Learn the tips and secrets to serving sweet scones that are melt-in-your-mouth good. Personalize them with your favorite ingredients.
How to Make Scones
The biscuit-like texture of scones makes them a hearty option for breakfast, brunch, or a snack. They're also a good choice to make for company because they bake quickly. The secret to making tender scones is handling the dough as little as possible.
Step One: Combine Dry Ingredients
Combine dry ingredients, stirring well with a whisk. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
Step Two: Combine Wet Ingredients
Combine wet ingredients. Add to dry ingredients, and stir just until moist.
Step Three: Form a Circle
Pat dough into a circle on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or coated with cooking spray.
Step Four: Cut Wedges in Dough
Dip the knife in flour before cutting the scones to prevent the dough from sticking to the knife. Cut dough into equal wedges, cutting into but not through the dough. This allows the wedges to bake as one large scone; they'll be much moister than scones baked separately.
Step Five: Sprinkle Sugar and Bake
Sprinkle the top of the dough with sugar before baking to add a delicious sweet crunch to your scones. You can use turbinado sugar instead of granulated, if you'd like. Turbinado's larger crystals make a pretty topping. Bake until golden.
See More: 15 Healthy Scone Recipes
We all know that scones hail from across the pond and that the Queen enjoys a scone with a cup of tea in the afternoon. What you may not be so clear on is just what a scone is. We'll help set the record straight: Scones are quick breads, and in the UK, they are generally made with milk and self-rising flour and without eggs. English scones are not glazed or frosted, and they are generally spilt open and spread with butter, but sometimes also with clotted cream and jam (yes please!).
Our scones tend to be richer and more cake-like, usually made with egg and with heavy cream or buttermilk. In the recipes here, you'll see that we make scones with cake flour for a more delicate English-style scone, such as our Rich Cream Scones, but we mostly use all-purpose flour, like in the Scones with Pears, Irish Cheddar, and Honey shown here, which is just one of the things that means scones are so easy to make. Some of our scones recipes go a more healthy route, adding in whole grains like oats or buckwheat flour, making them strong contenders for breakfast. And for a gluten-free scone, be sure to try the lofty quinoa and cranberry scone that uses rice flour and quinoa flakes, along with dried cranberries, for a flavorful and light scone sans the gluten.
Another thing to love about scones? They're quick to make, our fastest recipe takes 30 minutes. The only downside to scones? One tends to lead to another, and they are best enjoyed the day they're made (or freeze leftovers for another day.) Some scones are drop scones, which means they're made with a moister batter and don't require rolling or shaping. That results in a more homespun look. Other scone dough is patted out, formed into a circle then cut into elegant triangle scones. And some scone dough is rolled out, then cut into circles using what we'd call a biscuit cutter (the Brits, of course, say is a scone cutter!). Whichever route you take, when you make scones you're on the way to a quick, easy, and pleasing baked good.
Perfect Scone Baking Tips
It must be COLD. The cold butter creates that beautiful tall flaky texture. I like to cube then freeze my butter before using it. I also always prefer to use unsalted butter for baking, you can find out why here: Salted vs. Unsalted Butter.
This is absolutely the preferred liquid for scones. It will result in tender taller biscuit because of how its acidity reacts with the baking powder. It also adds a lovely tang to create more depth of flavor.
I would highly advise using real buttermilk instead of a substitute. You can learn more about buttermilk here.
Whatever you do, do not overmix the dough or allow it to get too warm. Doing so will result in flatter, tougher, and less flaky scones. My absolute favorite tool for making biscuits or scone dough quickly and easily by hand (so I don’t have to lug out my food processor) is this OXO bladed pastry blender. LOVE.
Use a marble pastry board to help keep the dough cool. If at any point you notice the butter become greasy and melty, pop the dough into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes before proceeding.
You can also pop the tray of shaped unbaked scones in the fridge or freezer while the oven preheats to ensure the butter remains nice and cold.
How to Make Tall Flaky Scones
We’re stealing a trick from croissant baking that I use in my Best Ever Pie Crust recipe! We’re doing a little bit of lamination to get the scones to shoot up sky high with tons of flaky layers. Don’t worry, it sounds more complicated than it actually is.
All you do is turn the craggly mass of scone dough out onto your work surface. Shape it into a rectangle. Fold the rectangle in half like a piece of paper. Flatten it out into a rectangle again. Now fold it in half once more but going the opposite direction. This will also help you to gently ‘knead’ the dough so it comes together into a more cohesive disk without overmixing it. Overmixing leads to rubbery tough scones.
