These mini honey butter biscuits are made with a compound honey butter and drizzled with even more melted honey butter while they're baking for maximum honey butter vibes. Have I said "honey butter" enough yet?
This recipe makes 18 mini honey butter biscuits, which are so good topped with a pat of butter and a bit of fruit jam (like my pineapple habanero jam!).
Serve these honey butter biscuits with tea or coffee or scale the recipe up for finger-food events like bridal or baby showers. They're also right at home as part of a nice brunch spread, or as dessert topped with a bit of mascarpone and strawberries.
They're best made with homemade butter and buttermilk, but if you'd rather not break out the stand mixer, you can totally use the store bought stuff. Just make sure you leave time to make the honey butter and let it chill before you're ready to bake!
Why use a honey compound butter? Most honey butter biscuits are plain buttermilk biscuits topped with melted honey butter. These honey butter biscuits, however, have the honey worked right into the biscuit dough along with the butter.
When the butter turns to steam in the oven and pushes the biscuit layers apart, the honey is left sandwiched between them so you get honey butter flavor from top to bottom.
📋 Ingredients & equipment
Here's what ingredients you'll need to make these mini honey butter biscuits:
- Pastry flour - I used King Arthur Baking's pastry flour blend which has a relatively high protein content for a pastry flour (10.3%). Your biscuits will be flakier and more tender with a pastry flour, but all purpose flour (which has a protein content between 9-11%) will also work.
- Butter - Unsalted butter preferred, but salted butter is just fine too. You'll need to soften the butter to make the honey compound butter, then chill the honey butter well before making the biscuits.
- Honey - I used Local Hive Honey's New England honey but you can use any honey you like best.
- Salt - I use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt which is half as salty as other brands of salt. If you're measuring by volume, use half as much of any other brand.
- Baking powder - This plus the steam from the butter helps your biscuits rise in the oven.
- Buttermilk - If you're using homemade buttermilk it will likely be thinner and a bit sweeter than the cultured buttermilk you get in stores. I've made these with both homemade and cultured buttermilk and didn't notice too much of a difference between them! Keep buttermilk chilled until ready to use.
Note: To keep things simple, I'm having you make the compound honey butter with 1 stick (½ cup; 8 TBSP) butter. You'll use it two different ways in the recipe, and might end up with some honey butter left over which you can spread on the biscuits!
You don't need any super fancy equipment to make biscuits which is part of why they're so easy to make! You will need:
- Bench scraper - The straight edge of a bench scraper helps you keep your dough edges even during the shaping process. I like this one because it has a ruler on the blade.
- Kitchen scale - This recipe was tested using a 1-2-3 ratio of butter-buttermilk-flour by weight and you will have the most success making it if you also measure by weight.
If you have arthritis or your hands run warm or if there is any other reason you can't pinch the butter into the flour by hand, you can pulse the mixture a few times in a food processor or use a pastry cutter for that step.
🍯 How to make mini honey butter biscuits
Making biscuits is a super fast process once you've got everything prepped! I recommend making the honey butter at least one day in advance so that it has plenty of time to chill in the fridge. You always want very cold butter and buttermilk for biscuit making!
- Make the honey butter. Honey and butter are kind of like oil and water — they don’t really want to combine. Use a handheld mixer or stand mixer with the paddle attachment to beat them together at high speed so they have no choice but to combine. Wrap the butter well, and chill until ready to use.
- Mix the dry ingredients. Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a bowl.
- Pinch in the butter. Use your fingers and thumbs to pinch the cold honey butter into the dry ingredients until you have lots of flat pieces the size of small grapes or large peas.
- Add the cold buttermilk. Add the cold buttermilk and use a spatula or your fingers to toss the mixture together just until all the buttermilk is absorbed. The mixture will be lumpy and messy and might not look like it will hold together, but I promise it will.
- Laminate and shape. Then you shape your biscuits, laminating twice with letter folds (see below!) before cutting 18 mini biscuits.
- Egg wash and bake. Brush just the tops of the biscuits with an egg wash and sprinkle with flaky salt. About 10 minutes into baking, spoon melted honey butter over the biscuits, then bake for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Below I'm going to go into excruciating detail about how to pinch the butter and fold the biscuit dough so you get nice layers.
The whole process actually only takes about 3-5 minutes! I'm just showing you step by step so if you're new to the process you know exactly what to do.
🥐 How to get flaky biscuit layers (with gifs!)
The reason it's so important to keep the butter and buttermilk for our biscuit dough as cold as possible (without freezing it) is so that we get nice, flaky biscuits. The cold butter turns into steam in the oven and pushes the layers of dough apart creating those nice flaky biscuit layers. If the butter is too warm, it will melt right out of the biscuits in the oven.
To make these flaky biscuits you’re going to build those layers of butter in two ways.
The first way is a pastry technique called sabler (sab-lay), which involves pinching, smushing, and rubbing the flour into the dry ingredients. It's very easy, fun, and fast!
The second way borrows from a technique called lamination, which involves folding the dough to create horizontal layers of butter within the dough before cutting it.
HINT: Work quickly so the butter doesn’t start melting from the heat of your hands!
Sabler (aka pinching the butter)
Toss the cold pieces of butter in the dry ingredients and pinch them between your thumbs and fingers, coating each piece of butter with flour as they get smaller and smaller.
Once the butter pieces are about the size of small grapes, fold in the cold buttermilk just until everything is mostly combined. It’s okay — ideal, even! — if there are still lots of dry bits in the bowl.
As long as there’s no buttermilk pooling in the bottom and it’s mostly been absorbed in, STOP MIXING.
Tip: Measure the buttermilk before you start mixing and put it in the fridge until you're ready to use it so it stays cold.
