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This Baking Powder Biscuits recipe is a tradition in our family. I'm sharing all my tips and tricks for how to make biscuits with this recipe that only uses pantry staple ingredients. These light and fluffy farmhouse-style biscuits are tender and wonderful, and the perfect vehicle for your favorite toppings like butter, jam, or honey!
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These homemade baking powder biscuits are ½ of my favorite breakfast ever. The other half is a bizarre sounding but delicious concoction called "Macaroni & Eggs" that comes out of the Great Depression and as far as I know was invented by and only exists in my family.
This is the breakfast I always, always ask for on my birthday or whenever I'm at my parents house and my mom asks what I want for breakfast. There is NOTHING as good as a steaming hot biscuit covered in homemade apricot or raspberry freezer jam or creamy honey. It's pretty much my ultimate comfort food.
My girls sit on the counter while I cut shortening into flour, baking powder, and salt with a pastry cutter (<-- affiliate link), and then pull it all together with just enough milk to moisten everything. Then I turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it flat and the girls take turns cutting the biscuits out with circular cutters.
It makes me happy that this breakfast tradition is as much about preparing the baking powder biscuits together as it is about eating them together.
Should I use butter or shortening in biscuits?
When it comes to baking biscuits and pie crusts, I use shortening even though I know some people prefer butter. Shortening makes baked goods lighter and flakier, but it's also how my mom always made these biscuits.
Now, if you want to use butter in place of shortening, by all means go right ahead. They still turn out fabulous although I feel like they don't have quite the same texture as biscuits made with shortening.
How to Make Baking Powder Biscuits
- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Cut in the shortening using a pastry cutter until it resembles peas.
- Stir in milk using a fork just until the dough comes together.
- Pat out dough on a floured surface until it is about 1" thick. If the dough is too sticky, go ahead and sprinkle a little extra flour over it. You can even fold the dough over itself 3-4 times to create more flaky layers.
- Cut out biscuits close together using a circular biscuit cutter. The scraps of dough can be pressed together to get another couple of biscuits.
- Bake on an ungreased baking sheet at 425 degrees F for 12 minutes.
What does baking powder do in biscuits?
Baking powder is a leavening agent that provides lift to a dough or batter by creating a carbon dioxide that inflates baked goods like baking powder biscuits, cookies, cakes, or muffins.
What will too much baking powder do?
Even if you want mile-high homemade biscuits, you don't want to increase the amount of baking powder in your biscuits. Too much baking powder will result in a bitter taste that is not enjoyable.
If you find your baking powder biscuits aren't as light and fluffy as you would like, it's like that the dough got over-mixed. You might also want to make sure you are using a sharp biscuit cutter and not twisting when you cut the biscuits out, which tends to seal the edges a bit so they can't rise and separate as well.
Tips for the Best Homemade Baking Powder Biscuits
- If you really want a golden topped biscuit, you can achieve it by brushing your biscuits with an egg wash or cream before baking. Honestly, I always skip this because I like the rustic, country look of simple baking powder biscuits.
- I keep my shortening in the refrigerator until I'm ready to use it. Same with the milk. Cold ingredients make for light, fluffy homemade biscuits.
- Avoid overworking the dough by just using a fork to mix the biscuit dough together and patting it out with your hands rather than rolling with a rolling pin . Overworking the dough results in tough biscuits.
- You might also like to brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter right after they come out of the oven. I like the floury finish on top from patting out the biscuits, so I skip this step, but if you really love the butter flavor more, go for it!
Baking Powder Biscuits
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup shortening
- 1 scant cup milk
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening using a pastry cutter until combined.
- Add milk and stir in using a fork just to bring everything together into a shaggy clump. Try not to overwork the dough by stirring too much.
- On a lightly floured surface, pat the dough into about a 1-inch thickness, then cut out using a biscuit cutter, or even just use a knife to create square biscuits and transfer to a baking sheet.
- Bake in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, until tops barely begin to brown. Remove from oven and serve hot with butter, honey and jam.