Buttermilk Biscuits, Gluten-Free

by Jeanne on September 7, 2009

Hey folks! Happy Labor Day. We’ve decided to celebrate Labor Day by getting sick. So much more relaxing than running around and having fun on a holiday, don’t you think? Of course, we’re loving life right now, in between sneezes and coughs.

Anyway, being relatively house-bound makes me want to bake. Today I decided to try another recipe for buttermilk biscuits. A new friend, Lorna Yee, who blogs at The Cookbook Chronicles, has a fabulous one on her site. [Edited to add: the blog is no longer up, so I took down the links].

After seeing her photos, I immediately decided to adapt this recipe to gluten-free–and as you can see,  the results are wonderful!  You can also make this recipe dairy-free.

Gluten-Free Buttermilk Biscuits
-adapted from recipe by Lorna Yee

Special Equipment Needed
-2-3″ cookie/biscuit cutter with sharp edges (don’t use the rim of a glass)

2 cups (280g)  Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix, sifted
2 tablespoons aluminum-free, double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons (60 g; 2 oz) butter, cold
4 tablespoons  (60g; 2 oz) leaf lard or shortening, cold (or just use extra butter if you don’t use these)
3/4 cup buttermilk (180 ml)
Tapioca flour for dusting

Optional glaze: one egg yolk beaten with 2 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the sifted flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter and lard, and cut in with a pastry blender or your fingers until the fat resembles coarse, pea-size clumps. Stir in the buttermilk, taking care not to over-mix.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface or Silpat, and shape into a cohesive mass. Roll the dough out with a tapioca flour-floured rolling pin until it reaches about 1” thick, then cut with a tapioca-floured biscuit cutter. It’s important that the cutter goes in an out of the dough with minimal squishage of dough. Be careful not to turn the cutter as you cut the dough–this will “seal” the edges together and prevent the biscuits from rising to their true potential. This minimal squishing of the edges is what helps the biscuits to rise and be fluffy:

Place the biscuits on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, and brush the tops with an egg yolk beaten with milk if you want to glaze them.

Bake the biscuits for about 15 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown and nicely risen.


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{ 75 comments… read them below or add one }

Rainy June 9, 2015 at 4:05 pm

First time I tried these I wasn’t happy with them, I did go buy aluminum free baking powder, absolutely the BEST!!! I had some sour cream I had frozen instead of buttermilk (it liquefies when frozen) also used all butter. I will be making these frequently now! Only GF biscuit recipe that is superb to wheat in my estimate.


Jeanne June 20, 2015 at 10:13 am

Rainy: Yay! I’m so glad!


Mattie February 8, 2015 at 2:52 pm

FYI: It looks like Lorna’s site has gone. There is a generic landing page sowing whenever I click on links to look at the original recipe.


Jeanne February 9, 2015 at 3:11 pm

Mattie: Ah, OK–thanks for letting me know! I took down all of the links!


cyndi February 6, 2015 at 11:01 am

I made buttermilk biscuits last night and my boys declared them the most awesome biscuits they ever had. Thank you for your recipes.


Jeanne February 9, 2015 at 3:16 pm

Cyndi: Yay! I’m so glad!


cyndi February 5, 2015 at 10:59 am

I wanted to make gluten free buttermilk biscuits for dinner tonight. Your recipe calls for double acting baking powder without aluminum. I haven’t been able to find any. Will the biscuits turn out if baking powder has aluminum in it?


Jeanne February 5, 2015 at 11:04 am

Cyndi: They will turn out but they will probably have a distinctive metal taste. Sodium aluminum sulfate is a common ingredient in some double acting baking powders and it has a strong taste. I recommend reading my Baking Powder post for more information (and a list of baking powders and their ingredients).


cyndi February 5, 2015 at 12:05 pm

Thank You. I made your soft sandwich bread and my son loves it. It seemed a little wet to me but it is so much better than store bought.


Jeanne February 9, 2015 at 3:17 pm

Cyndi: Yes, this bread isn’t as dry as commercial white bread. I’m so glad your son loves it!


Angie November 21, 2014 at 4:55 pm

Have made many of your recipes. Love them! Question about the dairy-free option for these… I don’t see it listed in your ingredients. What is the dairy-free option?