If you don’t want to be bothered by this extra step, you can totally skip it! But try to shape half your scone dough using this trick and half without to compare the difference. You’ll be surprised!
How to Make Scones Ahead of Time
The shaped unbaked scones can be covered and refrigerated overnight, or placed in an airtight container and frozen for up to 1 month. If baking from frozen, add about 2 minutes to the baking time.
Scone Flavor Variations
Feel free to get creative with your scone flavorings! Listed below are some ideas with specific ingredient additions. But you can add in about 3/4 cup of dried fruit, chips, nuts, etc. to the dough. If using fruit, dried fruit or frozen berries work best!
Use a spatula to gently fold in the 1 1/2 cups blueberries to the scone dough as a final step before shaping. Take care not to break the blueberries or their color will bleed. If using frozen blueberries, keep frozen and don’t thaw before using.
Lemon Poppy Seed
Add 3 tablespoons poppy seeds + 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest to the dough
Mix 3 tablespoons granulated sugar with 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and sprinkle on the egg-coated unbaked scones.
- 1 1/2 cups (188 grams) powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons water, milk, or citrus juice
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract, or other extract
- Citrus zest, to taste, if desired
Whisk all glaze ingredients together until thick but still pourable. Spread over cooled scones and let stand until set.
Perfect Fruit Scones
Scones sound fancy, but really, they are so easy to make. These scones are studded with fresh berries and sprinkled with coarse sugar for the perfect bite. When working on these scones, I was very wary of their being dry. No one likes dry scones, and I feel every recipe I've made in the past always fell flat. But these are different, and will disappoint no one. And because these come out buttery and tender, they will last a little longer than most scones do.
Fruit scones are meant to be seasonal, so use your favorite fruit that's in season, or whatever you need to use up in your fridge. I love them with blackberries, but a mix of berries is always a crowd-pleaser! If you aren't sure what to make in the fall, you can always go with pumpkin spice scones.
Scones also freeze beautifully. After making the dough and cutting it into triangles, you can freeze them for up to 3 months. You can then bake the scones straight from the freezer, with no need to defrost them. Just add another 5 minutes to the bake time.
- For the scones:
- 500g strong bread flour, plus a little extra for rolling out
- 80g softened butter, plus a little extra to grease the baking tray
- 80g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 25g baking powder
- 250ml oz milk
- 1 free-range egg, beaten with a little salt (for glazing)
- For the scones filling:
- Good-quality strawberry or raspberry jam
- Clotted cream
- You'll also need:
- Round pastry cutter (about 7.5cm/3in wide)
All About Scones
A scone is a single-serving quick bread, usually made of wheat, barley or oatmeal with baking powder as a leavening agent and baked on sheet pans. A scone is often lightly sweetened and sometimes glazed with egg wash. Scones are largely known as a staple of colonial New Zealand.
The original scone was round and flat, sometimes quite large. It was made with unleavened oats and baked on a griddle, then cut into triangular sections for serving.
When baking powder became available, scones began to be the oven-baked, well-leavened items that are more popular today. Modern scones are widely available in bakeries, grocery stores, and supermarkets.
How to make Scones
These basic Buttermilk Scones are made with lots of buttermilk of course, and some very cold butter for that delicious buttery taste and tender texture.
Making buttermilk scone dough (Photos 1 – 4)
- Start by working the cubed butter to the dry ingredient mixture with the tips of your fingers until about pea and bean size. Make sure to use cold butter.
- Beat together buttermilk, egg, vanilla, and add the mixture to the dry ingredients. Leave behind 1 – 2 tablespoon to use as egg wash later.
- Fold with a spatula until a shaggy dough forms.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and pat it out into a rectangle, fold it over itself a few times. Finally, pat it into a circle about 1” thick.
- Cut into 8 triangles and transfer to a lined baking sheet. Brush with the reserved egg wash, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar just before baking.
Buttermilk scone dough divided (Photo 5)
Customizing your own buttermilk scones recipe
This is the best scone recipe for customization. You can easily add flavors using citrus zest or different flavor extracts and spices. You can fold in dried fruits, fresh fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, pretty much anything you can think of!
- If you’re using any kind of citrus zest, mix the zest with sugar to release the essential oil before you mix all of the dry ingredients together.
- If you’re using ground spices, stir them into the dry ingredients before adding the cubed butter.
