding an additional 5 minutes to the baking time.

What if I don’t have self-rising flour?

Not to worry! Just make your own by mixing 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 3 teaspoons of baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt.

What’s the best way to reheat biscuits?

You can reheat biscuits in the microwave, but I think they’re much better when rewarmed in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the biscuits on a baking pan or in a cast iron skillet leaving a little space between each. Heat in the oven for about 5 minutes. Serve piping hot.

Lana Stuart.

More Questions? I’m happy to help!

If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

📖 Recipe

Baked buttermilk biscuits in a cast iron skillet on a wooden board.

Old Fashioned Buttermilk Biscuits

These Old Fashioned Buttermilk Biscuits are a childhood favorite. Serve them with butter and syrup or filled with ham or sausage.
4.75 from 32 votes
Print It Rate It Save
Course: Breads
Cuisine: Southern, Vintage
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 230kcal
Author: Lana Stuart


  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted


  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Spray a baking sheet or cast iron skillet generously with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl.
  • Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the buttermilk followed by the oil and the salt.
  • Mix all ingredients together just until all the flour is moistened. Do not overmix.
  • Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and knead 4 or 5 times – no more.
  • Pinch off portions of dough a little larger than a golf ball.
  • Roll the dough into a ball, then press to flatten into a disk.
  • Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet or skillet with the edges touching.
  • Place the baking sheet in the upper third of the oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes. If tops are not quite brown near the end of the cooking time, turn on the broiler briefly to finish browning.
  • While the biscuits are cooking, melt the butter over low heat.
  • Remove biscuits from the oven and brush with melted butter.


  • Wrap any leftover biscuits and store them in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Rewarm in the microwave or oven.
  • To make ahead: make and roll out the dough and place individual unbaked biscuits on a cookie sheet in the freezer. Freeze for a couple of hours and then transfer to a freezer bag or container until you’re ready to bake. Place still frozen biscuits on a baking pan and bake at 425 degrees adding an additional 5 minutes to the baking time.

Nutrition Information

Serving 1 | Calories 230kcal | Carbohydrates 24g | Protein 4g | Fat 13g | Saturated Fat 10g | Trans Fat 1g | Cholesterol 10mg | Sodium 122mg | Potassium 62mg | Fiber 1g | Sugar 1g | Vitamin A 125IU | Calcium 31mg | Iron 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I think you’ve just given me the recipe my grandmother used that she never wrote down. I’ve been looking for something to make her biscuits for so long–thank you!! I can’t wait to make them.

  2. Hey Lana! I love your biscuit recipe! I just made them for a fourth time this week, and they just keep getting better and better with practice! I am a novice baker, so I’m learning as I go. My first couple times, I made too many biscuits…didn’t look at your picture of how many you made. And, now I’m working on making each one a little smaller in my hand, which is helping them be a little taller like yours. The flavor and texture is perfect…not dry at all, and I don’t miss the butter at all! Thanks for a great-tasting and easier biscuit recipe! Love it!!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to let me know how much you like the recipe, Rhonda! I think about my grandmother every time I make these. They are so, so good!

  3. Ahhh Grandma …… I too grew up in South Ga and had those biscuits as a kid. I looked at Google pictures and none looked like Grandma’s until I found yours!!! I will try your recipe soon but I’m sure they are the same by your description and pictures and White Lilly.

    Thanks for you post

  4. We tried in vane for years to make my grandma’s biscuits. She could not read or write, so all we had were faint memories. I would tell others that the biscuits were smoother in texture and more bread-like and not flaky, and people looked at me like I was crazy. We knew she used whole buttermilk and rolled the dough into balls with her hands and placed them in a dark fluted pie tin for baking. We remembered that the dough was wetter than normal, but could never figure out how she worked it without it sticking to her hands. I remembered her letting me place a smaller dough ball in the center of the pan that was always considered my special biscuit. We even remembered her having a bottle of Mazola corn oil that she would dab on the tops of the biscuits with a spoon. What we were missing all these many attempts was that she had to have also added some oil to her biscuit dough. Thank you for supplying the missing piece of the puzzle!

