There are biscuits, and then there are biscuits. Whether you like to savor them solo with honey and butter, paired with ultra-crunchy fried chicken, or slathered with sausage gravy (hello, breakfast!), they can be the sleeper hit of any meal. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make fluffy, picture-perfect biscuits—as well as to gather appeals for seconds from everyone at the table.
Chill the butter and shortening for 30 minutes. They will chill faster cut into pieces, and the cold fat will melt in the oven (not in the mixing bowl), creating flaky biscuits.
Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper to keep the biscuits from sticking to the sheet.
To distribute the dry ingredients evenly, pulse them in the food processor. You can then mix in the fat quickly, keeping it cold until the biscuits bake.
Scatter the fat over the dry ingredients and pulse until the mix resembles coarse meal. The pats of fat melt in the oven, creating pockets of steam, which make for flaky biscuits.
Dump the mixture into a bowl and stir in the buttermilk by hand. Stop when the dough forms a uniform texture. A food processor would overmix the dough and produce tough biscuits.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently. Done with a light hand, kneading develops the gluten. Result? Tall biscuits.
Using a rolling pin, evenly roll the dough into a 9-inch round that’s about ¾ inch thick. You do want uniform biscuits, don’t you?
Dip the biscuit cutter into flour before stamping out each biscuit. The dough won’t stick to the cutter, creating lopsided biscuits.
Gather dough scraps and pat into a circle. Careful—don’t overwork the dough because rough hands make tough biscuits. Stamp out the remaining biscuits.
Place the biscuits upside down on the baking sheet and put in the oven. With the flat underside now on top, the biscuits will rise evenly.
Bake the biscuits for five minutes and then rotate pan and turn the oven down. In the cooler oven, the biscuits will cook through before they overbrown.
Cool the biscuits on a wire rack for five minutes, but not much more. Enjoy them warm, preferably with a pat of butter.