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Using my perfected master scone recipe, build your own scones with a variety of add-ins like chocolate chips, berries, or cheese and herbs. These better-than-the-bakery treats are flaky, flavorful, and moist with crisp crumbly edges. There’s a lot of helpful information and step-by-step photos, but feel free to jump right to the recipe!

Mixed berry scones and chocolate chip scones

Scones are sweet or savory, perfect with coffee and tea, welcome at baby showers, bridal showers, brunch, snack time, bake sales, Mother’s Day, and wherever muffins or coffee are appropriate. (All the time!)

But depending on the recipe and technique, scones can be dry and sandpaper-y with flavor comparable to cardboard. They can also over-spread and taste pretty boring. However, boring isn’t in our scone vocabulary!! My basic scone recipe promises uniquely crisp and buttery scones with crumbly corners and a soft, flaky interior.

I have several scone recipes that begin with the same basic formula. Let’s review the fundamentals so you can learn how to make the best scones. Sit back because there’s a lot to cover in this post!

Scones

What are Scones?

Depending where you live, the term “scone” differs. English scones are more similar to American biscuits and they’re often topped with butter, jam, or clotted cream. American scones are different, but different isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Today’s scones are sweeter, heavier, and aren’t usually topped with butter because there’s so much butter IN them. Sweetness aside, there’s still room for vanilla icing or a dusting of confectioners’ sugar on top. By the way, here’s my favorite recipe for traditional scones.

Scones are leavened with baking powder, so making them is generally quick. Blueberry scones are my favorite variety, but that quickly switches to pumpkin scones in the fall months! (Here are all my scone recipes.)

No matter which flavor you choose, these scones are:

  • Moist & soft inside
  • Crumbly on the edges
  • Buttery & flaky
  • Not sandpapery 🙂

Video Tutorial: Scones

Let’s start with a video tutorial.

stack of blueberry scones with vanilla icing

Only 7 Ingredients in this Basic Scone Recipe

You only need 7-9 ingredients for my master scone recipe.

  1. Flour: 2 cups of all-purpose flour is my standard amount, but set extra aside for the work surface and your hands.
  2. Sugar: I stick with around 1/2 cup of sugar for this scone dough. Feel free to slightly decrease, but keep in mind that the scone flavor and texture will slightly change. Reduce to about 2 Tablespoons for savory flavors. Brown sugar works too. However, if using brown sugar, whisk it into the wet ingredients to get out all the lumps. For example, see my caramel apple scones.
  3. Baking Powder: Adds lift.
  4. Salt: Adds flavor.
  5. Butter: Besides flour, butter is the main ingredient in scones. It’s responsible for flakiness, flavor, crisp edges, and rise.
  6. Heavy Cream or Buttermilk: For the best tasting pastries, stick with a thick liquid such as heavy cream or buttermilk. I usually use heavy cream, but if you want a slightly tangy flavor, use buttermilk. Thinner liquids change the flavor and appearance. You’ll be headed down a one way street to dry, bland, and flat scones.
  7. Egg: Adds flavor, lift, and structure.
  8. Optional: Vanilla extract adds necessary flavor to sweet scones, but skip it if you’re making savory scones. Depending on the flavor, cinnamon is another go-to ingredient.

And don’t forget about the add-ins! Scroll down to see all my favorite scone flavors.

Blueberry scone with vanilla icing on a white plate

How to Make Scones from Scratch

So now that you understand which ingredients are best, let’s MAKE SCONES!

