Angel biscuits are a type of light and fluffy biscuit that use both yeast and baking powder to achieve a delicate texture. What’s wonderful about these soft and fluffy biscuits is that it’s just about impossible to make them incorrectly. It’s true! Angel biscuits are a fool-proof recipe that anyone can make. They’re almost as easy as classic buttermilk biscuits but even more likely to come out of the oven perfectly, every single time.
A deliciously perfect cross between a homestyle biscuit and a yeast roll, angel biscuits are tall, buttery biscuits that are made using active dry yeast. Most homemade biscuits use only baking soda and baking powder to provide the height and rise the dough gets, but this recipe also uses yeast, a fail-safe option that gets results every time.
These Southern biscuits come from an old, traditional recipe that’s worth keeping in your recipe tin. In the past, they were called “Bride’s Biscuits”,because even a brand-new bride (or groom) could master the recipe! So certainly, you can too.
What are angel biscuits, and how are they different from regular biscuits?
Angel biscuits and regular biscuits have a few similarities and a few differences. First, let’s talk about regular biscuits. Biscuits have been eaten for centuries and are an easy bread made from very simple ingredients, typically flour and butter combined with salt, baking powder, baking soda, and a liquid such as milk or buttermilk.
Biscuit dough is stirred or kneaded together, then cut and set (or dropped) onto a baking sheet, and in the oven they go.
But angel biscuits have an extra step and a few extra ingredients. First, angel biscuits use the same ingredients, but incorporate active dry yeast, as well. Because of this, the recipe requires some sugar to help activate the yeast. They also use buttermilk and butter for extra tang and fluffiness.
Finally, one significant difference is that angel biscuit dough needs some time to rise. Unlike yeast rolls, they only need one rise.
If you don’t have room in the oven but still want biscuits, try some air fryer biscuits instead.
How do you make this angel biscuits recipe
The complete instructions will follow, but you begin by activating the yeast. Then, you make a simple biscuit flour dough with yeast, and bring it together. You’ll roll out your dough, then cut it into biscuits, and as a last step before baking, you’ll give your biscuit dough time to rise.
Why you’ll love angel biscuits
- It’s a fail-safe recipe that works every time.
- Angel biscuits are really versatile since they’re a cross between a flaky dinner roll and a biscuit. You can use them for many different things.
- They taste fantastic! They’re a little bit tangy with a touch of sweetness and a pleasant amount of buttery yumminess.
Why do biscuits need yeast?
Let’s take a minute to appreciate that not all biscuits need yeast. In fact, most biscuits don’t use any yeast at all! For many people, that’s the beauty of biscuits: You can make a quick biscuit dough and pop them in the oven in minutes.
However, if you want tall, flaky biscuits with more of a dinner roll finish, you need to add some yeast.
What is yeast?
Yeast is fungus that works as a leavening agent in baking. That means it helps food rise. Yeast works to ferment the sugars in your dough, producing carbon dioxide gas as a byproduct. This gas causes the dough to rise, resulting in a lighter, fluffier texture than with baking powder and soda alone.
Any recipe that requires yeast will need a bit of sugar. This acts like a food source for the dry yeast, essentially ‘waking it up.’ Then, after the yeast is active and it’s added to your dough, it needs time for those carbon dioxide gasses to grow. These work best in warm temperatures, so sitting your dough on a warm area or near a sunny window will help your dough grow nice and big.
Ingredients for angel biscuits
- Active dry yeast – Always try to use fresh yeast, you can use instant yeast if you prefer. As yeast is a living organism, old packets won’t work as well and might not even work at all!
- Bread flour – Bread flour will give your recipe the best texture and rise, but if you don’t have it, you can substitute all-purpose. If you’re not sure which to try, I did a side by side analysis of bread and all-purpose flour.
- Sugar – The sugar activates the yeast, so it’s necessary to use plain old granulated sugar, and not sugar-free sweeteners You won’t use enough to make the biscuits sweet.
- Buttermilk – This adds a pleasantly tangy flavor to your biscuits, and it helps to activate the baking powder and soda. You can make your own, learn how to make your own buttermilk from ingredients in your pantry.
- Pantry Staples – baking powder, baking soda, salt, cold butter, flaky salt.
How to make yeast biscuits
Step 1: Activate the yeast.
In a small bowl, add warm water to the yeast and stir to allow it to dissolve. It will look like a thick paste. Add the cold buttermilk to the yeast mixture and whisk until combined.
Step 2: Make the dough.
3. In a food processor or large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and combine. Add the chunks of cold butter and process until it is incorporated, with pea-sized chunks, or use a pastry cutter to incorporate the butter into the flour mixture. Pour the buttermilk/yeast mixture into the dry ingredients and process until it barely comes together.
