5 Ingredients or Fewer

3-Ingredient Bacon Biscuits

March 26, 2021
2 Ratings
Photo by ROCKY LUTEN. PROP STYLIST: AMANDA WIDIS. FOOD STYLIST: ANNA BILLINGSKOG.
Author Notes

Next time you make bacon, make these three-ingredient, couldn’t-be-simpler biscuits too. They hinge on rendered, chilled bacon fat, which delivers a fluffy-tender texture and smoky-rich flavor.

The number of slices you’ll need depends on how thick and fatty they are to begin with (the thicker and fattier, the better). Start by cooking four, pour the sizzling fat into a measuring cup, and go from there. Maybe you’ll have to cook another slice or two. Who’s going to complain about that?

You could serve the bacon with the biscuits—plus a sunny side-up egg if you’re me, or a giant pour of maple syrup if you’re my husband. But if you want bacon one day and biscuits another? No problem. Stick the fat in the fridge, where it will keep for at least a week, or in the freezer, where it will keep for months.

Now about the self-rising flour: The leavener and salt are already in there. And the low protein content is what promises such a tender, ethereal baked good. White Lily brand has become synonymous with Southern biscuits. I use whatever I can get my hands on (King Arthur’s is great too). Do you have a strong preference? Let me know in the comments. —Emma Laperruque

Watch This Recipe
3-Ingredient Bacon Biscuits
  • Prep time 35 minutes
  • Cook time 28 minutes
  • makes 5 biscuits
Ingredients
  • 4 to 7 bacon slices
  • 2 cups (255 grams) self-rising flour
  • 3/4 cup (184 grams) buttermilk
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Add 4 slices of bacon to a cast-iron skillet and set over medium heat. Cook until the bacon is crisp and the fat has rendered, 7 to 9 minutes, shuffling and flipping the pieces along the way so they cook evenly. (If they start to brown too quickly, lower the heat.)
  2. Transfer the bacon to a plate and pour the fat into a heatproof liquid measuring cup. It should yield between 1/4 and 1/3 cup fat—if you’re short, just cook more bacon (never a bad thing).
  3. When you’ve got the right amount of fat, place the measuring cup in another bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water. Let this chill out, stirring occasionally, until the fat is opaque and thick, like sour cream or shortening. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 450°F. (And no need to wash that skillet, we’re using it in a bit.)
  4. Add the flour to a bowl. Add the chilled bacon fat and use your fingers to pinch it into the flour—stop when the biggest pieces are pea-sized and the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the buttermilk; the dough should be sticky but not soupy.
  5. Return the skillet to medium heat. When it’s hot, use a 1/3 cup to scoop and drop 5 biscuits into the skillet (you can grease the measuring cup for easier release). If you want a flatter biscuit, you can dampen your fingers with buttermilk and slightly pat down the tops of the biscuits. Turn off the stove and transfer to the oven.
  6. Bake for about 14 minutes, until bouncy to the touch. Remove from the oven, position a rack in the top quarter, and turn on the broiler. Broil the biscuits, watching them closely, until their tops are toasty and browned. These are best warm.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lisa F
    Lisa F
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  • Dubyel
    Dubyel
  • IWearTheHat
    IWearTheHat
  • David Russo
    David Russo
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles on the fly, baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., and writing about the history of pie in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's award-winning column, Big Little Recipes (also the cookbook in October 2021!). And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

28 Reviews

Lisa F. April 11, 2021
Delicious and so easy! I never knew making biscuits could be so easy! Thanks for sharing this recipe!
 
Barbra F. March 22, 2021
Made these, doubled recipe and used regular plain yogurt instead of buttermilk (it's what I had) they were delicious!! they were a big hit. Also made my owe self rising flour by adding 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt to each cup of flour
 
Dubyel March 18, 2021
These biscuits look wonderful, but as a child of the 60s and 70s, this article is so ironic. This is how our grandparents made biscuits, with flour, buttermilk, and lard. Then we spent 50 years being indoctrinated that lard and butter and bacon and eggs would kill us so we had to eliminate them or use 'safer' alternatives. Then the experts discovered that Oops, the substitutes they recommended were actually worse, and lard is okay after all. So now we're back to lard-I'm sorry, rendered bacon fat-being the chic new secret to great biscuits.
 
Frankiejames March 17, 2021
Haven’t made yet. Sounds delicious. White Lily for sure. I think I will chop bacon and put in dough.
 
505foodie March 14, 2021
I was so excited to make this for Sunday brunch. However, I was a little wary with the amount of fat (1/3 cup = 8 strips) as called for because when I cut it into the 2 cups of flour, there was barely any crumbles to sustain a tasty, biscuit. I also had to go up to 1c buttermilk like the other reviewer. I finished it out because I was already committed at this point. If you want to see what a bunch of buttermilk & flour tastes like baked, go for it. They turned out beautiful but taste was extremely disappointing.
 
Patty G. March 8, 2021
What is the actual amount of bacon fat needed? 1/3 cup?
 
Sheri B. March 6, 2021
Just tried this recipe - I turned the oven on to 450 and once we had the biscuits formed, turned the oven off as directed, put them in the oven for 14 minutes.
After 14 minutes they were a little bigger but super soft - just warm raw dough
Kind of a waste of bacon fat....
 
