Can You Make Biscuits with Butter Instead of Crisco?

Yes, you can absolutely make biscuits with butter instead of Crisco. In fact, butter is the most common fat used in American biscuit recipes.

While Crisco is a popular choice due to its ease of use and high melting point, butter offers several advantages:

  • Flavor: Butter adds a rich, buttery flavor that Crisco simply cannot replicate.
  • Texture: Butter biscuits tend to be more tender and flaky than those made with Crisco.
  • Melting point: Butter’s lower melting point allows it to melt in the mouth, creating a more pleasant eating experience.

However, butter also presents some challenges:

  • Melting: Butter melts more easily than Crisco, making it more difficult to work with, especially in warm environments.
  • Cohesiveness: Butter dough can be less cohesive than Crisco dough, making it slightly difficult to handle.

Tips for Using Butter in Biscuits:

  • Use cold butter: This will help prevent the dough from becoming too warm and sticky.
  • Cut the butter into small pieces: This will help it distribute evenly throughout the dough.
  • Work quickly: The faster you work, the less the butter will melt.
  • Chill the dough before baking: This will help the biscuits rise properly.

Here’s a comparison of butter and Crisco in biscuits:

Feature Butter Crisco
Flavor Rich, buttery Neutral
Texture Tender, flaky Light, airy
Melting point Lower Higher
Ease of use More challenging Easier
Cohesiveness Less cohesive More cohesive

Ultimately, the choice of fat comes down to personal preference. If you prioritize flavor and texture, butter is the way to go. If you value ease of use and a higher melting point, Crisco might be a better option.

Here are some additional resources that you might find helpful:

If you look up any two biscuit recipes, you’ll probably discover that the methods and ingredient lists differ surprisingly. Recipes for biscuits can be surprisingly intricate for such a simple dish. There is a biscuit for almost every baker in the South, made with different fats, liquids, flours, and leaveners. This week, we’ll be delving into all sorts of biscuit science to find out which of these methods and components actually affect the outcome and whether certain fats are better than others.

As far as we are aware, butter is a dairy product created from churned cream. In the US, it has to contain at least 80% butterfat; the remaining portion must be composed of water and milk solids. In Europe, butter typically contains 82–85% fat, which is a slightly higher fat content. These measurements are important because they indicate how much water your butter contains, how likely it is to combine with flour to form gluten, and how quickly it will soften at room temperature. Although these details might not be significant when baking brownies, they have a significant impact on items like biscuits.

Have you had a biscuit from Cracker Barrel or perhaps one from an old-fashioned Southern cafeteria? You’ve eaten a shortening biscuit. Shortening is a common ingredient in many biscuits served in Southern restaurants because it is far less expensive and simpler to use than butter. Modern shortening is derived from hydrogenated vegetable oil, which gained popularity in the middle of the 20th century as an alternative to animal fats. Unlike butter, shortening is almost entirely fat; it doesn’t contain any water or flavorful milk solids. Fun fact: Shortening used to mean “animal fat!”

All of this is to say that working with butter can be a little challenging. Three main things will happen to the baked biscuits when it is properly incorporated into the biscuit dough: it will form pockets of steam to form those layers, it will bind slightly with the flour to create structure, and it will add sweet, buttery flavor to the finished product. When properly prepared, these biscuits are crumbly rather than soft and crumbly. Because the milk solids in the butter contain sugars that caramelize and brown fairly quickly in a hot oven, butter biscuits also frequently have a deeply browned top and bottom. Because of this, it’s a great idea to always brush butter on your biscuits, even if the dough calls for another type of fat.

You’ll read a lengthy and detailed defense of butter or shortening as the better fat in any biscuit recipe. When it comes to baking biscuits, I’m willing to wager that many readers fall into both of these categories; for my part, I’ve always liked butter. I hadn’t, however, really taken the time to compare these ingredients to see what they did in my biscuits until recently. Here’s a breakdown:

Choosing your favorite texture Share

As the baker, you get to choose how to adjust the fats and liquids in biscuits so they have just the right texture and taste. Do you like your biscuits tall and tender with a golden-brown bottom, or a little flatter and more sturdy, so you can toast and slather them with jam?

Starting with a tried-and-true recipe such as our Buttermilk Biscuits makes it simple to alter the outcome. While it’s crucial to adhere to recipes precisely when baking, you do have some leeway in what ingredients you use.

To begin, let’s discuss the foundation of a delicious biscuit: fat. Four to six tablespoons of butter or shortening are needed for our original recipe. The increased quantity will result in a richer, butterier crumb. For testing, I divide the difference and use five tablespoons (2 1/2 ounces).

There are always some “lard-core bakers” (those who are committed to using lard) when we discuss the use of fats in baking. At King Arthur Flour, we value customer feedback, which is why we include coconut oil and lard in our fat testing.

The shortening biscuit is a little bit shorter and drier, but the butter version rises the highest—look at those flaky layers! A small amount of water in butter helps to produce steam, which enhances the flavor of baked goods. (We found this to be accurate in our additional research on butter vs shortening, as well. ).

The lard version is the squattest, and the coconut oil biscuits are even shorter than the shortening biscuits. Neither the lard nor the coconut versions are victorious in the beauty contest. They lack the appealing, craggy exterior that makes biscuits so appealing, and they seem a little too soft.

The butter version is the brownest and rises to the highest.

The reason is that butter has milk solids, which include sugars that caramelize at high heats. Shortening, coconut oil, and lard are all 100% fat. They don’t caramelize in the same way because they don’t contain any sugar or milk solids. Still tasty, just less golden brown.

