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.
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:
Why You’ll Love These Ham & Cheese Scones
- Perfect for breakfast, snack, or side dish—and an absolute must when selecting your menu of Easter brunch recipes
- 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:
- 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.
- Garlic Powder: Flavor.
- 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.
- Cheddar Cheese: Use your favorite cheddar cheese. Basically, if you enjoy how it tastes, use it here. For best results, freshly grate it yourself like we do for cheddar biscuits instead of buying a bag of shredded cheddar.
- Chives: A few Tablespoons of fresh chopped chives adds flavor. Feel free to use another herb or chopped scallions instead.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
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.
Whisk the cold buttermilk and 1 egg yolk together, and then pour into the dry ingredients. Lightly mix until the dough clumps together:
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):
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!).
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.
Savory Ham & Cheese Scones
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 8 large scones
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
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.
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spooned & 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
- Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl. Stir in the chives and shredded cheese.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- Place scones on a plate or lined baking sheet (if your refrigerator has space!) and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Overnight Instructions: Prepare scones through step 4. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Continue with the recipe the following day.
- 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.
- 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.
- Can I use another type of cheese? Yes. Feel free to use another favorite cheese such as feta, gouda, or pepper jack.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Comments & Reviews
So why the difference in flour measurements? The recipe calls for 2 cups of flour spoon and leveled flour. Then you give the gram measurement which is 1 1/2 cups +1 tablespoon. This is a big difference when baking… I would suggest you either give the accurate measurement and either cups or grams. It did make a difference in my scones and after some research I see why. Overall it is a good recipe, but beware of the difference in the actual amount of flour and you may have to make some adjustments.
Thanks Jules. 1 cup of spooned and leveled flour is about 125g, which is 250g for 2 cups. Are you spooning and leveling the flour when you measure by cups? I usually use King Arthur Baking flour, which says 120g per 1 cup on the package, but I measure 125g consistently.
Loved the recipe added everything bagel topping. Yummy
This recipe was great!! I skipped the ham and used different herbs (sage & thyme) and used different cheeses (Gruyère & Parmesan) and the scones still came out perfectly! One person said they were so good I could sell them.
Another outstanding recipe! I skipped the ham and did just cheddar and dill (had it on hand and needed a recipe to use the last bit). I love that this recipe is adaptable to our own taste. Thank you!
I’m a huge fan of your orange cranberry scones and I’ve been using coconut milk to replace the heavy cream in the recipe, which has been fantastic. Is it possible to do the same in this recipe? Thanks Sally. 🙂 Can’t wait to try this recipe!!
Hi Emily, you can definitely give it a try (although the taste will change slightly, but shouldn’t be too overpowering). Let us know how it goes!
I used coconut milk in mine and it was a bit thick so I had to add a dash of milk. They were great. First time I made a savory scone and I loved it! Used up leftover Christmas ham.
Am going to make these this afternoon
Another tip is I put all the dry ingredients in a large enough stand a grated in it.
Grate the frozen butter a bit; stop & toss with the flour. Keep doing this a few times till all butter is grated & coated with flour.
This stops the frozen butter from clumping .& the scones more flakey
This recipe is awesome—flakey, delicious, and flavorful scones <3
Made them GLUTEN FREE (used Pamela’s baking and pancake mix, and excluded the baking power, since the mix includes it).
• I subbed in the heavy cream..
• I seared the ham first in a cast iron with a little oil and brown sugar then deglazed the pan with white wine (this added a really nice French quality to the scones. Yum!)
• I subbed leeks cooked in butter for the chives (since I had some on hand)
I added a little dried sage and fresh thyme.
•used half cheddar and half gruyère cheese cubbed (so you get little pockets of cheesy goodness).
My only problem was with the egg white coating at the end, I could only use about half the egg white since I was all just kinda shlorped together (even after whisking). Wasn’t really a big deal though.
Anyhow—they were amazing. Served them with whipped honey butter: so decadent. 10/10 would recommend to a friend.
Oh… these are goooood. Saving this to make again.
Instead of cutting into triangles, I cut into 9 squares. But first, as I gathered the dough together on the counter, I patted it into a rectangle, cut it in half then stacked the halves, pressing them together and repeating twice more. That made for lots of flaky layers – like lamination in the dough. Then I patted the dough into about a 9″ square, trimmed off the edges so the dough would be free to rise, and cut into 9 pieces. Baked them for 20 minutes at 400 degrees on a sheet pan. Layered, crispy outside, soft inside.
Hello! I saw the instructions for freezing, but would love to hear results. Has anyone tried freezing them ahead of time and were they just as good?
