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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Easy Biscuit Recipe without Baking Powder

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This easy biscuit recipe without baking powder creates the most fluffy biscuits you could ever imagine! Made with simple ingredients, this recipe calls for all-purpose flour, whole milk, sugar, and butter. You will love these flaky biscuits with jam, butter, or whatever you prefer!

Easy Biscuit Recipe without Baking Powder - biscuits stacked in a bowl and on top of each other

Made with basic ingredients, this easy homemade biscuit recipe creates the perfect biscuits! Soft and not too sweet or salty, this biscuit recipe is the perfect accompaniment to all kinds of breakfast dishes such as biscuits and gravy or breakfast sandwiches, or you may just want to eat these biscuits plain!

These easy homemade biscuits remind me of the last time I had biscuits at my favorite breakfast restaurant because of how similar they are to café-style biscuits: fluffy and perfect in every form.

What’s not to love about this recipe? This quick and easy biscuit is great for either when you want to enjoy some fluffy homemade biscuits or you don’t have any baking powder – either way, you will enjoy these good biscuits.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • No Baking Powder: This is the best recipe for when you don’t want to use baking powder for your biscuits. You don’t have to miss out on flaky biscuit layers with this recipe.
  • Fluffy and Soft: You’ll love these fluffy biscuits that are just like homemade drop biscuits! Super soft with flaky layers, you’ll want to slather some jam on these biscuits – they’re the best!
  • Quick and Easy: This easy biscuit recipe without baking powder is incredibly simple and fool-proof! This is a great recipe for those mornings when you’re wanting to keep things easy and effortless.

How to Make Homemade Biscuits Without Baking Powder

Ingredients

This wonderful recipe calls for a few basic ingredients that you may already have in your pantry and refrigerator, but if not, you can easily find them at your local grocery store or from an online merchant!

biscuit ingredients

Dry Ingredients

  • Flour: We used all-purpose flour for this recipe because it creates the perfect biscuit dough. My favorite brand is White Lily Flour. We have not tried self-rising flour for these easy drop biscuits.
  • Salt: Just a hint of salt is needed to create a nice balance that contains savory and sweet flavors.
  • Baking Soda: A leavening agent for this biscuit recipe that will help the biscuits rise, you can find baking soda near the flour at the grocery store. Baking soda allows you to create this easy biscuit recipe without any baking powder – when combined with the cream of tartar it produces a chemical reaction that acts similarly to baking powder!
  • Cream of Tartar: This is the main ingredient for this recipe as it is replacing the baking powder. You can find cream of tartar at any local market.

Wet Ingredients

  • Butter: You can use either unsalted butter or salted butter, but make sure it is cold! The colder the butter, the better.
  • Milk: We used full cream, or regular milk for this recipe for extra fluffy biscuit layers. We have not tried this recipe with skim milk.
  • Egg: Optional, but recommended if you’re trying to achieve a golden brown look with your biscuits.

Equipment Needed

Instructions

Read the recipe card for the full steps and details for this easy biscuit recipe!

Preheat Oven: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

Freeze Butter, Combine Ingredients: Place the butter in the freezer for 15 minutes. In the meantime, in a large bowl, mix the flour with salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Set aside.

dry ingredients combined in a bowl

Grate Butter: Next, use a cheese grater to grate the cold butter over the flour mixture. Use your hands to combine ingredients. You should end up with a coarse, crumbly dough.

butter cut into flour in a mixing bowl

Knead Dough: Add milk to the flour mixture and knead the dough to combine.

wet and dry ingredients combined

Roll the Dough, Make Biscuit Layers: Place the dough on a clean and floured surface and extend the dough with your hands. Fold the dough over, then extend it again. Repeat this process three times. This helps give your biscuits all those layers and the best texture!

kneading dough with hands

Cut the Biscuits: With a biscuit cutter or large cookie cutter, cut biscuits into 16 biscuits.

biscuits being cut out of the dough

Place on Baking Sheet: Next, place biscuits on the lined baking sheet.

biscuits cut out and on a baking sheet

Optional: Beat an egg and brush the biscuit dough with the egg mixture for a nice golden finish.

dough brushed with butter

Transfer to Oven, Bake the Biscuits: Finally, bake the biscuits for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Easy Biscuit Recipe without Baking Powder - biscuits stacked in a bowl and on top of each other

Recipe FAQs

What happens if you make biscuits without baking powder?

If you don’t have cream of tartar, then you will end up with some very dense biscuits. As long as you have something to replace the baking powder, the biscuits will be fine!

Why are my biscuits not fluffy?

If you over mix the dough, the biscuits will not be as fluffy. Try to mix the dough just until it forms.