Jeanne December 8, 2014 at 8:45 am

Angie: Check out my Ingredient Substitutions post.


Kristy K. James December 8, 2014 at 9:25 am

Just to let you know, I didn’t realize I was out of regular milk one day and my only options were water or unsweetened coconut milk. I opted for the coconut milk. It worked perfectly, and my family – who hates coconut – couldn’t even tell I’d used it.


Jeanne December 12, 2014 at 9:25 pm

Kristy: Awesome! Hooray!


Kimberly November 19, 2014 at 11:25 am

I used this recipe for dumplings in my chicken and dumplings recipe and it was delicious! I made it dairy free using soy milk and earth balance margarine. Thank you for the recipe!


Jeanne December 8, 2014 at 8:49 am

Kimberly: Yay!


Esther Hardman November 4, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Wow, made these ( using butter and lard), what a treat. Served with sausage gravy thickened with potato flour, fried eggs and home-made jam.
This will be my go- to recipe from now on.


Jeanne November 11, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Esther: Yay!


Wanda September 23, 2014 at 10:43 am

fresh baking powder and soda and they still didn’t rise :( But still taste good.


Jeanne September 28, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Wanda: did you use double-acting baking powder? If not, try again and use double-acting baking powder. My favorite is Bob’s Red mill Double Acting Baking powder. Also, did you use the exact ingredients called for?


Deborah July 9, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Can the raw biscuits be frozen and thawed before baking? How long would you recommend as thawing time before putting in the oven?


Jeanne August 4, 2014 at 11:03 am

Deborah: no, I don’t recommend freezing the unbaked biscuits. It would be better to bake them and then cool and freeze them.


Deborah August 7, 2014 at 9:21 am

thanks, I found out the hard way they can’t be frozen before baking. turned into hockey pucks! I won’t do that again!


Jeanne August 8, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Deborah: Oh well. Bleh.


Gina March 16, 2014 at 2:46 pm

I hope I didn’t miss you stating this somewhere but I wondered if I could use Bob’s Redmill flour for this recipe…I am celiac and my hubby is allergic to rice so I cannot make them unless I can use the Bobs Redmill…Thanks


Jeanne March 18, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Gina: Yes, you can use Bob’s Red Mill’s flour mix. Be sure to add about 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum per cup of flour.


Bernadine February 13, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Just made these for my family. Didn’t have a bisquit cutter so cut them in eighths. Now they want them for breakfast with sausage gravy.


Jeanne February 13, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Bernadine: Yum!


Karen January 24, 2014 at 7:33 am

Hi- first, I will say that this recipe is the best I have found so far for gluten free biscuits! However, I was still a bit disappointed in the results. Maybe I am expecting GF biscuits to end up too close to regular? I uploaded a photo of the finished biscuits to photobucket and included that as “my website.” Maybe you have some tips for me? I didn’t find your recipe for flour (to compare with mine) but mine has these flours: white rice, brown rice, tapioca, and sorghum. It also has xantham gum. The biscuits were very dry and crumbly, and they had an aftertaste (maybe like shortening or metallic?) They also seemed a bit overcooked, I did set the time for 15 min and take out immediately. Maybe I should have taken them out sooner? The only other changes I made to recipe were: 2% lactose free milk with vinegar instead of buttermilk, and 6tbsp salted butter/2 tbsp shortening with no added salt.
I thought about adding more liquid, as it was a challenge to keep the dough together when rolling, maybe that would have helped?


Karen January 24, 2014 at 7:35 am

Duh, I just noticed the recipe for flour above the actual recipe! ThoughI had seen it in the beginning! Mine is quite similar to yours.


Jeanne January 24, 2014 at 10:41 am

Karen: Yours has less starch and more whole grains than does mine–which makes is more like a “whole grain” mix. Whole grain mixes tend to be more crumbly than all-purpose flour.


Jeanne January 24, 2014 at 10:40 am

Karen: The mix you used doesn’t have enough starch–which is part of what creates non-crumbly baked items. It is closer to a “whole grain” mix than mine is. Also, the metallic taste is the baking powder. Be sure that you use “aluminum-free” double acting baking powder. Try the recipe again with my mix and see what happens.


