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Like my basic sweet scones recipe, these ham & cheese scones are flaky and soft with crisp-crumbly edges. But instead of sugary extras, we’re loading them with savory and satisfying flavors including cheddar cheese, ham, garlic powder, black pepper, and fresh chives. Cutting cold butter into the dry ingredients promises a flaky, layered texture like homemade biscuits.

ham and cheddar cheese scones with chives and sea salt garnish on top sitting on brown parchment paper.

Finally, Some Savory Scones!

Berries, banana, and chocolate are flavors that, undoubtedly, taste delicious in scones. And I have recipes for each—meet my blueberry scones, banana nut scones, and chocolate scones. (Note that these are sweeter than traditional British scones!) Instead of staying put in the sweet scones category, I’m venturing into savory territory.

I have a dozen scone recipes published on my website, but none of them include salty, savory flavors. Today you’re meeting the first. (And maybe the best!)

You’ll start with my basic scones, reduce the sugar, add a little more liquid, skip the egg white and save it for brushing on the scones, and add savory flavors. Let’s call them flaky cheddar cheese pastries:

ham and cheddar cheese scones with chives and sea salt on marble counter
stack of 3 ham and cheddar cheese scones on green linen.

Why You’ll Love These Ham & Cheese Scones

  • Perfect for breakfast, snack, or side dish
  • Delicious alongside scrambled eggs or even pumpkin chili (a fall favorite!)
  • Flaky, buttery, not dry
  • A little softer than biscuits (use less flour and add an egg yolk)
  • Cheesy and garlicky
  • Crisp-crumbly edges right out of the oven

Key Ingredients You Need & Why

You need some pantry staples like all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, & pepper. Here are other ingredients you need and why they’re integral to the recipe:

  1. Sugar: It sounds odd to include sugar in a savory scone recipe, right? Well, without it, the scone’s flavor falls flat. 1 Tablespoon of sugar balances the strong savory flavors.
  2. Garlic Powder: Flavor.
  3. Cold Butter: Besides flour and cheese, cold butter is the main ingredient in these cheddar scones. It adds flakiness, flavor, crisp edges, and rise. The colder, the better.
  4. Cheddar Cheese: Use your favorite cheddar cheese. Basically, if you enjoy how it tastes, use it here. For best results, freshly grate it yourself instead of buying a bag of shredded cheddar.
  5. Chives: A few Tablespoons of fresh chopped chives adds flavor. Feel free to use another herb or chopped scallions instead.
  6. Buttermilk: The dough needs liquid and buttermilk is best. There’s no baking soda in this recipe, so you don’t have to worry about adding an acidic liquid. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can use heavy cream. Avoid thinner liquids like milk or almond milk—your scones won’t be nearly as tasty.
  7. Egg: An egg is what sets these scones apart from biscuits. Biscuits are flaky and buttery, period. The ham and cheese scones are, too, but they’re richer, softer, and cakier.
  8. Ham: Chop cooked ham into little bite-size cubes and mix into the dough as your add-in. Use a ham steak, or you can chop some deli slices instead. (The kind you would use in these ham & cheese pockets.)
shredded cheddar cheese on white cutting board.

Success Tip: Grate the Butter & Cheese

Frozen grated butter is the key to scone success.

Like with pie crust, cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients. The butter coats the flour. When the butter/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 with it, but frozen butter will hold out until the oven. And the finer the pieces of cold butter, the less the scones spread and the quicker the butter mixes into the dry ingredients. You don’t want to over-work scone dough.

I recommend grating the frozen butter with a box grater. And since you need a box grater for the butter, you might as well grate your cheddar cheese too. Just as I recommend freshly grated carrots for carrot cake, I recommend freshly grated cheese in scones. It will mix easier, melt easier, and taste better.

These Step Photos Will Help:

Mix the shredded cold butter and cheese into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or a food processor. This is pretty much the same way we mix biscuits dough & pie dough.

shredded frozen butter on top of dry ingredients in glass bowl and shown again cut into the mixture with a pastry cutter.

Whisk the cold buttermilk and 1 egg yolk together, and then pour into the dry ingredients. Lightly mix until the dough clumps together:

buttermilk mixture being poured over dry ingredients and the dough is shown again mixed together in a bowl.

Pour the messy dough out onto a floured work surface and, using floured hands, bring the dough together into a ball. Flatten into an 8-inch disc and then cut into triangles (like a pizza):

crumbly cheddar cheese scone mixture on marble counter and shown again shaped into a circle.

