Photo of one of Michelle's vegan biscuits

Michelle’s fluffy vegan biscuits. May yours rise as high as your aspirations!

Biscuits aren’t hard to veganize, and they’re not even hard to make…but they’re hard to figure out if you missed the Southern memo! This recipe for vegan biscuits is dedicated to all the lost biscuits in your life–the hockey pucks, the ill-textured, the misfits. Once you learn their secrets, no biscuit in your home will be left behind.

Secret #1 is the right flour. This one’s cut and dry–just get White Lily self-rising flour, a soft (low protein) winter wheat that’s ideal for fluffy biscuits. The White Lily self-rising flour has the leavening and salt already mixed in, simplifying the preparation and reducing potential for mistakes. If you can’t find White Lily flour at your store, you can order it off Amazon. King Arthur also has a low protein, unbleached self-rising flour that might do the trick–I haven’t tried it yet, so please leave me a comment if you have!

Secret #2 is temperature. This dough needs to be cold. You want to refrigerate everything–the flour, shortening, soy milk, mixing bowl, pastry blender, and biscuit cutter. I put these items in the fridge the night before, and sometimes I even put the pre-measured flour in the freezer! Once you bring these ingredients and equipment out of the fridge, work quickly.

Secret #3 is to treat the dough like crystal. The dough will be so shaggy, sticky, and hard to work with that you’ll think you’ve done something wrong. You haven’t. Don’t give in to the urge to overwork the dough or try to make it look uniform at any stage. To cope with the stickiness, turn it out onto a well-floured surface. The few times you touch it, flour your hands first and sprinkle a bit of flour on top of the dough. It’ll still stick to your fingers, but not as much. Dip the biscuit cutter in flour before you cut out each biscuit.

Secret #4 is to push the biscuit cutter straight down into the dough when you cut out the biscuits. Never twist the cutter.

Secret #5 is to let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes before baking. This will really increase the rise and fluffiness. Once I’ve cut out the biscuits and put them on the baking sheet, I put the whole thing in the fridge.


I’ve adapted White Lily’s Light and Fluffy Biscuits recipe.

How I Made It Vegan

I just replaced the milk/buttermilk with unsweetened soy milk. I tried using vegan sour milk once, but for the extra trouble I didn’t notice a difference in taste or texture.

Other Changes

I don’t grease my baking sheet with cooking spray as in the original recipe. Although most cooking sprays can hold up to high temperature cooking, we’re talking about a 500F oven here. That’s well past the smoke point of canola or vegetable oil, and smoking oil neither smells good nor is good for you. Just bake the biscuits on an ungreased shiny metal baking sheet–they won’t stick.

I also chill all my ingredients as well as the mixing equipment, sift the flour, add the milk using a different method, gently pat the dough down instead of rolling it out (again, want to treat that dough like crystal), refrigerate the raw biscuits prior to baking, and call for a longer baking time.

Vegan, Fluffy as Air Biscuits

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 37 minutes

Yield: 1 dozen 2-inch round biscuits

Vegan, Fluffy as Air Biscuits


  • 2 cups chilled White Lily self-rising flour, measured by lightly spooning the flour into the measuring cup and leveling off with a knife
  • 1/4 cup chilled vegetable shortening, measured by packing the shortening into the measuring cup, running a knife through the shortening to get rid of any air pockets, and leveling off with the knife
  • 2/3 cup chilled, unsweetened soy milk. You may need a little bit more depending on how you mix the soy milk in.


  1. Put a biscuit cutter, medium-sized mixing bowl, and pastry cutter in the refrigerator the night before. Also put the flour, shortening, and soy milk in the refrigerator the night before.
  2. The next morning, flour a work surface. Set aside a small bowl of flour and put the biscuit cutter in it.
  3. Sift the 2 cups flour into the medium-sized mixing bowl.
  4. Add the shortening to the flour in pats. Try to evenly distribute the pats of shortening to make it easier to cut into the flour during the next step.
  5. Cut the shortening into the flour using a pastry blender (see the first How To video below) until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs and small peas. It's ok if there are a few pieces the size of large peas.
  6. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Pour the soy milk into the well.
  7. Pull some of the flour/shortening into the well and then fold once. Repeat this pulling and folding sequence just until the flour is moistened and the dough forms a mass that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. You can use your hand to do this, using an under-and-up folding motion along half the bowl (see the second How To video below). You can also use a spoon in the same way, but you'll probably need to add a dab more soy milk to get all the flour moistened.
  8. Turn the dough onto the floured work surface. Flour your hands well.
  9. Knead the dough 3 times.
  10. Gently pat the dough down with your fingertips until it is about 1/2 inch thick.
  11. Cut the biscuits straight down with the biscuit cutter without twisting. Before each cut, dip the cutter into the bowl of flour to prevent sticking. If you're using a round cutter, you'll have extra dough from in between the rounds. Put these pieces of leftover dough together, pat them down until the mass is about 1/2 inch thick, and then cut with the biscuit cutter. These biscuits will not rise as much, so they won't be as good as the biscuits you cut out the first time around. The only way around this problem is to use a square biscuit cutter!
  12. Transfer the biscuits to an ungreased shiny metal baking sheet. Space them so they are just touching. This way, they'll be forced to rise up instead of spreading out.
  13. Put the baking sheet and biscuits in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 15-30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 500F.
  14. Bake 12-15 minutes until golden on top.
  15. Top with butter and serve warm. Biscuits do not store well even for a few hours, so eat 'em up fast!