Karen Molloy January 24, 2014 at 10:52 am

What is the part of yours that is more starchy? I created my blend using a formula on a website (that I can’t remember, offhand) where it offered suggestions on how to make a flour blend. It called for making 2 parts of whole grains (which I chose the brown rice flour and sorghum flour) and 2 parts of “starchy” flours (the white/sweet rice flour and tapioca) I mix equal parts of each flour, then add in the xantham gum. It has seemed to sub fantastically well for all-purpose flour in other recipes I have. But I am certainly open to suggestions! (Of course, I buy the Bob’s Red Mill Flours on Amazon in 6pks, so still have 1 pk of each of these to use….) I have double-acting aluminum-free baking powder, so that wouldn’t explain any metallic taste. Might be just in my head that it tastes metallic…


Jeanne January 25, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Karen: Other sites often make baking recommendations that I wouldn’t necessarily make. I try to make my recommendations based on the science of baking. Also, my mix is based on the protein to starch ratio of all-purpose wheat flour. It’s not a whole grain mix. As far as I can tell, other sites make flour mix recommendations based on their personal feelings (versus the science of baking) about how much of what should go into what–and a lot of sites seem to prefer more whole grain flours for various reasons. It is best to use my mix in these recipes to gauge how well they work.

Also, even non-aluminum baking powder can have a metallic taste sometimes.


Deby January 4, 2014 at 5:40 pm

Jeanne – I made these this morning after I made-up a batch of your GF All-Purpose Flour Mix and they are AMAZING! They tasted just like the whole-wheat flour version I grew up eating. Thank You for sharing your talents in the kitchen to make life easier on a life-long baker who was diagnosed with Celiac Disease less than a month ago! You’ve given me back the urge to get back in the kitchen and do what I love doing most – baking! Thank You Thank You Thank You!


Jeanne January 5, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Deby: Yay! I’m so glad!


Tania November 13, 2013 at 8:10 am

I cant afford all the stuff you put in yours but I can purchase All purpose baking mix that has the gum in it. can I use salted butter dont have kosher salt, and does it matter if the milk is skim since that is all I can have? This sucks cause I am a single mom and my daughter and I were both diagnosed with Celiac and I have no job, no round biscuit cutters and can’t afford to by then so I hope I can still use a glass.


Jeanne November 16, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Tania: Yes, you can use another gluten-free all purpose baking mix, but realize that it may or may not work as well as mine. You can use salted butter. You can use skim milk–although the biscuits won’t be as creamy. You can use a glass–just be sure that you cut the biscuits straight up and down–don’t twist the glass as you cut the dough. Also, my mix is actually less expensive per pound than most other mixes. I understand that money is tight and that you cannot buy all of them at once. But be aware that you will save money by using my mix (when you can afford to get all of the ingredients). Happy baking!


Kai January 26, 2014 at 8:39 am

I have discovered that Winco foods ( a local west coast grocery chain) has all the “flours” in bulk for super cheap prices!!! In addition to the basic flours they also have coconut flour, etc!!!
Yay… can’t wait to make the flour blend and start baking!!!


Jeanne January 29, 2014 at 9:42 am

Kai: Great! One thing to keep in mind: bulk bin flours have a high chance of cross-contamination with gluten stuff. So, you want to avoid them if you really have to be gluten-free. I am gluten intolerant and wheat allergic–so I can’t take the chance of cross contamination.


Kristy K. James February 26, 2014 at 12:15 am

Hi, Jeanne…
I found your site when visiting Kait Nolan’s blog…and I have to say that your biscuits look wonderful, and I can’t wait to try the recipe. But based on what you just said about CC from bulk flours, I have a question. I’ve purchased a few flours from a local Amish market. The owners either package everything themselves, or purchase them already packaged from another company that sells in bulk. Have you heard anything about the risks from these kinds of stores? Thanks.


Jeanne February 28, 2014 at 9:21 am

Kristy: You would need to find out if the source they purchase from is gluten-free. Another issue: are the bulk items you want to purchase near gluten-containing bulk items? This is also a big issue with bulk–bulk areas are notorious for cross contamination. Also, how intolerant are you? If you are celiac or react very strongly, I wouldn’t chance it. If you are mildly intolerant, it might be OK for you.