Hi CP, yes, the freezing does work wonderfully and the scones are still delicious baked from frozen. We’ll often make a batch and freeze any that we don’t plan to enjoy that day. They’re great to pop 1 or 2 in the oven as desired!
Fantastic, thank you! These will be breakfast Thanksgiving morning with smoked ham!
Just a follow-up. We tried these and they are now in-demand in the family and friend circles. We made the blueberry and raspberry/almond versions, too, and all are a big hit! Excellent recipe. Thank you. 🙂
These are so delicious! As with all of Sally’s scone recipes, they are easy and come together nicely. I have become known by all my friends as the one who makes the best scones ever! I brush these with melted butter straight out of the oven and they are amazing with soups and stews or breakfast!
Wow, these were delicious! I make your sweet scones all of the time (blueberry lemon is our fave!) but I was so excited to try a savory version. These were amazing. I omitted the chives and used sharp cheddar and chopped deli ham. The garlic powder and cheddar made me think of Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits. I made them as drop scones (I used a 3 tbsp cookie scoops) and it made 12 perfectly. Will make these again for sure!
I just found this recipe and have already made them twice. Ham is may favorite but have made with bacon too. Easy and they keep well.
This is the best savory scone that I’ve ever had! It wasn’t dry at all, it didn’t fall apart on your fork, or from your hand, and it was simply delicious!
The recipe seemed a bit daunting at first, but as I read it for the second time, I realized 2 things; 1. the scone is much like making a biscuit, and 2. to keep my ingredients cold! Which I did! I even put the dry ingredients in the fridge for 10 mins!
The scones did not spread during the baking process, at all.
Hint: when lifting pie shaped wedge from where you patted it out to your cookie sheet, I used a very flat metal spatula. But getting them off the spatula onto the actual baking cookie sheet, I used a mini version of the metal spatula to get it off the spatula, so its shape didn’t change, and it didn’t look like a squashed pie slice!
I did use my box grater for the frozen butter, and it works so well! I just dumped the butter into the dry ingredients, and lightly folded the butter in so that it became evenly dispersed throughout the dry ingredients.
I did sere these with Dijon or Honey mustards, and both the Hubs and I liked the Honey mustard the best! Yummers!! So Good!!!
These were so tasty! But, you won’t believe what I did…. I forgot to mix the cheese into the dough! Not to worry: I improvised and slit the unbaked scones in half, pressed in the cheese, and put it in the oven. I expected cheese to ooze out (sone did), but it still tasted fabulous. The whole sampling team said it was a keeper.
Cannot wait to try again —- and make it correctly!
What can I say. These are sooo delicious!
Initial bake was perfect. Second bake, they came out spread out and flat. The difference was packaged cheese for the first bake versus fresh grated for the second. Third bake, I added 1Tbs tapioca starch (what I had on hand) to the fresh grated cheese in a bowl and mixed until all of the cheese was thoroughly coated. I added the cheese and viola, perfect again. Maybe a touch more crispy on the bottom. These are a perfect “crust” for homemade pot pie, wife loved them!
Thank you for the recipe.
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
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!
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!
What can you substitute for buttermilk?
Heavy cream works here!
Hello! I will be making these today but was curious if there would be any difference in outcome when using heavy cream instead of buttermilk.
There’s really no difference at all. Perhaps a little bit more of a tangy flavor when using buttermilk, but the texture remains quite similar.
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!
I’m just curious if you’ve tried using the shredding blade on the food processor for shredding butter?
Hi Trish, you can use the shredding blade on your food processor to grate the butter — yes!
I used the food processor on this. I cut the butter first into logs so they would fit in the tube and then froze them. I will say it did an adequate job–some pieces just whirled under the plastic lid and I had to break them up with a fork. I will get a sharper box grater and go back to that method. I like the off-the-grid methods as much as possible. All the scones recipes are the new gotta have in our house.
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
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.
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!
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.
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!
I’m so glad to read you already baked them! I hope they’re a big hit.
The group LOVED these scones! One request for the recipe, so I’ll turn her on to your wonderful website.
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%)
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.
1st time giving Sally a 5* review. They’re good. Cannot find a flaw. Definitely Savory and flavourful.
In lieu of grating the butter, would the use of a food processor mixing the ingredients yield the desired result?
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.
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.
What are your thoughts on using a gluten-free flour, like King Arthur 1-to-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!
If you haven’t tried it yet, GF Jules flour works great with Sally’s scone recipes! My non- gluten free family and friends LOVE them!
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!