It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Baking Powder Biscuits

Ask, and you shall receive. Cate wanted the recipe for baking powder biscuits, so here it is. I make these all the time — so often that I don’t use the recipe any more, just toss things in a bowl until it looks right, so I had to go look it up for the proportions. My version is from the More With Less cookbook (where it’s called simply “Basic Biscuits”). I got the recipe from a cookbook, I got the name from my grandmother, who made them without a recipe for decades, but I never got her to show me how! Silly.

Anyway. Baking Powder Biscuits

Preheat oven to 400F

Sift together:
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder

Cut in:
1/4 cup shortening

Add all at once, stirring till a soft ball is formed:
3/4 cup milk.

Plop dough out onto floured counter, knead lightly 20 – 25 times.

Now the recipe tells you to “roll or pat to 1/2″ (1 cm) thick and cut with floured glass or cookie cutter“. Sometimes I do that, particularly if there’s some reason we want shapes — hearts for Valentine’s Day, that sort of thing. But usually what I do is make a double batch and then rip off golf-ball sized chunks, and plop them into an ungreased 8×8 or 9×9” pan. I love the texture of the golden-brown rough surface, and the contrast of the soft and white insides. (It’s also a personal quirk: To me, if you roll it, it’s a cookie, not a biscuit. Cookies are flat(ish); biscuits are round.)

However you form them, put your biscuits on an ungreased pan and bake: 10 – 12 minutes for the rolled biscuits; 18 – 20 for the balls.

Good with butter, good with jam, good with gravy. Fancy them up by adding a half-cup of shredded cheese, and then they’re cheese biscuits. Easy!


February 13, 2012 - Posted by | food | , ,


  1. Thank you so much! Here in Australia we don’t really have anything like this (that I know about anyway!) so it will be interesting to try it out on the kids, so again thanks very much.

    You’re welcome! I’m sure the kids will enjoy them. Mine, at the ripe old ages of 18, 22, and 26 still love them.

    Comment by Cate | February 13, 2012 | Reply

  2. My recipe card for Baking Powder Biscuits is so old and smudged I recently had to rewrite the ingredients! Didn’t bother rewriting the directions though. 🙂 My mom never made hers with shortening, so here’s a similar version to yours, Mary, that uses oil instead, for those who might be interested.

    2c. flour
    4 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp cream of tartar
    2 tsp. sugar
    Combine dry ingredients, then add
    scant 1/2 c. oil & 2/3 c. milk

    It’s like folk tales, isn’t it? Hundreds of variations, all pretty much the same thing, but interesting in their regional differences. (In fact, my recipe calls for salt, too, but I never put it in and don’t miss it.)

    Comment by Ms. Huis Herself | February 13, 2012 | Reply

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