What makes biscuits so golden, soft, and fluffy? Shortening is the secret ingredient to getting that flaky, flavorful crust, and baking soda and baking powder are the leavening agents that make the dough rise. Usually, without these, you don’t have biscuits; instead, you’ve got a tasteless, pancake-ish thing—not appetizing at all, right?

But there are a few substitutes available. In place of shortening, you can use butter. And while most biscuit recipes call for baking soda, baking powder, and salt, these aren’t needed when using self-rising flour or baking mix that contains leavening agents.

Things You'll Need


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar to self-rising flour or baking mix, if desired.

Using a pastry blender, mix softened butter into the dry ingredients.

Stir in buttermilk or regular milk to finish the dough. The amount of milk largely depends on the humidity in your environment—try 3/4 cup in high humidity or as much as 1 cup in drier areas. Add the milk a little at a time until the proper consistency is achieved—the dough should be moist, but not wet.

To make drop biscuits, place 6 to 10 balls of dough directly on a baking sheet, each about 2 inches apart.

For a more perfect shape, make rolled biscuits: Knead the dough slightly to form a ball. Roll it out to about 1/4-inch thick and use a juice cup or biscuit cutter to cut 2- to 3-inch circles of dough. Transfer to a baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches of space between each.

Bake the biscuits for 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked through and tops are golden brown. Oven temperatures vary, so keep an eye on your biscuits to make sure they don’t burn.