    1. My pleasure! It took me a long time, too. I remembered seeing my grandmother make biscuits as well, but didn’t have any measurements. I finally figured it out and I’m so very happy I did!!! Nothing beats these biscuits :-)

  5. I was excited to try your recipe this morning but the flour to liquid ratio is way off. This recipe needed a lot more flour to make it into biscuits otherwise without the addition it was simply glue. Please check your recipe to determine if the flour amount is correct. Thanks.

  6. Have to tell you that I ran into one of your high school friends in the grocery store yesterday. She told me she was so excited to find this recipe. She said it was her mother’s and she could not find it after her mother passed away. Just look how much happiness you bring to people.

  7. These are definitely South Georgia biscuits. It took me many years to learn how to make them. You are doing good with the rolling out in palm thing. I almost never got that right. You have to keep in practice though. Bet I could not make a decent one now to save me.

  8. I made these biscuits this morning and they did taste good. However, dough was way too soft so had to add extra flour. I used Martha White flour, but used peanut oil instead of vegetable. It was all I had here. Do you think that was the problem? Thanks and I love your page!

  9. That’s way too much salt. Self-rising flour already has about 1 teaspoon per cup, which results in 350 to 400 mg sodium per serving.

    1. Tell you what, George. When you make yours, you have my permission to leave out the additional salt, okay? I’ll keep adding it to mine.

  10. I could have written this post lamenting my history with biscuits and pie crust! A few years ago I found a recipe for pie crust using flour, salt, oil and cold 2% milk. I love it. It always rolls out beautifully and is delicious.
    It also bakes in a pie pan and does not slip down in the pan. To me, it tastes so much better than store bought. Have you tried this recipe?
    Email me for the complete recipe if you are interested. Thanks for the biscuit recipe- will try.

  11. I love these type of biscuits and will try the recipe. My grandmother
    made the fluffy kind and I tried forever to make them like hers. It took me until I was in my fifties to learn how!

  12. We are in an RV and do not have room for extras like shortening. I always have canola oil on hand though. These were so easy and the taste and texture outstanding. Thank you for sharing this recipe. Wish I knew how to share this on facebook as I have many RV friends.

    1. I’m so glad you liked the biscuits, Fran! They’re our favorite. I’d love for you to share with your friends – you should see a floating bar to the left of the post with several sharing buttons. Click on the one for Facebook. Or – you can copy the URL and paste it into your Facebook status bar to share as well.

  13. i grew up in central Nebraska. the biscuits we had were the canned ones or frozen premade- i had no idea howto MAKE them when i tried to do them myself, – i like you followed the shortening ( and once i went organic butter) recipes. over time and error – i used silpat sheets, that did help alot with the burned bottoms. but i too had issues with the fall apartness. i mean how DID hardees get thier biscuits to support the egg and cheese? i use King arthur flour self rising. having ten pounds of it, a couple months back i printed out your recipe and quite a few others. this week i finally made it to this one. i used canola oil ( again i’m doing organic cooking) and i used a square cupcake but squared/ brownie pan i found from Wilton. i discovered for scones which strangely DO work with the butter cutting in- it supports the sides and browns them better– anyway these are hands down best biscuits i ever made- they are flavorful i was worried about the salt but honestly i think thats totally what was missing, they are moist they dont fall apart when you hold them- and they are EASY without all that cutting butter in– even with a food processor it still takes time to measure cut the butter in and transfer to another bowl to mix enough but not overmix for scones- i will be making biscuits often now. thank you So much for posting. it IS a keeper..

    1. I’m so glad you found a good biscuit recipe, Michell3! It took me a long time to figure out how to get this type of moist, sturdy biscuit. I’m glad other people are enjoying it as well.

  14. So glad to see that you use the “hand squooze” method instead of cutting them out. My wonderful Granny used a wooden biscuit bowl and always hand squooze her biscuits. I don’t even think she owned a biscuit cutter. Why bother when she had her hands? I watched her do it for years but it sure is harder doing it yourself without her. Practice has been the key for me getting somewhat close to her biscuits.

