Honey Pumpkin Biscuits

Beth Kirby of Local Milk carries her Southern heritage -- and the ingredients, dishes, and recipes that come with it -- with her wherever she goes. Every other Monday, that place is here. 

Today: If you're going to stray from a traditional buttermilk biscuit, this is the way to do it. 

Honey Pumpkin Biscuits from Food52

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I’m a buttermilk biscuit purist, and mine usually have exactly five ingredients in them: flour, salt, baking powder, butter, and buttermilk. That’s it -- and I pride myself on their simplicity. But sometimes the leaves are falling all at once around you in huge shivering gusts, and tendrils of autumnal smoke dare you to put pumpkin in all the things. These biscuits are a happy marriage of the warmth and sweetness of pumpkin pie and the savory, flaky layers of buttermilk biscuits.

Lightly sweetened with honey and flecked with sea salt, these aren’t heavy handed, overly sweet, or dense; they’re light and fluffy, the perfect way to have a sweet fix in the morning without feeling like you made a really dubious decision. I like to serve them with lightly salted cultured butter whipped with honey, and then I like to proceed to sit back and allow myself that special satisfaction afforded to the home cook­ -- the smiles, sighs, and are-you-freaking-kidding-me looks as people dig in. The pleasure of serving people buttermilk biscuits is, in my opinion, a unique pleasure in the arena of feeding people.

Honey Pumpkin Biscuits from Food52

Heretofore the province of southern women, these biscuits are now available to anyone who’s mindful with their dough. The secret to making these is to pay attention to the dough -- it should be tacky and shaggy, but not so wet you can’t work with it. I like to add all but a little of the buttermilk and only use it if the dough seems dry. 

Once all the dry bits are mixed in, stop mixing! That’s the first step toward keeping the biscuits tender. After that, you gently pat the dough out to about one and a half inches thick, fold it, rotate it, and repeat three times. After you’ve created all those beautiful layers inside your biscuits, you then ever-so-gently roll them out with a wooden rolling pin (I find marble far, far too heavy for biscuits) or pat them out with your fingers (an equally solid method!) until the dough is an inch thick. Cut, bake, and serve, and then soak up honey butter with warm corners of a freshly baked biscuit as well as a little bit of adulation from your loved ones.  

Honey Pumpkin Butter

Honey Pumpkin Biscuits 

Makes ten 2 1/2-inch biscuits

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
A pinch of ground cloves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup pumpkin purée
6 tablespoons honey
3/4 cups buttermilk 

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here. 

Photos by Beth Kirby

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Nancy Henderson
    Nancy Henderson
  • JosieD
  • Imen McDonnell
    Imen McDonnell
  • Hope :)
    Hope :)
  • Marian Bull
    Marian Bull
A Southern writer with a cast iron skillet & a camera. Freelance food writer & photographer. Blogs at


Nancy H. November 27, 2013
Made these biscuits yesterday - turned out great! Had them this morning (warmed up in the toaster) with a bit of butter & honey. Nice treat! Thanks for the recipe.
JosieD October 21, 2013
I made these yesterday, but found the batter to be way too wet to roll out. I ended up just making drop-style biscuits and they were good, but more like a scone. I doubled the recipe, so i wonder if something got messed up by that.
Gina A. October 21, 2013
I just made these and should have read the comments - mine were WAY too goopy and wet so I added more flour. They're in the oven. We'll see how they turn out.
Beth K. October 21, 2013
I have amended the recipe with weights measurements and for future reference if not using weights because the amount of flour in two cups can be so variable, add all but the last 1/4 cup of the pumpkin mixture and then add that only if it seems dry. This should be a sticky dough. But not super wet and impossible. Using a well floured work surface and sprinkling the top with flour should render it totally pat/rollable. I'm so sorry for your difficulty, and I hope the clarifications help! Please let me know how they turn out regardless!
Beth K. October 21, 2013
Ok. Just to make sure I just retested these *twice*! The measurements are definitely accurate. If using volumetric measurements for the flour there's a good chance it could be under so as I said in the above comment if you can't weigh your flour add all but the last 1/4 of the wet ingredients before proceeding. That said this is supposed to be a sticky, very moist dough. But it should not be impossible to work with! Hope it all helps.
Gina A. October 21, 2013
You retested them twice since our comments? WOW! :) thanks! So, I kept adding flour to the counter and the top of the dough and folded it over itself until I could pat out the dough without it sticking to my hands & the counter. It was probably an additional 1/2 cup of flour. Initially the dough was so sticky that I had a ton of dough stuck to my hands and I thought it was a lost cause. I lost at least one biscuit that way. But, with the additional flour, I was able to cut them and bake them. The flavor was delicious but of course the texture was probably changed a little because of all the extra flour. They weren't "heavy" but not really light like I would expect a biscuit to be. My husband said they were more like an English muffin texture. I will try again either using weight or the other method you suggested.
Imen M. October 16, 2013
These look amazing Beth!
Hope :. October 15, 2013
Ahh, this looks great. Consider them added to the weekend brunch rotation. I'll top 'em with a little homemade apple butter and call it a day!
Marian B. October 15, 2013
I spent last weekend in North Carolina eating biscuits, and plan on making these next weekend to fill the biscuit-sized hole in my heart. Thanks, Beth!
Kenzi W. October 14, 2013
I think these just made my week.
Beth K. October 14, 2013
Oh, they're gonna. Seriously making them for people is almost as good as eating them. I get giddy paws. (which is a weird excited fist shaking thing)
Marian B. October 15, 2013
Giddy paws!! I do that.
deemoo June 26, 2015
I wANT Giddy Paws!!
Kate October 14, 2013
That knife! Are there plans to make it available via Provisions? Or can I hunt it down somewhere else?
Beth K. October 14, 2013
It belongs to my friend! I'm 99% sure it's olive wood. Maybe we can find one for Provisions...? Who knows!
kim P. October 14, 2013
This just shot to the top of my weekend baking list! If only the weather would cool off faster...

Two questions: Do you make your own pumpkin purée? And how do feel about subbing milk soured with vinegar for the buttermilk?
Beth K. October 14, 2013
I usually sour my milk with lemon if I'm making a buttermilk sub. But I think vinegar could work if you use the right one, like maybe apple cider vin? a) sometimes I make my own pumpkin puree. Super simple. I either steam the chunks or roast them depending on the flavor I want... then puree! If I don't have time I use organic pumpkin in a BPA free can!
kim P. October 14, 2013
Since I dislike buying food I won't use all of, I nearly never use buttermilk. It's so easy to sour milk instead—I've even done it with balsamic vinegar, with wonderful results. I was just wondering if you've ever noticed a flavor difference when you use soured milk instead of buttermilk.

I'm going to look for a proper eating pumpkin at the farmers market next week and give these a try. Thanks again!