Kristy K. James March 2, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Thanks, Jeanne. :)

I guess I will be avoiding that particular market. For me, gluten causes pretty scary asthma-like symptoms and edema, in addition to digestive problems. Totally not worth the risk.

Shelley October 18, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Hi there…chiming in from Canada. Thanks so much for posting this. Most of the recipes I’ve tried for buiscuits were a LOT more work than this. I’ll be making these for the next time I make my homemade mushroom soup for my husband (it is SO easy and takes an hour…blows any canned soup away!!).

Thanks again so much for posting!!


Jeanne October 21, 2013 at 10:25 am

Shelley: Yay!


Tanja October 16, 2013 at 9:30 am

Do these translate well to drop biscuits?


Jeanne October 16, 2013 at 11:44 am

Tanja: Not really. The dough is stiff and is meant for rolling and cutting. I do have a drop-friendly biscuit recipe in my book! :)


Abqmom July 15, 2013 at 12:52 pm

I get that prickly, itchy feeling around my mouth, too, when I drink soy milk. Its OAS oral allergy syndrome.


Jeanne July 17, 2013 at 11:25 am

Abqmom: are you sure your reaction to soy milk is OAS? OAS, Oral Allergy Syndrome, is related to uncooked fruits, vegetables, and nuts. It sounds like maybe you have an actual allergy to soy or something in the soy milk. See my post about OAS for more info on how it differs from a food allergy:


Abqmom July 15, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Gee. I wonder if I can use this dough recipe for monkey bread.


Jeanne July 17, 2013 at 11:26 am

Abqmom: well, I think monkey bread is a yeasted bread. But, I’m sure you could coat the biscuits in a cinnamon sugar and then put them in the pan to mimic a monkey-bread kind of thing. I would experiment and see what happens!


Annie March 23, 2013 at 11:07 am

I followed the directions and used all the ingredients listed, going with the dairy free option of soy milk. I had to have done something wrong. Eating the biscuits left a prickly or itchy feeling in my mouth. I double checked that I did use the correct baking powder measurement. Any ideas what could cause that kind of reaction? I made your pancakes and they were perfect. I’m stumped as to what I did wrong with these.


Jeanne March 23, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Annie: The prickly itchy feeling sounds like a potential food sensitivity to me. Do you know what the starch is in the baking powder you used? You might react to it. The baking powder might contain aluminum–which can taste gross in large amounts. Check out my Baking Powder post for more info. Also, check to make sure your baking powder hasn’t expired–the starch can go bad and taste gross.


Annie March 23, 2013 at 2:08 pm

The baking powder is a brand new Package of Bob’s Red Mill. No aluminum. I’m not allergic to corn starch as far as I know, but I do react badly to corn syrup, so maybe I just need to try it with a baking powder with a potato starch base. The biscuits tasted good. They just felt prickly in my mouth.


Jeanne March 23, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Annie: Yeah, the prickly feeling is what I usually associate with a food sensitivity or allergy. That’s what I get with my food allergies. If you react to corn–I would avoid it entirely. That’s one of top 8 allergens. I would also recommend maybe going for an allergy test with your doc.


Annie July 16, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Yep, it was the corn starch in the baking powder. I’ve been using the Hain baking powder with potato starch and have had no more prickly feeling in these.

Jenny March 11, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Hi Jeanne,

These are delicious! Thank you for adapting this recipe for us. Now, as per your suggestion, I checked out the original recipe you referred to and discovered that Lorna enjoys these with a mushroom thyme cream gravy- yum! Is there any way you can help us readers/bakers/cooks by directing us to this recipe? I searched Lorna’s site but could not find it. Many thanks, I am eagerly anticipating this combo of your biscuits and this gravy!


Jeanne March 11, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Jenny: It’s in her cookbook, The Newlywed Kitchen. I highly recommend it–it’s a fabulous cookbook and I use it a lot! It’s not gluten-free specific but I adapt any recipe that requires gluten.

That said, I think you could make a simple bechamel sauce (with my flour mix) and add some onions, mushrooms, and fresh thyme to taste.


Pavlina January 1, 2013 at 4:48 pm

I made these, very nice but very sweet. I’m not a fan of buttermilk, so I just used reg milk. Could that be why? Thanks.


