It Took Joanna Gaines a Year to Get This Recipe Right (2024)

In Magnolia Table, Joanna Gaines writes that it took her a year to master this biscuit recipe. Find out if we got this best-ever biscuit right on the first try.

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I think it’s safe to say that we all have those recipes that we just want to perfect. For me, it’s chocolate chip cookies. I’ve tried so many recipes, including this internet-famous one, but I’ve yet to find one that’s absolutelyperfect. It’s just one of those kitchen quests that I’m obsessed with mastering. In her new cookbook,Magnolia Table, Joanna Gaines reveals that the one recipe she was set on mastering was the perfect biscuit.

“It took me a year of Saturdays to get these biscuits just right,” she wrote. Joanna explained that every week, she’d tweak the formula and have her family judge the result. In the end, she used a few slightly unconventional tweaks to get this Southern biscuit right: eggs get mixed into the dough and the biscuits are baked in a tray all touching one another. Joanna explains that this contributes to the moisture and lightness of her biscuits.

Psst! Our Test Kitchen Thinks These Biscuits Are Perfect.

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Easy Cheesy BiscuitsI'm a big fan of homemade biscuits, but not the rolling and cutting that goes into making them. The drop biscuit method solves everything! —Christina Addison, Blanchester, OhioAlso, tryDolly Parton’s buttermilk biscuitswhichare easy to make, soft, and tender.Go to Recipe

Golden Sourdough BiscuitsI got this recipe from a friend when we were exchanging sourdough recipes a few years ago. These soft sourdough biscuits are best enjoyed straight from the oven. — Stephanie Church, Delaware, Ohio

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Taste of Home

Sour Cream-Leek BiscuitsThese biscuits are a wonderful pairing for soups. I've made them with all-purpose white flour as well as whole wheat, and both work equally well. —Bonnie Appleton, Canterbury, Connecticut

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Homemade Buttermilk BiscuitsThe recipe for these four-ingredient homemade buttermilk biscuits has been handed down for many generations. —Fran Thompson, Tarboro, North Carolina

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Taste of Home

Cinnamon Fruit BiscuitsBecause these sweet treats are so easy, I'm almost embarrassed when people ask me for the recipe. They're a snap to make with refrigerated buttermilk biscuits, sugar, cinnamon and your favorite fruit preserves. —Ione Burham, Washington, Iowa

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Flaky Cheddar-Chive BiscuitsThese wonderful, buttery biscuits complement any dinner. —Betsy King, Duluth, Minnesota

Grandma's BiscuitsHomemade biscuits add a warm and comforting touch to any meal. My grandmother makes these tender biscuits to go with her seafood chowder. —Melissa Obernesser, Utica, New York

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Air-Fryer Pumpkin Biscuits with Spiced Apple ButterA couple of years ago, one of my friend's parents made pumpkin biscuits for Thanksgiving. I was inspired by the innovative idea but wanted to add my own spin by topping the biscuits with apple butter. I have been experimenting with the air fryer recently and wanted to try to make bread in the machine. — Jessica Burke, Chandler, Arizona

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Easy Parmesan BiscuitsThis recipe is simple but a delicious addition to any meal. The children love to dip the ready-made biscuits in butter and coat it with the cheese. Warm from the oven, one biscuit per person usually isn’t enough. —Linda Becker, Olympia, Washington

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These colorful little drop biscuits are very easy to put together and yet are packed full of flavor. I serve them warm out of the oven. —Keith Mesch, Mt. Healthy, Ohio

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Sweet Potato Biscuits with Honey ButterWe often think of sweet potatoes in a supporting role as a side dish, mashed, baked whole, cubed and roasted. Here's another thought—why not give them a starring role for breakfast when made into biscuits? Served with cinnamon-honey butter, they're all kinds of awesome. —Cathy Bell, Joplin, Missouri

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Hurry-Up BiscuitsWhen I was young, my mom would make these biscuits with fresh cream she got from a local farmer. I don't go to those lengths, but the family recipe is still a real treat. —Beverly Sprague, Baltimore, Maryland

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Flaky Whole Wheat BiscuitsWhole wheat flour gives these biscuits a nutty, homey flavor. Ever since I started making these, white flour biscuits just don't taste as good! Pair them with soup or slather them with whipped cream and sweetened berries for a dessert treat. —Trisha Kruse, Eagle, Idaho

Taste of Home

My biscuits won the prize for best quick bread at my county fair. One of the judges liked them so much, she asked for the recipe! These buttery, savory biscuits go with just about anything. —Gloria Jarrett, Loveland, Ohio

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Taste of Home

Mom's Buttermilk BiscuitsThese fluffy buttermilk biscuits are so tasty slathered with butter or used to mop up every last drop of gravy off your plate. I can still see Mom pulling these tender gems out of the oven. —Vera Reid, Laramie, Wyoming

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Taste of Home

Apricot Cream BiscuitsMelt-in-your-mouth good when warm, these shortcut biscuits with a hint of orange prove that the right mix really can offer homemade taste. —Betty Saint Turner, Attalla, Alabama

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Makeover Cheddar BiscuitsHere's our crack at the never-ending biscuits from Red Lobster. Made from scratch with lighter ingredients, they're just as cheesy and buttery as the original. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Apple Cider BiscuitsMy family enjoys these tender, flaky biscuits warm from the oven. We have a lot of apple trees, so we're always looking for apple recipes. This is a tasty way to use some of our cider. —Harriet Stichter, Milford, Indiana

