Cat Head Biscuits

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Cat Head Biscuits are made from an old fashioned recipe handed down through generations. They’re huge, fluffy biscuits with crunchy, golden tops!

cat head biscuits coming out of the oven.

What Is A Cat Head Biscuit?

Cathead biscuits got their name from being as big as a cat’s head. They’re not just any fluffy piece of bread, but a great big piece of southern history.

Now, don’t worry. There’s nothing even related to a cat in this recipe. But, you might start begging for more after you take your first bite!

cast iron skillet with biscuits on a blue towel.
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The Ultimate Drop Biscuit

The authentic way to make Cathead biscuits is by gently using your hands and never rolling them out.

My Granny made this old fashioned recipe without measuring a thing. It was all in her hands…the scoop of the flour, the swipe of real butter, and the swirl of buttermilk.

Granny Mac always said the best part about these buttery biscuits is that they’re meant to be dropped. No rolling pin is necessary. No cutter is needed. There’s definitely no food processor involved.

They’re called a drop biscuit because that’s exactly what you do! You just mix them by hand, pat them, and drop them in a skillet! That’s the true sign of an authentic cathead recipe.

ingredients needed for cat head biscuits.

Ingredients

Homemade Cathead biscuits are made with just 7 ingredients, and the final result is worthy of celebration! They’re special enough to serve on holidays like Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Here’s what you’ll need to make them. See recipe card for quantities.

  • all purpose flour (White Lily works best)
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • baking soda
  • cold grated butter
  • cold buttermilk
  • melted butter to brush tops

Tools You’ll Need

To make traditional Cat Head biscuits, you’ll need 4 important tools…a large bowl, a cast iron skillet, a grater, and your hands.

You can make this bread without a cast iron skillet (ad), but it wouldn’t be the same. You could roll them and cut them, but why do that? Granny Mac never did.

Step by Step Instructions

1 – Grease a large cast iron skillet. In a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Mix together with one hand.

2 – Grate cold butter with a cheese grater into the flour mixture.

3 – With one hand, mix the butter into the flour until dough is crumbly.

six process shots showing how to make drop biscuits

4 – Make a well (indention) in the middle of the flour mixture and pour the buttermilk into the well.

5 – With one hand, gently mix the buttermilk into the flour mixture until dry ingredients are barely moistened.

6 – Using both hands, pinch the dough into large irregular balls and place in greased cast iron skillet. Make sure balls are touching so they will rise properly.

7 – Brush the tops with melted butter. Bake at 450 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.

cat head biscuit dough in cast iron skillet.

Biscuits and Gravy

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.

Cat Heads are the best scratch-made biscuits to hold up to gravy. They’re buttery and crumbly on the outside, while tender and soft on the inside.

cathead biscuit smothered in gravy with bacon.

Jam and Biscuits

Cat Heads with homemade jam are a little piece of heaven right here on earth. When you slather a hot biscuit with real butter and blueberry jam, it’s the most delicious thing you’ve ever tasted.

You might think that a piece of bread this big would be heavy, but these wonders have a fluffy and light texture that crumble in all the right places. Every crevice is made for soaking up goodness.

biscuits with blueberry jam.

Expert Tips

  • Use cold ingredients. Cold dough is the secret to success. Make sure the buttermilk and butter come straight from the refrigerator and not the kitchen counter.
  • If you really want to make cold dough, freeze the butter before hand. It’s easier to grate and works well in this recipe.
  • A cast iron skillet (ad) holds in the heat and helps make crispy edges.
  • If the biscuits are touching in the skillet, they will rise up higher.
  • Using a low-protein flour like White Lily (ad) makes your biscuits turn out light and airy.

Recipe FAQS

Where did cathead biscuits come from?

Cathead biscuits originated in the south, but no one knows for sure where the first one was created. Some folks in the Appalachian mountains have claimed them, but there’s no way to know for sure.

Why are biscuits baked at high temperatures?

The higher the temperature, the better the rise. A hot oven will produce the highest rise on breads and bakery items.

Serving Suggestions

These meals are perfect for sopping up gravy….

 

Recipe Card

a big cast iron skillet filled with cathead biscuits

Cat Head Biscuits

Cat Head Biscuits are made from an old fashioned recipe handed down through generations. They're huge, fluffy biscuits with crunchy golden tops!
5 from 3 votes
Print Rate
Course: Breads
Cuisine: Southern
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 7
Calories: 337kcal

*See notes in blog post for detailed tips, photos and instructions.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all purpose white winter wheat flour (White Lily works best) ad
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ sticks cold grated butter (3/4 cup)
  • 2 cups cold buttermilk
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter to brush tops of biscuits

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Grease a large (12") cast iron skillet. (ad)
  • In a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.  Mix together with one hand.
  • Grate the 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. Make sure biscuits are touching.
  • Brush the biscuit tops with melted butter.
  • Bake at 450 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until biscuits are golden brown.  

Video

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 brand I recommend because it is a low-protein flour that creates a light and airy biscuit.

Nutrition

Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 1291mg | Potassium: 171mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Calcium: 339mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition info is an auto generated estimate.

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

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15 Comments

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

  1. 5 stars
    These biscuits are everything. I remember them from my childhood! They’re huge and fluffy, plus perfectly tender. Thank you for this great recipe!

    1. Cat Head biscuits are my number one memory from my Granny’s kitchen. She was an expert biscuit maker!

  2. The step-by-step pics all shown together are awesome!! Keeps me from having to scroll with dirty hands to see what the next step should look like!! Biscuits look yummy!!

    1. That’s great to know, Kathy! I’ll have to do that on more recipes! Happy to help. 🙂

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