Ruth’s Diner is legendary in Utah and known for Ruth’s Mile High Biscuits! We first went to Ruth’s right after we were married in the early 80’s. I loved the setting of this quaint little diner in Emigration Canyon just past the zoo in Salt Lake City.
Ruth’s Diner In Utah
Have you eaten at Ruth’s Diner in Utah? It’s located in an old trolley car in Emigration Canyon. The setting of the restaurant is so scenic. Seating is both inside the trolley car, and also outside on a beautiful patio filled with trees. I love eating outside in the summer and inside the cozy car during the cool weather months. My favorite meal is breakfast- especially the biscuits!
Ruth’s Diner is spilling over with Utah history. Ruth first opened a hamburger restaurant in 1930 in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. After the building was demolished, she purchased an old trolley car and reopened her restaurant in Emigration Canyon. Ruth had an apartment built out back, where she lived alone with her Chihuahua, for nearly 40 years. Her personality was legendary and still talked about to this day at Ruth’s Diner which is the one of the oldest operating eating establishments in Utah.
Ruth’s Famous Mile High Biscuits
Ruth’s Diner is most famous for their Mile High Biscuits. They are tall, fluffy, and perfectly delicious. Not like typical Southern biscuits which are a bit more flaky. This biscuit is more fluffy than flaky, but ranks high on the scale for taste, and of course, the nostalgia category! When I first tried Ruth’s famous biscuits, I knew I had to have the recipe and make them at home.
This is not a copycat recipe- this is THE recipe used at Ruth’s Diner. Well, the original recipe perfected a bit! After years of making this biscuit, (this recipe was originally posted in 2012 on ABK) I found it needed a little more leavening so I added baking soda and I’ve always used butter instead of the margarine Ruth’s original recipe calls for. The original recipe from Ruth’s also calls for cutting the biscuits into circles and baking with no mention of using a pan with sides and baking close together, which is essential for a high rise and the square look of biscuits at Ruth’s Diner!
One last note, I’m not sure if Ruth named these “mile high” biscuits because the biscuits were so tall, or because the elevation of the restaurant is about a mile above sea level? Either way, they are delicious!
How To Make Ruth’s Diner Mile High Biscuits- a few essential tips!
This recipe comes together very easily- in under 25 minutes bowl to table! A few tips for making biscuits just like Ruth’s… Make sure the butter is chilled and not at room temperature. I take the butter straight out of the fridge and add it to the bowl. You will also need about 3/4 cup of buttermilk for this biscuit recipe so make sure you have buttermilk in the fridge. I’ve also had success with powdered buttermilk, but prefer fresh if possible.
Don’t overhandle the dough! Less handling equals a lighter finished product. Folding is the key instead of beating or over stirring! Also, to get the high rise on the biscuits, make sure to bake in a pan with the sides of biscuits touching each other. Don’t use a cookie sheet. The biscuits need the support of the pan and other biscuits to create a tall “mile high” biscuit.
I have oodles of recipes on ABK that will help you use up your buttermilk! Just enter “buttermilk” in the search bar. Some of our favorites are: Buttermilk Aebleskivers, Southern Buttermilk Pancakes, BLT Pasta Salad with Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing to name a few.
Ruth’s “Mile High” biscuits will rise about 2 inches so don’t be alarmed if they aren’t as high as you thought they would be. Not a mile high, but this biscuit will yield more of a rise than the average biscuit. I hope you love making and eating these classic biscuits as much as we do, and if you’re in Utah, make sure to take a drive up to Ruth’s!
Ruth’s Mile High Biscuits
Ruth's Mile high Biscuits are legendary in the state of Utah! This recipe is directly from Ruth's Diner in Emmigration Canyon.
- 2 1/2-2 3/4 cups all purpose flour* see recipe notes
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 oz unsalted butter chilled and cut into small cubes (Ruth uses margarine)
- 3/4 cup buttermilk chilled and shaken well
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup water
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees
Combine 2 1/2 cups flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and butter till crumbly, using a pastry cutter, or two knives, or your fingers.