  15. I’m going to give these a try based on looks alone. They look more like what my granny always made…I call them ‘sandwich making biscuits’. Bacon, garden tomato and biscuit were my favorite things to eat when I was little. They never fell apart and you could wrap them up and take them in your pocket out to play. The only thing I’m worried about is that I know she didn’t use oil, she used lard.

  16. It’s 11pm and I may not sleep a wink. Cannot wait to try this biscuit. For the past year, I’ve been makin’ biscuits at all hours of the day & night. Tryin’ to come up with the “smooth top” ones my Mother used to make in Eastern TN. Have tried it all. Lard, butter, half-n-half, sour cream, mayonnaise. None of them felt like the ones in my head. I can tell from the picture and your descriptive words, THIS IS IT! Yeah, bravo…….Thank you! Like you say, it’s a shame for a southern girl (who can make a killer pie crust _ ICE cold water and worked just till it will stick together) not to be able to make a decent biscuit for sausage & gravy! Thanks, again.

    1. Hi BillieSue – it took me years to figure out this recipe. My grandmother, of course, never used a recipe. She just poured the buttermilk and oil into a huge bowl of flour and started mixing. I really hope these are the biscuits you’re looking for and I’d love to know how they turn out for you.

      1. ahhhhhhh……….perfect! Look right. Feel right…….and can take the middle out of it to make a home for strawberry, blackberry, and apple jelly. Covered the middle with white gravy. I’ve just got to invite somebody over for breakfast, or maybe sausage & biscuit sandwiches will be served at my next girlie get together. Now I’m goin’ back to see all the other good stuff on your website. You are the queen of biscuits, and I’m bowing at your feet! Thanks, Queen Lana.

      2. BillieSue – I’m just thrilled that you enjoyed the biscuits! Now you’ve got me thinking about them and I just might have to go in the kitchen and make a batch :-)

  17. I have had the same exact problem. Could NOT make a biscuit. My great aunt makes the best buttermilk biscuits and I couldn’t make them because she couldn’t tell me a recipe. She just throws everything in a bowl. I tried this recipe after trying many others..this one is EXACTLY like my Aunt Barbara’s!! I am so glad that I found this. I will be using this recipe every time I make biscuits. The vegetable oil really does make all the difference. Thank you!

    1. You’re welcome, Brooke! You wouldn’t believe how many years I tried making the flaky biscuits with shortening and they just never came out the way I wanted. Then I finally realized what I was doing wrong and started making this recipe. It’s quite different from the other style of biscuit, but it has always been my favorite.

  18. Biscuits are in the oven right now. Recently heard about making biscuits with oil, googled and found your recipe. Must say that I do love the texture of the dough. I used an ice cream scoop to portion them all out on to my sheet pan first then went back and hand rolled and flattened. Such a fast recipe, much better than cutting in the lard or butter. Almost melted some bacon grease to add, maybe next time.

    1. Biscuits turned out excellent! Didn’t brush the tops with butter, had to mix my own self rising flour, only had skim milk but not enough so added a spoonful of greek yogurt – very forgiving recipe. Daughter ate the last two with fried eggs for breakfast. Can only imagine how great they are when you follow the recipe exactly. Writing the recipe down in my keeper file. Thanks!

  19. My grandmother, one great aunt, and the half-dozen of my mother’s female siblings made biscuits like these. Left over Christmas ham on one of these with a fried egg and some fried potatoes would be my absolute favorite breakfast ever. I may have to ask family back in Kentucky to send me some White Lily flour (my grandmother used it too). Ah…. memories. :)

    1. They are really good biscuits, aren’t they? So moist compared to those taller, flaky kind. I’m thinking I need to make a pan of biscuits and some ham this weekend.

      1. They’re like the soul food version of Italian ciabatta bread with just enough buttermilk tang to keep it interesting. Perfect for everything from sandwiches to mopping up gravy. It does make me wonder how well a longer sub-roll loaf made from this dough would hold up. *imagines experimental breakfast hoagies*

  20. I made these biscuits and they are similar to the biscuits my grandmother made. When I went down south I grabbed two large bags of white lily flour just so I could make these.