Sourdough Buttermilk Biscuits

If you have sourdough starter around, you know you're always looking for ways to use the sourdough discard. Make these sourdough buttermilk biscuits and it might become the main reason you have sourdough starter to begin with! They are tender, moist and delicious with a little sourdough tang to enhance the flavor.

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Sourdough buttermilk biscuits on a blue baking sheet with red and white striped towel in the background.

Why make Sourdough Biscuits?

Well, why not!? Yes, you do need sourdough starter to make these sourdough biscuits, but if you do keep a starter, you’re always looking for ways to use up the discard (the portion of the starter that you have to dispose of every time you feed the starter). You can add that starter to almost any baked good (see here to learn how), but sourdough biscuits (along with sourdough pancakes) are one of my favorite ways to use it up. The biscuits are tender and moist and have a great flavor with a slight tang from the sourdough.

Ingredients on a table - buttermilk, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar, butter, sourdough starter and flour.

What you need for Sourdough Buttermilk Biscuits

As with any biscuit recipe, you don’t need many ingredients for sourdough biscuits. You need some all purpose flour (use what you have, but if you’re looking for the softest biscuit, try a soft winter wheat), some baking powder, baking soda, butter, buttermilk and of course, your sourdough starter.

A hand showing chunks of butter in a bowl of flour.

Cutting in the Butter

Cutting in the butter is the first step in making these biscuits. The key tip here is to make sure your butter is COLD. You can cut the cold butter into cubes and then pinch it with your fingers, until the knobs of butter are about the size of a pea, or you can lightly freeze the butter and grate it into the dry ingredients. Cutting in the butter is an important step because it’s the layers of butter that help the biscuits rise as the water evaporates out of the butter. Your goal is to leave the butter in pieces rather than blending it into the flour, and keeping the butter cold helps you do that. 

Nine images showing how to fold the dough to make sourdough buttermilk biscuits

The Folding Step

Once you’ve combined the buttermilk and starter and then stirred that mixture into the dry ingredients, it’s time to just fold the dough over on itself. Follow the images above if you’re a visual learner. Otherwise, just flatten the dough out with your hands into a rectangle. Fold that rectangle like a letter, give it a 90º turn, flatten it out and fold it like a letter again. Do this one more time and then flatten the dough into a rectangle that is about ½-inch thick.

Sourdough Biscuits cut out on a blue baking sheet.

How to Cut Biscuits

If you want the highest rising biscuits, use a sharp metal circle cutter to cut the biscuits out of the dough, but DON’T TWIST THE CUTTER! It is instinct to twist the cutter to make sure you’ve cut all the way through the dough, but don’t. Just push down and then lift up. If you twist the cutter, you help to seal the edges of the biscuit to itself and the biscuits can’t rise.

A basting brush brushing butter on top of baked sourdough buttermilk biscuits.

Brush with more Butter

Yes, butter carries a lot of the flavor of these sourdough biscuits and there’s plenty of butter inside, but it’s nice to brush a little melted butter on top right after the biscuits come out of the oven. It gives a tender finish to a tender biscuit and it’s just delicious.

Hands pulling a biscuit apart over a white plate.

What to Serve with Sourdough Biscuits

These biscuits are good enough to eat on their own – in fact, it’s very hard to resist not eating them on their own right away – but they are also delicious next to any number of dinners. I love these biscuits with some chicken stew or beef stew, some buttermilk fried chicken or a bowl of chili. No matter what you serve them with, they are best served warm straight out of the oven.

A sourdough buttermilk biscuit on a white plate with butter knife and more biscuits in the background.

Featured Recipe Techniques

More about the skills used in this recipe.

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How to Make a Sourdough Starter

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Sourdough Buttermilk Biscuits

  • Prep Time: 10 m
  • Cook Time: 15 m
  • Total Time: 25 m
  • Servings:


  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup butter 4 ounces
  • 1 cup sourdough starter (230 grams)
  • ¼ cup buttermilk or milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425ºF.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk to break up any lumps.
  3. Cut the butter into small cubes and pinch it into the dry ingredients with your fingers until the butter cubes break down into crumbs.
  4. Combine the sourdough starter and buttermilk in a bowl, stirring well to combine.
  5. Add the buttermilk and starter mixture to the dry ingredients and stir to combine, just until there are no more streaks of dry flour.
  6. Turn the mixture out onto a floured surface and press it into a rectangle that is about ¾-inch thick. Fold the dough like you are folding a letter, folding the top of the dough down and the bottom of the dough up. Give the dough a 90º turn and pat it down again into a rectangle about ¾-inch thick. Fold again. Fold the dough over on itself three or four times and press it down one last time.
  7. Use a round cutter to cut the dough into circles and place them on a baking sheet. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until they have risen and browned on top.
  8. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the melted butter and serve warm or cooled to room temperature.
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Comments (9)Post a Reply

  1. 5 stars
    Very good!! I will make this!! Very good the recipe for make buttermilk and the self-raisin flour!!

  2. 5 stars
    These biscuits are becoming a favorite around our house. My husband absolutely loves them! I just used half and half because I didn’t have buttermilk.

  3. 5 stars
    These are wonderful and mine look just like yours, which so rarely happens. I am amazed how different the cut ones look/rise vs. the ones I pat together with leftover dough. Do not pat sides together (still taste delicious!) so try to lay out dough so can cut all 8.

  4. I want to make these ahead for Thanksgiving. When would you recommend freezing before or after baking? And baking or reheating?

    1. I would recommend baking the biscuits, cooling them completely and then freezing them, wrapped really well to be as air-tight as possible. Then, when you want to serve them, let them thaw completely and pop into a 350˚F oven for 5 to 10 minutes to refresh.

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