If you want impossibly soft, fluffy, pillow-like biscuits, shortening (like Crisco) is the only way to go; however these biscuits also have BUTTER! It's the best of both biscuit worlds.
Also be sure to try this sweet and savory biscuits recipe, if you're looking for a spin on traditional biscuits.
Butter vs. Shortening
First off, this recipe is the best biscuit recipe because it uses both shortening and butter. Shortening and butter have their own strengths and their place in a biscuit recipe, like in these biscuits which also use shortening.
This biscuit recipe can be made using a biscuit cutter, or drop biscuits (such as for dumplings).
A highly debated subject is whether or not biscuits should be made with butter or shortening. The answer actually depends on what your goal is.
A biscuit made with primarily butter will have more air pockets, especially when the butter is cold; whereas shortening is easily and evenly distributed throughout the dough, resulting in less air pockets.
A butter biscuit will typically be, more flaky, more crumbly or have a denser crumb texture, and is best suited for cobblers and shortcakes (in my opinion). However, the flavor that butter gives biscuits is what makes it so desirable of an ingredient.
A biscuit made with primarily shortening is soft, light, and fluffy throughout. There is less flakiness going on, but the entire texture is pillow like.
Let's get into it.
Here's how to make these amazing biscuits:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Start by combining all of the dry ingredients in a bowl, as shown below and use a fork or pastry cutter to cut in the shortening until it resembles coarse crumbs(photo 1). Add the wet ingredients and stir until combined; dough will be slightly sticky but should come together as a unified ball (photo 2).
On a lightly floured surface, roll the biscuit dough out to about ¾-inch thickness (photo 3). Use a biscuit cutter or water glass to cut circles out of the dough (photo 4).
See recipe notes for drop biscuit instructions.
Repeat with remaining dough scraps (photo 5) until all the dough has been used.
Arrange biscuits on a parchment paper lined baking sheet (or nonstick) about 2 inches apart.
Melt butter in a microwave safe container, or on the stove top and brush on uncooked biscuits (photos 6 and 7).
Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until just golden brown.
Remove from oven and brush with more melted butter.
Use shortening as the primary fat and don't overwork the dough.
All purpose flour and bread flour will make very light, fluffy biscuits along with the right technique and recipe.
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If you tried these biscuits, please leave a rating in the recipe card below, or in the comments!
Southern (Crisco/Shortening) Biscuits
- 4 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup shortening like Crisco
- 1 ¾ cups buttermilk
- 1 stick melted butter for brushing biscuits
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine 4 ½ cups all purpose flour, 2 tablespoons baking powder, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a bowl until evenly mixed.
- Cut in 1 cup of shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add 1 ¾ cups buttermilk and mix until soft and combined.
- Turn dough out onto generously floured surface.
- Roll out into a ¾-INCH thick slab.
- Use a biscuit cutter or glass to cut out biscuits; roll up excess scraps and re-roll another slab to cut more biscuits until little to no dough remains.
- Brush with melted butter.
- Bake on a baking sheet for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from oven, brush again with melted butter while still hot.
- FOR DROP BISCUITS: MAKE RECIPE AS IS, BUT DON'T ROLL OUT ONTO A FLOURED SURFACE. INSTEAD, LEAVE THE DOUGH IN THE BOWL, AND USE A FORK OR SPOON TO "SCOOP" 2 INCH SECTIONS OUT AND "DROP" THEM INTO A GREASED PAN ABOUT 1-2 INCHES APART. BAKE AS INSTRUCTED.
- Any brand of vegetable shortening will work, however Crisco is a popular and trusted brand.
- Recipe makes a large batch, about 18 dozen biscuits so cut in half to make a smaller batch.
- If you don't have buttermilk, you can make a buttermilk "substitute" by combining the milk with a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice; stir and let sit for 5 minutes to thicken. Use in place of buttermilk called for in recipe.
- If you do not have a biscuit cutter, use a small glass. Dust the rim with flour to prevent sticking.
- These biscuits are so very soft and are great served straight up; with butter and jam.