Brush with an egg white & buttermilk mixture, and then sprinkle with sea salt before baking.

Another Success Tip: Chill the Shaped Scones

I recommend chilling the scones in the refrigerator for 15 minutes as you preheat the oven. By doing this, the cheese scones hold their shape better and rise taller (more flakes!).

shaped ham & cheddar cheese scones before and after baking on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
cheddar cheese ham scone torn in half to reveal flaky center.

Can I Leave Out the Ham? Use Another Cheese?

Yes and yes! Feel free to use another favorite cheese such as feta, gouda, or pepper jack, and you can skip the ham entirely, or replace with the same amount of cooked, chopped bacon or sausage.

Print
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ham and cheddar cheese scones with chives and sea salt garnish on top sitting on brown parchment paper.

Savory Ham & Cheese Scones

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

Description

These savory ham & cheese scones are packed with flavor and have a delightfully flaky, soft interior. You can freeze the scones before or after baking. You can also skip the ham or replace with cooked bacon or sausage. Review recipe Notes before beginning.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for hands and work surface
  • 1 Tablespoon (12g) granulated sugar
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 cup (about 100g or 3.5 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter, frozen (see note)
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) cold buttermilk, plus 1 Tablespoon for brushing
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 3/4 cup (about 110g or 3 oz) finely chopped ham
  • optional for topping: flaky sea salt

Instructions

  1. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl. Stir in the chives and shredded cheese.
  2. 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. Place in the refrigerator or freezer as you mix the wet ingredients together.
  3. Whisk 2/3 cup buttermilk and the egg yolk together. (Save egg white for step 5.) Pour over the flour/cheese mixture, add the ham, and then mix until the dough clumps together.
  4. To make triangle scones: Pour dough onto a lightly floured work surface 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 cold buttermilk. Press into an 8-inch disc and, with a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut into 8 wedges. See recipe Note for smaller scones. To make 10–12 drop scones: Keep mixing dough in the bowl until it comes together. Drop dough, about 1/4 cup of dough per scone, 3 inches apart on a lined baking sheet.
  5. Whisk 1 Tablespoon buttermilk with reserved egg white. Brush lightly onto scones and, if desired, sprinkle with flaky sea salt. (You can do this before or after refrigerating in the next step.)
  6. Place scones on a plate or lined baking sheet (if your refrigerator has space!) and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
  8. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat(s). If making mini or drop scones, use 2 baking sheets. After refrigerating, arrange scones 2–3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet(s).
  9. 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 on the baking sheets before serving.
  10. Leftover scones keep well at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Scones become softer by day 2.

Notes

  1. 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 and freeze for up to 3 months. Bake from frozen, adding a few minutes to the bake time. Or thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and then bake as directed.
  2. Freeze After Baking: Freeze the baked and cooled scones for up to 3 months. 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.
  3. Overnight Instructions: Prepare scones through step 4. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Continue with the recipe the following day.
  4. Butter: Use frozen butter if you have a box grater. If you don’t have a box grater (highly recommended for this recipe), cut very cold butter into very fine cubes and use that in step 2 instead.
  5. Can I leave out or substitute the chives? Yes. Replace with the same amount of another fresh herb such as parsley or use chopped scallion/green onion.
  6. Can I use another type of cheese? Yes. Feel free to use another favorite cheese such as feta, gouda, or pepper jack.
  7. Can I leave out the ham? Yes. Skip the ham for cheese scones or replace with the same amount of cooked, chopped bacon or sausage.
  8. Over-spreading: Start with very cold ingredients and 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 shape with a rubber spatula.
  9. Mini/Petite Cheese Scones: To make smaller scones, press dough into two 5-inch discs and cut each into 8 equal wedges. Make sure the ham is cut very small. Bake scones for 18–20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Keywords: ham & cheese scones

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. The Master Scone recipe suggested this recipe so I tried it without the chives a couple of weeks ago. I used 1 cup of cheese and 1/2 cup of ham. We ate them hot with butter and peach jam. They were outstanding!

    1. Hi Trish, we haven’t tested this recipe using a 1:1 gluten free flour blend, so we’re unsure of the results. Although some readers report using an all-purpose 1:1 gluten-free flour in many of our recipes with success, you should expect slightly different results anytime you substitute ingredients. Let us know if you give it a try!