Exciting as this initial discovery about the potential of modifying biscuit fat is, it’s only the beginning. On to liquids!.

The liquid you use to make your biscuits is just as important as the fat. You can use buttermilk or milk in our Buttermilk Biscuit recipe. We used buttermilk for this test because it’s well-known for softening biscuits and giving them a zesty taste.

Since choices are crucial when baking, we’ll try experimenting with full-fat sour cream and half-and-half. (If you’d like, you can also substitute plain, full-fat Greek yogurt for the sour cream. ).

The amount of water, fat, milk solids, and acidity in each liquid varies, which can affect the biscuits’ flavor and texture.

We prepare a batch of all-butter biscuits and alter only the liquid to observe the effects; we test buttermilk, sour cream, heavy cream, and half (We exclude milk from these tests because half of the

The heavy cream biscuit is slightly paler than the other three, and the half of the ingredients seem to have changed. It’s amazing what a single ingredient can do! The versions made with buttermilk and sour cream have a medium color, with nicely caramelized edges.

As for the height, well, what about it? Well, all four biscuits are fairly similar in height, with the buttermilk version being slightly taller than the others. It turns out that while liquid has a more pronounced effect on color, fat affects the height and flakiness of biscuits.

We now know a general notion of what to anticipate when modifying the amount of fat and liquid in biscuits. Time to personalize your biscuits and choose your favorite combination!.

In the test kitchen, there’s a bit of a baking frenzy as I experiment with every possible ratio of liquid to fat in biscuits. Heres what we find:

Shortening: Particularly the heavy cream version, which has a melt-in-your-mouth texture, is extremely tender and a little less flaky than some of the other versions. However, none of these are particularly flavorful; they’re all rather bland. Still, not bad overall.

Coconut oil: Tastes somewhat sweet, not at all coconut-y, and most like butter. Some of the higher-fat varieties, like heavy cream and sour cream, have a somewhat chewy or gummy texture. With its delicate crumb and creamy flavor, coconut oil and buttermilk make the best combination out of this batch.

Lard: Savory aroma with a distinct taste (and aftertaste). To be completely honest, I’m a vegetarian, so a few reliable staff members and owners tasted this batch. They believe that these biscuits would taste good spread or dipped in sauce (gravy). The half-lard and

Given how flavorful lard is by itself, it could be a good idea to combine it with another fat, like butter, to balance the flavor.

Butter: Slightly sweet, caramelized flavor; nicely browned exterior. Every liquid combination results in a texture that is bouncy, fluffy, and has a remarkable rise. The version with butter and heavy cream is a classic biscuit that works well for any occasion.

However, the one I can’t get enough of are biscuits with butter and buttermilk. They’re a little lighter than their heavy cream counterpart and delicious in every way you could hope for from a biscuit. Butter/buttermilk biscuits are flaky, creamy, and downright comforting.

It doesn’t follow that your taste buds will share my preference for a traditional butter and buttermilk biscuit.

The next time you’re called into the kitchen to make a batch of biscuits, don’t be scared to modify the amounts of fats and liquids.

Gluten-free bakers, feel empowered to experiment, too. For our Buttermilk Biscuit recipe, use our Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour in place of all-purpose flour. Find the ideal ratio of flavor to texture by adjusting the fats and liquids.

You may be taken aback to discover which combination ends up being your favorite. After experimenting with different biscuit fats and liquids, please let us know which you prefer in the comments section below.

We appreciate that fellow worker and business owner Seann Cram took the pictures for this article. Share.

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can you make biscuits with butter instead of crisco

Is it better to use butter or shortening for biscuits?

FAQ

Can you use butter instead of Crisco in biscuits?

The short answer is yes, butter and shortening can be used interchangeably in baked goods as one-to-one swap. However, results may differ depending on fat used because butter and shortening are two very different ingredients.

What happens if you use butter instead of shortening?

In general, you can use a 1:1 ratio when substituting butter instead of shortening. However, making this substitution may slightly alter the texture of your baked goods. Why? Shortening is solid, 100 percent fat.

What is a substitute for shortening in biscuits?

If you’re baking something savory like biscuits, lard makes a particularly great substitute for shortening.

What does butter do to biscuits?

The cold chunks of butter are important because as they melt into the biscuit while baking they create tiny pockets of steam that puffs and lifts the dough. These pockets turn into that beautiful light and flaky texture we crave with biscuits.

Can you substitute butter in biscuits?

Butter has very simple substitutions, and many of which are great vegan options! You can still make buttery biscuits, even if you are not using any butter at all! There are many different ways that you can substitute butter out of any recipes, not just in biscuits.

What are the best substitutes for butter?

The substitute that you might want to use depends on what you are using butter for. In baking you can use any fat such as olive oil, nut butters, or even avocados. In baking you can also substitute non-fats for butter such as Greek yogurt, mashed bananas, pumpkin puree, or even applesauce. For replacing butter as a spread, you can use any fat, hummus, avocado, nut butter, or cheese. For cooking, canola oil can be a great sub, or avocado oil is also good because it has a high smoke point.

Can you make biscuits with cold butter?

You’ll need really cold butter to begin with. You might even want to stick it in the freezer an hour or so before you make the biscuits. The colder the better and the easier it will be to grate. Place the grated butter into the bowl with the flour. Use a fork or spoon to “cut” the butter into the flour.

Can you make buttery biscuits if you don’t use butter?

You can still make buttery biscuits, even if you are not using any butter at all! There are many different ways that you can substitute butter out of any recipes, not just in biscuits. The most important thing to look for when you are trying to find a substitution for butter is having an added fat.

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