Biscuit-Bowl Biscuits


Every family needs a biscuit recipe. Ivy Odom shares her's with us.

Biscuit-Bowl Biscuits
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Ruth Blackburn; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Active Time:
20 mins
Bake Time:
10 mins
Cool Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
35 mins
12 biscuits

"In the South, biscuit recipes aren't always committed to paper. Instead, they are often passed down through memories shared with loved ones in the kitchen," writes Test Kitchen Professional and Hey Y'all host Ivy Odom. When Ivy makes her family's biscuit recipe, a very special bowl is the secret ingredient.

These Biscuit-Bowl Biscuits—named for the hand-carved wooden biscuit bowl that's been passed down in Ivy's family for generations—are lightly crunchy on the outside, but soft and tender inside. "For my daddy, there is only one way to make a biscuit. Soft, fluffy, and almost cakelike in crumb," Ivy writes. Accordingly, these biscuits bear more resemblance to dinner rolls than to the buttery, flaky, crunchy-top biscuits that are popular at modern brunch joints.

Embrace the rustic spirit of family baking—this recipe is all about feeling the dough, using your hands, and trusting your own intuition as to when to stop incorporating flour. Work quickly and gently, and use as little flour as possible to yield a soft, not super sticky dough. Practice makes perfect with these biscuits—the more you make them, you'll learn how to feel when the dough is just right.


  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature, plus more for greasing pan

  • 1 (2-lb.) pkg. enriched bleached self-rising flour (such as White Lily) 

  • 1 cup whole buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 500°F. Grease a small or medium (no smaller than 8-inch) round cast-iron griddle pan with shortening. Place flour in a large bowl. Spoon 2½ cups of the flour into a sifter; sift flour back into bowl. Using the back of your hand, create a nestlike shape in flour in center of bowl, pressing and packing flour down firmly.

  2. Pour buttermilk directly into nest. Add shortening to buttermilk. Squeeze together using 1 hand to incorporate until no large pieces remain. Using a circular motion with your hands, gradually begin incorporating flour from sides of bowl into buttermilk mixture, working as quickly and gently as you can and incorporating only as much flour as needed until a soft dough forms. (You will not need to use all the flour in the bowl.) The dough should be soft but not wet, and it can be a bit sticky. Reserve remaining flour in bowl for flouring and, if desired, for another batch of biscuits.

  3. Flour your hands, and transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. Pat dough to about 1-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out 8 biscuits, flouring cutter after each cutting. Reroll dough scraps, and pat to 1-inch thickness. Cut remaining 4 biscuits using floured cutter. Discard any remaining scraps.

  4. Arrange biscuits as close together as possible (they should be touching) on prepared griddle pan. Bake in preheated oven until tops are golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

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