Step 2: Knead and roll.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Like with biscuits, cut it into strips and stack them, roll and repeat a few times, until you’re left with a rectangle about 1 inch thick.
Step 3: Cut the biscuit.
Use a 2-inch biscuit cutter to cut straight down.
Step 4: Prepare your pan.
Brush some melted butter on the bottom and sides of a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Place the biscuits right next to each other in the pan, touching each other. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise for 1 hour. You can also make these on a baking sheet, they will take a minute or two longer to cook.
Step 5: Knead and roll.
Brush melted butter over the top of the biscuits and bake for 12-16 minutes until golden brown. Remove and brush with more melted butter, then sprinkle with flaky salt.
Tips for making tender biscuits
- Try to avoid touching biscuit dough with your hands, use a food processor, pastry cutter or two forks to make the dough and use a rolling pin to roll it out rather than patting it with your hands. The heat from your hands will melt the butter.
- Allow your biscuits to rise in a warm area of your kitchen. Try using the microwave, just boil some water and immediately put the dough into the warm steaming microwave to rise.
How to store biscuits
You can refrigerate or freeze after you have formed into biscuits.
You can store angel biscuits in the fridge for 3-4 days, but they are better stored on the counter for 1-2 days. Just cover them in an airtight container or Ziploc bag to keep them fresh.
If you need to store them for a longer period of time, they can be frozen for up to 3 months. Make sure you let them cool to room temperature, then place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. Let them thaw in the fridge before serving them again.
You can freeze the dough once you have cut them into biscuits but before they ahve risen. Let them rise once removed from the freezer before baking.
What can I serve with angel biscuits?
The versatility of angel biscuits is one of the best things about them, so you can be creative! Here are a few ways to serve them that are delicious!
- Spread on butter and jam or honey
- Pour sausage gravy overtop
- Great with pimento cheese
- They make a perfect country ham biscuit
- Make breakfast sandwiches with eggs and bacon
- Serve as part of a chicken dinner, or just about any other classic type of meat
- Place them on the table as part of your holiday meal
No matter what you do with angel biscuits, they’ll be a welcome addition to the dinner table!
Angel biscuit FAQs
Can angel aiscuits be made ahead of time?
Yes! You can refrigerate or freeze the angel biscuit dough before it has risen, or you can freeze the baked biscuits.
Can angel biscuits be made without yeast?
The yeast is what makes an angel biscuit unique. So if you want to make true angel biscuits, you need to include yeast as part of the recipe.
Are angel biscuits gluten-free?
Angel biscuits are not gluten-free, but if you want to make them gluten-free, King Arthur’s has a gluten free bread flour and a measure for measure flour. Check the labels of your other ingredients carefully for gluten.
More delicious biscuit recipes to love
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Light and Airy Angel Biscuits Recipe with Yeast
- 4.5 teaspoons active dry yeast 2 packages
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- 5 cups bread flour/all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda]
- 1 cup butter cold
- 2 cups buttermilk cold
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- Flaky salt sprinkle
- Mixing bowls
- Food processor or pastry cutter
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- baking tray
- Kitchen brush
- Add yeast to a medium sized bowl with warm water and stir to allow it to dissolve. Let it sit for 5 minutes. It will be thick but not foamy.
- Add cold buttermilk to the yeast mixture and whisk until combined.
- In a food processor or large bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Process or whisk until combined.
- Add very cold chunks of butter and process until it is incorporated, with pea sized chunks, or use a pastry cutter.
- Pour the buttermilk yeast mixture into the dry ingredients and process until it barely comes together, or use a spatula to combine.
- Turn out onto a floured surface and use your hands to form into a shaggy dough. Once the flour is incorporated, shape into a rectangle and cut into thirds. Stack them on top of each other and roll out into a rectangle. Repeat this three times. Roll into about a 1 inch thickness.
- Use a 2 inch biscuit cutter and cut out the biscuits, going straight down, do not twist.
- Brush some melted butter on the bottom and sides of a 10 inch iron skillet or a 9 x 13 baking pan. Place the biscuits right next to each other in the pan. They should be touching.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.
- 15 minutes before they have finished rising, preheat the oven to 400º.
- Brush melted butter over the risen biscuits and bake for 12-16 minutes until golden brown. Remove and immediately brush with melted butter and sprinkle with flaky salt.
- Makes 18-20 biscuits
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- You can use either bread or all-purpose flour.
- Try to avoid touching the dough as little as possible as your warm hands will melt the butter.
- Always cut straight down with a biscuit cutter, don’t twist.
- If you don’t have buttermilk, learn how to make your own buttermilk with items in your pantry.
- You can refrigerate the dough once it has been cut into biscuits. Let warm to room temperature before baking.
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