Butter Swim Biscuits

Then I saw it. Homemade biscuits in a pool of melted butter. While some might have found this image unappealing, I fell in love instantly and I didn’t even know what they were yet! They were Butter Swim Biscuits and I needed them in my life.

close up of a biscuit with text overlay


 

Let me introduce you to the Swim Biscuit

A little research and I had several common names. Apparently these buttery buttermilk biscuits are actually quite common. It is a wonder I hadn’t run across them before. I mean two of my favorite things: butter and carbs.

These are a no knead, no yeast and no roll biscuits. Seriously, the easiest ever. They are a dense bread, not light, flaky biscuits, so set your expectations correctly. They can be served as an appetizer or side dish and for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.

spatula holding a butter swim biscuit

What are Swim Biscuits?

These devine fluffy biscuits have several names:

  • Butter Float Biscuits
  • Butter Swim Biscuits
  • Butter Dip Biscuits
  • Easy Butter Biscuits
  • Butter Biscuits

Rumor has it they are the result of one lazy Texas woman who lacked the motivation to make rolled, cut and then butter biscuits. Then one had to wonder why we spent so much time doing it the hard way when you can just literally bake the dough IN butter.

cut biscuits on a metal sheet tray

Hats off, mysteriously lady in Texas who I now idolize. The trick is not having to add too much flour in order to roll out or even drop the biscuits. Instead, you just transfers the lumpy and very sticky dough right into the baking dish with butter.

These buttermilk biscuits are a thick, chewy and very rich Southern Style biscuit. Perfectly hearty for a runny egg sandwich and air fryer bacon, however they still have a tender crumb, making them also a good biscuit for shortcakes and other fruity dessert bases.

Why you’ll love Butter Swim Biscuits

  • Rich Texture – Butter swim biscuits are not so light and fluffy, but they are rich and decadent and will have you wanting more.
  • Other Uses – Yes, you can eat a whole batch on your own, but you can also make them for breakfast sandwiches, sliders and more. Their hearty structure makes them perfect !
  • No Yeast and No Rising – These buttery rolls don’t require yeast and therefore no rising time, meaning you back the biscuit dough and throw it in the oven. Easy peasey!
fried chicken biscuit sandwich

Butter Biscuit Recipe Ingredients

These delicious biscuits only take a handful of simple ingredients that you likely already have on hand with the exception of buttermilk. But I have a solution for that below. Here is the list of things to grab ot make these buttery biscuits.

  • All-Purpose Flour– Just regular old flour is needed, but if you have self-rising, this can be used too. Simply omit the baking powder and salt. I have not tested this recipe with flour substitutions, but if you do, we’d love to hear about your experience in the comments section.
  • Buttermilk– Essential for the tangy and rich taste. Some folks have used regular milk, but it was whole milk and they didn’t come out quite as sophisticated.
  • Salted Butter– Yes, I know I don’t usually use salted butter, but in this case, you want a lot of butter. These are good, old fashioned homemade buttermilk biscuits and gosh darn it, they are salty! This is also what helps the crispy crust and golden brown tops. And yes, you read that correct, one stick of butter that will result in a pool of butter around the dough.
  • Baking powder- Acts as the leavening agent and is responsible for the fluffy interior.
  • Sugar– This caramelizes and helps to balance the other flavors.
  • Fine sea salt– Or use coarse Kosher salt for a less salty end result. Either way, you will have amazing biscuits.
ingredients for butter biscuits

More fun variations include adding 1 teaspoon of garlic powder or onion powder to the dough or melted butter, 1/2 cup of freshly shredded cheddar cheese for cheese biscuits, or using any other cheese you like. Some folks also like making these into sweet biscuits by adding 1/2 cup of fresh fruit like blueberries or raspberries.

How to Make Butter Swim Biscuits

There are a couple of changes I’ve made while making these recipe. I used a rectangular baking dish instead of square. I felt like the biscuits cooked more evenly instead of having a center biscuit be all doughy. Some also like using a cast iron skillet, which I have not tested.

Secondly, it was impossible to cut the biscuit dough while raw. It is too sticky and won’t hold. So I took the biscuits out after baking for 15 minutes and cut them, swishing around the melted butter to get into the cracks.