Add the buttermilk, egg and water. Mix with a fork or large utensil just until all of the wet and dry ingredients are combined using a folding motion, instead of stirring.
Pat out lightly onto a floured surface into a 6×6 square. Cut into 9 even pieces. Move to a 8×8 or 9×9 square ungreased pan to bake.
Bake at 425 for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately!
- The dough will be more wet or dry depending on your climate. Start with 2 1/2 cups flour. When all of the ingredients are mixed together, the dough should be pliable but not sticky wet. If the dough looks wet, add a couple of tablespoons of flour, sprinkling on until the dough is no longer shiny (see photos) If the dough is dry, you may add a little water or buttermilk to the dough by sprinkling on top of dough and then folding together again.
- Make sure to use a pan and not a cookie sheet to bake the biscuits! See post for details.
- If using a dark pan, the biscuits will brown more and may be done closer to the 12 minute mark. The dark pan absorbs heat and will cook the biscuits faster.
- I use a ruler to determine a 3 inch biscuit which makes it easier to fit back into pan when baking. The use of a dough scraper to move the biscuits into the pan is also recommended.
- If doubling this recipe, use a 9×13 pan.
45 thoughts on “Ruth’s Mile High Biscuits”
Yummy this biscuit. Looks delicious and great with a cup of tea!
I am making these!!! I see they don't require yeast – something that just doesn't like me when I bake (think: everything turns out flat). I have hope that these will work for me. 😉
I'm pinning these to try soon!!
The complimentary bisquits at Ruths really are 3-4 inches tall. The waitress said the cook “whips them”, but i’ve always been told that toughens the dough. Any thought to doubling the levening?
Hmmmmm whipping biscuit dough is not something I recommend. Ive been making biscuits for years, and always try to gently handle them. I’m going to bake these again soon and see if I can alter the recipe to get the biscuits to raise more. If you live in the SLC area, go try Sweet Lake Biscuits and Limeade. They have the best restaurant biscuits in town!
You may have noticed Ruth’s biscuits don’t have crust all the way around. This is because they are baked in a pan instead of individually cut biscuits. This way you can control the height of the biscuits, making them “mile high”.
Thank you for sharing, Lindsay. I’ll have to try that next time!
Can I sub buttermilk for anything??
There is a buttermilk substitute listed in the notes of the recipe. You can also use Greek yogurt or even sour cream in the place of buttermilk, it will have a slightly different texture and flavor!
These taste delicious! The texture is very close to ruth’s diner.
Can these be baked as one big “loaf” and then cut after baking?
I’ve printed this recipe off and can’t wait to try them! If it’s anything like the rest of your recipes they will be a crowd pleaser and made over and over again!!! Your top notch!
Long awaited recipe, I can’t wait to try! Have you ever used margarine? I typically prefer butter when I can but wondered what margarine would do with the texture?
Can you use salted butter and just omit the salt in the recipe?
I would say yes. I just made these and I did the full salt and salted butter and they were a bit too salty. I would omit the salt completely next time!
When you say 3 oz butter, do you mean 6 TBLS? I don’t normally see butter measured in ounces, so I just wanted to double check. Thanks!
Yes, it is 6 tablespoons. Thanks for asking, Amy!
These were amazing!
I need to quadruple it though!
How long should they cook?
This recipe does make a rather small amount. If you quadruple it, you should use 2 9×13 or a jelly roll pan. The baking time will be slightly longer, just check to make sure the biscuits in the center are done. I’d maybe add another 5? minutes. Thanks for trying this recipe and for reading ABK!
These biscuits were fantastic. The recipe came together quickly and easily. I substituted in 1/2 cup of sourdough discard (omitting 1/4 cup flour and the 1/4 cup of water). They were super moist and sticky, and they took about 8-10 minutes extra to bake, but otherwise they were tall and moist and flaky tender. Definitely a recipe keeper.
I’m so glad you enjoyed them, Marie, thank you for sharing and for reading ABK!
I LOVED this receipe!
