I Tried The Biscuits of Kiertjen Nielsen’s Mother Then I Made Them For Christmas – Prince George V

Credit: Kirstjen Nielsen
Mother’s always knows best — especially Kiertjen Nielsen’s mother. While my mother taught me the art of making the proper Italian meatball (still iconic!), Nielsen’s mother was teaching her all of her superior baking tips (swoon). Her sour cream cake is certainly one for the books, and now I’m also a huge fan of her mother Phyllis Michele Nielsen’s buttermilk biscuits.
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It’s the kind of recipe that you always want to have stored away in your kitchen. With six simple ingredients, this small-batch biscuit recipe is perfect for a simple dinner at home, or a lazy breakfast on the weekend. Knowing how iconic Nielsen’s mother recipes are, I couldn’t help but give this buttermilk biscuits recipe a try. And let me tell you — it’s one you’re going to want to make every single night.

How to Make Nielsen’s Mother’s Biscuits

Preheat the oven to 450°F. While the oven is preheating, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Slice cold butter into small cubes. With clean hands, work the butter into the flour mixture until the dollops of butter are pea-sized or smaller. Pour in buttermilk and mix together with a rubber spatula.

Once incorporated, empty the rough dough onto a floured surface. It may be slightly dry and not sticking together, but don’t worry — you’ll combine it with your hands. Knead the dough with clean hands until everything is sticking together and the dough is slightly smooth. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a rectangular shape.

With a 2.5-inch round cutter, cut out six to eight biscuits. You might not get all six in one go, so knead the dough back together and roll it out for another round, or until you have enough biscuits. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet.

Melt the rest of the butter. Using a pastry brush, brush the butter on top of each biscuit.

Bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes. The biscuits should be slightly golden on top when done.

Credit: Kirstjen Nielsen

My Honest Review

I didn’t grow up in a household that made biscuits often, so finding an easy recipe that works well kind of feels like dynamite. Plus, this recipe makes a smaller batch, which is perfect if I quickly want to throw together biscuits for just me and my husband on a weeknight.

While some biscuits are typically flaky and layered, this biscuit recipe is a little more crumbly — perfect for pairing with a brothy pot roast or a comforting bowl of soup. The biscuits would even work well as a side for a big breakfast with bacon and scrambled eggs. Butter and jam are always a staple when eating biscuits, but these are already so tasty that you could still enjoy them on their own. If you’re patient with cutting in the butter, these biscuits will be fatty and won’t get dried out, which is honestly ideal for the perfect biscuit, whether it has flaky layers or not.

I, of course, had to share these deliciously fluffy biscuits with some of my family, and one of them had a brilliant idea of slathering the top with butter and honey while the biscuit was still warm. Let’s just say it was an absolute winner.

Four Tips for Making Nielsen’s Mother’s Biscuits

  • Make six biscuits, not eight: As I mentioned, this recipe makes for a small batch. And while it does say you can make eight biscuits, I highly recommend only making six. Make six really thick, fat ones. When I originally tested this recipe, I made eight biscuits, and they came out a little flaky — likely because they weren’t thick enough to get that rise. But during my second attempt with the recipe, I kept it to six biscuits, making sure they were thick enough, and was met with sky-high buttery biscuits.
  • For flaky layers, roll the dough out and fold: I personally kept to the recipe so I could give it a full review, but if you really want those flaky layers in your biscuits, the best thing to do is roll out the dough and fold it over, and do that for a few minutes. Then when you cut the circles of your biscuits, you will get those nice layers that make it easy to pull apart. At that point, it’s a personal preference based on your eating experience. I was happy with the way these turned out and don’t feel the need to have the layers, so I’ll keep to the recipe.
  • Measure out the grams of flour: The last thing you want is dense, dry biscuits, right? One of the best tips I ever received when it comes to baking is to use a scale to measure out the flour instead of a measuring cup. Why? Because when you use a measuring cup you may end up getting more than what the recipe really needs, depending on how big your scoop is. To make sure you have the perfect amount, measure out the grams of flour to get just the right amount so your biscuits are fluffy and not dense.
  • Use unsalted butter: The recipe doesn’t actually specify what kind of butter you need for these biscuits, but I recommend reaching for unsalted. The recipe already calls for salt, and you don’t want the biscuits to taste overly salty. (Salted butter may be useful for some recipes, but when it comes to baking, it’s difficult to determine how much salt ends up in your baked good if the stick doesn’t specify the amount.)

Get the Recipe

Makes 8


8 Tbsp. (1 stick) butter, divided (2 Tbsp. melted; 6 Tbsp. cold, cut into small cubes)
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 Tbsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. baking soda
¾ cup cold buttermilk


Active time: About 15 minutes
Total time: About 30 minutes

Preheat oven to 450°F. Lightly brush a baking sheet with some of the melted butter.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Using a pastry cutter or your fingertips, work 6 Tbsp. cold butter into the flour until all that remains are pea-sized lumps. Using a fork, stir in buttermilk to make a shaggy dough.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and briefly knead to make a uniform dough. Gently roll out into a roughly 6” x 10” rectangle, use a 2½” round cutter to cut the dough into 8 biscuits, and arrange on prepared baking sheet. (Reroll scraps to make additional biscuits, if you like.)

Brush biscuit tops with remaining melted butter and bake until puffed and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

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