Skip to Content

Are biscuits better with butter or shortening?

When it comes to baking biscuits, the question of whether to use butter or shortening is a hotly debated topic among bakers. Each ingredient has its own unique properties and can significantly affect the texture, flavor, and rise of the final product. So which one is better? Let’s take a closer look and find out.

Butter vs. Shortening

Before we dive into the specifics of baking biscuits, it’s important to understand the differences between butter and shortening. Butter is made from cream and contains both fat and water. It typically has a rich, creamy flavor and a slightly yellow color. Shortening, on the other hand, is made from hydrogenated vegetable oil and is 100% fat. It has a neutral flavor and is white in color.


One of the most important factors to consider when deciding which ingredient to use in your biscuits is texture. Butter has a lower melting point than shortening, which can result in a softer, more tender texture. It also contains a bit of water, which turns to steam during baking and creates pockets of air in the dough, resulting in a flaky, light texture.

Shortening, on the other hand, has a higher melting point than butter, which means it takes longer to melt in the oven. This can result in a slightly drier, crispier texture in baked goods. Additionally, because it doesn’t contain water, shortening won’t create the same steam pockets in the dough as butter, which can lead to a denser biscuit.


Another important consideration when choosing between butter and shortening is flavor. Butter has a rich, creamy flavor that can add depth and complexity to your biscuits. Depending on the type of butter used, it can also have a slightly salty or nutty flavor which can complement the other ingredients in the recipe.

Shortening, on the other hand, has a neutral flavor which can make it a good choice if you want the other flavors in your biscuits to shine. However, some people find that shortening can have a slightly “artificial” taste that they don’t enjoy.


Finally, rise is another important factor when it comes to baking biscuits. Both butter and shortening can help your biscuits rise, but they do so in slightly different ways. Butter, because of its water content, creates steam that lifts the dough as it bakes. This can result in a high, lofty biscuit with lots of flaky layers.

Shortening, on the other hand, doesn’t create much steam but instead coats the flour particles and prevents gluten from forming. This can help biscuits rise by keeping the dough tender, but it won’t create the same level of flakiness as butter.


So, which is better for biscuits: butter or shortening? The answer is that it depends on what you’re looking for! If you want a tender, flaky biscuit with a rich, buttery flavor, then butter is your best bet. On the other hand, if you prefer a slightly drier, crispier texture and a neutral flavor, then shortening may be the way to go.

Ultimately, the decision between butter and shortening comes down to personal preference. Some bakers even choose to combine the two, using both butter and shortening in their biscuit recipes to achieve a balance of flavor and texture.

Whatever you choose, just remember to handle your dough gently and don’t overwork it, no matter what fat you use. With a little practice and experimentation, you’ll be baking perfect biscuits in no time!


What is the secret to the best biscuit?

Biscuits are a classic baked good that have a long history of satisfying taste buds all over the world. Whether enjoyed on their own or used as a base for delectable breakfast sandwiches, biscuits are a beloved food item that people can’t seem to get enough of. But have you ever wondered what the secret is to making the best biscuit? Is it in the ingredients, the technique, or something else entirely? The answer is actually quite simple – it’s all about the butter.

The secret to excellent biscuits is COLD BUTTER. This is because the butter is responsible for creating those flaky, tender layers that make biscuits so irresistible. When the cold butter is cut into the biscuit dough, it creates small pockets of fat that melt during the baking process, leaving those signature layers behind. If the butter is not cold enough, it will melt too quickly, and the layers won’t form properly.

Many times the biscuit dough gets worked so much that the butter softens before the biscuits even go in the oven. To avoid this, try cutting the butter into small pieces and stick back in the fridge, pulling out only when ready to incorporate into the dough. This will help keep the butter as cold as possible and ensure that the layers form correctly.

Another tip to keep in mind is to handle the dough as little as possible. Overworking it can lead to tough, dense biscuits that aren’t nearly as enjoyable. Be sure to gently mix in the ingredients until just combined, and don’t knead the dough too much.

While there are a few tricks and tips to making a delicious biscuit, the secret truly lies in the butter. By using cold butter and handling the dough with care, you can create biscuits that are unbelievably flaky, tender, and downright irresistible.

What makes biscuits rise better?

There are a few important factors that can help biscuits rise better. Firstly, the leavening agent is crucial for the rise of biscuits. Baking powder is typically used in biscuit recipes to help the dough rise. Baking powder is a combination of baking soda, cream of tartar, and sometimes cornstarch. When combined with liquid ingredients, baking powder produces carbon dioxide gas, which creates bubbles in the dough and helps it rise. It’s important to use a fresh baking powder, as old or expired baking powder will not produce the desired results.

Another factor that can help biscuits rise is the temperature of the ingredients. Cold ingredients, such as butter and milk, help create a flaky texture in biscuits. When cold ingredients are mixed with baking powder and dry ingredients, the butter will melt in the oven, creating small pockets of steam that help the biscuits rise and become light and fluffy.

The method used to mix the ingredients is also important. Overworking the dough can result in a tough biscuit, but mixing the ingredients just until they are combined is key to achieving a tender and flaky biscuit. When the biscuit dough is rolled or cut, it’s important to handle it as little as possible to avoid overworking the ingredients and creating a tough texture.

Finally, the oven temperature is crucial for the rise of biscuits. A hot oven helps biscuits bake—and rise—quickly. We recommend 475˚F for 15 minutes. Remove them from the oven as soon as they are lightly brown. Let them cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before serving them warm with butter and jam. By following these tips, you can create tall, light, and fluffy biscuits that are sure to be a hit at breakfast or brunch.

What are the two most important steps to making biscuits?

When it comes to making biscuits, there are many variables that can impact the outcome of the final product. However, there are two steps that are considered the most important for achieving a flaky and tender biscuit.

The first step is to properly coat the flour in fat. This is typically done by using cold butter or shortening and “cutting” it into the flour using a pastry cutter or two knives until small, pea-sized crumbles are achieved. This process helps to evenly distribute the fat and allows it to coat the individual flour particles, which reduces gluten development in the dough. Gluten can make biscuits tough and chewy, which is not a desirable texture for this type of baked good.

The second important step is to distribute small pieces of solid fat throughout the dough. This can be done by using a technique called “folding” or “layering” the dough. The dough is rolled out and then folded over multiple times, typically in thirds, with small pieces of butter or shortening being added between each fold. When the biscuits are baked, the solid fat will melt, leaving behind little pockets of flakiness throughout the dough.

While there are certainly other factors to consider when making biscuits, such as oven temperature and mixing technique, these two steps are considered crucial to achieving the desired texture. By properly coating the flour in fat and incorporating small pieces of solid fat throughout the dough, you can create a biscuit that is tender, flaky, and delicious.