Caramel Apple Cinnamon Scones

These deliciously spiced caramel apple cinnamon scones will give you major Fall vibes! They’re buttery and moist with crisp crumbly edges and soft flaky centers. Crunchy coarse sugar and salted caramel are the perfect finishing touches!

caramel apple cinnamon scones

Scones. They can taste REALLY good or they can taste REALLY bad. It all depends on the recipe and mixing method.

I learned how to make absolutely delicious scones few years ago when I attended a cooking event in the Panera Bread test kitchen. Turns out that I had been making all the wrong scones up until that point! Since that fateful afternoon, I’ve mastered chocolate chip scones, cinnamon scones, and blueberry scones. I use the same basic scone recipe for each flavor.

By the way, I wrote an entire post devoted to my favorite base scone recipe. Today we’re making caramel apple cinnamon scones inspired by real caramel apples. These will definitely become your new favorite flavor. Here’s why you’ll love them:

  • Sweet crumbly edges
  • Soft, moist centers
  • Crunchy golden brown exterior
  • Buttery cinnamon flavor
  • An overflow of sweet apples
  • Drizzles of salted caramel on top

Let’s make them!

caramel apple cinnamon scones with salted caramel drizzle

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Scone Ingredients

  1. Flour: 2 cups of all-purpose flour is my standard amount for homemade scones, but set extra aside for the work surface and your hands.
  2. Brown Sugar: Stick with around 1/2 cup of brown sugar for this scone dough. Feel free to slightly decrease, but keep in mind that the scone flavor and texture will slightly change.
  3. Baking Powder: Adds lift.
  4. Salt, Cinnamon, & Vanilla Extract: These 3 ingredients add flavor.
  5. Cold Butter: Besides flour, cold butter is the main ingredient in apple scones. It adds flavor, flakiness, crisp edges, and rise.
  6. Heavy CreamFor the best tasting pastries, stick with a thick liquid such as heavy cream. Buttermilk works too! For a nondairy option, try using full-fat canned coconut milk. Avoid thinner liquids such as milk or almond milk– the result is often dry, bland, and flat scones.
  7. Egg: Adds flavor, lift, and structure.
  8. Apples: Use your favorite apple variety. I love Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Fuji here.

Before baking, brush the scones with heavy cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar. These extras add a bakery-style crunch and lovely golden sheen.

Frozen butter shreds

Frozen Grated Butter

I’ve learned that frozen grated butter is key to scone success.

Like when we make pie crust, work the cold butter into the dry ingredients. The cold butter coats the flour. When the buttery flour crumbs melt as the scones bake, they release steam which creates pockets of air. These pockets add a flaky center, while keeping the edges crumbly and crisp. Refrigerated butter might melt in the dough as you work it, but frozen butter will hold out until the oven. Timing is KEY! And the finer the pieces of cold butter, the less the scones spread and the quicker the butter mixes into the dry ingredients. Remember, you don’t want to over-work scone dough.

I recommend grating the frozen butter with a box grater.

apple cinnamon scone dough cut into triangles on a baking sheet

How to Make Apple Cinnamon Scones

Since there’s no yeast, these apple cinnamon scones go from the mixing bowl to the oven relatively quickly. First, mix the dry ingredients together. Second, cut cold butter into the dry ingredients. You can use a pastry cutter, 2 forks, or your hands for this step. A food processor works too, but it often overworks the scone dough. To avoid overly dense scones, work the dough as little as possible. I always use a pastry cutter.

Next, whisk the wet ingredients together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, add the apples, then gently mix together. Form the dough into a disc on the counter, then cut into 8 wedges.

One of my recent tricks! To obtain a flaky center and a crumbly exterior, scone dough must remain cold. Cold dough won’t over-spread either. Therefore, I highly recommend you chill the shaped scones for at least 15 minutes prior to baking. You can even refrigerate overnight for a quick breakfast in the morning.

After that, bake the scones until golden brown.


Video Tutorial: Apple Cinnamon Scones

Here I’m making blueberry scones, but for the apple cinnamon variety, switch the granulated sugar for brown sugar and add apples.

apple cinnamon scones on a baking sheet

The scones are INCREDIBLE right out of the oven, but taste even better with salted caramel on top. 🙂 What doesn’t?!

caramel apple cinnamon scones on a white plate

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caramel apple cinnamon scones

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Scones

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 scones
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These caramel apple scones are buttery and moist with crisp crumbly edges and soft flaky centers. Crunchy coarse sugar and salted caramel are the perfect finishing touches! Read through the recipe before beginning. You can skip the chilling for 15 minutes prior to baking, but I highly recommend it to prevent the scones from over-spreading.


