Baker Bettie

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. Stay tuned for my classic sausage gravy to pair with these biscuits coming up! 

Freshly baked lard biscuits in a cake pan

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 of a lard biscuit 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.

All ingredients measured out

STEP 1: Mix all of your dry ingredients together.

Pre-heat your oven to 450F before you start so your cold biscuits can go right in after shaped.

Dry ingredients whisked in bowl

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.

Cutting in the lard into the dry ingredients

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.

lard and dry ingredients cut together looking like coarse crumbs

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.

Liquid added to lard mixture

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.

Biscuit dough mixed together

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…

Biscuit dough patted down with extra flour on the counter

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.

Biscuit dough folded in half to make layers

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. 

biscuit rounds being cut from dough and placed in cake pan

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.

Freshly baked lard biscuits in a cake pan

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!

lard biscuits topped with sausage gravy

Lard biscuits topped with sausage gravy

Old-Fashioned Lard Biscuits

Yield: 6-8 Biscuits
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

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 leaf 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


  1. Preheat your oven to 450°F (230 C).
  2. Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt) in a large bowl until well combined.
  3. Add the cold lard into the dry ingredients and cut it into the flour, using a pastry cutter or a fork, until it resembles coarse meal.
  4. 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.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. With floured hands gently pat out (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it's about 1" thick. Fold the dough in half and then turn it 90 degrees. Pat it out and fold it again. Do this process about 6 times to create layers in the dough. This will create flakiness in the baked biscuit. Gently pat the dough out to a 1 inch thick.
  6. Gently pat the dough out to a 1 inch thick. Use a round cutter to cut into rounds about 2 1/2" (for 8 biscuits) or 3" wide (for 6 biscuits).
  7. Gently pat the scraps together to cut out the rest of your biscuits.
  8. Place the biscuits in a cake pan or springform pan close together. Alternatively, you can use a sheet pan.
  9. Bake at 450 F (230 C) for 12-15 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.
  10. 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.

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Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0

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121 comments on “Old-Fashioned Lard Biscuits”

  1. Best biscuits ever!

  2. Thank you!

  3. These are the best biscuits I have ever made, I didn’t have buttermilk so I used some raw heavy cream I had and put vinegar in it. 

  4. Love Love Love these biscuits!!! The best recipe I have ever used!! After baking I added a brush of Real Butter! They were delicious! 

  5. Easy peasy! Tastes just like Gramma’s. Thanks for taking us back to our childhood….

  6. I’ve made these 2 or 3 times now. I even upped the recipe just a touch so I could make just 10 “first pat” biscuits without much waste with fabulous results. Sooo many layers!

    However my batch I did this morning didn’t rise like my previous one. They baked just fine, but they were more dome vs tower shaped. Any ideas on why?

    The recipe is solid I may be doing something wrong and not seeing it. I am in the Smokey mountains so maybe a pinch more of the risers?

    Thank you!

    • Hmmm, that is strange Bella! Was anything different this time? New baking powder? New oven? Have you always made them at high elevation or is this the first time making them at high elevation? Things rise much faster at high elevation which could be the reason for the domed results. When things rise too fast they can then fall again. I would actually suggest reducing the baking powder to 2 tsp.

      • Nothing is new that I can recall.

        I did all three batches the same way. Mixed all the dry together dropped my lard in and placed the bowl in the fridge along with the knock off buttermilk to chill overnight.

        Wait…this last batch I held back some of the buttermilk.. maybe that’s the problem? I didn’t give the powder enough oomph to work with.

  7. Can this recipe be doubled without any problems?
    I agree that lard is the best shortening for biscuits and pie crusts!
    Thanks for your interesting blog.

  8. Bettie, this is just what I was looking for: lard as the fat in the biscuits instead of butter! I’m wondering, though, about using plain yogurt in place of the buttermilk. Any thoughts on how I might reliably make that substitution? Maybe with some milk & a little lime juice as well, to thin the 2% yogurt to the right liquid consistency? And if so, how much of each? I look forward to hearing your thoughts. 🙂

    • Hi Jennie! Plain yogurt or sour cream is one of my favorite buttermilk substitute. It is already naturally acidic so it works really well. I use 3/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream and mix it with 1/4 cup of water. It mimics the texture of buttermilk beautifully! I have a whole article about it here:

      • Brilliant: just what I’d hoped. Will try the plain yogurt with some water. Thanks so much, Bettie! Can’t wait to try it.
        Yummy – Biscuits…Perfect for soup season and crisp fall weather.

