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Virginia Willis’ Buttermilk Biscuits


Virginia Willis’ Buttermilk Biscuits


11 of our fluffiest, flakiest Southern biscuit recipes

What could be more quintessential to Southern cooking than the almighty biscuit? They can come in every shape from tall and flaky to tender and crumbly, and everything in between. Loaded with herbs, filled with savory country ham, or good old fashioned buttermilk — any way a biscuit is made, we'll surely scarf it down. 

Here are 11 of our favorites. 

Virginia Willis' Buttermilk Biscuits
These classic, flaky buttermilk biscuits from award-winning cookbook author Virginia Willis are the epitome of Southern baking. After baking up a batch, you'll see what kind of magic these few ingredients — butter, buttermilk, leavening and soft White Lily flour — can make with the proper technique. A light hand with mixing and just a couple turns of the dough yields light-as-a-feather flakes and a tender crumb that's perfect for slathering with butter and homemade jam.
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Classic Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

If you decide you want to choose between two very delicious buttermilk biscuit recipes, we've developed our own. This take on a Southern classic will certainly deliver on the the height as well as the flaky layers we've all come to associate with a good biscuit. The best part is you likely have all the ingredients you need in your home already. 
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Buttermilk Cathead Biscuits
Named for their extra-large size, cathead biscuits are said to be, well, as big as a cat's head. Unlike the layered, flaky biscuits above, cathead biscuits are pillowy and fluffy. While they don't have distinct layering, they've got tender crumb in spades and require even less work than a rolled flaky biscuit. Make these ultra-quick breads when you're craving a hearty breakfast sandwich or smothered in some homemade sausage gravy
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Cheddar Cheese-Poppy Seed Biscuits
These easy as can be biscuits will be your go-to brunch item for your next weekend spread. Simply roll and cut the biscuits the night before and assemble on a cookie sheet and cover tightly with plastic wrap. The next morning, remove the wrap, brush the biscuits with the egg wash, and bake to golden biscuit perfection. Serve with some sweet Apple Cider-Bourbon Jelly
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Virginia Willis' Herb and Cheese Drop Biscuits
Drop biscuits are the no-fuss key to biscuit heaven without worrying about overworking the dough or doing any complicated steps, and this recipe gets a nice kick of flavor thanks to some fragrant herbs and sharp cheddar cheese. Up your drop biscuit game by use a small ice cream scoop for dividing your dough for perfectly portioned biscuits every time. 
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Make-Ahead Easy Cream Biscuits
Looking for a biscuit recipe you can make even before you've had your morning coffee? The flour mixture for these cream biscuits can be made far in advance and then just mixed up with a bit of butter and cream when you're ready to serve. Because there's no buttermilk involved, the sweet cream of the butter really stands out. Serve them sans toppings for best results.
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Ham and Peach Biscuits
Sweet and savory, this twist on a classic biscuit recipe celebrates a flavor match made in heaven: ham and peaches. With a healthy slather of warmed peach preserves, this makes for a satisfying nosh or a light and flaky mid-day lunch. 
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Bacon-Cheddar Drop Biscuits

Quick and easy to prepare, these drop biscuits benefit greatly from the addition of bacon and cheddar cheese to the dough. Take extra care not to overwork the dough, so that they do not become tough.
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Sausage, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich
Perhaps one of the best ways to use a good Southern biscuit is in a breakfast sandwich. For this recipe, keeping your fat and liquid, as well as your equipment, cold will ensure a fluffier biscuit with a greater rise. Use full-fat buttermilk for a richer biscuit, as well. 
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Country Ham and Biscuit Sandwiches
Whether you serve them in a grand fashion, complete with a whole country ham, or assembled on a rustic cutting board, country ham and biscuit sandwiches are perfect party food. We like to serve ours with at least a couple of choices of jams and jellies to counter the salty ham and rich biscuits. 
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Touch of Grace Biscuits, Southern Kitchen-Style
There are biscuits and then there are biscuits. You know the ones. Buttery, flaky, tender and sweet, these are the hand-held breads you dream about for weeks to come. They're perfect on their own — no need for butter or jam or anything else, not that they suffer from any toppings. These biscuits seem made from magic, or at least a very skilled baker, out of reach for the average home cook. But trust us, they're not.
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Photos (classic buttermilk biscuits, cathead biscuits, bacon cheddar biscuits, breakfast sandwich, country ham and biscuits): Ramona King
Photo (herb and cheese drop biscuits): Virginia Willis 
Photo (cream biscuits): Neil Conway/Flickr (license)
Photo credit (Touch of Grace biscuits): Kate Williams 

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Dena Rayess is a recipe editor and cookbook author based in San Francisco. She enjoys exploring new foodways in and around the Bay Area and beyond, and has been known to whip up a mean house cocktail at dinner parties.