- If you’re using a different kind of extract, reduce the amount of vanilla called for in the recipe to ¼ – ½ teaspoon but don’t omit it altogether. Then add the additional extract in with the wet ingredients.
- If you’re using any kind of filling like dried fruits, fresh fruits, nuts, or chocolate chips, toss them into the flour mixture after you have finished working the butter in and just before adding the wet ingredients.
- If you’re using delicate fresh fruits like berries, you’ll want to skip the “fold the dough over itself” step to avoid squishing the berries. Just shape the dough into a disk right away.
Buttermilk scones made with orange zest and dried cranberries
Triple Chocolate Scones
"Triple chocolate" — you can't argue with that! These scones feature chocolate chips studded throughout a tender, just-sweet-enough chocolate scone the rich chocolate glaze makes this a triple treat.
- 2 cups (241g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 2/3 cup (74g) King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
- 1/3 cup (28g) Dutch-process cocoa
- 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder, optional for flavor and color
- 1/2 cup (99g) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons (113g) butter, cold, cut into pats
- 1 1/2 cups (170g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (198g) milk
- 2/3 cup (113g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup (57g) half & half or liquid coffee creamer
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.
To make the scones: In a large mixing bowl, blend the flours, cocoa, espresso powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together thoroughly.
Using a stand mixer equipped with the beater paddle or a pastry blender, pastry fork, or your fingertips, work in the butter until the mixture is unevenly crumbly.
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Perfect your technique
Triple Chocolate Scones
Whisk together the vanilla, egg, and milk.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until the mixture is evenly moist. If necessary, add an additional tablespoon or so of milk, enough to make the dough come together.
Mix 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar with 1 teaspoon cocoa powder, and sprinkle it on your parchment-lined (or lightly greased) baking sheet. You're using this sugar mixture in place of the usual flour, to keep the scones from sticking to the pan as you shape them.
Divide the dough in half, and place the two pieces onto the baking sheet. Pat them gently into two 6" circles, each about 3/4" thick.
Cut each circle into 6 wedge-shaped pieces with a bench knife or bowl scraper (or sharp knife), pressing down firmly without sawing. You'll find it easier if you dip your cutter in flour after each cut. Make sure you press it into the dough quickly, without twisting or sawing. This shears the dough cleanly rather than pressing it together, which allows the scones to rise higher. Separate the scones a bit, but leave them in their circle try to leave about 1" between them at the outer edge of the circle.
Bake the scones for 18 to 23 minutes, until they lose their moist look, and a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean or with just a smear of chocolate from a melting chip.
Remove the scones from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool.
To make the glaze: Place the chocolate chips and half & half or creamer in a microwave-safe bowl or small saucepan. Heat in the microwave (or over low heat) until the cream is very hot. Remove from the heat, and stir until the chips melt, and the mixture is smooth.
7 Baking Tips for Making Better Scones
If you're watching the royal wedding this weekend and want to perfect your scone game, the Food & Wine Test Kitchen's got you covered.
The royal wedding is fast approaching, and whether you&aposre planning to host a big viewing party𠅌omplete with cucumber sandwiches and elderflower cakes, inspired by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle&aposs wedding cake—or simply planning to dive into a bowl of wedding-inspired Velveeta mac and cheese to celebrate the occasion, we urge you to consider scones. However you pronounce this humble pastry (does it rhyme with &aposcone&apos or &aposgone?&apos), this Saturday is the perfect excuse to break out the butter and bake a batch of scones.
To help you achieve royal wedding-worthy results, Food & Wine Test Kitchen Manager Kelsey Youngman has laid out her favorite tips:
1. For a better rise, use cold butter—or even frozen butter. The colder the better, and that extends beyond just ingredients, too. It&aposs ideal to have a chilled bowl and pastry cutter as well.
2. When it comes to mixing, don&apost overdo it mix until the dough just comes together. And although the food processor can help keep the temperature down, it&aposs easy to over-mix, so use a pastry instead, Youngman suggests. "It should look like pancake batter," she says. "Lumps are what you want!"
3. Use pastry flour for the lightest scones. All-purpose plus pastry flour also works, but don&apost omit the pastry flour.
4. "Once you&aposve shaped your scones, chill them before baking," Youngman says. "You can use that time to preheat the oven so the kitchen doesn&apost heat up while you make the dough. The final chill relaxes the gluten which yields a tender texture. It also cools the butter down again, which is how you&aposll get that flaky texture."
