Family cookie recipe everyone should know, from the pastry chef

  • I worked as a pastry chef, but grew up baking and baking alongside my Southern mother.
  • Her family’s easy cookie recipe calls for 3 ingredients, which you measure mostly with your heart.
  • After combining flour, buttermilk and Crisco, you will have light and fluffy cookies.

I’m a former pastry chef, but I fell in love with cooking while working in the kitchen alongside my Southern mother when I was a kid.

Being raised on okra, oatmeal, and chili was an absolute treat, but nothing beats my mom’s homemade cookies.

Like all the best family recipes, these are made by touch, not by strict measurement, so use your hands and measure with your heart.

The cookies are simple but everyone’s favorite – perfect for beginner bakers.

You only need 3 ingredients for this quick recipe

ingredients for pippa family cookies on a counter with a bowl and a pastry cutter

Crisco can replace butter.

Pippa Allen

All you need is White Lily self-rising flour, buttermilk and Crisco.

If you’ve never worked with Crisco before, it’s a shelf-stable vegetable shortening that’s a staple in Southern cooking. You can use butter instead – and I have done this many times – but I stick to the basics.

You will also need a large bowl, a cookie cutter, a cookie cutter and a metal mold. I recommend using a lighter colored pan because darker metals will make the cookies look too brown on the bottom.

Advice from my mother: less is more

hand mix flour and crisco with a dough cutter

You want the cookies to end up being light and fluffy.

Pippa Allen

The best advice I learned from my mother and carried with me into professional kitchens is to never overwork your dough.

The cookies are intended to be light, soft and tender. Overmixing your dough will cause gluten to develop, which makes cookies tough and tough.

Three buttermilk biscuits sitting on a plate

The cookies should be golden brown when they come out of the oven.

Pippa Allen


  • 2 cups White Lily self-rising flour
  • ¾ cup Crisco
  • ½ to ¾ cup buttermilk


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Measure self-rising flour into a large bowl.
  3. Pour the Crisco into the bowl with the flour and, using a pastry cutter, cut the Crisco into the flour until it forms pea-sized pieces of dough.
  4. Pour in ½ cup of buttermilk and mix gently with your hands until the dough is moist. Add more buttermilk as needed, but don’t overwork the dough.
  5. Once the dough is ready, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and flatten it with your hands into a 1-inch-high mass.
  6. Cut out cookies using a lightly floured cookie cutter and place them in a metal mold.
  7. Bake cookies for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Serve with butter and jam.