What Is the Difference Between Butter Biscuits and Shortening Biscuits?
Butter is 80% fat and 20% water. The water content in butter turns to steam as it bakes and puffs up the biscuit dough to create tender layers. This makes butter biscuits light, moist and flaky with a melt-in-your mouth richness. Shortening is all fat with no water so may result in a slightly denser, soft and crumbly biscuit.
However, there are a few advantages to shortening biscuits. First, its lack of water content means it’s less likely to create gluten, reducing the chances of a tough biscuit dough. Shortening also has a higher melting point which means it’s harder to “overwork” vs butter. If you prefer to work with shortening, but want the beautifully golden finish of a butter biscuit, you can always brush a bit of melted butter on top before baking.
Whether you choose butter vs shortening for biscuits really comes down to your preference and what you plan to pair it with. All-butter biscuits will be more flavorful on their own while shortening biscuits are perfect for soaking up delicious sauces, stews and gravies.