biscuits in a cast iron skillet

Cat Head Biscuits

My favorite blog post has to be about biscuits. Not just any fluffy piece of bread, mind you, but a great big piece of Appalachia called Cat Head Biscuits.  Now, don’t worry. There’s nothing even related to a cat in this creation. This biscuit got its name from the fact it’s as big as a cat’s head when you sit down to eat it.  

I get a hankering for biscuits every time I fry a pan of bacon and need to sop up the gravy.  I hanker for lots of things, but biscuits and gravy are right up there with the best of them.

Why You’ll Love These Biscuits

Cat Head biscuits are as good as it gets.  My Granny Mac made them without measuring a thing. It was all in her hands…the scoop of the flour, the swipe of the butter, and the swirl of the buttermilk.  

The best part about these biscuits is they’re free range.  They’re just hanging around without being rolled or floured to death.  No rolling pins necessary. No cutting or shaping. You just mix them, pat them, and plop them in the oven.  That’s it!

How to Make Cat Head Biscuits

To make Cat Heads, you need three logistical things…a large bowl, a cast iron skillet, and your hands.  You can make these biscuits without a cast iron skillet, (ad) but they just wouldn’t be the same. You could roll them and cut them, but why do that? Granny Mac never did.

So, here’s what you do. Grease a large cast iron skillet.  In a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.  Mix together with one hand.

Grate cold butter with a cheese grater into the flour mixture. With one hand, mix the butter into the flour until dough is crumbly. Make a well (indention) in the middle of the flour mixture and pour the buttermilk into the well.

With one hand, gently mix the buttermilk into the flour mixture until dry ingredients are barely moistened. Using both hands, shape the dough into large irregular balls and place in greased cast iron skillet.

Brush the biscuit tops with melted butter. Bake at 450 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until biscuits are golden brown.  

Why are Southern Biscuits so Good?

Cat Head biscuits are a little piece of heaven right here on earth. They’re crispy on the outside, yet tender on the inside, making the biggest and most delicious biscuit you’ll ever eat. And, Granny’s way is not difficult. Some biscuit recipes can scare you to death, but not this one.

This recipe is a shout out to Granny Mac slinging biscuits in her tiny, southern kitchen. I miss you, Granny. Thank you for showing me the way.

These biscuits are great with just butter and jam, or even better when slathered with Herbed Bacon Gravy.

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biscuits in a cast iron skillet

Cat Head Biscuits


  • Author: Debi ~ QuicheMyGrits
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 7 to 8 large biscuits 1x

Description

Crispy on the outside, yet tender on the inside, these biscuits are everything a Cat Head Biscuit should be.  All of the mixing is done by hand, and the result is out of this world!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all purpose white winter wheat flour (I use White Lily)
  • 2 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 sticks cold, grated butter (3/4 cup
  • 2 cups cold buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter to brush tops of biscuits

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Grease a large (12″) cast iron skillet. (ad)
  3. In a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.  Mix together with one hand.
  4. Grate the butter with a cheese grater into the flour mixture.
  5. With one hand, mix the butter into the flour until dough is crumbly.
  6. Make a well (indention) in the middle of the flour mixture and pour the buttermilk into the well.
  7. With one hand, gently mix the buttermilk into the flour mixture until dry ingredients are barely moistened.
  8. Using both hands, shape the dough into large irregular balls and place in greased cast iron skillet.
  9. Brush the biscuit tops with melted butter.
  10. Bake at 450 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until biscuits are golden brown.  

Notes

Cold butter is the secret to perfect biscuits.  If you freeze the butter ahead of time, it will be easier to grate.  If you don’t have a grater, cut the butter in the smallest pieces you can. 

When you add buttermilk, try not to over mix the dough. Gently use your hands to bring the dough together and stop when it’s barely moistened.  You should be able to form a ball with the dough, but not mix it until every crumb is incorporated.

The type of flour you use makes a difference.  White Lily is the only brand I recommend. 

  • Category: Breads
  • Method: Mix by Hand
  • Cuisine: Southern

Keywords: cat head biscuits, southern biscuits, buttermilk biscuits

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I’d love to hear what you think about this recipe. Please leave me a comment and *STAR* rating below…


8 Comments

  1. Love all the details and notes of this recipe! Can’t wait to try them! ????????????

    • Thanks Hailey! I had a blast making these biscuits. Brought back so many memories of my Granny Mac!

  2. Biscuits have always scared me…..but I’m gonna try these soon!

  3. These biscuits are everything. I remember them from my childhood! They’re huge and fluffy, plus perfectly tender. Thank you for this great recipe!

  4. Carol Tyndall

    Killer biscuits! I love when you make these!

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