All-Purpose Biscuits Recipe (2024)

By Sam Sifton

Updated Nov. 13, 2023

All-Purpose Biscuits Recipe (1)

Total Time
1 hour
Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
55 minutes
Read community notes

Homemade biscuits are what take us into the kitchen today to cook: fat, flaky mounds of quick bread, golden brown, with a significant crumb. Composed of flour, baking powder, fat and a liquid, then baked in a hot oven, they are an excellent sop for syrup, molasses or honey. They are marvelous layered with country ham or smothered in white sausage gravy, with eggs, with grits. They make a great Thanksgiving side. And if you've never made them before, you'll be delighted to know that biscuits are easy to make. Really.

Featured in: A Quest for New York’s Perfect Biscuit

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Yield:6 to 8 servings

  • 2cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2tablespoons baking powder
  • 1scant tablespoon sugar
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 5tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, preferably European style
  • 1cup whole milk

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (8 servings)

204 calories; 8 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 2 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 grams polyunsaturated fat; 28 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram dietary fiber; 3 grams sugars; 4 grams protein; 287 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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All-Purpose Biscuits Recipe (2)


Make the recipe with us

  1. Step


    Preheat oven to 425. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Transfer to a food processor. Cut butter into pats and add to flour, then pulse 5 or 6 times until the mixture resembles rough crumbs. (Alternatively, cut butter into flour in the mixing bowl using a fork or a pastry cutter.) Return dough to bowl, add milk and stir with a fork until it forms a rough ball.

  2. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and pat it down into a rough rectangle, about an inch thick. Fold it over and gently pat it down again. Repeat two more times. Cover the dough loosely with a kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.

  3. Step


    Gently pat out the dough some more, so that the rectangle is roughly 10 inches by 6 inches. Cut dough into biscuits using a floured biscuit cutter (or even a glass, though its duller edge may result in slightly less tall biscuits). Do not twist cutter when cutting; this crimps the edges of the biscuit and impedes its rise.

    All-Purpose Biscuits Recipe (3)
  4. Step


    Place biscuits on a cookie sheet and bake until golden brown, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.



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Private Notes

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Cooking Notes


No, please don't turn the oven on to 425 degrees as your first step. No need to waste energy while you let the biscuits rest for 30 minutes!


Freeze the butter and then grate it. Use a fork to mix up the dough. Works like a charm and no need to wash the bowl of a food processor!


I'm 78, Southern and these were the best biscuits I've ever made. Probably because I followed the recipe and used 2 tablespoons of baking powder.
Geez and from and a Yankee!


Many of the notes here raise questions or concerns about the amount of baking powder. Everyone should know that baking powder formulations vary from brand to brand. Go to your supermarket and read the ingredients. The products that use aluminum salts in their formulation are likely the ones that result in an unpleasant flavor. Also see Wikipedia article on Baking Powder.


Needed only 3/4 cup milk. Mixed dough before bedtime, wrapped in plastic and refrigerated 8 hours.
Baked for breakfast. They rose to twice their original height, crunchy bottom and top, tender crumb, scrumptious. I think the dough "matured" in the fridge overnight, and so the baked product had less of the raw flour taste that I usually get with my quick breads.


Instead of cutting in the butter, I've been using a simple technique I read about for getting the butter worked into the dough. Try melting the butter, either over low heat or low power in the microwave, then pour it into the cup of very cold milk. It will reform in smallish chunks that work into the dough very well.


Great recipe that makes for a very light and flaky biscuit, plus is very flexible.
- I did not find 2 Tbsp of baking powder excessive.
- The 30 minute resting period can be skipped if time's short, but it really improves the final texture.
- Works both as rounds and squares -- but squares rise "lopsided" since one or two of the sides won't be cut.
- Buttermilk substitutes nicely for the milk, no baking soda needed.
- Have also swapped a bit of white flour with whole wheat. Also delicious!


"European style" here in the US means imported butter that has a higher butterfat content than we ordinarily get with domestic butter. (which means more flavor). European brands I see here include Plugra, Lurpak, Presidente and Kerrygold, if that helps.


I pat that rectangle out on the cookie sheet and then, with a sharp knife, cut square biscuits. I don't saw them to cut, as Sam indicates this will impede their rising. I lay the blade on top and press down through the dough.
This way, no re-rolling scraps of dough.
And since the NYTimes health section has informed us to "stop fearing fat"......., melt some bacon grease, shortening or butter. Make sure it's not hot. Dip each biscuit in the extra fat before baking. Double yum.


I will never understand the use of a Cuisnart in making a biscuit or pie dough for that matter. However, unless you're putting out the biscuits for the Queen, one can simply gather the left-over pieces together and push them into crooked little mounds and bake. The 2nd best advice I received for biscuits was to never roll the dough out twice.

