These old-fashioned lard biscuits are incredibly easy to make! With only 6 ingredients and a few simple steps the results are perfectly tender and flaky. Stay tuned for my classic sausage gravy to pair with these biscuits coming up!
I’m a biscuits girl. I like them all which ways. Classic ones with butter and jam. Classier ones with thyme and black pepper or maybe even studded with bacon. I even love quick drop biscuits that kinda feel like cheating because they don’t even get my hands messy, but who cares, cuz biscuits!!!
But lately, lard has been my go to for making my comforting biscuits. If you have never had a biscuit made with lard, you need to. Read: NEED. The overall texture is so much different than those made with butter. They are just softer, more tender, and crazy flaky! I can’t get enough!
A few weeks ago I showed you all how to render your own silky white lard. It is a beautiful thing. If you haven’t checked it out yet, get at it here! But if you don’t want to make your own lard, you can purchase rendered lard online. I love this pure lard from from Fatworks Foods. They also sell it in quite a few stores across the US. You can see where they are selling it here.
You can also easily find other rendered lards in the grocery store, though many of them are hydrogenated so check your labels. I have also seen high quality lard in grocery stores that sell natural foods and sometimes at farmer’s markets. Or do you save your bacon fat? Well, then you already have some lard! Bacon flavored lard!
The process of making lard biscuits is identical to the process of making butter biscuits. We’ll use the biscuit mixing method, which maybe you remember from my tutorial is an incredibly simple process!
The steps include: mixing all of the dry ingredients together, then cutting in the fat, adding the liquid, then gently shaping. Let me walk you through it.
STEP 1: Mix all of your dry ingredients together.
Pre-heat your oven to 375F before you start so your cold biscuits can go right in after shaped.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together your flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Some people read my biscuit recipes and gasp at the amount of baking powder assuming it is an error. It is not. I understand a tablespoon of baking powder sounds crazy. Just trust me.
STEP 2: Cut in your cold lard.
You may have heard me talk about the importance of this step before, but this process of cutting the fat through the flour is necessary to shorten the gluten strands. All fats in the professional baking world are referred to by the generic term of “shortening” even when not using the specific fat called shortening.
Liquid is the enemy of glutens developing too much when you are aiming for a tender biscuit (or any pastry for that matter). The fat is acting like a little protective barrier between the liquid and the flour.
Now at this point you could make a decision to go with half the amount of lard and use butter for the other half if you are bound and determined to get a butter flavor. They won’t have quite the same soft fluffy texture. I find that just brushing them with melted butter at the end of baking is enough butter flavor for me. But you do you. I’ll make it your call.
I like to use a pasty cutter to cut the fat through. You could use a fork, or even your hands. BUT you want your fat to be very cold and your hands can start lowering that temperature. As soon as the fat/dry mixture resembles coarse meal you are ready to add the liquid.
STEP 3: Mix in your cold liquid.
I am a firm believer in buttermilk for biscuits. You just want the acidity from the buttermilk to assist in the rise and it also plays a key role in the flavor. Luckily, I literally live next door to a grocery store that sells buttermilk in half pints which is the exact amount I need for 1 batch of biscuits. But I definitely understand not wanting to buy buttermilk for just one recipe and sometimes you can only find quarts
. If you do not have buttermilk/do not want to buy butter milk, then you can make your own buttermilk substitute very easily. Put 1 TBSP of either lemon juice or white vinegar in a liquid measuring cup. Add enough regular milk to the measuring cup to measure 1 cup. Stir together and let the mixture sit for at least 5 minutes in the refrigerator (we want the liquid cold for this recipe!). The acid will curdle the milk and will work as a great substitute for buttermilk.
Pour all of the buttermilk, or buttermilk substitute, into the bowl at once and gently stir together. I like to use a wooden spoon for this but you could use a rubber spatula if you like. Stir just until the mixture is all one mass but not until smooth. You want it to be lumpy and you don’t want to stir very much. It usually only takes me about 5-6 stirs to get here. The mixture is going to seem really wet. Too wet. If it does, then you are good. You want it almost too wet to handle.
