Basic Biscuits

As I’ve said in other posts, sometimes the best food is the simplest to make. These basic biscuits are about as simple as you can get, but they are flaky, buttery and delicious. Even hours after they come out of the oven, they still have a lightly crispy texture on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Of course, fresh is better, but these things last and are easy to reheat in the microwave. As you’ll see, this recipe calls for evaporated milk from a can instead of using fresh whole milk; the canned milk offers a bit more richness. Also be sure to use fresh baking powder so these biscuits will come out nice and fluffy. Finally, whip out your cheese grater, you’re going to love this one.


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 16 tbsp salted butter (that’s 2 sticks)
  • 1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk


  • Freeze 12 tbsp (1.5 sticks) of the butter for about 20 minutes. Yes. You read that right. Freeze it. Get your cheese grater ready with a small bowl to catch the grated, partially-frozen butter, and start grating. The first time I heard about this method, I had to wonder if it was just a wives tale, but I’m here to tell you it works wonderfully. Anyway, after grating the butter, return it to the fridge for now.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Mix well and set aside.
  • Add the grated butter to the flour mixture, then cut it in thoroughly with a pastry cutter, until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Add the milk, using a wooden spoon to stir until combined. Be careful not to over-work the dough.
  • Transfer the dough to a well-floured surface. Use your hands to gently work the dough together. If it’s too sticky, add flour until it is manageable. Again, try not to over-work the dough.
  • Once the dough is cohesive, fold it in half over itself, using your hands to gently flatten the layers together. Rotate 90 degrees and repeat. Continue this process for a total of about 5 or 6 times. Again, don’t over-work the dough.
  • Use your hands to carefully flatten the dough to about 1 inch thick (don’t use a rolling pin). Lightly dust a 2.75-inch round biscuit cutter with flour, then strategically cut as many biscuits out of the dough as possible. Carefully rework the dough into another small slab and cut out another couple of biscuits or three. You should get a total of 12.
  • Line a cookie sheet with non-stick parchment paper, then place the biscuits in a nice grid, about 1/4-inch apart. Set the cookie sheet aside to let the biscuits rest while you prepare for baking.
  • Preheat oven to 425° (I use my toaster oven, it’s fantastic!). Once ready to go, bake biscuits for approximately 12 minutes or until the tops are just beginning to turn lightly golden brown.
  • While they are baking, melt the remaining butter (4 tbsp) in the microwave. As soon as the biscuits come out of the oven, liberally brush the melted butter across the tops. They will sizzle as you brush them, which is extremely satisfying, but also allows the butter to immediately absorb into the biscuits while still allowing them to keep their lightly crisp outer crust.
  • Serve right now, if possible.


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About the Author

Wendell T. Harness

I’ve been building online properties since the late 1980’s and transitioned to web design in 1999. I formed Harness Media in 2005 to help businesses grow through online marketing. I also talk to cats in a silly voice.

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