Food & Drink

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Is it possible to improve on a biscuit? Let’s see

Photo: Denny Culbert

A good biscuit is a work of art. This variation uses the sweet potatoes that are always available in much of the South. When making biscuits, you will know if the dough is good from the way it feels between your fingers. If it feels light and airy while you’re mixing it, then you’re on the right path.

If you have a baking stone in your oven, your biscuits will turn out even better. Put the stone in the oven when you turn it on to preheat. Let it get hot for at least an hour. If you don’t have a baking stone, put a couple of cast-iron skillets in the oven instead. They make great biscuits, too.

Keep your ingredients cold. You want to just barely bring the dry ingredients together with the buttermilk, then bake them hot and fast.
Melissa M. Martin


  • Yield: 12 to 15 large biscuits

    • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

    • 1 cup freshly milled flour, preferably Ruby Lee

    • 2 tbsp. baking powder

    • 2 tsp. kosher salt

    • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

    • 6 tbsp. leaf lard, cut into small pieces

    • ½ cup mashed cooked sweet potato, chilled

    • 2½ cups buttermilk

    • Heavy cream and raw unrefined sugar, for topping


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (if your oven runs hot, go for 375° to 400°F). Put a pizza stone (or a couple of cast-iron skillets) in the oven and let it preheat for 1 hour or so—you want it superhot.

  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and leaf lard and cut it in with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly and resembles coarse sand. Some big chunks of butter are fine. Put the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes.

  3. Remove the bowl from the freezer and cut in the mashed sweet potatoes with a fork until just incorporated. The mixture will be lumpy.

  4. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the buttermilk. Mix together with your fingers just until the dough comes together. Do not overmix—you are not looking for a highly cohesive, smooth dough.

  5. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and use your hands to shape it roughly into an 8 by 8-inch square about 2 inches thick (do not knead or fold the dough). Use a 2½-inch biscuit cutter to cut out rounds of dough. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet and freeze for 5 minutes.

  6. Remove the baking sheet from the freezer. Transfer the biscuits to the preheated pizza stone (or cast-iron pans). Brush the tops with heavy cream and raw sugar. Bake for about 1 hour, or until the tops are browned. Remove from the oven and let the biscuits rest, covered, for 5 minutes before serving.

Excerpted from Mosquito Supper Club by Melissa M. Martin (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2020.