Square buttermilk biscuits are still tall and flaky with lots of layers. but you don’t need a biscuit cutter. Perfect for tea or making into sandwiches. No scraps are wasted when you make them square!
For those occasions when you want to make a biscuit sandwich or want a bigger surface area for sausage gravy, a square biscuit works better than a round one. Or maybe you don’t have a biscuit cutter that’s the size you want, all you need for square biscuits is a knife or bench scraper.
Another reason to make square biscuits is you don’t have any scraps left over like you do when using a round biscuit cutter. Of course you can squeeze all those scraps together to form another biscuit, but it’s never as good as the rest of the biscuits. Plus the more you mess with a buttermilk biscuit dough, the tougher it gets.
I made my first batch of square buttermilk biscuits the day after Thanksgiving one year. Making Hot Browns after Thanksgiving is a long standing tradition in our house. We generally use whatever bread is left over from the feast, which that year was supposed to be my favorite fluffy yeast rolls.
However, the yeast rolls were just too good and I ended up with no bread for the Hot Browns. So I made square biscuits which worked perfectly. With round biscuits or rolls, you don’t have as much surface area for the cheesy sauce of a hot brown, so square biscuits have become my go-to for not only hot browns, but for breakfast sandwiches.
The texture and taste is the same as a round buttermilk biscuit, buttery, tall and flaky. They’re a great biscuit to make for brunch or tea when you might want a smaller biscuit. They’re the perfect shape for making ham biscuits. Since you’re cutting them with a knife, you can make them as small or large as you like.
You can also make other types of biscuits square, but they’re not generally tall or flaky biscuits. The most common square biscuits, other than buttermilk biscuits, are 7 UP biscuits and butter swim biscuits. Since both of those are cooked in butter, they are cut into squares or rectangles in the baking pan.
While delicious in their own right, neither of those type of biscuits are good for sandwiches or gravy. They’re not sturdy enough to hold anything other than butter and honey.
If you’re looking for a sweeter biscuit, try adding some fruit and make blueberry biscuits or strawberry biscuits. When you are short on time, go the easy route and make some drop biscuits.
When should you make square biscuits
- When you are using them for a sandwich – like ham biscuits.
- When you want a smaller biscuit and don’t have a glass or biscuit cutter the right size.
- When you want all of your biscuits to be pretty and square
- When you want a larger surface for catching all the gravy
Ingredients for making buttery biscuits
- All purpose flour – you don’t need bread flour to get tall and flaky biscuits, but it will give you a slightly taller biscuit. I did a comparison of bread and all purpose flour for biscuits and didn’t see much difference.
- Baking powder and baking soda – these react with the buttermilk to give you tall biscuits.
- Buttermilk – for tall and flaky biscuits regardless of the shape, in the South we use buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk, learn how to make buttermilk with items in your pantry.
- Butter – this makes the biscuits scrumptious!
A few tricks for making Southern biscuits
Step 1: cold butter is essential
Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and add cold butter. Pulse until you still have a few lumps. You can also use a pastry cutter.
Step 2: don’t over mix
Add cold buttermilk and process just until it starts to come together. Transfer to a floured surface.
Step 3: stack and re-stack
Form the dough into a rough rectangle and cut it into 3 strips and stack them on top of each other. Roll it out and do this again 3 times. This helps give you lots of layers. You want to end up with a square about 1 inch thick. This technique will give you tall and flaky buttermilk biscuits every time.
Step 4: cut the squares
Use a sharp knife or bench scraper and cut straight down just like you would with a cookie cutter.
Place them right next to each other on parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap. Put them in the freezer for 10 minutes while your oven preheats, then brush the tops with some buttermilk and bake.
The result is a fabulous perfectly square buttermilk biscuit. Light and fluffy with nice tall layers. By cutting them, the ideas is that you don’t have scraps that have to be re-rolled which causes the dough to warm up a bit and make flatter biscuits.
Pro Tip: If you want to make these in advance, let the dough freeze completely then put them in a freezer bag or airtight container. Take out the amount you want to make and let them thaw and bake for hot fresh biscuits any day of the week.
What’s the best way to store homemade biscuits
Biscuits will stay fresh in an airtight container on the counter for 2-3 days, after that they will get dry and stale. If you can’t eat them right away, put them in a ziplock and toss them in the freezer. Just pull out the amount you need and let them thaw, then reheat in the oven.
To re-heat biscuits, wrap them in aluminum foil and place in the oven at 350º for about 10 minutes.
Don’t store biscuits in the refrigerator, it will dry them out.
The acid in the buttermilk reacts with the leavening agents to create a tall and flaky biscuit.
You can make buttermilk with milk and lemon juice or vinegar.
If you have flat biscuits, it could be because the dough got too warm. If you handle the dough very much, the warmth from your hands will warm the butter and it won’t create tall biscuits. Use a food processor, pastry cutter or 2 forks to incorporate the butter into the dough and try to handle it as little as possible.
More bread recipes
- Try some fancy looking but easy sour cream knots
- Yorkshire pudding is a great alternative
- Get out the skillet for some oven baked cornbread
- You can never go wrong with fluffy dinner rolls
Different types of biscuits you might like
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Square Buttermilk Biscuits
- 2 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons butter cold, cut into pieces
- ¾ cup cold buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 450º.
- In a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, soda, sugar and salt and pulse a few times to combine. Add butter cubes and process with until it resembles coarse meal with small lumps.
- Pour the buttermilk in and process until the dough gathers into moist clumps, about 8 one second pulses.
- Transfer to a lightly floured surface and form into a rectangle (it will not be a smooth dough) Cut into three sections, stacking each section on top of each other, roll out and repeat three times. Gently roll into a square that is 1 inch thick and cut into 12 squares.
- Place on parchment paper on a baking sheet, place in the freezer for 10 minutes. (or can be covered and refrigerated at this point for up to 2 hours). Brush with a little buttermilk. Bake 10-12 minutes until tops are lightly browned.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own with lemon juice or vinegar.
- Use a sharp knife or bench scraper to cut the dough.
- You can freeze the dough for up to 3 months in an airtight container. Let thaw in the refrigerator before baking.
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