5. Spacing: "I usually space the scones about one inch apart if they are separate wedges. Keep &aposem cozy," Youngman says. If you&aposre baking round scones, you can try baking them like cinnamon rolls, where they&aposre actually touching, which will give you nice, soft sides.
6. If you&aposre adding fruit, don&apost use super juicy fruit, and make sure you rinse and dry it well. If you&aposre using frozen fruit, you can don&apost have to thaw it if the fruit is individually frozen. If the fruit is in one big chunk, however, thaw, rinse and drain it as well as you can.
7. As King Arthur says, "a scone is not a cupcake." Don&apost overbake them, and remember they are meant for clotted cream, butter, and jam!
Now that you&aposre equipt with these key pieces of advice, check out these 11 great scone recipes.
How to Make Exceptionally Tender, Fluffy Scones
These delightful scones are the perfect use for a bounty of seasonal berries.
The next time you think about making flaky, buttery biscuits consider trying your hand at making scones—the biscuit’s slightly sweeter cousin—instead. Scones may sound fancy, but you want to know a little secret? If you know how to make biscuits, then you already know how to make scones. Scones are essentially biscuits that are leavened with baking powder, and often include sweet elements such as added sugar in the dough, fruits, jams, and glazes however, scones can definitely walk on the savory side too.
In the spirit of finding ways to incorporate summer berries in nearly everything that I make right now, I decided to make a batch of berry-stuffed scones more specifically, these Mixed Berry Scones with Lemon Ginger Glaze. In creating this recipe, I channeled the lessons I learned the very first time I made scones during my time working in a French bakery. The most important trick I picked up during that initial introduction to scone making is this: Freeze your berries before incorporating them into your scone dough. By using frozen berries, the butter in the dough is kept nice and cold while you are working with it. And really, cold butter is the key to great biscuits, scones, and pie dough. To make these scones, you can utilize the bag of frozen berries stashed in the back of your freezer for smoothies or simply freeze some of your farmers’ market bounty the night before you plan to bake. Now, here’s everything else you’ll need to know in order to make the fluffiest, tenderest scones you can imagine.
Generally, your basic dough is a blank canvas to make whatever flavored scone that you desire. In my case, I chose to use a mix of berries. However, sliced peaches and cherries would also be great summer fruits to experiment with. The dough begins with creating a slurry that includes heavy cream, one egg, vanilla extract, and sugar. The slurry is set aside while you begin to work the butter into your all-purpose flour. Crumble the butter into the flour with the same motion that you would to make biscuits. The mixture should look mealy and be filled with pebbles of flour-coated butter. At this point, you’ll combine the flour-butter mixture with the slurry mixture to form a ball of dough.
Once your dough is formed, transfer it to a flat, lightly floured surface. Start by shaping the dough into a square with your hands. (Maintaining the dough&aposs square shape throughout the entire process is important.) Use a rolling pin to flatten the square evenly until it is about ½-inch-thick and the size of a 9x9-inch baking pan. The best way to roll out the dough is to roll it in one direction while rotating at a 90-degree angle after a few passes.
I used an assortment of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Blueberries and raspberries can be frozen whole, and used whole in the scones however, the strawberries should be sliced before freezing, instead of using them whole. When you have your fruits ready, add about ¾ cup in the center of your flattened dough arranging them in an even layer.
Fold each side of dough into the center as if you are closing the flaps on a box. This will completely enclose the fruits into the dough, creating a little package of dough-encased berries. Gently press into the dough to seal the edges and flip the entire package over. Use your rolling pin, gently roll the dough package until it is 1-inch-thick. You should start to see the fruit peek through the dough at this point. Use a sharp knife cut the dough into about 8 triangle-shaped pieces.
The Cream + The Glaze
The second trick that I use for scones is brushing the unbaked scones with heavy cream instead of a basic egg wash. The cream browns beautifully on the crust of the dough, creating a semi-glossy shine. Brush the scones with a few strokes of heavy cream and pop them into a 400° oven, baking for about 12 minutes (or until golden).
As the scones are baking, prepare a simple glaze to finish them off. I opted for a bright glaze—made with freshly grated ginger, lemon zest, lemon juice, and confectioners’ sugar—
to complement the buttery, berry-studded scones. You can play around with the thickness of the glaze by adding more or less confectioners’ sugar. When the scones come out of the oven, brush them with your glaze and enjoy.