Are biscuits better with butter or shortening?

I like to use butter for that good buttery flavor! Butter is also healthier than shortening since it doesn’t have trans fats!

Easy Biscuit Recipe without Baking Powder - biscuits stacked in a bowl and on top of each other served with tea and honey

Variations

  • Make Your Own Baking Soda: Combine ½ teaspoon of vinegar with ¼ teaspoon of baking soda.
  • Buttermilk Biscuits: For your own sour milk, you can measure out one cup of milk and add one tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar (acidic ingredients). Let it sit for five minutes until curdled.
  • Flour: Use a gluten-free all-purpose flour with xanthan gum for gluten-free biscuits.

How to Store

  • To Store at Room Temperature: Let the biscuits cool, then transfer to an airtight container. Cover them with foil or plastic wrap to keep them from drying out. They will keep for 1-2 days.
  • To Store in the Fridge: Follow the instructions for storing at room temperature, but place in the fridge instead of on the countertop. They will keep for up to 1 week.
  • To Freeze: Let the biscuits cool, then wrap each biscuit in aluminum foil. Place in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight, then heat in the microwave or oven until warmed through.
Easy Biscuit Recipe without Baking Powder - biscuits stacked in a bowl and on top of each other

Expert Tips for This Easy Biscuit Recipe without Baking Powder

These are just some pro tips for these delicious biscuits!

  • Avoid keeping the butter at room temperature for this recipe. You’ll want to make sure it is super cold straight from the freezer!
  • If you don’t have a 2 ½-inch sized biscuit cutter, any other size will work. You can also use a sharp knife to cut the biscuits into squares.
  • Do not twist your biscuit cutter when cutting your biscuits – push straight down and pull up to ensure the tops of your biscuits are even and not sloped (so they bake evenly).
  • Make sure your baking soda and cream of tartar is fresh for best results.
  • Do not overwork your biscuit dough.
  • Spoon and level your flour for accurate measuring.

More Breakfast Recipes!

Easy Biscuit Recipe without Baking Powder - biscuits stacked in a bowl and on top of each other

If you have tried this recipe for easy biscuits without baking powder, or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTER,  INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

Easy Biscuit Recipe without Baking Powder - biscuits stacked in a bowl and on top of each other
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4.5 from 6 votes

Easy Biscuit Recipe without Baking Powder

This easy biscuit recipe without baking powder creates the most fluffy biscuits you could ever imagine! Made with simple ingredients, this recipe calls for all-purpose flour, whole milk, sugar, and butter. You will love these flaky biscuits with jam, butter, or whatever you prefer!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16 2’’ wide biscuits
Calories: 196kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter cold
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ cup milk full cream
  • 1 egg optional, beaten

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place butter in the freezer for 15 minutes prior to starting the recipe. In the meantime, mix flour with salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar.
  • Next, use a box grater to grate the butter over the flour mixture. Use your hands to combine ingredients. The result should be a coarse dough.
  • Add milk to the dough and knead to combine.
  • Place dough on a clean surface. Extend the dough with your hands, about ½-inch thick. Then, fold it over, and extend again. Repeat this process three times to make lovely layers in the biscuits.
  • Use a biscuit cutter of 2 ½ inches to cut 16 biscuits. Use a different sized cutter if desired.
  • Place biscuits in the prepared baking tray, no need to set them far apart as they will not expand much.
  • Optional: Beat an egg and brush the tops of the biscuits. This will provide a nice golden brown color.
  • Bake the biscuits for 20 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown on the top and base.

Notes

Expert Tips 
  • Avoid keeping the butter at room temperature for this recipe. You’ll want to make sure it is super cold straight from the freezer!
  • If you don’t have a 2 ½-inch sized biscuit cutter, any other size will work. You can also use a sharp knife to cut the biscuits into squares.
  • Do not twist your biscuit cutter when cutting your biscuits – push straight down and pull up to ensure the tops of your biscuits are even and not sloped (so they bake evenly).
  • Make sure your baking soda and cream of tartar is fresh for best results.
  • Do not overwork your biscuit dough.
  • Spoon and level your flour for accurate measuring.
  • The final taste of the biscuits is neither too sweet nor salty! The biscuits are very versatile and the perfect tea biscuit to eat with jam, butter, or whatever you love! 

Nutrition

Serving: 1biscuit | Calories: 196kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 212mg | Potassium: 73mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g

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Whether it’s a quick smoothie or indulgent (but guilt-free) pancakes, my breakfast recipes have everything you need to start your day off right.

These recipes are healthy, filling, and easy to make!

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