  2. In lieu of grating the butter, would the use of a food processor mixing the ingredients yield the desired result?

    1. Hi Barbara, a lot of food processors come with a grating blade if you happen to have one available to you for grating the butter. A food processor can work for adding the butter into the other ingredients, but it often overworks the scone dough. To avoid overly dense scones, you want to work the dough as little as possible.

    2. I always use Sally’s scone recipes (so good!) and use my food processor to cut in the butter. I then transfer the butter/dry ingredients to another bowl before adding the wet to avoid the overworking issue. I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but plan to, and I have no doubt it will be fantastic! I will also probably wait to stir in the chives and cheese by hand till after cutting in the butter with the food processor to avoid breaking them up too much. I agree, it’s the cutting in the butter part that I hated about making scones till I started doing it this way.

  3. Hi, I’m just wondering where you get your weight conversions from.
    I have regularly used the Cook’s Illustrated conversion where one cup of AP flour weighs 5 ounces. So two cups would weigh 10 ounces. Your 250 grams for two cups equates to about 8.8 ounces. That is a big difference in baking! (12%)
    Thanks.

    1. Hi Mark, I weigh 1 cup of spooned and leveled flour to be about 125g per 1 cup, which is about 4.5 ounces. (Similar to King Arthur flour, which is the flour I usually use… I think theirs is 120g/1 cup but I always weigh about 125g.) All of my recipes are tested with these amounts so I recommend using the amounts you see in a recipe. Something like this dough, however, could benefit from more flour if it feels too sticky. So after adding the 250g of flour, you may need a little more to form a dough.

  4. I have a potluck to attend tonight, and as luck would have it, had all the ingredients in my fridge! These went together so easy with your directions. I love the box grater for the frozen stick of butter; in fact I didn’t need my food processor to mix the dry with the fat! Incredibly easy. After reading that you can make ahead, cover and bake the next day, I got everything done this morning, and they are sitting in my fridge until 5:00 tonight to bake. No scurrying at the last minute, which is hard to accomplish with a scone/biscuit recipe. I’m sure these will be delish. Thanks for finding your way to my inbox!

      1. The group LOVED these scones! One request for the recipe, so I’ll turn her on to your wonderful website.

  5. I have made these scones, and they’re delicious; flaky and flavorful. One idea is: add a teaspoon of dry mustard powder–it adds spice and compliments the cheddar.

  6. My college freshman daughter loves scones so I just happened to have everything except chives (I substituted parsley) and buttermilk so I just added a tablespoon of vinegar to milk and I had enough left over to
    baste! They turned out
    beautiful and I actually
    delivered them to my
    daughter this morning! Thank you for the recipe. Everything I use one of your recipes I am pleased with the result! Thank you!

  7. This came in my mail today & I got right at baking it since I have all ingredients at hand but for the chives which I replaced with green onions & the end result is amazingly delicious that it all disappeared in a flash.Thanks Sally,for making baking so easy even in far away Nigeria.

  8. Just made these to accompany the salads we had for dinner tonight they were so moorish. That is an Irish term meaning really,really good.. Followed the recipe exactly as written and they came out picture perfect. I used some canned cheddar from Washington State University, which if you have never tried it you need to give it a go. These are just wonderful,all your followers should try them

  9. I’m just curious if you’ve tried using the shredding blade on the food processor for shredding butter?

    1. Hi Trish, you can use the shredding blade on your food processor to grate the butter — yes!

  10. I wish I had a better vocabulary so I could more accurately describe how amazing these scones are. They’re incredible. I’ve made (and loved!) about a dozen of Sally’s recipes and this might be my favourite. That’s a huge compliment given the size of my sweet tooth!

  11. These were just INCREDIBLE! My littles winced when they saw “green things”, but one bite and they were sold! I substituted green onion for chives, since I couldn’t find any. I also used whole white wheat flour. Thank you so much for this PERFECT recipe!

  12. Your recipe is a keeper! I replaced the ham with sundried tomatoes. The scones are always a hit with my family and friends. Thank you greatly!

  13. I made the scones this weekend, my husband was a little doubtful because he had never had ham in a scone. He changed his mind once he tasted them! We both love them, and this is definitely a recipe I will make again and again. I have a friend visiting for a few days In October, she doesn’t eat ham, so I’d like to make the scones without it. So, I’m questioning whether I should increase the quantity of cheese to compensate? I would really appreciate your guidance.
    I want to add that I truly appreciate the details you provide with your recipes, it definitely gives me confidence to try new recipes.
    Thank you so very much

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