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Best Fluffy Light Buttermilk Biscuit Recipe

Audrey is a medical transcriptionist, instructor, writer, photographer, and dog trainer who writes on a variety of topics.

This delicious recipe will be loved by the whole family.

This delicious recipe will be loved by the whole family.

The Perfect Biscuit

The Best Light Recipe cookbook from Cook's Illustrated has done it again! I have tried biscuit recipes from every source, and this is by far my favorite. It is a bit unconventional but well worth the effort, which I don't think is extreme. I've found this recipe to be foolproof (even when I added the extra 1 cup of flour to the mixture).

They are great for breakfast, for dinner, for soups, for strawberry shortcake—just delightful! They also freeze like a dream. I have modified the recipe to reflect how best to add in the flour, as 1 cup of the flour is for rolling them. Try their book, as the recipes are amazing!

Fluffy buttermilk biscuits

Fluffy buttermilk biscuits

The Best Light, Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe

For the highest rise, use a double-acting baking powder such as Calumet, Clabber Girl, or Davis. Store leftover biscuits in a zipper-lock bag. Reheat by placing on a baking sheet in a 475-degree oven for 5-7 minutes.


  • Vegetable oil spray
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour (DO NOT MIX WITH THE 2 CUPS for shaping)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1-1/2 cups cold buttermilk

Makes 12


  1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 500 degrees. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with vegetable oil spray. Generously spray the inside and outside of a 1/4-cup dry measuring cup with the same spray; set aside. (You will measure the biscuits with this)
  2. Take the separate 1 cup of flour and spread it on a rimmed baking sheet. (You will roll the biscuits in this 1 cup of flour before placing them in the cake pan)
  3. Process the 2 cups of flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a food processor to combine—about six 1-second pulses. Scatter the butter cubes evenly over the dry ingredients and pulse until the mixture resembles pebbly, coarse cornmeal, eight to ten 1-second pulses. Transfer the dry mixture to a medium bowl.
  4. Add the buttermilk and stir with a rubber spatula until just incorporated—don't overmix. (The dough will be very wet and slightly lumpy)
  5. Working quickly, use the prepared 1/4-cup measure to scoop a level amount of dough and drop it from the measuring cup into the flour on the baking sheet. (Use a small spoon to pull it free if it sticks but handle it as little as possible—you want air in the dough)
  6. Repeat with the remaining dough, forming 12 pretty evenly-sized mounds. Once you have the 12 mounds of biscuit, dust each of the 12 pieces of dough with flour from the baking sheet.
  7. With floured hands, gently pick up a piece of dough, coat it with flour, and gently shape it into a rough ball, shake off any excess flour, and place it in the prepared cake pan.
  8. Repeat with the remaining dough, arranging 9 rounds around the perimeter of the cake pan and 3 in the center.
  9. Bake the biscuits for 5 minutes at 500, then reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees and continue to bake until the biscuits are a deep golden brown - about 15 minutes longer.
  10. Cool the biscuits in the pan for 2 minutes, then flip them onto a clean kitchen towel. Turn the biscuits upright and break them apart and cool for 5 more minutes before serving.

How to Test Baking Powder for Freshness

Baking powder has to be tested frequently as it will lose the ability to provide leavening over time.

  • Write the date that you opened it on a piece of tape and attach it to the can. After 6 months, the baking powder should be tested to see if it is still good.
  • To test, mix 2 teaspoons baking powder with 1 cup hot tap water. If there is an immediate fizzing and foaming reaction, it is still good. If the reaction is delayed or weak, throw it away and purchase a new can.
  • A can of baking powder that has been open for a year or more should be replaced.
  • Always check the date on the bottom of the can at the time of purchase as well!