Biscuits are a staple of southern cooking. Without them, no meal is complete. This becomes a problem when southerners travel above the Mason-Dixon line, since up north no one seems to know how to make a biscuit.

Every southern family has its own biscuit recipe, and each one believes that theirs is the best. Our family’s recipe was the brainchild of my great-grandmother, and has been passed down through the generations. Now it is my pleasure to share with you my own family’s recipe. I hope y’all enjoy it. After all, it’s the best.

Grandma Ruby's Tennessee Yeast Biscuits

  • Prep Time:1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time:15 minutes
  • Total Time:1 hour 45 minutes
  • Servings:14 biscuits
  • Medium


  • 2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoon (2 packages) RapidRise yeast
  • 5 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon fine salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • Melted butter (for brushing)
  • Step 1

    Heat buttermilk and sugar just past lukewarm. Sprinkle yeast on top and stir to dissolve, then set aside.

    #SpoonTip: Don’t have buttermilk? Use this buttermilk substitute.

    Photo by Spenser Protasewich
  • Step 2

    Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together.

    #SpoonTip: If you don’t have a flour sifter, don’t worry. You can push the ingredients through a strainer, or you can simply stir them together using a fork.

    Photo by Spenser Protasewich
  • Step 3

    Mix shortening with the flour mixture.

    #SpoonTip: My great-grandmother used her hands for this, but I find that a pastry cutter works just as well, if not better.

    Photo by Spenser Protasewich
  • Step 4

    Combine dry and wet ingredients. Mix until a stiff dough is formed.

    Photo by Spenser Protasewich
  • Step 5

    Separate dough into two equal parts.

    Photo by Spenser Protasewich
  • Step 6

    Roll one half out to 1/4 inch thickness.

    #SpoonTip: If you don’t have a rolling pin, use one of these rolling pin alternatives.

    Photo by Spenser Protasewich
  • Step 7

    Cut biscuits and place on a baking sheet with about 1 inch of space between biscuits, and brush the tops of biscuits with melted butter.

    #SpoonTip: DO NOT twist the biscuit cutter. If you do this, you will stunt the rising process.

    Photo by Spenser Protasewich
  • Step 8

    Repeat steps 6 and 7 with the second half of the dough. Placing these biscuits on top of the ones that have already been cut.

    Photo by Spenser Protasewich
  • Step 9

    Cover with wax paper and let rise until the biscuits have doubled in size.

    Photo by Spenser Protasewich
  • Step 10

    Remove wax paper and bake at 325°F for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

  • Step 11

    Enjoy! I like slipping a piece of country ham or sausage in the middle for a delicious breakfast or snack.

    Photo by Spenser Protasewich