Sourdough Drop Biscuits

August 23, 2021
9 Ratings
Photo by Maurizio Leo
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • makes 8 biscuits
Author Notes

It’s Sunday morning, and, like every day, your sourdough starter is demanding some attention. Sourdough bread? Of course, always an option. But how about something more straightforward, something that comes together in less than an hour but tastes like it took all morning? Enter our humble friend the drop biscuit: a ruffian compared to a proper laminated biscuit, but in its simplicity lies its charm. A rough mix of simple ingredients—which you likely already have in your fridge right now—results in a versatile biscuit that’s as good on its own as it is with a spot of butter and jelly. It can be a landing pad for a few scoops of summer ice cream or the base for strawberry shortcake.

I like to use buttermilk for the liquid in these biscuits because of the added tangy flavor, but you could substitute the 140 grams of buttermilk for 70 grams of whole milk plus 70 grams of heavy cream or all full-fat yogurt. This recipe makes 8 rather large biscuits; if you’d like smaller biscuits, use a smaller cookie scoop to make 12 smaller mounds of dough spaced evenly on the sheet pan. Be sure to adjust the baking time to suit: Smaller biscuits will bake faster, so I’d bake them for 18 to 20 minutes total. Grab your pourable mixing bowls, and let’s get baking!

Maurizio Leo

What You'll Need
  • 113 grams (½ cup, 1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 140 grams buttermilk, plus more if needed
  • 72 grams ripe sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 225 grams all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  1. In the morning, when your sourdough starter is ripe (when you’d typically give it a refreshment), heat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Slice the butter into ¼-inch pats and place them into the freezer for about 10 minutes while you ready the rest of the ingredients.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk and sourdough starter, stirring to break up the starter until combined.
  3. Add the flour, salt, and baking powder to a large mixing bowl, whisking to combine. Remove the butter from the freezer and place the pieces in the mixing bowl with the flour, tossing to coat. Using a pastry cutter or the back of a fork, cut the butter into the flour until only small pieces remain, about the size of small peas. Alternatively, use a food processor to pulse the flour and butter.
  4. Pour the buttermilk and starter mixture into the flour and butter mixture. Using a spatula, gently fold the liquid mixture into the flour. Avoid overmixing the dough: Mix just until all the ingredients come together into a cohesive mass. If the mixture seems too dry, conservatively add a little more buttermilk, a small splash at a time, to help everything come together. The dough should be slightly sticky but not dripping wet or loose.
  5. Using a blue scoop (#16, 2 ounces) or cookie dough scoop, scoop the dough and place 8 evenly spaced mounds of dough on the baking sheet. I like to leave the dough a little ragged, which creates crispy peaks when baking in the oven.
  6. Bake the biscuits for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and cover the biscuits with a clean kitchen towel to keep them moist as they cool. Once cool enough to handle but still warm, eat them as is or with butter and jelly.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Karen Brooks
    Karen Brooks
  • Eva
  • Audrey Lowen Cortez
    Audrey Lowen Cortez
  • Jeffrey Bittel
    Jeffrey Bittel
  • samanthaalison
Maurizio is the software engineer-turned-baker behind the award-winning sourdough website, The Perfect Loaf. Since baking his first loaf of bread, he's been obsessed with adjusting the balance between yeast and bacteria, tinkering with dough strength and hydration, and exploring everything sourdough. His New York Times Bestselling sourdough cookbook, The Perfect Loaf, is now available.

14 Reviews

Karen B. August 25, 2022
Quick, easy and great tasting biscuit. I've sometimes added grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for a tasty variation. Have also used plain yogurt (thin if necessary) when I didn't have buttermilk.
Eva December 18, 2021
Great recipe! I made a half-batch this morning and had to physically cover them (with a clean dish towel!) to stop myself eating more than one. Perfect interplay of craggy-crispy crust with pillowy-light crumb. I ate it with a generous swipe of salted butter and some blackberry jam.

Looking forward to trying the last two as breakfast sandwiches with eggs and cheese. In future, I might try mixing in some scallions, cheddar, and black pepper.

FWIW, I needed no extra buttermilk and the dough came together enough that I could have cut the biscuits out or sliced in quarters (but I scooped).

Thanks, Maurizio! Can’t wait to make more!
Maurizio L. December 18, 2021
So glad to hear they worked out well for you, Eva! And yes, I know exactly what you mean, it's hard to stop at just one 🙂 A savory take with these is really fun and delicious, I did scallions and parm as well. Was amazing! Enjoy and thanks for the comments.
Audrey L. December 11, 2021
Love this recipe! It’s a stormy day in the PNW and I pulled half a dozen unbaked biscuits from my freezer, added an extra 5 minutes bake time and they’re absolutely perfect
Maurizio L. December 12, 2021
Right on, Audrey! Why have I not tried freezing these!? Next up 🙂
Andyblackpool October 21, 2021
Scones we have in the UK, a variation on this recipe. We include sugar in the recipe and its a heavier dough as we roll it out and use a cookie cutter. Baked plain or more usually with fruit (sultanas) - also date walnut are nice and quite decadent! A favourite savoury version is replace the sugar with strong grated cheese and top with the same prior to baking and if in season wild garlic leaves or chives. Nom nom.
Maurizio L. October 21, 2021
That sounds delicious, Andy! I've made scones a bunch here, but have never cut them with a cutter or added cheese—definitely going to try that!
Jeffrey B. October 10, 2021
I made these this morning. They were superb and easy to make. I have been searching for a good breakfast biscuit recipe for years. Now I have it! Thanks!
Maurizio L. October 10, 2021
Right on, Jeffrey! Happy to hear you liked them. I made them last week again here as well--so easy and so delicious. Enjoy!
Andrea D. October 8, 2021
Could you roll out the dough instead of dropping it?
Maurizio L. October 8, 2021
It's a bit sticky, but with some dusting flour it could be done!
Andyblackpool October 21, 2021
Check out a recipe for scones (UK) re' my comment above - I think you'll like them
samanthaalison September 5, 2021
These were tasty! I loved the contrast between the super craggy and crispy exterior and the fluffy interior. I did have to add a couple of additional splashes of buttermilk to get the last bits to come together, and I was worried I had overworked them, but the texture turned out perfect. I don't own a #16 scoop so I borrowed a trick from my usual biscuit recipe and used a greased 1/4 cup measure. I ended up with 10. It's always nice to have another use for sourdough discard, though I don't think these tasted of sourdough at all. I actually felt like they had a tiny bit of a chemical taste from the baking powder - may have been user error somehow. I was pleased with how these turned out, though they were slightly more work than the biscuits I usually make (Cooks Illustrated Drop Biscuits don't require cutting the butter in) and not significantly better, so I'm not sure I'll make them again, but these were a fun and delicious experiment for my Sunday morning.
Maurizio L. September 6, 2021
So glad to hear you like them, Samantha! Great tips there with the scooping. I'll have to check out the CI recipe and do a side-by-side bake off 🙂 Thanks for the comments and enjoy!