STEP 4: Shape the dough and bake.
I never, never ever, use a rolling-pin when making biscuits! You know that scene at the beginning of Pitch Perfect where Anna Kendrick is making biscuits then starts singing Cups. I know you know. Freaking adorable and I love her, but that scene kills me. The whole time I’m watching it I can’t concentrate because of the blasphemy performed on those biscuits!!! She kneads the heck out of that dough then rolls it out with a rolling-pin. Those biscuits were rocks. I just know it! I’m not crazy. Moving on…
Flour a clean work surface and your hands. Gently gather all of the dough and place it on the floured surface. Now, using your hands, pat the dough out to about a 1/2 inch thick disc. You may need to dust a bit of flour on top of the dough. Now, fold the dough in half and then in half again going the other way so that you create layers in the dough. Do about 5 folds, gently patting out in between, to create layers. The layers you create by folding the dough over create the flakiness and layers in the bisuits. Pat the dough out 1 more time to the thickness you will cut them at. I like them about about 1 inch thickness.
Use a biscuit cutter, or cup if you don’t have one, to stamp out the biscuit. I like to use my red wine glass. It is about 3 inches in diameter and gives me 5 very large biscuits. Use whatever size you prefer. I like to place my biscuits in a spring form pan very close together to bake. I believe this helps the biscuits climb on each other and in the pan to rise more. But you can definitely bake them on a sheet pan if you prefer.
Immediately put the biscuits in the oven and then crank up the heat. I learned this little trick from the one and only Alton Brown. The active heating of the oven allows more steam to release from the biscuits which in turn gives them more rise. On the same note, do NOT open the oven for at least the first half of the baking time. You will release the steam trapped in the oven and nobody wants flat biscuits. They are just sad.
Once baked, you can brush with melted butter if you like. OR you can top with sausage gravy. I have that recipe coming up for you in a couple days. Stay tuned! It is just the fall comfort food recipe you need!
Old-Fashioned Lard Biscuits
These old-fashioned lard biscuits are incredibly easy to make! With only 6 ingredients and a few simple steps the results are perfectly tender and flaky. Serve with my Classic Sausage Gravy for a comforting meal.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 TBSP baking powder, aluminum free
- 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 6 TBSP lard, very cold
- 1 cup buttermilk, very cold (OR see note below for how to make a buttermilk substitute)
- melted butter for brushing baked biscuits, if desired
- Preheat your oven to 375°F.
- Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt) in a large bowl and whisk together.
- Add the cold lard into the dry ingredients and cut into the flour, using a pastry cutter or a fork, until it resembles coarse meal.
- Add the cold buttermilk into the bowl and stir with a spoon or a rubber spatula JUST until combined. This should only take a few turns. The dough will be pretty wet and sticky.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. With floured hands gently pat out (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it’s about 1/2″ thick. Add a tiny bit of flour over top if needed and fold the dough over itself about 5 times, gently pressing down in between each fold. Gently pat the dough out to a 1 inch thick.
- Use a round cutter to cut into rounds about 3 inch wide. You can go smaller for more biscuits.
- Gently pat the scraps together to cut out the rest of your biscuits.
- Place the biscuits in a cake pan or springform pan close together. Alternatively, you can use a sheet pan. Place in the oven and immediately turn the heat up to 450ºF.
- Bake for about 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Do not open the oven door for AT LEAST the first half of baking time. You want the steam to stay trapped in the oven to help with the rise. For smaller biscuits, you may not need to bake as long.
- Brush biscuits with melted butter if desired.
If you do not have buttermilk on hand you can make “soured milk” by adding 1 TBSP of lemon juice or white vinegar to a measuring cup and adding enough regular milk to make 1 cup liquid. Combine and let it sit for about 5 minutes. You need to acid in this recipe from either the buttermilk or the soured milk to activate the baking soda.
You can flavor these biscuits with herbs or spices by adding them in with the dry ingredients.