  9. I am so glad I found this recipe!  I’ve been cooking and baking more years than I want to admit, and I have never been happy with my biscuits until I used your recipe.  I always double it because the biscuits are so good!

    I wish I had a local source for leaf lard, as I hate ordering online.  So for now I use the mixed lard from the store.  ☹️  I rationalize it because if I bought biscuits already made or had them in a restaurant, they would have shortening in them. Otherwise I refuse to allow shortening in my house!  And I guess I will break down and order leaf lard online. 

    Thanks for a great recipe!

  10. Wow! I’ve made biscuits forever but this recipe topped them all. I used regular lard, measured and chilled well. Also had to do the vinegar/milk thing, so I chilled the vinegar in the measuring cup before adding milk (don’t know if it mattered, but it didn’t hurt). I handled the dough as little as possible while working with it. I had never used a spring-form pan for biscuits but it worked very well, and brushed with melted butter right out of the oven. Excellent, flaky, wonderful biscuits!

  11. I made this recipe and substituted flour with gluten free Cup 4 Cup flour blend. Instead of buttermilk I used coconut milk. Canned full fat coconut milk from trader Joe’s. I used the exact measurements of all other ingredients. They turned out incredibly light and fluffy. I was so pleased with these as a gluten free treat.

  12. can you use a foodprocesser to make the lard biscuits and also can you use lard in cakes

    • Hi Joan, yes you can use a food processor to cut in the cold lard into the dry ingredients but be sure just to pulse it a couple of times and to not go too far with it. I don’t recommend using lard in cakes because it will often bring a more savory note to your baking as well as a heavier feel. However, I have heard recipes that swear by using lard in cookies although I haven’t tried it myself.

  13. Made these with self rising flour. They were very good but weren’t fluffy.

  14. Wow, best thing I’ve eaten in quite a while…used 1/2 beef fat and half butter.  Nice and crisp, great layers.  Ate with butter and Blackberry jelly.  Numnumnum

  15. These were really quick to make! I used lard I had removed from a beef stew and worked that into the dough. They turned out beautifully. Thanks!

  16. I’ve made biscuits a lot but this was my first time with bacon fat. My no-knead method is easier, faster and with delicious results! I had to add about 1/4 cup more flour to this recipe in the bowl (by a few spoonfuls at a time). Then I scooped out (with the large Pampered chef scoop, but any kind works) balls of dough onto my stone, with sides touching. They rose up well and some are easy to split by hand in the middle; others I used a knife to slice open to butter. My sons liked them even without butter inside. Of course, I had brushed butter on top. I’m so glad I tried the bacon grease and will do so again! I had to put mine into the freezer to chill it for about an hour first. The process of kneading, rolling out, cutting, and cleaning up isn’t worth it to me because the drop biscuits turn out so perfectly well. 

  17. If making your own buttermilk, would using lactose free milk work?

  18. I so wanted to make these, but I failed massively! They never got to the folding stage, the mixture was just too wet. Even after dusting almost another cup of flour onto the mixture it was still too wet. By that time I was afraid that I had too much flour and had blown my ratios with the other ingredients so I placed it in my circular folder for future reference.
    Gonna go back over everything , again, and see what I missed. Can you suggest some of the easy mistakes for these?

    FZI, I am not blaming anyone here, just hoping someone can point me in the right direction.

    • Hi Jim, I’m glad you gave it a try! Don’t be afraid to add more flour. The dough will definitely be very sticky when you go to pour it out of the bowl. Add just enough so that you are able to fold it as described. Also be sure to flour your counter and hands generously as well.

  19. I could swear I saw something here about make ahead and freezing, but do not see it. They were terrific and I want to make them for Christmas morning biscuits and gravy.

  20. Loved the biscuits!!  Thank you!

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