Mile High Buttermilk Biscuits

Do you rate recipes that you try? I can't remember when I started it, but every time I make a new recipe I give the end result a star rating so I can remember if it was a winner or not. 5 stars means it was excellent and I will make it again and again, 4 stars means very good, but maybe I will only make it again occasionally, 3 stars means it was okay but not worth the effort. 2 stars and 1 star recipes I normally don't have to rate since they were so bad that it would be impossible to forget them. When I lived with my sister and we'd try recipes together, she'd write her own ratings on top of the recipes, too. They weren't in star form, but they still got their point across. I still laugh when I run across a page of a cookbook I used occasionally and see a 2 star rating from me and a big "YUCKY" from her.

The rating system works pretty well for me, but every once in a while I come across a recipe that I like so much that 5 stars isn't enough for it. It's the kind of recipe that is perfection for me, and these few recipes get 6 stars. They often get an exclamation point after the stars, too, since I'm usually in food bliss when I write the rating down. This biscuit recipe is one of them. It makes buttery, fluffy biscuits that aren't dense or floury. They have a deep, rich flavor from the buttermilk and a lovely, soft texture. They are a slight modification of a drop biscuit recipe so they are less work than rolled biscuits, but they still look beautiful when they are baked. I only make them when I know other people will be around to eat them because I am likely to eat the whole pan in one sitting. The recipe isn't difficult, but do make sure that you move quickly once you add the buttermilk because the faster you get them in the oven, the fluffier they will be. Don't worry, though. Once you know what they taste like, you'll have no problem rushing to get them in the oven.

Mile High Buttermilk Biscuits


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups cold low-fat buttermilk
To form and finish the dough:
  • 1 cup flour distributed in a rimmed baking sheet
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted


  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Spray the inside of a 1/4 cup measuring cup with non-stick spray. Spray a 9 inch round cake pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a food processor, combine 2 cups flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Pulse a few times to mix. Distribute the butter pieces over the top of the flour mixture and pulse until the consistency of somewhat pebbly, coarse cornmeal, about 8-10 pulses. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add buttermilk. Mix with a rubber spatula until just incorporated. (Dough will be wet and sticky and slightly lumpy)
  3. Working quickly and using the sprayed 1/4 measuring cup, scoop level 1/4 cup of dough and drop onto baking sheet with the 1 cup flour. (You may need to use a small spoon to help you drop the dough onto the sheet.) Repeat with remaining dough until you have 12 even mounds on the baking sheet. Using floured hands, scoop up a ball of dough and gently roll it in the excess flour. Shape gently into a ball, shake off excess flour, and place in prepared cake pan. Repeat with remaining 11 pieces of dough. (You should be able to fit 9 dough balls around the outside of the pan and three in the middle.)
  4. Brush tops of biscuits with melted butter, taking care not to flatten them. Bake at 500 degrees for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 450 degrees and bake an additional 12-15 minutes or until deep golden brown. Remove from the oven, let sit in the pan for 2 minutes, then invert the pan on a clean kitchen towel and carefully break apart biscuits. Cool 5 minutes longer and serve.
Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 20 min Serves: 6

Recipe Source: Cook's Illustrated July/August 2004 

18 Click For Comments:

These look wonderful, so light and fluffy! Pinning these, I'll definitely make them :)

These look perfect. I want some now!

Yum! These look great, I love a good biscuit w/ honey and butter

these are Brant's and my faaaaaavorite biscuits! And they're lower fat too, but no one will believe it when you tell the that. I could use one RIGHT NOW. Hmph. Don't have any. :( 

I never realized they were lower in fat, but I just looked at some other biscuit recipes and you're right. Now I love them even more!

Delicious! Now I know what to do with all that leftover buttermilk...

I have such trouble making fluffy biscuits, I definitely need to give these a try.  CI has the best recipes!  

Good call on rating the recipes - I should do that.  I usually refer back to whatever I said on my blog but it'd definitely be easier to just quickly glance at a star rating.

Wow - all I need is some butter and jam and dinner is served.

Those look fantastic!  I cannot wait to make them.  I know they will be a favorite at my house!

These look so good!  I don't have a formal rating system, but I definitely know in my head which dishes are better than others :)

I used to use the star rating system but realized that recipes that rated 3 or less I wouldn't bother making again or keeping in my recipe box. If it's a recipe I that I would have rated 4 stars then I will write down any changes I'd like to try right on the recipe usually writing Very Good instead of Excellent for my "5 star" recipes.

These look so good, Nicole! I bet they would make for a delicious, fluffy accompaniment to the chicken chili I make all the time. Thanks for sharing!

I want to make some of these. Right. Now.  They sound so good and super easy, too.  I guess I'll wait until the weekend so my boyfriend can have some, too. :)

I have so many cookbooks and saved/printed recipes that I don't really bother with rating. If I like a recipe enough to make again it gets a check, otherwise it gets an X. There are too many good recipes out there to re-make stuff that is just ok!

Ive seen other bloggers make this recipe with great success...so that must mean an awesome recipe! and YES...I do rate my recipes...I have so many cookbooks, I'd hate to repeat one I didn't like....I'm totally making these! 

I have inherited my mom's recipe box and she totally has a rating system. Usually she only comments on the ones she really liked and she writes an enthusiastic "Excellent!" hehe. These sound great!

I have some buttermilk leftover from another recipe, and this looks like the perfect way to use it up! Thanks!

Those look amazing! I don't have a rating system. I don't really use many cookbooks, just a few family ones that I have. Otherwise, I get my recipes off the internet! The GOOD ones get written down in my super dirty, beat up, "I would die if I lost it" recipe notebook. 

In the oven now so far so good and they smell awesome!

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