Biscuits and Gravy

published Jan 12, 2024
Biscuits and Gravy Recipe

Flaky, tender buttermilk biscuits and Southern sausage gravy make the perfect breakfast pair.

Serves6

Prep25 minutes

Cook35 minutes

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A plate with a split biscuit topped with sausage gravy and cracked black pepper.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

There’s nothing quite like a plate of biscuits and gravy — it’s the most decadent breakfast (or lunch or dinner, honestly!). My recipe is easy enough to pull off any day of the week. It features a thick, rich gravy flecked with crispy bits of breakfast sausage and pairs perfectly with tall, flaky biscuits. (Fun fact: I love white country gravy so much I named my dog after it.) I love a little drizzle of maple syrup at the end for a touch of sweetness that helps cut through the gravy’s richness. 

If you have extra gravy, it goes well on toast, creamy grits, or scrambled eggs. Or, you can make a Southern variation on disco fries, which feature french fries smothered in gravy and cheese.

Key Ingredients in Biscuits and Gravy

  • Butter. Use cold, unsalted butter to get those flaky layers.
  • Buttermilk. Buttermilk lends a tangy flavor and helps keep the biscuits tender.
  • Flour. Use all-purpose flour to make the biscuits and to thicken the gravy.
  • Leaveners. A combination of baking powder and baking soda yields light and fluffy biscuits. 
  • Breakfast sausage. Bulk pork breakfast sausage has a touch of sweetness and a nostalgic breakfast-y flavor.
  • Milk. Whisk whole or 2% milk into the gravy to make it creamy and saucy.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

How to Make Biscuits and Gravy

  • Grate the butter. Grate frozen butter into the dry ingredients to keep the dough as cold as possible. Then, using a fork, stir in cold buttermilk until a shaggy dough forms.
  • Shape the biscuits. Press the dough into a rectangle, cut into 4 pieces, and stack them on top of each other to create a bunch of layers. Roll out the dough and cut into square biscuits.
  • Bake the biscuits. Freeze the biscuits briefly, then brush the biscuits with melted butter and bake until puffed and golden.
  • Brown the sausage. Cook breakfast sausage until browned and crispy to render out as much fat as possible. Stir in the flour until fragrant to make a quick roux.
  • Finish the gravy. Whisk in milk and cook until thickened slightly. Serve immediately with warm biscuits.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

Tips for Making Biscuits and Gravy

  • Freeze the butter. Cold butter coated in flour creates little pockets of fat that yield flaky layers when baked. That’s why I freeze the butter and grate it directly into the bowl of flour. Your hands produce a surprising amount of heat, so it’s good to use a light touch when the butter pieces are so small; I opt for swirling it around with a fork. Alternatively, you can cut the butter into 1/8-inch pieces and freeze for 1 hour before gently working it into the flour with your fingers.
  • Make your biscuits round. While I call for cut the dough into squares to minimize scraps and avoid re-rolling (which yields a tougher biscuit), you could totally make these round with a biscuit cutter. I’d recommend rolling them out just a teeny bit wider so you can get as many biscuits as possible in one go.
  • No buttermilk? No problem! You can make an easy buttermilk substitute that works just as well by combining 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice or distilled white vinegar. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes and it’s ready to use.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

Storage and Make-Ahead Tips

It’s best to eat biscuits when they are as fresh as possible. Leftover biscuits can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Rewarm in a low oven or toaster oven. 

Meanwhile, leftover gravy can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding a bit of milk at a time to thin out as needed.

And if you really want to get ahead, the unbaked biscuits can be made up to 1 month in advance. Freeze them on the baking sheet until solid, then transfer to a freezer bag or airtight storage container and freeze for up to 1 month. Bake from frozen, adding a few extra minutes to the bake time.

Biscuits and Gravy Recipe

Flaky, tender buttermilk biscuits and Southern sausage gravy make the perfect breakfast pair.

Prep time 25 minutes

Cook time 35 minutes

Serves 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the biscuits:

  • 2

    sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, divided

  • 1 cup

    cold buttermilk

  • 3 cups

    all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons

    baking powder

  • 2 teaspoons

    granulated sugar

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    baking soda

For the gravy:

  • 1 pound

    raw pork breakfast sausage

  • 1/3 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 3 cups

    whole or 2% milk, plus more as needed

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • Hot sauce, for serving (optional)

Instructions

Make the biscuits:

  1. Freeze 1 1/2 sticks of the unsalted butter (12 tablespoons) until solid (at least 2 hours, ideally overnight). Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

  2. Place 3 cups all-purpose flour, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

  3. Stand a box grater in the flour mixture at a slight angle, leaning it against the side of the bowl. Grate the frozen butter on the large holes of a box grater directly into the bowl. When you get down to a small nub of butter, chop it into small pieces and add to the bowl.

  4. Use a fork to gently toss the butter into the flour and break up any clumps of butter. Gradually drizzle in 1 cup buttermilk, tossing gently with the fork as you go.

  5. Knead a few times in the bowl with your hands until a shaggy dough forms (it will look a little dry). Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and pat into a rough 6-inch square that’s 1-inch thick. Press any loose dry bits into the surface of the dough.

  6. Cut the dough into 4 squares. Stack the pieces on top of each other and press down gently to flatten. Using a rolling pin, roll into a 5x7-inch rectangle that’s about 1-inch thick. Trim a thin border around the sides of the dough to create clean edges if desired. Cut in half lengthwise, then crosswise into thirds so that you have 6 roughly square biscuits.

  7. Transfer to the baking sheet, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Freeze for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in the microwave or on the stovetop.

  8. Brush the tops of the biscuits with some of the melted butter; reserve the remaining butter. Bake until the biscuits are deep golden-brown on the bottom and golden on top, 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, make the gravy.

Make the gravy:

  1. Remove the casings from 1 pound pork breakfast sausage if needed. Place in a large skillet and cook over medium heat, breaking the sausage up with a wooden spoon into crumbles and stirring occasionally, until cooked through and browned, 8 to 11 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup all-purpose flour and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  2. While whisking constantly, gradually pour in 3 cups whole or 2% milk. Cook, stirring frequently, until the gravy is thick and bubbling, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. If the gravy is too thick, whisk in more milk 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency. Add 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and stir to combine. Taste and season with more kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Turn off the heat and cover to keep warm.

  3. When the biscuits are ready, brush with the remaining melted butter. Serve with the gravy. Drizzle with hot sauce, if desired.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The unbaked biscuits can be made up to 1 month ahead. Freeze on the baking sheet until solid, then transfer to a freezer bag or airtight storage container and freeze for up to 1 month. Bake from frozen, adding 3 to 5 minutes more to the bake time.

Storage: Leftover biscuits can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Rewarm in a low oven or toaster oven. Leftover gravy can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding more milk 1 tablespoon at a time to thin out as needed.