The Secret to Perfectly Flaky Biscuits? Use a Box Grater To Cut the Butter
I tried it — and I'm never making biscuits another way again.
Homemade biscuits used to be my baking Achilles’ heel. The reason? I struggled with keeping the ingredients really cold (for optimal flakiness), while also rubbing together the flour and butter with my fingertips to combine them. As a result, the butter often warmed up during the mixing process, and I got very few buttery layers once the biscuits were baked. The turning point in my biscuit baking journey, however, was when I started using a box grater. While this tool is known for shredding cheese and vegetables, it also turns a stick of butter into easy flakes. This allows the butter to mix quicker into the biscuit dough without softening — ensuring you get those pillowy, soft layers at the end. Keep reading to learn how to make perfectly flaky biscuits with the help of a box grater.
Why You Should Grate Butter When Making Biscuits
Butter is the last ingredient you might expect to use a box grater on, but it works wonders for homemade biscuits. Food writer and cookbook author Justin Chapple swears by grating frozen butter into his dough before mixing. This trick creates tiny bits of butter that remain chilled and can be easily incorporated with the other ingredients. The end result is flaky and multi-layered biscuits better than any you’ve baked before. Watch the Food & Wine video below to see Chapple explain and demonstrate how this hack works.
How To Make Flaky Biscuits
If you have a prized homemade biscuit recipe already, use this hack to shred the butter rather than doing so with your fingertips. Alternatively, try this recipe coined “Our Favorite Buttermilk Biscuit” by Southern Living, as it utilizes the butter grating trick.
- 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted or salted butter, frozen
- 2 ½ cups self-rising flour
- 1 cup buttermilk, chilled
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Prep: 10 mins
- Active: 25 mins
- Bake: 15 mins
- Total time: 50 mins
- Yield: 12 to 14 biscuits
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Grate frozen butter using large holes of box grater. Toss together grated butter and flour in medium bowl. Chill 10 minutes.
- Make well in center of mixture. Add buttermilk, and stir 15 times until sticky dough forms.
- Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Lightly sprinkle flour over top of dough. Using lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough into a ¾-inch-thick rectangle (about 9-by-5 inches). Fold dough in half so short ends meet. Repeat rolling and folding process 4 more times.
- Roll dough to ½-inch thickness. Cut with 2 ½-inch floured round cutter, reshaping scraps, and flouring as needed.
- Place dough rounds on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Brush with melted butter and cool 4 to 5 minutes then serve warm.
My Taste Test
Before I even tasted them, the biscuits’ well-layered center was an immediate sign to me that the hack worked. In fact, this hack resulted in best biscuits I’ve ever baked. They boasted an intense buttery flavor and crispy yet soft texture; spreading soft butter and Omakase Berry Butter inside added extra richness and a touch of sweetness.
It goes without saying: I’ll be using my box grater far more often to make biscuits as part of a brunch spread or afternoon treat. Talk about getting the most out of everyday kitchen tools!