Ingredients

  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for hands and work surface
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream (plus 2 Tbsp for brushing)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 heaping cup (125g) peeled and chopped apple (I use Granny Smith)*
  • optional for topping: coarse sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) store-bought or homemade salted caramel*

Instructions

  1. Whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl. Grate the frozen butter using a box grater. Add it to the flour mixture and combine with a pastry cutter, two forks, or your fingers until the mixture comes together in pea-sized crumbs. See video above for a closer look at the texture. Place in the refrigerator or freezer as you mix the wet ingredients together.
  2. Whisk 1/2 cup heavy cream, the egg, brown sugar, and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Drizzle over the flour mixture, add the apples, then mix together until everything appears moistened.
  3. Pour onto the counter and, with floured hands, work dough into a ball as best you can. Dough will be sticky. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour. If it seems too dry, add 1-2 more Tablespoons heavy cream. Press into an 8-inch disc and, with a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut into 8 wedges.
  4. Brush scones with remaining heavy cream and for extra crunch, sprinkle with coarse sugar. (You can do this before or after refrigerating in the next step.)
  5. Place scones on a plate or lined baking sheet (if your fridge has space!) and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
  7. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. After refrigerating, arrange scones 2-3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet(s).
  8. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and lightly browned on top. Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes before topping with caramel.
  9. Leftover iced or un-iced scones keep well at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for 5 days.

Notes

  1. Special Tools: Glass Mixing Bowls, Box Grater, Pastry Cutter, Baking Sheet, Silpat Baking Mat, Pastry Brush
  2. Freeze Before Baking: Freeze scone dough wedges on a plate or baking sheet for 1 hour. Once relatively frozen, you can layer them in a freezer-friendly bag or container. Bake from frozen, adding a few minutes to the bake time. Or thaw overnight, then bake as directed.
  3. Freeze After Baking: Freeze the baked and cooled scones before topping with icing. I usually freeze in a freezer-friendly bag or container. To thaw, leave out on the counter for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Warm in the microwave for 30 seconds or on a baking sheet in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 10 minutes.
  4. Overnight Instructions: Prepare scones through step 4. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Continue with the recipe the following day.
  5. Over-spreading: Start with very cold scone dough. Expect some spread, but if the scones are over-spreading as they bake, remove from the oven and press back into its triangle shape (or whatever shape) using a rubber spatula.
  6. Apples: I say 1 “heaping” cup because this amount does not need to be terribly accurate. Anything from 1 cup – 1 and 1/4 cups works. Don’t use too much or else the scones won’t keep their shape from all the apple chunks and juices.
  7. Caramel Sauce: If using my homemade caramel sauce, please keep in mind this is a salted caramel. For a sweeter caramel, reduce salt to 1/2 teaspoon. You can make the caramel sauce in advance– see make ahead tip in the caramel recipe.

Keywords: caramel, apple cinnamon scones

75 Comments

  1. I had never made scones until I started following your blog, and now they are one of my favorite treats to bake!  Your recipes are always a hit in my house and when I share them with friends.  Thank you for the consistent high quality!

  2. I made these this morning they are amazing!!! They smelled heavenly while baking too!!!

  3. Sally-I made these today, sans caramel and they ere really good! The whole house smelled like fall. I had to sub half and half for the cream and they flattened out a lot. Any ideas? Heavy cream is not a frequent visitor in my fridge. 🙂

    1. Was your baking powder up to date Susan? They shouldn’t be too flat! Don’t think the half-and-half would be the issue.

  4. These are delicious. It made my apartment smell like a bakery. I always thought scones were difficult, but i tried the lemon blueberry scones and my suspicious were wrong so I had to try these. I’m glad I did. This is the only website i use now to bake because everything always turns out perfect. 🙂

  5. This is the best scone flavor! And salted caramel is exactly a love language. The best one out there!

  6. Hi Sally, how big/small do you chop the apple? So excited to try these – they sound and look amazing! 😀

    1. Easha, no need to be precise but when I make these apple scones, I cut my apple chunks to be about the size of a blueberry I’d say.

  7. I just made these today and they are hands down the best scones I have ever made! I’ve tried a bunch of different recipes but yours not only comes together rather quickly but we’re delicious. I made your caramel as well and followed the note to only add 1/2 of the salt. Thanks for another great recipe Sally 🙂

  8. I made these this morning and while the flavor (and smell) were amazingly good, the dough turned out to be VERY sticky and runny.  I probably had to add about one more cup of flour to even get it to ball up.  And this was before I added the apples.  Any suggestions?

    1. Adding more flour is typical– but not an extra entire cup. Was your butter frozen? Or was it soft at all? Was the day particularly humid? How did the scones taste?

      1. My butter was soft and I don’t think it was abnormally humid, but I tend to have this trouble with scones. I love them, but my dough always ends up too sticky. I usually end up just using a lot less butter.
        Either way, the scones were/are delicious!

