Buttermilk Vs. Cream: Which Is Better For Biscuits?

If you consider yourself a serious biscuit maker, then the topic of whether you should use buttermilk or heavy cream to make them their best has probably come up from time to time. In some cases, this theory may have needed to be tested because you ran out of one or the other during your Sunday morning brunch prep; in others, you could have simply wanted to test whether your grandmother's way of making buttery biscuits fared better than your mom's method of doing so. Whatever the reason you began down the rabbit hole of the buttermilk vs. heavy cream biscuit battle, however, you're not alone in wanting to know the answer. Before you can get that answer though, you'll first need to know about each liquid and the way they benefit your biscuit.

For starters, Southern Kitchen states that historically, buttermilk was simply the liquid that was left behind after butter is churned. Now, however, buttermilks are actually more comparable to yogurt than traditional buttermilk, as they are usually just cultured low-fat milk. Heavy cream on the other hand, is derived from the high-fat part of fresh milk when it is "left to stand," according to Healthline. You would just need to scrape off the portion of the milk (which would now be heavy cream) that rises to the top.

Each one has their own benefits to creating the perfect biscuit.

If using buttermilk to create your biscuits, Southern Kitchen says that it's important to know that the ingredient is prized for its acidity, its fat and liquid content, and its ability to help dough rise. If done correctly, buttermilk can produce biscuits with a tangy, strong flavor. Buttermilk biscuits are also tall, and both deliciously flaky and fluffy. But what about using heavy cream? If buttermilk makes a perfectly flaky and fluffy biscuit, why would you even consider heavy cream instead?

Well, to start, cream biscuits can be easier to make than buttermilk, according to Southern KitchenSerious Eats states that cream biscuits only require a few simple ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen: flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and (of course) a bit of heavy cream very gently stirred in to top it off. When you use heavy cream as the liquid ingredient for biscuits, butter is no longer necessary, as Southern Kitchen states that the cream contains all the fat you need. As a result, The Kitchn says that using cream to make biscuits produces a light, "super soft and almost airy texture" that can be both sweet and savory to soothe all of your biscuit cravings.

So, which liquid is actually better to use in your recipe to produce the best tasting biscuit? That really comes down to your preference. Both buttermilk and heavy cream have their benefits, so the ultimate decision in choosing the "best" ingredient for biscuits comes down to what you enjoy most. No matter which one you use, your biscuits are sure to be the star of any meal.