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Slightly Sweet Orange Buttermilk Biscuits

These biscuits are perfect for berry shortcakes. Or eat them for breakfast or snacks on their own. 

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 5 biscuits
Author Laura



  • 1 navel orange
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour, preferably soft (White Lily or similar) + extra for flouring counter or mat
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, shortening or a combination I used half shortening (Earth Balance) and 1/4 cup/4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk


  • 1 tablespoon buttermilk or melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon orange sugar (see above)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grate the rind of about 1/2 the orange, about 1 teaspoon. Squeeze half the orange to get 2 tablespoons of juice. Set the juice aside

    Grating orange rind for biscuits.
  2. Mix the teaspoon of rind into the sugar with your fingertips, squeezing the two ingredients together into the sugar is uniformly orange. Set aside about one tablespoon of the orange sugar for topping - the rest goes into the biscuits. 

  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt together in a medium sized bowl. Add the major portion of the orange sugar and whisk again until the sugar is well dispersed. 

  4. Add the shortening, either by hand (using a pastry cutter or two knives) or with a few short bursts in a food processor. 

    Using a pastry cutter to add shortening to biscuits
  5. Add the buttermilk and 2 tablespoons of orange juice to the flour and shortening mixture, either with a fork or again, short bursts in a food processor. In either case, mix only until the dough comes together. On a well-floured counter or mat, pat out the dough into a 6-7-inch circle about 3/4-inch high. 

  6. Cut the biscuits out with a 2- 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter, cookie cutter, or cup. 

    Cutting out biscuits
  7. Brush the top of the biscuits with the tablespoon of buttermilk or melted butter, then sprinkle on the reserved orange sugar. 

    Slightly Sweet Orange Buttermilk Biscuits ready to bake.
  8. Place the biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the biscuits are golden. Cool on a wire rack. 

    Baked Slightly Sweet Orange Buttermilk Biscuits

Recipe Notes

To make the Slightly Sweet Orange Buttermilk Biscuits into berry shortcakes, after slicing open, add a dollop of whipped cream, creme fraiche, or sweetened yogurt with berries.