Gael C

I have tried these several times and this recipe hasn't failed me yet! Key not twist the biscuit cutter! I like to place my biscuits in a 8 or 9 inch round cake pan so the sides of the biscuits touch each helps them rise and the sides are soft. Great recipe!


to take this recipe to a new level of perfection. Take about 4-6 ozs. of sharp cheddar cheese, cut it into 1/4 inch squares (more or less) and mix them into the flour before you add the milk. Do not use the food processor to add the milk, use a spoon or fork to mix. When the biscuits are done, the cheese will have melted throughout and you will swoon with pleasure.


Hey--what's with this "cover the dough and allow it to rest for 30 minutes??" Are you kidding? Cut those puppies and pop them right into the oven at 425 degrees F and watch them head for the sky. Why take such a simple recipe and complicate it?

Regular old American unsalted butter works just fine. So does 1% milk or whatever kind you have in the fridge. Start with 2/3 cups and work your way up, as the dough requires.

2 T of baking powder?? Ewww.... See comment below.


I saw this recipe and and five minutes later I was in the kitchen looking for the ingredients and pre-heating the oven. I think the recipe is forgiving-I used 4 Tsp aluminum free baking powder, no sugar, and just used a fork (no food processor) to cut the butter into the flour. I used 2/3 cup half & half instead of milk (what I had on hand)! I kneaded the dough, pressed it out by hand, and cut into squares with a knife. I am having them with honey and tea right now and they taste delicious!


I prefer Strawberry Shortcake made with biscuits. These are perfect with a little more sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon of gr. coriander. yum!

As a basic biscuit they were perfect.


I add coarsely grated sharp cheddar (5+ yrs old) and a tsp or so of cayenne to bring out the cheddar flavour. If I have it, I'll substitute some yogourt to top up the milk. Instead of making circular biscuits, I pat the dough out in a long rectangle, cut diagonally/vertically to make triangles, sprinkle with a little coarse sea salt for crunch, and bake close together on a baking sheet covered with parchment. They rise ridiculously high when baking.


I’ve made biscuits for years but never put sugar in the recipe and don’t want to now. I read recently about using Lily flour since it’s softer wheat. And it does seem to make a very nice biscuit that rises well and is very flaky.


Made 3 vegan batches in one night bc they were soooo good! If you use Earth Balance (which is salted) I found reducing salt to 1/4 tsp seemed right. Adding a Tbsp of lemon juice in the milk to clabber it- really added a lovely lift to the flavor. I followed all the rest of the measurements as is. A slightly smaller biscuit cutter yielded taller biscuits.

Nancy Drew

I made the dough in the morning and put it in the fridge, wrapped in plastic, until supper time. Popped it in the oven and was very pleased to see the rise. Not as high as the picture but higher than I usually get. Very tasty. Thanks for the recipe.


Agree w the person who said great for shortcake. We (2 empty nesters) got everything out to eat with these —-and they can soak up some moisture/fat/sugar. I would (personally) add more butter if eating like I love biscuits. Plain …just peeling off layers out of pan. Like a croissant. With apologies to the biscuit purists.


I’ve found using European butter makes for a heavier biscuit. The higher butterfat content weighs them down just a dite, richer flavor though. Ive used the Best Buttermilk Biscuit recipe for years and they are truly wonderful but i need to try this one….broaden my horizons

Carol Gordon

I have always upped the flaky factor by folding the dough as follows: with the dough rectangle in front of you, fold the right third of the dough over the center, then do the same on the left. Approximate thirds are fine! Very gently pat out or roll the dough so that another rectangle is formed. Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat the folding process. One last time, gently roll or pat the dough into a rectangle, and proceed with the biscuit cutting. The result is flaky, sky-high biscuits.


I enjoyed Sam's note in the newsletter about "practice makes perfect." My Aunt Byrdie's lifetime of experience enabled her to make the best biscuits in history entirely by feel. She rubbed the lard into the flour with her fingers and added milk until it "felt right." I can still see her delicate flour-covered hands at work. She always made extras when I visited so I could take the cold ones in the car for the trip home. Better than cookies! Thanks for bringing this memory back for me, Sam.


Can you freeze these for later?

Ingrid Oliphant

Any hints for someone at 10,000 feet?


Made these by whirling dry ingredients in the food processor, then pulsing in the butter chunks, then poured milk in and pulsed a few more times. They turned out great! Made 10 square biscuits cut with the bench scraper. I ground some black pepper on the tops before I baked. Accidentally baked at 400 degrees and it still worked fine, just took a little longer. Also accidentally used my regular salted butter and also added the 1 tsp of salt (I used kosher), and not unpleasantly salty.


anyone tried making this with gluten free flour?


use frozen butter and a box cutter


One cup of flour is 125 grams according to King Arthur Baking

Barrie Petersen

Has anyone had success with a gluten free flour for these biscuits?

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All-Purpose Biscuits Recipe (2024)
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