  1. Prep. Preheat the oven and prep a 11×7 baking dish with cooking spray. Yes, there will be loads of butter, but some of the dough might kiss the sides of the dish and not be butter.
  2. Dry Ingredients. Sift together the dry ingredients so they are evenly combined. If you don’t have a sifter, just whisk them together in a large bowl.
  3. Wet Ingredients. Pour in the buttermilk and stir by hand until just combined. Batter will be lumpy and super sticky.
  1. Add the Butter. Melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl. If you are adding any seasonings, do so at this step.
  2. Assemble. Spread the moist dough to the corners of the dish and then pour melted butter over the top of the dough. Butter will float above in some areas and not in others, that is fine.
pouring melted butter over biscuit dough
  1. Cook. Bake for 15 minutes, remove and cut into 8 large biscuits (like tic-tac-toe) using a sharp knife. If you skip this step, they won’t cook all the way through. For best results, use a basting brush to get the butter bubbling up the edges on to the top of the biscuits and in the crevices. Return to the oven to finish baking, about 7-8 minutes or until the the tops are golden brown. The end baking time will vary based on the cooking vessel.
  2. Rest. Allow the baked biscuits to sit for at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
biscuits in a baking dish cut into eigths

Making this Butter Biscuits Recipe without buttermilk

What is buttermilk? Buttermilk is the liquid byproduct spun off of cream during the process of making butter. The solids make butter and the liquid is buttermilk.

honey drizzling over butter swim biscuits

I rarely have buttermilk in the fridge. I don’t use it that often, it is expensive and I never need the whole jug. So I keep powdered buttermilk in the pantry, which I used today. I honestly can’t tell the difference when it is baked into the recipe.

close up of biscuit with sausage gravy

If you don’t have buttermilk, you can use these substitutions.

  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar + 1 cup 2% or whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice + 1 cup 2% or whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar/lemon juice + 1 cup skim milk + 1 tablespoon melted butter

Do not use cream. It not the same thing.

Measure Flour Correctly

I would venture to say that about 75% of people aren’t measuring their flour correctly. Too much flour can lead to dry and brittle baked goods and thick, clumpy sauces. Too little can make for doughy and loose recipes.

Here is how to measure flour the correct way.

  1. Stir flour to loosen it in the canister or bag.
  2. Spoon flour into measuring cup. Do not pack it down.
  3. Use the back of a butter knife to even off the top.
  4. Add to recipe.

Simply dipping the measuring cup into a canister of flour packs it down and can result in up to 3-4 ounces more flour than what the recipe calls for.

thick cut biscuits on a serving platter

What to serve with this Butter Swim Biscuits Recipe

These easy biscuits really don’t need any additional butter after literally taking a butter bath. But if I were to serve them with something, it would be honey butter or molasses butter. Check out all of our flavored butters to find your best match!

A little bit of jam is also a match made in flavor heaven. Homemade cherry jam or strawberry jam are my favorites.

In my house, these biscuits are generally GONE straight out of the pan, but they do have other options:

biscuits and gravy on a small serving plate

Storing, Freezing & Reheating Swim Biscuits

Storage: Most breads are best enjoyed within the first day of baking. After that, air takes hold and starts to dry out the moist crumb. Luckily, butter biscuits are so drenched and filled with buttery goodness that this process takes a little longer. Store biscuits in an airtight container or plastic bag at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Freezing Biscuits: Wrap cooled biscuits tightly with foil or plastic wrap and then in a freezer-safe plastic bag, pushing out as much air as possible. If they are wrapped tight and air can’t get to them, they should remain fresh for up to 4 months. Thaw at room temperature for 1 hours.

Reheating: Breads are often better reheated because the starches recrystallize and over time they lose moisture. Reheating will reactivate the starches and they will revive a bit as fresh.

Using the microwave is convenient, but leaves bread rubbery. To prevent this, wrap in a damp paper towel and heat for 15 seconds at 50% power. Bread can also be reheated in a warm oven for just a few minutes.

collage of butter swim buscuits for pinterest

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close up side view of a butter swim biscuit

Butter Biscuit Recipe

4.56 from 69 votes
No rolling, no cutting, no kneading. Just the most buttery buttermilk biscuits you've ever had and the easiest biscuit recipe you've ever made.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 23 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes
Servings: 8

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a 11×7 baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Place in a large mixing bowl.
  • Hand mix with the buttermilk until just combined. Batter will be lumpy and super sticky.
  • Spread the sticky batter to the corners of the dish and then pour melted butter over top. Butter will float above in some areas and not in others, that is fine.
  • Place into the oven for 15 minutes.
  • Remove and cut into 8 large biscuits. You can use a basting brush to getting the butter bubbling up the edges on to the top of the biscuits and in the crevices.
  • Return to oven for 7-8 minutes or until tops are brown.
  • Allow them to sit for at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
  • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.

