Lemon Rosemary Biscuits

This recipe for lemon rosemary buttermilk biscuits is based on my tried and true buttermilk biscuit recipe, but adds springtime flavors of lemon and rosemary.

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Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

The key to making tender buttermilk biscuits from scratch is to mix the dough as little as possible. There’s no kneading required and you don’t need an electric stand mixer or hand mixer. It’s honestly quite simple and requires only a few ingredients – buttermilk, self-rising flour, butter and sugar. Add a couple more ingredients and you can make easy variations like these delicious lemon rosemary buttermilk biscuits. 

Ingredients on a counter - flour, buttermilk, lemon, rosemary, baking powder and butter.

Substitution for Self-Rising Flour

While most of us keep flour on hand in our pantries, self-rising flour is not as common a staple in most kitchens. Self-rising flour is a mix of wheat flour, baking powder and salt. Since you probably have all those ingredients in your pantry right now, there’s no need to run out to the store to get self-rising flour especially for this recipe. To make a cup of your own self-rising flour, you can combine 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1½ teaspoons of baking powder and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Because this recipe calls for 2⅓ cups of self rising flour, you will need to use:

2⅓ cups of all-purpose flour + 3 ½ teaspoons of baking powder + ½ teaspoon of salt

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A hand grating butter into a bowl of flour.

Buttermilk Biscuits without Buttermilk

Buttermilk is another ingredient that we don’t always have on hand. Don’t fret. In a pinch, you can create your own buttermilk substitute using milk and lemon juice or vinegar. For every cup of buttermilk substitute start by putting 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup. Add enough milk to measure 1 cup. Let it stand for 5 minutes. It will become a little lumpy, but that is a good thing. Because this recipe calls for 1⅓ cups of buttermilk, you will need: 

1 ⅓ cups milk + 4 teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice

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Butter grated into a bowl of flour with buttermilk and lemon nearby.

Grating in Butter

The first task in this recipe is to cut the butter into the flour. You could do this with two knives or your fingers, pinching the butter into smaller and smaller pieces, but I have a handy trick for you. Partially freeze the butter and use a box grater to grate it into your flour. This creates beautifully small pieces of butter that you can toss with the flour to coat evenly. Then, just add the buttermilk to the mix and stir everything just until no streaks of flour remain. Easy.

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Buttermilk biscuit batter on a sheet pan coated in flour.

Portion the Biscuits

I like to use an ice cream scoop to spoon evenly sized portions of biscuit batter onto a sheet pan with all-purpose flour on it. Decide how many biscuits you make based on what pan you plan on using to bake them. If you are using an 8-inch round cake pan, you’ll probably get 8 biscuits into the pan. If you are using an 8-inch square pan, you will be able to make 9 biscuits. Coat the portions of batter in the flour, tossing them back and forth between your hands. However many you make, do put them into the pan pressed up against each other so that they rise up instead of out flat.

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Buttermilk biscuits in a round cake pan.
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Lemon Rosemary Buttermilk Biscuits baked in a round cake pan on a cooling rack.

How to Store Biscuits

If you plan on storing your biscuits, wrapping them tightly right in the cake pan is the best idea. That way, you can simply remove the plastic and re-heat the biscuits in a 350ºF oven for about 15 minutes when the time comes. However, I am going to be quite honest with you here – these biscuits are best served the day you make them. 

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Lemon Rosemary biscuits on a grey plate with a grey and white towel and a little dish of butter.

Can I make these biscuits ahead?

Well, for best results, biscuits are best baked just before serving. The good news is lemon rosemary buttermilk biscuits are super easy so you can make them quickly, even on a busy day or holiday and you can prepare all the ingredients in advance. To prep the day before, measure out all the ingredients and cut the butter into the flour. Add the buttermilk right before you are ready to bake them. Do not let the batter sit too long before baking because the baking powder will start to activate as soon as it gets wet. Of course if you really have to bake your biscuits the day before, you can reheat them by wrapping the biscuits in foil and baking them at 350°F for about 15 minutes, as I mentioned above.

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A lemon rosemary biscuit broken open on a white napkin with a plate of biscuits in the background.

What to Serve with Buttermilk Biscuits?

Well for me, you can serve these biscuits with just about anything! I especially love them with foods I consider comfort food like my Beef Stew, Classic Pot Roast, a Baked Ham and Fried Chicken. Buttermilk biscuits are a real treat at the holidays and because they are so easy to flavor with extra ingredients, there’s a buttermilk biscuit for every holiday! Other variations on plain buttermilk biscuits include Cranberry Orange Biscuits or Bacon Cheddar Biscuit Bread.

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A basket of lemon rosemary biscuits lined with a yellow cloth with one broken open in front.

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Rosemary Lemon Buttermilk Biscuits

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 30 m
  • Total Time: 45 m
  • Servings:
    9

Ingredients

  • 2⅓ cups self-rising flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup butter 1 stick, partially frozen
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest about 1 lemon
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1⅓ cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour for shaping
  • melted butter

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a shelf slightly below the center of the oven. Line a buttered 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, lemon zest and rosemary. Grate the butter into the flour and stir it in to coat evenly. Gently stir in the buttermilk until no traces of dry flour remain. The dough should be quite wet.
  3. Spread the all-purpose (not self-risinflour out on a small cookie sheet. With a spoon, scoop nine balls of dough into the flour, making sure they don’t touch each other and are all about the same size. With floured hands, coat each dough ball with flour and toss them gently from hand to hand to shake off any excess flour. Place each floured dough ball into the prepared pan, right up next to the other. This will help the biscuits rise up, rather than spreading out.
  4. Transfer the cake pan to the oven. Bake until the biscuits are lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Brush the tops of the biscuits with some melted butter and pop them back into the oven for another 5 minutes or so, until nicely browned. Turn the biscuits out onto a plate, and then invert them again so they are right side up. Pull or cut the biscuits apart and serve immediately with some butter.
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