  9. My husband and I picked (ahem…waaaay too many) apples today, so I’ve been frantically searching for recipes to start using up these apples! Anywho, I stumbled across this recipe and wowzas. So yummy! They just came out of the oven and although we may not have any fingertips left, these were so yummy!! We scarfed one down before it even made its way to the plate! Can’t wait to taste it when it’s at a reasonable temperature, and with the caramel added haha, thanks for posting!!

  10. So I’m a big fan of making scones and was so excited to try this recipe with all the apples I had on hand. However they came out very metallic and tasting of baking soda. I’m so bummed as I made a double batch too! I thought it was odd that the recipe only called for baking soda, but I’ve used your recipes before and plunged in. Only after they came out tasting so bad did I check my other scone recipes and ALL of them call for only baking powder. Are you sure that the ingredient should be baking soda for this?

    1. Hi Miranda– this recipe, like all my scones, calls for baking powder. Baking soda is not listed. I’m not surprised how they turned out. Try again with baking powder.

  11. I loovvee your scone method. They come out perfect Every. Time. I made these yesterday but instead of the caramel I made a maple glaze to drizzle on top and they were to die for. For some strange reason (that I’m not complaining about), my raspberry bush is still producing alot of big gorgeous berries. So tomorrows scones are going to raspberry vanilla bean! 🙂

  12. I have made your Blueberry Scones, Chocolate Chip Scones, and Triple Chocolate Scones (which those suckers are so much too much chocolate for me but so still good) and they are amazing. Doing the frozen butter in my small food prossesor is simple. The first time i made one of them took me forever and now i can whip together two batches fast with hubby’s help. Yes shocker, my hubby likes to bake. They freeze so well. Time to restock the freezer agian. ahahha. I was in the fall mood and googled apple cinnamon scones and up popped YOU! So freaking me out now. I am there. Apples in the fridge. Hmmm, because of you i know keep heavy whipping cream on hand all the time. And lots of unsalted butter in the freezer. I love your recipe’s. You have made me a bigger hit than i already was. Oh i just found Hershey’s Cinnamon Chips at the store, i wonder what that would be like in these? hahahahaha gonna find out! By the way, i put white chocolate chips in the blueberry scones and that is so good. You Rock!

  13. Hi Sally!
    I’ve been wanting to make scones for a while now, and when I saw these I knew that I had to make them. I had all the ingredients, and everything went fine until I after I mixed the ingredients and was attempting to form it into a ball. I’d expected the dough to be sticky after reading your post, but nowhere near as sticky as it was! Even with heavily floured hands, my “neat” disc ended up being sloppy and wet (and also a lot thinner and smaller than yours in the picture). When I transferred it to the baking sheet, it fell apart and I basically had to do the whole thing over again. Then, as I tried to cut it, the dough stuck to the knife so much that it undid my disc again. Even after fixing that, when I tried to separate the wedges, they fell apart and smeared across the sheet. At that point I gave up.
    The sheet with the dough is still in the fridge – do you know if there’s any way I can save it? I’m 99% sure that I measured the ingredients correctly and followed your directions to the T.  I’m not sure what I did wrong! Any input at all would be greatly appreciated, because I would love to try scones again. Thank you in advance!

    1. Absolutely! You can save it. Add more flour. That is the fix to a sticky scone dough. Work in 1/4 cup or even 1/2 cup more.

      1. Thank you so much for the quick reply! It’s amazingly helpful.
        Alas, I’ve already baked them – I just left them stuck together on the baking sheet and sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar instead of caramel sauce, and it turned out more like an apple cake instead of apple scones. Still super delicious, but I will take your advice next time.
        I’m thinking of attempting the blueberry-lemon scones next (lots of ripe lemons in my future ;)). Thanks a lot for always being so helpful, and for the great recipes!

  14. Hey, Sally. Even though it’s not Fall anymore, I plan to make these. How do you feel about substituting the caramel sauce and topping the scones with a dunk in cinnamon sugar? 

    1. Sounds incredible to me.

  15. We’re big apple pickers in the fall, being previously from NY and now living in Virginia so I make a lot of apple recipes because my kids always get carried away. This year I decided to look for a new scone recipe, because my old one was too “cakey” for my taste. OMG seriously????!!!!! Where has this recipe been all my life? I omitted the ground cinnamon and instead added about a 1/2 cup of cinnamon chips (pulsed a few times in the food processor) with the apple. Amazing.

  16. I made these today and they were amazing! The only thing I did differently was add a cup of caramel bits, pulsed in the blender to break them up. I make a lot of different scones and I have to say this recipe is one of the tastiest I have tried.