David R. March 6, 2021
It doesn’t say turn off the oven, it says turn off the STOVE 😊...the heat under the cast iron. Otherwise they’ll burn on the bottom.
 
Sheri B. March 6, 2021
lol thank you David!! We made these very early this morning and I obviously misread that in my pre-tea stupor!
I turned the oven back on to 450, baked for another 9 minutes and they are biscuity!
 
IWearTheHat March 5, 2021
Making biscuits has always been one of those things that I've been afraid of trying, but your video makes it look so easy that it has given me hope. I'm going to try it, and thank you for this recipe and tutorial.
 
Jhineugene March 4, 2021
The biscuits are in the oven, but so far I’ve found this recipe pretty disappointing. I cooked ten slices of bacon - all I had defrosted - and still had to add a bit of duck fat I happened to have in the refrigerator to get up to the suggested amount of fat. And getting the dough up to drop-biscuit consistency required a full cup of buttermilk. I hope, after all this, that they taste good :/
 
Karolyn S. March 3, 2021
Making these bacon biscuits with the fat from double applewood smoked thick bacon was heavenly. Weisenberger Mills, Midway, KY mills locally grown, soft wheat for their self-rising flour. This is also what I use for buttermilk biscuits, and the results are always superb. Weisenberger also sells a hard wheat, fine milled whole wheat bread flour that puts fancy name artisan flours to shame.
 
Bruce M. March 3, 2021
This looks like a great recipe. I will try it soon.
A self-rising flour that is ground from low-protein wheat will create the best results. Not all self-rising flour is ground from low-protein wheat. Also, the baking powder added in self-rising flour loses it’s ability to chemically react over time. – meaning use the freshest self-rising flour available.
 
gandalf March 3, 2021
Okay, another question. And this is actually a question that I have had come up when baking other things.

Why not simply pour the liquid bacon fat (after cooling it to room temperature) directly into the flour, and then stir to mix? Why solidify the bacon fat, and then squeeze it into the flour? What does mixing the solid fat into the flour do that adding the fat as a liquid not do?

Usually this question comes to my mind when I read about adding solid butter to flour in other baking recipes; and I think, "Why not just use liquid butter? It would be easier to mix with the flour." Or to rephrase my initial question, what are the practical ramifications of adding liquid bacon fat to the flour and mixing together before adding buttermilk, when cooking these biscuits?

Thanks in advance for any enlightenment that you (or any other commenter) can give me.
 
Bruce M. March 3, 2021
The method for mixing the dough for these biscuits has two names but are basically the same; the rubbed dough method using a “cutting in” technique, or simply, the biscuit method. The idea is to use cold fat to prevent it from mixing completely with the flour. In essence this will leave small clumps of fat suspended in the flour. This is sometimes referred to as “layering”. In pie crust dough is sometimes referred to a “laminated”. This promotes a “flakey” quality once the biscuit is baked. These doughs are not blended until they are smooth. If you used the fat in liquid form it would quickly blend into a smooth and homogeneous mass and when baked the outcome would be more like hardtack – but a bit softer. Also, baking and pastry textbooks indicate that other liquids in biscuit doughs should be added while cold as well.
 
gandalf March 3, 2021
Thanks, this helps a bit in understanding.
 
Crow930 April 2, 2021
Hot liquids will cause dairy to curdle, eggs to scramble, and active ingredients to die.
 
Robert R. March 3, 2021
Looks wonderful. Finish with Sorghum Butter.
 
judy March 3, 2021
so it is 3 ingredients, except if one does not keep self-rising flour on hand. then it becomes 5 ingredients. But still, looks grand.....
 
David R. March 2, 2021
If I have regular milk instead of buttermilk around (because I'm going to make these RIGHT NOW) do I need to change anything dramatic about the recipe?
 
Author Comment
Emma L. March 2, 2021
Hi David! I've only tried this recipe with buttermilk, but here's an article on buttermilk substitutes you could try swapping in: https://food52.com/blog/25061-how-to-make-buttermilk. Hope that helps!
 
cjkingmd March 2, 2021
Could you drop and freeze for baking later, do you think? Thanks!
 
Author Comment
Emma L. March 2, 2021
Ooh interesting! I haven't tried that with this recipe but curious to hear if any community members have with other biscuits. You can freeze the bacon fat—and from there, the recipe comes together very quickly.
 
salvatore M. March 2, 2021
Can this be made in an all clad fry pan thats oven compatible? I dont have a cast iron skillet...
 
Author Comment
Emma L. March 2, 2021
I haven't tried that—might work, but not sure if the biscuits would stick. Another option would be cooking the bacon in whatever skillet you'd normally use for that, making the biscuit dough, and then scooping/dropping the biscuits onto a parchment-lined sheet pan.
 
salvatore M. March 2, 2021
I will try it both ways and let you know!! THANK YOU!
 
gandalf March 1, 2021
Can you make this with AP flour? If so, how much baking powder (or baking soda) would you use?
 
Author Comment
Emma L. March 2, 2021
I haven't tried that with this recipe, but I don't see why it wouldn't work with a little experimentation! For 2 cups of all-purpose flour, a good starting point would be about 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, plus about 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.