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Biscuits Like Nana Made
Side Dish
Print Recipe
½ c
unsalted butter or lard, cold, plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, plus more for the pan
2 ¼ c
self-rising soft wheat flour, plus more for kneading
Pinch of salt
1 ¼ c
well-shaken buttermilk

The American Baking Competition finalist Francine Bryson bakes her Southern-style cakes, pies and biscuits with love and tips and tricks from the women in her family in Blue Ribbon Baking from a Redneck Kitchen.

I’m about to admit something I never thought I would: I couldn’t make a proper buttermilk biscuit until I turned forty-four. Nana tried to teach me all my life, but somehow I could never make them right—even when I watched her and used her recipe and practiced and practiced and practiced.

When I tried out for The American Baking Competition, we had to make something, but we didn’t know what it would be. I saw all the ingredients out and all I could think was Please, God, don’t make me make biscuits! I turned over that recipe page, and, of course, there it was: Southern-style biscuits. Within seconds there’s a producer up in my face saying, “If there’s anyone who can make Southern biscuits, it’s you!” If only he knew. . . . But because I didn’t have time to think or mess with them too long, they turned out perfect. And that’s the special tip: The trick to making fluffy buttermilk biscuits is not to mess with them too much. If you overwork the dough, they’ll get real tough—trust me, I spent most of my life doing that.


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut ¹⁄₂ cup of the butter into ¹⁄₄-inch-thick slices and scatter on top of the flour. Using two forks or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until the butter is in small pieces. Add the buttermilk, stirring until just combined.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and knead 3 or 4 times, adding additional flour if needed. Press or pat the dough into a ¹⁄₂-inchthick rectangle. Cut 8 to 12 biscuits (see Blue Ribbon Tips, page 205) and arrange, side by side and touching, on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake until lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and rub the hot biscuits with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to make the tops shiny. Serve warm, drizzled with chocolate gravy, if you like.

Reprinted from Blue Ribbon Baking from a Redneck Kitchen. Copyright © 2014 by Francine Bryson. Photographs copyright © 2014 by Ben Fink. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.