Southern Biscuits and Chocolate Gravy is an Arkansas favorite and a special breakfast treat for all ages! Tender, flaky southern buttermilk biscuits are smothered in a rich homemade chocolate sauce for a wonderfully unique start to the day that is truly Southern!

For a classic alternative, be sure to try my Best Homemade Biscuits and Gravy recipe! You might also want to try my Southern Fried Chicken and Classic Southern Collard Greens!

chocolate gravy smothered southern biscuits on a white plate with more biscuits in the background

There is nothing quite like good homemade buttermilk biscuits, made from scratch by hand. Unless it's a one that has then been topped with a generous dousing of what southerners in Arkansas refer to as "chocolate gravy".

To be totally honest, I had never even heard of such a thing before starting my American Eats series and researching the foods that Arkansas is known for.

I mean, I have made plenty of Southern buttermilk biscuits over the years, but always just topped them with butter and honey or jam!

And while I was aware of the fondness for southern biscuits and gravy in general, that always meant a white sausage gravy. The idea of chocolate gravy had never entered my mind!

But apparently southern biscuits and chocolate gravy is hugely popular in Arkansas (as well as other areas of the South). So of course I had to at least try it.

An image of the best homemade buttermilk biscuits covered in chocolate gravy and served with strawberries.

I might lose some people with this description, but I feel like chocolate gravy is somewhere between hot chocolate and homemade chocolate pudding, in terms of flavor, even though it looks like it might taste more like hot fudge of chocolate sauce.

And in terms of texture, weeeellllllll, it's called gravy for a reason. Because it has that silky mouthfeel of a gravy rather than being runny like a sauce or sticky like hot fudge. Still with me? I hope so.

I made this for my girls and they literally licked their plates clean. I'm not joking or exaggerating. We're talking spotless dishes because they wanted every last drop of chocolate gravy. It was both hilarious and worrisome.

And while you might look at this and think it sounds awfully rich for breakfast, I don't think it's all that different in principle from a chocolate croissant, chocolate chip muffin, or a donut.

But I definitely recommend serving it with some fresh fruit for dipping into the chocolate sauce as well (so good!), and maybe some bacon for protein (when you go big, might as well go all the way, right?).

An image of two southern biscuits and gravy made with chocolate gravy sauce and the fluffiest homemade buttermilk biscuits.

But since you can't have chocolate gravy without something to pour it over (or can you?), I'm sharing the best biscuit recipe today. You can eat these for breakfast or dessert, and they are also great for strawberry shortcakes with sweetened strawberries and whipped cream.

How to Make Chocolate Gravy

  1. Gather up all your gravy ingredients:  all purpose flour, sugar, cocoa powder, butter, vanilla extract and milk. There's not much to any gravy and chocolate gravy is no exception. You are also going to want a whisk to break up any clumps of flour.
  2. Whisk the sugar, cocoa powder, flour, and salt together in a large skillet or saucepan. I find skillets easier to work with when making gravy, but that's just my preference.
  3. Pour in the milk and whisk to combine.
  4. Cook over medium heat for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to thicken.
  5. Remove from the heat and add the butter and vanilla, stirring until the butter is completely melted into the gravy.
  6. Serve over fresh southern biscuits.
An image of sugar, cocoa powder, and flour in a pan with a whisk for making southern chocolate gravy from Arkansas.
An image of southern biscuits and chocolate gravy on a white plate with a bowl of gravy and a plate of warm homemade buttermilk biscuits off to the side.

How to Make Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits from Scratch

If you have ever wondered how to make biscuits at home, don't be intimidated or overwhelmed. Homemade biscuits are really super simple to make with ingredients that are already in your pantry.

Even if you don't have buttermilk, I'm including an easy work-around that is almost just as good.

But there are definitely a few secrets to fluffy biscuits and these tips and tricks that will help you achieve your dreams of tall, fluffy, flaky southern biscuits every time:

  • Make sure your butter is cold.  It really does make a difference! You can even cube the butter and stick it in the freezer for 15 minutes before using it in the biscuits to keep it good and cold.
  • Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or food processor (affiliate link).   This helps the butter stay cold and distributes the fat evenly into the dry ingredients, which is necessary for light, tender biscuits. You are going for pea-sized crumbs.
  • Don't overwork the dough when adding the buttermilk.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then pour in the liquid and stir just enough to start to pull everything together. The dough will be shaggy but you're going to knead the dough together a bit more anyway after you turn it out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface, so it's okay if it looks a little rough at first.
  • Fold the dough over itself by thirds, two to three times, envelope-style.  This technique creates incredibly tall biscuits with layer upon flaky layer of buttery goodness.
  • When cutting out the biscuits, don't twist the cutter. Twisting the cutter seals off the edges of the biscuits and makes it so they don't rise as tall and separate into layers. Also, use a cutter with sharp edges. Push straight down, then pull up.
  • Bake the biscuits at a high temperature in a completely preheated oven.  The cold butter meeting the intense heat will cause it to melt quickly, creating steam and helping to lift the biscuits, creating the delicious, flaky layers that are the hallmark of a good buttermilk biscuit.
  • Brush the tops of the hot biscuits with melted butter.  It makes the extra golden and rich and wonderful.
An image of cubed cold butter in a food dprocessor with flour, baking powder, and salt for making homemade buttermilk biscuits from scratch.
A collage of three step-by-step pictures showing how to make homemade buttermilk biscuits from scratch by adding liquids to dry ingredients, stirring to combine, then kneading to bring the dough together.
An image of homemade buttermilk biscuit dough with biscuits cut out with a circle biscuit cutter.
An image of a bowl of flaky, fluffy buttermilk biscuits in a bowl.
An image of flaky, fluffy, tall buttermilk biscuits with golden tops on a white baking sheet.