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Cheddar Corn BiscuitsEveryone asks for these cheesy corn biscuits, especially when I serve soup. If you're lucky and have leftovers, rewarm them and pass the butter and jam. —Susan Braun, Swift Current, Saskatchewan

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Gluten-Free BiscuitsBasic gluten-free biscuits are fantastic with brunch, dinner or even a bowl of soup for an easy lunch. This recipe is perfect for tweaking—stir in your favorite ingredients like shredded cheddar and garlic powder, Swiss and chives, or Parmesan and Italian seasoning. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Taste of Home

Glazed Cranberry BiscuitsMy family likes biscuits for breakfast. One Sunday, I decided to make those golden goodies extra special by adding white chips, dried cranberries and a simple orange glaze. —Lori Daniels, Beverly, West Virginia

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Ginger Buttermilk BiscuitsAfter we had cinnamon-topped biscuits at a restaurant, I came up with my own version at home. I keep crystallized ginger on hand so I can whip up a batch at a moment’s notice!—Rebecca Littlejohn, Vista, Califiornia

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Lemon Blueberry BiscuitsLemon and blueberries make such a fresh and flavorful combination in all kinds of baked goods, especially these biscuits. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Taste of Home

Old-Fashioned Buttermilk BiscuitsMy family gobbles up these biscuits, which are low in fat, cholesterol and sugar. I almost always make these now instead of my old shortening-based recipe. —Wendy Masters, Grand Valley, Ontario

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After reading about that yearlong saga and how beloved this recipe was, I had to try it. But I was curious if I could master these seemingly impossiblebiscuits in a single afternoon. Let’s see!

It Took Joanna Gaines a Year to Get This Recipe Right (25)Taste of Home

The famous recipe

  • 4 cups self-rising flour, plus more for your work surface
  • 2 large eggs, beaten, plus an additional egg for brushing
  • 1½ cups cold butter, cubed
  • 1½ cups buttermilk, plus an additional tablespoon for brushing
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Initial thoughts

Like Joanna, I also whip up a batch of biscuits every weekend, so I know what goes into a basic recipe. However, I noticed that her recipe, unlike most, included eggs. It also used self-rising flour, which I don’t typically have on hand. If you don’t have any in your pantry, you can make your own self-rising flour using what’s already in the cupboard. The rest of the recipe, though, looked very familiar, especially the buttermilk, which is what I think gives all the best biscuits their flavor. Once I ran to the store for some self-rising flour—I wanted to make theseexactly the way Joanna would—I was ready to roll.

Getting started

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Following the directions inMagnolia Table, I started by whisking together the flour, baking powder and baking soda (yes, there is a difference). Then I cut in the cubes of cold butter using a pastry blender. It’s important to make sure that butter is cold; that’s what makes for extra flaky biscuits and the flakiest pie crust, too.

Then, using a wooden spoon, I stirred in the two beaten eggs and 12 ounces of buttermilk. This bound the dough together nicely, though Joanna says you can add more buttermilk, a tablespoon at a time, if needed. Once the mix was prepped, I stashed it in the fridge per Joanna’s instructions. She advises at least 30 minutes, though it can sit overnight. This was an unusual step for me, but taking that break gave me the time to do the dishes.

We also made Dolly Parton’s buttermilk biscuits which are so soft, and tender!

Prepping to bake

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Once I took my dough out of the fridge, I turned it out onto a well-floured countertop and formed it into a mound—it easily stuck together with all the eggs and buttermilk to bind. Then, using my hands, I pressed the dough out into a large round, about a half-inch thick. Using a 2-3/4-inch biscuit cutter (this seemed like a specific recommendation to me, but my basic set had this size), I cut out as many biscuits as I could. Then I reformed the scraps into another round and cut out some more biscuits. In the end, I got 20, just as the recipe suggested (when does that ever happen?). When I make biscuits, I typically fold the dough over itself a few times to help achieve flaky layers, so I was surprised that Joanna’s recipe skipped this step, but I wanted to follow this recipe to the letter, so I moved on (though not without some skepticism).

Then I popped these all onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Joanna writes that these should all be touching one another as they go into the oven. She explains this is what helps keep them light and moist. I wasn’t going to argue with that, so I lined them up according to the directions. Then I whisked together an egg with a tablespoon of buttermilk and brushed it over the top of each biscuit.

After that, the biscuits were ready for the oven: 400°F for 15 to 20 minutes.

The big reveal

It Took Joanna Gaines a Year to Get This Recipe Right (28)Taste of Home

On Joanna’s showFixer Upper, I always appreciate the big reveal, and when I opened up the oven after 20 minutes, that’s exactly what I got. The biscuits came out of the oven golden brown and steaming with the aroma of butter—an ingredient Joanna loves. The biscuits looked like absolute perfection, and I could hardly wait to try one. I scooped a steaming biscuit off the pan and topped it with a generous drizzle of honey. In an instant, I had gobbled it all up. These biscuits wereamazing—super light yet rich with all those great butter and buttermilk flavors. I can’t believe I ever doubted the recipe and its methods!

Of course, this was not the only biscuit I had. While they were still warm, I also slathered them with butter and a healthy dose of homemade jam (I recommend these super simple freezer jam recipes). After a second (and third) biscuit, I decided that I might have to give up my biscuit recipe and opt for Joanna’s instead! If you ask me, that year of trial and error on Joanna’s part was worth it. I’m thinking I’ll have to follow these other kitchen tips of hers, too.

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It Took Joanna Gaines a Year to Get This Recipe Right (2024)
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