Everything you need is already in your pantry.

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When it comes to having holiday houseguests, breakfast can be one of those tricky things. Trying to cook a hot meal for a houseful is always a bit stressful, but it's the holidays, and you want things to be special! 

I love these easy biscuits for a lot of reasons. One, they use all general pantry ingredients, so you don't need to have anything special on hand (because who hasn't despaired of having no buttermilk when you get in the mood to make biscuits?). Two, the dough is easy to work with, unfussy, and comes together super-fast. And lastly, they freeze beautifully, so you can make a big batch, freeze them, and bake straight from frozen while you get the rest of your breakfast organized.

This recipe makes about 2 dozen small, or 16 large biscuits. I make larger ones for breakfast sandwiches, and small ones when they are going to be more of an accompaniment. 

Biscuits
Credit: Getty / LauriPatterson

Easy Morning Biscuits

1 cup shortening, chilled and cut into cubes

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 1/3 cups milk (great with whole milk or 2%, I prefer not to make with skim, but it will still work)

1. In a large bowl place the flour, salt, baking powder, and cream of tartar and whisk well to lighten and blend.

2. Add the shortening cubes and using a pastry cutter or a pair of butter knives cut the fat into the flour until you have a texture like breadcrumbs with pieces of fat ranging from pea sized at largest to small bits. You can also do this by pulsing in a food processor.

3. Add the milk and stir with a fork until a shaggy dough is made. Turn out onto a well-floured surface and lightly knead just to bring together, but do not overwork.

4. Pat into a rectangle about ¾-inch to 1-inch thick. (I like to make square biscuits so that I do not have to re-roll, but you can do round if you prefer.) Cut out and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan. 

(To freeze for later, put sheet pan in the freezer, uncovered, until frozen solid, then transfer biscuits to a zip top freezer bag and store in the freezer till you want to bake.)

5. To bake, place on an ungreased sheet pan about an inch apart and bake in a preheated 450° oven for 15-20 minutes depending on size. They will puff up, and color very little on top, just a bit of browning on the edges, but the bottoms will be golden brown when they are done. Serve warm. If you are not baking from frozen, reduce the baking time.