I forgot how easy it was to make biscuits from scratch. It was such a quick receipe to make. For me personally, my dough was a little bit wet still when it went in the oven so I left them in the oven for a few minutes longer, they came out perfect. I can’t wait to make them again!
I agree Sarah, they are so easy to make and I’m so glad you enjoyed them. Thank you for sharing and for reading ABK!
AMAZING!!! 10/10. so easy and delish! I love Ruth’s diner so I was stoked to find this amazing recipe!
I didn’t have buttermilk on hand so I mixed 1 tbs lemon juice with the milk and it worked beautifully!
This will easily become a weekly staple for me!
So happy to hear that, Katelyn, thank you for sharing!
These biscuits are amazing!! I made these for the first time about a month and a half ago and have made them at least once a week since then! So yummy!
I always make these for biscuits and gravy night, the family loves them and loves when we have leftovers too!
I’ve eaten at Ruth’s, the biscuits are out of this world, and this recipe makes them! Thank you! I used butter, buttermilk, and the rubbing-in method. BTW, I lived in the South for many years, and these biscuits are honestly better than any of those I tasted there.
I made these just barely and they are AMAZING I used margarine instead of butter and I doubled the recipe. Goes great with some raspberry jam and a cup of coffee 🤤🤤
Can you freeze the dough to cook at a later time?
I have not tried to make these ahead. I am guessing it will work. I’d love to hear if you give it a try!
I love ALL your recipes! I follow you on Facebook. Do you send recipes to your followers’ email addresses? I sure hope so! Keep on cooking and baking! You’re terrific!
Yes I do send out regular emails. There is a tab on the right that gives a prompt to share your email for our newsletters!
Just came from Ruth’s last week and am determined to replicate her biscuits at home. Your texture was spot on, but it was a little too salty for my taste. I didn’t quite get the rise that Ruth’s gets either, but I am on the East coast at much lower altitude so I will have to play with it some more. Thanks for the recipe! Will keep trying and let you know when I nail it!
Jasmine- Thank you for trying Ruth’s Biscuits! Please let me know when you perfect it for the East coast so we can share it with our readers! Thank you for reading ABK. xo,
Just ate at Ruth’s…the texture of the biscuit is light, soft, and a very fine crumb…I figure they used at least some portion of cake or pastry flour….they are definitely baked in a cake pan like a cake ….not as individual pieces, and the top crust implies egg whites are in the mix.
So I’m finally home and able to try this recipe and it’s a good recipe but it is nothing and I mean nothing like the Ruth’s Mile High biscuit. Did not raise high enough, top is different, and crumb- texture is different. I will experiment with pastry flour, egg whites, etc
Can this be frozen before baking?
I’ve had trouble finding fresh buttermilk… what stores do you find it at?
I have not tried freezing before baking, but it’s on my list of recipes to try freezing! To make buttermilk at home, pour one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice into a one cup measure. Then fill to the one cup mark with milk. Let sit for 5-10 minutes (important step!). OR my favorite substitute is 1/2 cup of plain (unsweetened) Greek yogurt in a cup, fill with milk to the one cup mark. Stir and use as a substitute.
Hope this helps!
These are definitely the best biscuits. We love Ruth’s diner and especially the Mile High biscuits! The recipe is right on! My husband, coming into the kitchen asked, “who went to Ruth’s to pick up the biscuits?” Thank you!!!
What a sweet compliment! I love it. Thanks for sharing!
These are my go to for breakfast, especially when we have family visiting! It’s terrifying cooking for my husbands family (they love to cook), but I’ve made them for my mother in law multiple times and she loved them. They have become a east/quick family favorite!
These biscuits are divine! They remind my family of our most favorite biscuits from Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner at Knottsberry Farm. So good, must try!
I sometimes find myself torn between these biscuits and the best butter biscuits, but each of them bring their own “something” to the table. If you’re looking for a slab-esque biscuit, you can’t go wrong here. They are so good that I made Ruth’s a must stop on our SLC trip last year.
Amazing! Buttery, flakey, deliciousness! Husband and the kids wished I had made a double batch 😆
Love these biscuits just made them for dinner yesterday! Kids downed them all!