Jeanne January 1, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Pavlina: Hm, I’m not sure why they ended up sweet since there is no sugar in the recipe. Did you make any other substitutions other than the regular milk?


Pavlina January 2, 2013 at 9:04 am

Ooops. I used the recipe on your book and just assumed it was the same. Silly me. Is it appropriate tor me to ask questions here about your book recipes or shall I just email you? Thanks.


Jeanne January 3, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Pavlina: Yes, it’s probably best to email me with book questions. Also, the book’s recipe does contain sugar, so that’s why it’s sweet. You can experiment with reducing the sugar to your personal tastes. Happy baking!


Rosanna October 17, 2012 at 5:23 pm

I was recently diagnosed with celiac and like all others looking for recipees that are close to my home baking. This biscuit was good. It didn’t rise like I thought it would. That is probably my fault as I think I rolled them flatter than I normally would. I found I had to add more buttermilk. I’m still learning. I will definately make these again and not roll them as flat. They were very good. Thank you for posting. I am on the net all the time looking for recipees I can make.


admin October 18, 2012 at 7:29 am

Rosanna: That makes sense. GF things, especially ones without eggs, don’t rise as high as wheat ones do. Your idea of rolling them out thicker next time is a good one!


amanda August 13, 2012 at 3:12 pm

It was brown rice flour, corn starch, potato starch and tapioca. I thought I had read about you using it before and I had all the ingredients for that mix(while I didn’t for yours) so I went ahead and used it. It did have xanthum gum but I wonder if the ratio was high enough. The coconut cream concentrate is used to make coconut milk- kind of like powdered milk powder in a way. There are no additives.


amanda August 12, 2012 at 6:35 am

I know this is an older post but I thought I’d comment anyway just in case you might read it. I tried this recipe this morning and it didn’t work out very well. I used Multi-Blend GF Flour and coconut milk(made from coconut cream concentrate +vinegar) for the buttermilk, everything else was made per the directions.

I couldn’t add quite all the liquid though as it was started to get soupy and certainly not a rollable dough. When I put it on the counter w/ the tapioca to roll out it seemed to do ok. I cut them out with an old tin can fashioned into a cutter and tried to be careful.

They didn’t rise very well and are extremely crumbly and a bit powdery tasting. I had such high hopes as I’ve tried so many GF biscuits but I was so dissapointed. I used to be able to make a good biscuit but I haven’t had any luck w/ gluten free ones except the grain free variety. Can you help with trouble shooting?


admin August 12, 2012 at 11:01 am

Amanda: Hm, I’m not sure what happened. What flours are in the multi-blend flour? Did it have xanthan gum in it? If not, that is why everything was crumbly. Also, I’m not sure what’s in coconut cream concentrate and I’ve not used it in baking, so I’m not sure how it reacts in baking. What brand of concentrate did you use? Does it have additives in it?


andrew December 28, 2011 at 10:41 am

I just wanted to say that I made these this morning, and they are by far the best biscuit I have eaten, gluten free or not. Since I was diagnosed with celiac last January I have longed for good biscuits. Thank you so much for your amazing work!


admin December 29, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Andrew: Oh, I’m so glad!! Yay!


Erin November 25, 2011 at 11:20 am

This is the best gluten-free biscuit recipe I have ever tried. I used to make the best biscuits and used biscuit dough to make cobblers and dumpling as well. This is the first recipe that I have tried since going gluten-free many years ago that can actually do all of the things that a good traditional biscuit dough can do! Thank you!


admin November 27, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Erin: Yay–thanks! I’m so glad you like it! Thanks for letting me know!


dee November 10, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Jeanne, on this biscuit recipe you use lard, if using butter you say to add more but don’t say how much more..can you give a measurement for the butter? Also what is leaf lard? Thanks


admin November 10, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Dee: Oh, what I mean by that is if you don’t want to use lard, just use butter in its place. I say “more” because there is already a measurement for butter above that. I should make that more clear. Also, leaf lard is the highest grade of lard–it has very little pork flavor, which makes it ideal for baking.


Jeanne July 17, 2013 at 11:20 am

Annie: Ah, got it. That makes sense.


Jeanne March 2, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Kristy: Agreed.


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