  17. These are DELICIOUS! I added 1/2 c chopped walnuts. I will never use another recipe. 

  18. Just got these out of the oven and YUMMM….had to do a “taste test” to be sure they tasted as good as they smelled lol Instead of the caramel, I was right out and didn’t have the ingredients on hand to make more so what I did was make a bit of a glaze with icing sugar (I believe it’s called powdered sugar in the States) and a bit of apple cider. That took it right over the top! Though I may have to remember to bake it a minute or two less next time – my oven might run a bit warmer and they were on the verge of burning after 20 minutes. Thankfully I got to them just in the nick of time! What I did was grate the butter first and put it on a small bit of parchment in the freezer – froze nice and fast and was the perfect size, made a bit of a mess on the hands but it was worth it lol

  19. Hi Sally, I’ve made your scones before and adored them! I’m looking forward to making them for my friends at brunch this Sunday, but I’m wondering if I can make them really tiny and cute – like the petite vanilla bean scones you can get at Starbucks, if you’ve seen them? Would that affect the recipe at all, or would it just be a matter of lowering the baking time?

    1. Hi Trista! Nothing to change about the recipe at all. I would simply cut the apples a little smaller so you get more in each mini scone. And the bake time will be shorter, yes!

  20. Can i use canned apple pie filling?

    1. I recommend fresh apples here.

  21. These are amazing!!!!!! I made them for a coffee break with my family! They were a huge hit!!

  22. Sally, what are your thoughts on freezing the scones 30 minutes just before baking? I read this results in better texture and rise. Thank you.

    1. Hi Pamela! I actually do that ALL the time! It helps the scones hold their shape. I highly recommend it if you have the time.

  23. The scones are in the oven right now. The caramel sauce was the easiest I have ever done. Caramel sauce has become an obsession. I’ve made it with canned milk, from other recipes similar to this. This was a hit. First time hit. It’s the best and easiest.

    I like to make a new recipe for my 80 year old neighbor several times a month. Last week it was a chocolate-almond torte, the week before cranberry-orange scones. She will be so pleased with these scones.

    Easy to make, the video and write up are clear and concise. You don’t need to use 22-odd different ingredients. The food comes out looking beautiful. It’s such a pleasure to make restaurant quality food for those you love from your own kitchen. Thanks, Sally!

  24. Sally, what depth do I need to roll or flatten out dough? I plan on making 1 1/2 inch round fluted scones. Serving to a group of ladies at a birthday function. Do you have a suggestion of another topping less messy for serving. I am trying to do mostly finger foods so need less mess .
    Thanks

    1. Hi Martha! Flatten the scone dough out about an inch thick. A sprinkle of coarse sugar and cinnamon right before baking would be a less messy topping– and delicious too!

  25. do these and your the pumpkim scone recipes freeze well?

    1. Hi Katelyn, You can freeze both scone recipes for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and heat up to your liking before enjoying!

  26. Hello! VERY excited about this recipe – was looking for a way to use up some apples and a cup of heavy cream in my fridge, and these + salted caramel sauce are definitely the solution. I’d like to serve these tomorrow at work, but find sometimes scones lose their crisp overnight. Any suggestions to keep those crunchy tops? Or could I stick the dough in the freezer overnight, and then pop them in the oven in the am? Thanks!

    1. Hi Sidney! Best way is to freeze the shaped scones overnight, then bake in the morning. They’ll be perfectly crisp and fresh that way.

  27. These are amazing! The combination of apple + cinnamon + caramel is a winner for sure. It was my first time ever baking (and eating!) American scones, but it won’t be the last!

  28. I rarely leave comments on recipes but I’ve made this FOUR times in the past week! SO. GOOD. At first I made a double batch; one to bake fresh and one to freeze (I’m 38 weeks pregnant and nesting like crazy). I ended up baking the second batch when a friend came over days later and needed a pick me up! They freeze like a dream. They took about 30 minutes from frozen. I didn’t have cream on hand so I used 1% milk and wouldn’t change it. Also didn’t use caramel on top- just did a simple icing sugar glaze. Hopefully the double batch in the freezer will stay put until after I give birth! Thanks for much for sharing!

  29. I’m so happy to have found this recipe. I would sometimes not make scones because I didn’t like having to be just right with the butter but frozen grated butter is such a help for me. They came out great, thanks for the inspirational recipe!

  30. I have made these and your pumpkin scones a few times for my team at work these last two weeks and they have been such a success – wow!! Perfectly flaky and moist and just the right amount of sugar. I’ve noticed that the bottoms tend to get a little burnt when I bake them – is it because I am buttering the parchment paper? Will they be okay without buttering the sheets?

    1. I’m so glad they have both been a hit! You shouldn’t need to butter the parchment paper – this could certainly be the reason the bottoms are browning too much.

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