What can I use as a substitute for buttermilk?

If you don’t have buttermilk in the refrigerator, you can substitute regular milk mixed with lemon juice or white vinegar and it will work just as well. Just add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a 1 cup measuring cup, then fill the rest of the way with milk. Stir together, then let sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe as directed.

a plate with chocolate covered biscuits and more biscuits and gravy in the background

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Southern Biscuits and Chocolate Gravy

5 from 13 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Southern Biscuits and Chocolate Gravy is an Arkansas favorite and a special breakfast treat for all ages!  Tender, flaky southern buttermilk biscuits are smothered in a rich homemade chocolate sauce for a wonderfully unique start to the day that is truly Southern!


Chocolate Gravy

  • 1 cup sugar
  • cup cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons butter cubed and cold, plus 3 tablespoons, melted, for brushing
  • 1 cup buttermilk cold


Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.  
  • Using a pastry cutter or food processor (affiliate link), cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients until crumbs about the size of peas form.  Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk, then stir with a spatula or fork just until the dough starts to come together.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 5 or 6 times.  Pat into a rectangle then fold the left third over, then the right side over into an envelope shape.  Pat down, turn the dough a quarter turn, and repeat the folding process once more before patting the dough into a 1-inch thick rectangle.
  • Cut out biscuits using a circle biscuit cutter, pressing straight down without twisting the cutter, then transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake for 14-16 minutes until the tops are golden.
  • Remove the rolls from the oven and brush with the melted butter, if desired.

Chocolate Gravy

  • In a large skillet or sauce pan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, flour, and salt until there are no lumps. 
  • Pour the milk into the dry ingredients and whisk until combined, then cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 7 to 10 minutes. 
  • Remove the chocolate gravy from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla until the butter is melted and combined with the sauce. Serve immediately over buttermilk biscuits.


Chocolate gravy recipe adapted slightly from My Recipes.


Calories: 270kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 389mg | Potassium: 145mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 361IU | Calcium: 137mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. Anne Murphy says:

    5 stars
    I used to know a woman from Arkansas who made this - and she brought it to a potluck brunch mutual friends gave. All of us Northeasterners were quite startled - but it was so good, we just lapped it up! I'm delighted to have a recipe for it now. (And yes, I'm still wrapping my mind around it - but as you say, it's hardly different from the many other ways people serve chocolate at breakfast!)

  2. Dawn says:

    5 stars
    How fun is this....and tasty too? I love the idea of a 'chocolate' gravy. And those biscuits look deadly good 🙂

  3. Aleta says:

    5 stars
    What an interesting idea! I have also never heard of chocolate gravy with biscuits! I am a huge biscuit fan, so will definitely have to give this a try! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Kristi Montgomery says:

      Well, I just about had heart failure when I read this article was about bisquits and chocolate gravy!!! I've lived in California my whole life,but my mom was born in Oklahoma & transplanted to Cali and I have been eating chocolate grqzy ever since I can remember. Also all of my cousins eat it as well!!! I was so excited because I wanted to see what your receipe called for when it came to the chocolate gravy, because my mom never gave me measurements, just told me to brown my handful of flour before I added my cocoa and sugar mixture. Which me asking for then receipe made her have to come up with measurements for cocoa powder and sugar! The vanilla was always optional. But, tonight, in honor of a fellow chocolate gravy lover, I will give your receipe a try!!!!! Its a lot darker than mine and prepared a little different as well, but you description of what the gravy tastes like was pretty spot on, I mean you explained it almost identical to how I explained it. I'm starving........ gotta get to baking and making chocolate gravy!!!

  4. Eden | Sweet Tea & Thyme says:

    Now if this isn’t a Southern favorite! These photos are simply gorgeous.

  5. Sues says:

    5 stars
    I've never heard of this as a breakfast idea before, but I'm kind of in love with it now. And I'm obsessed with your description of chocolate gravy!

  6. Anne|Craving Something Healthy says:

    Holy Moses! Chocolate gravy? Yes, please, and I can think of a million things other things I'm gonna put this on!

  7. Dana says:

    5 stars
    This is such a fun spin on biscuits and gravy for people with a sweet tooth! My husband is a biscuits and gravy nut, and he's made the classic sausage gravy kind for me (once, because holy heart attack, lol). This seems like a less aggressive approach 😉

  8. Amber Barrier says:

    5 stars
    Woo hoo! You hit the nail on this head with this one; we Arkansans DO love our chocolate gravy! 🙂

    1. Amy says:

      Lol - thanks, Amber! I've been loving the Arkansas foods I tried for this series!


    Those buscuits look so dry. Those are not melt in your mouth southern buttermilk biscuits. The technique is right. Ingredients is off.

  10. Thom Ross says:

    I think you MUST be a southern girl!  If not I would like to officially invite you and your beautiful family to move here  🙂

    Now I know what I am talking about as I grew up eating the best homemade biscuits and chocolate gravy in the world (perhaps maybe) and yours is just spot on!

    I hope that others will find this very nice site of yours and make it as well.

    Good luck and God Bless to you all.   🙂

  11. Tommy Helton says:

    We Southerners here in Alabama we love chocolate gravy and biscuits to not just Arkansas we Alabama's loves it too chocolate gravy is a sweet tooth favorite it's good for Sunday morning breakfast

    1. Amy says:

      I think it's loved across most of the South, isn't it? I love visiting recipes from each of the southern states because it is one of my favorite cuisines. Many of these recipe cross state borders - thank you for the reminder!

    2. Janet Mccain says:

      We Southerners here in Kentucky also love our Chocolate Gravy 🙂 On a fluffy, hot buttered biscuit 🙂