Video

Notes

Do not use a 9×13 pan, it is too shallow and biscuits will be overcooked.

Nutrition

Calories: 193 kcal, Carbohydrates: 37 g, Protein: 6 g, Fat: 2 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Cholesterol: 7 mg, Sodium: 357 mg, Potassium: 325 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 6 g, Vitamin A: 99 IU, Calcium: 162 mg, Iron: 2 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 193
Course: Bread, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: butter swim biscuits, buttermilk biscuits
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

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Recipe Rating




Questions and Reviews

    1. That is a really good question- I would think so, however I’ve never tried it. Let us know if you do!

  1. My daughter made these for her family and my son’s family and they all thought it was delicious so I tried it by making 1/2 recipe but had to use vinegar/milk as I didn’t have any buttermilk on hand. Then my daughter visited us and she made the recipe with buttermilk (although she said the first time she made them she had to use the same substitute that I did). My thoughts: I wasn’t very happy with what I made. The so-called biscuits were very spongy and need another name besides “biscuit.” She made the whole recipe at our house so we could see how the two compared. I still think the biscuits are spongy and not very enjoyable to eat. When she left, I gave her the leftover ones as I knew we would never eat them. Hate to be a spoiler but this “biscuit” was not for me nor my husband.

    1. Hi Sonja, Really sorry to hear that- they are supposed to be dense and rich. I even talk about that in the intro. If light and fluffy is what you are after, these biscuits aren’t for you.

    1. Hi Frannie,

      You can use regular milk, but add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar (to give the tart flavor of buttermilk). I would also highly suggest whole or at least 2% milk for the fat content. In a recipe like this, skim is basically just water.

  2. 3 stars
    It was great you listed the tip on the pan size. The rolls turned out beautiful. However, they had raised so high there was no butter left to be seen. They looked quite dry. I melted another 1/4 stick of butter and brushed on top. But, I wouldn’t make them again. They just have this unexplainable “off” taste. Almost like they are rancid. Maybe it’s just because I am not a big fan of buttermilk.

    1. The biscuits will absorb the butter. And yes, buttermilk will taste a little sour, as it should. Sorry you didn’t enjoy them.

  3. 5 stars
    Thank God for lazy people, this biscuit recipe is brilliant. We make biscuits all the time, so for the next batch, I am making these biscuits.

    1. 3 stars
      Haven’t got them baked yet, but the recipe was confusing to me. Called for 2 cups buttermilk, but I had none so followed directions to make buttermilk. It called for a cup of milk and the lemon juice. Since the recipe called for 2 cups buttermilk, I made two cups of buttermilk mix. Dough was very runny. Had to double the dough recipe for it to come out to the right consistency. Not sure how they will turn out.

      1. Hi Pam, this dough is not like typical bread dough, it won’t be thick or hold shape, but it also shouldn’t be runny. You are correct in doubling the milk to 2 cups, I will update that to make it easier to read.

        1. M experience was the same. 2 cups of 2% milk with 2 tablespoons lemon juice per the sub instruction. Mixed into the dry ingredients did not make a dough, more like a batter. There was no spreading it into the pan, just poured in there. The butter over the top had nowhere to go lol, I just kinda stirred it there around the top. The pan is in the oven now, we shall see!

          1. Mine turn out the same. Poured it into the pan and poured the butter on top. Came out flat but delicious

  4. 5 stars
    Where has this been my whole life? My mouth is watering just looking at the pictures. I am going to be making this for sure. Thank you for sharing. Really, thank you!

  5. 5 stars
    You are my hero! This is the easiest way to prepare biscuits in a big batch. If I need double the recipe, no problem, I can do that too. 😀

  6. 5 stars
    Whoah, biscuits and butter, two of my favorite things! I’m drooling over that pool of butter in the pan!