Turn the whole damp mess of flour and butter out onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Dust some flour over the top too. Cut a cross hatch pattern across the mess of dough to cut through the butter and redistribute the buttermilk.
Use your hands and a bench scraper to pat it loosely into a long rectangle about ½” high. Then, fold the top third of the dough rectangle down, and the bottom third of the dough rectangle up over it. This is called a “letter fold.”
Slide the bench scraper under the folded dough packet and rotate it 90 degrees. Pat it back into a long rectangle about ½” tall and repeat the letter fold. Rotate 90 degrees again.
After the final letter fold, you’ll pat it out into a long rectangle shape about 1" tall. Trim the absolute least amount you can off all four sides to release any tension from where the dough was folded so the layers can rise evenly and pat the excess dough down on top of the biscuit packet.
Clean off the edge of your bench scraper so it’s nice and sharp. Then cut it into 18 equal pieces (a 3x6 grid).
This whole process will take about 3-5 minutes. It's very fast!
Brush just the tops of the biscuits with egg wash and top with a sprinkle of flaky salt before baking. About 10 minutes into the bake time, spoon more honey butter over the biscuits, then pop them back in for a few more minutes so the honey in the butter caramelizes.
📖 Recipe notes & expert tips
- This recipe uses a classic 1-2-3 biscuit recipe ratio (1 part butter, 2 parts buttermilk, 3 parts flour) and can be easily scaled up and down accordingly! I've tweaked it slightly to account for the additional moisture the honey provides in the butter.
- DO NOT OVER MIX your biscuit dough. Once you add the buttermilk you just want to fold it gently together until no liquid remains. The flour will continue hydrating and absorbing the buttermilk as you work through the lamination process. At first it might not seem like it will hold together, but by the time you do the final fold, the dough will hold together just fine.
- Egg wash goes on top of the biscuits, not on the sides. Egg wash is like glue and will stick all your flaky layers together if you brush it on the sides!
- Biscuits are best eaten day-of, still warm. They can be stored in an airtight container overnight.
- When trimming and cutting the biscuits, always cut in an up and down motion. Don’t slide the blade or cutter in a slicing motion along the counter or you’ll close up all the layers you just exposed and your biscuits will be flat.
- I use Maldon flaky sea salt to top my biscuits but any flaky finishing salt is fine.
💭 Top tip
For these honey butter biscuits it's especially important to keep all of your ingredients chilled since the honey makes the butter melt just a little bit faster. Up until you add the buttermilk, you can always pop the mixture back into the fridge for 10 minutes (or freezer for 5) if the butter feels like it's melting.
You can also measure the dry ingredients and refrigerate them before adding the butter.
I haven't tested these with gluten free flour but I think a 1-for-1 gluten free all purpose flour would work just fine! If you try it, please let me know in the comments.
A kitchen scale is extremely worth it for making these biscuits. The recipe relies on a specific ratio of flour to buttermilk to butter which relies on accurate weight measurements.
It doesn't translate neatly to volumetric measurements, and if you did try to measure using volume the recipe is likely not to work out very well. I'm looking out for you here! If you're going to make these, I want you to succeed!
Yep! Bigger biscuits will need a slightly longer bake time, so just extend the bake time a bit, add the melted honey butter when they look golden brown on top, and pop them back in the oven for an extra minute.
Yes! If you're being picky, look for an all purpose flour with a lower protein content (9-10%).
All purpose flour is better at developing gluten than pastry flour, so be very gentle with your mixing when you add the buttermilk. Stir gently, just until the buttermilk absorbs. Let the flour finish hydrating while you're folding the dough. You don't want to end up with dense biscuits!
mini honey butter biscuits
- 113 grams unsalted butter (1 stick / 8 TBSP)
- 38 grams honey
Honey Butter Biscuits
Make honey butter
- In a larger bowl than you think you'll need, use a hand mixer to combine softened butter and honey until cohesive.
- Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until firm and cold throughout, at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Before making biscuits, measure 60 grams of honey butter and cut into roughly 1" pieces. Chill in the fridge while you mix the dry ingredients.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Combine pastry flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium sized bowl.
- Add chilled honey butter and toss it with the flour mixture, pinching and smushing it between your fingers until the butter pieces are the size of large peas or small grapes.
- Fold in the cold buttermilk, stirring gently just until the buttermilk is absorbed. The mixture will be clumpy and have lots of dry floury bits, but that's okay. Do not overmix!
- Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured counter or cutting board. Gather it into a pile in the center and use a bench scraper to cut a cross hatch pattern through it. Then use your hand and the straight edge of the bench scraper to form a long rectangle about ½" high.It doesn't have to look pretty. Work quickly so the butter doesn't start to melt.
- Fold the top third of the dough rectangle down. Then fold the bottom third of dough up over it in a letter fold. It will be messy. That's okay.
- Slide the bench scraper under the folded dough packet and rotate it 90 degrees. Pat it out into a long rectangle about ½" high and repeat the folding process.
- Rotate 90 degrees again. The dough will be much smoother and more cohesive now. If it's still crumbly, repeat the folding process one more time.
- Pat the dough out into a long rectangle about 6 inches across and 1 inch high. Trim the edges to release the tension from where the dough was folded. Pat the excess dough on top of the dough rectangle.
- Cut the dough rectangle into 18 mini biscuits — a 3 by 6 grid. Cut in an up and down motion, not slicing or sliding the blade on the counter.
- Transfer biscuits to a lined baking sheet about 2" apart. Brush just the tops with egg wash and sprinkle with flaky salt.If the butter seems warm or you're waiting for the oven to finish preheating, pop the sheet pan in the fridge or freezer until you're ready to bake.
- Bake TK minutes at 400°F. After 10 minutes, spoon melted honey butter over the biscuits and return to the oven for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Serve warm.