  1. Mix the dry ingredients together. Use a big mixing bowl because you want lots of room for the mixing process.
  2. Cut in the grated frozen butter. You can use a pastry cutter or 2 forks, like we do with pie crust, or your hands. A food processor works too, but it often overworks the scone dough. To avoid overly dense scones, work the dough as little as possible. Messy and crumbly is a good thing!
  3. Whisk the wet ingredients together.
  4. Mix wet ingredients and dry ingredients. Mix together, then pour out onto the counter.
  5. Form into a disc and cut into wedges. Wedges are easiest, but you can make 10-12 drop scones like I do with my banana scone recipe.
  6. Brush with heavy cream or buttermilk. For a golden brown, extra crisp and crumbly exterior, brush with liquid before baking. And for extra crunch, a sprinkle of coarse sugar is always ideal!
  7. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. Keep scone dough as cold as possible. To avoid over-spreading, I recommend chilling the shaped scones for at least 15 minutes in the refrigerator before baking. In fact, you can even refrigerate overnight for a quick breakfast in the morning!
  8. Bake until golden brown. Scones bake in a relatively hot oven for only 20-25 minutes.
Frozen butter shreds

Cold Ingredients & Frozen Grated Butter

Keeping scone dough as cold as possible prevents over-spreading. When scones over-spread in the oven, they lose the flaky, moist, and deliciously crumbly texture. In other words, they’re ruined. But the easiest way to avoid disaster is to use cold ingredients like cold heavy cream, egg, and butter.

But frozen grated butter is the real key to success.

Like with pie crust, work the cold butter into the dry ingredients to create crumbs. The butter/flour crumbs melt as the scones bake, releasing steam and creating air pockets. These pockets create 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. Remember, you don’t want to over-work scone dough.

2 images of dry ingredients for scones in a bowl and wet ingredients in a glass measuring cup
2 images of blueberry scone dough in a glass bowl and dough formed into a circle
2 images of blueberry scone dough cut into wedges and brushing heavy cream onto scones before baking

3 Tricks for Perfect Scones

If you take away anything from this post, let these be it!

  1. Heavy Cream or Buttermilk: Avoid thinner milks which yield a flatter, less flavorful scone. Canned coconut milk makes a wonderful nondairy option!
  2. Frozen Grated Butter: See above!
  3. Refrigerate Before Baking: Remember, cold dough is a successful dough. To avoid over-spreading, I recommend chilling the shaped scones for at least 15 minutes in the refrigerator before baking.

How to prevent flat scones: See #2 and #3. 🙂

Blueberry scone wedges on baking sheet before baking

How to Freeze Scones

I used to be totally against freezing scone dough. You see, the baking powder is initially activated once wet and if you hold off on baking, the scones won’t rise as much in the oven. However, the decrease in rise is so slight that it doesn’t make a noticeable difference. In fact, you can even shape this scone dough into wedges and refrigerate overnight before baking.

  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. Bake from frozen, adding a few minutes to the bake time in the recipe below. Or thaw overnight, then bake as directed.
  2. Freeze After Baking: Freeze the baked and cooled scones before topping with icing or confectioners’ sugar. 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.
variety of scones forming a circle shape

15+ Scone Flavors

Using the master recipe below as a starting point, toss in your favorite add-ins like white chocolate chips, toasted pecans, sweetened or unsweetened coconut, dried cranberries, peanut butter chips, etc. If it’s a particularly wet add-in like chopped peaches, blot them with a paper towel before adding to the dough. Top with lemon curd, raspberry sauce, or any of the suggested toppings below. Above all, have fun finding your favorite flavor!

Blueberry scone with a bite taken from it

Look At All Of Your Scones!

Feel free to email or share your recipe photos with us on social media. 🙂

Print
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Mixed berry scones and chocolate chip scones

How to Make Perfect Scones

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 large or 16 small scones 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Use this basic scone dough for any sweet scone variety. See blog post for a couple savory scone options. Feel free to increase the vanilla extract and/or add other flavor extracts such as lemon extract or coconut extract. 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

Scale
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for hands and work surface
  • 1/2 cup (100ggranulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream or buttermilk (plus 2 Tbsp for brushing)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 11.5 cups add-ins such as chocolate chips, berries, nuts, fruit, etc
  • optional: coarse sugar for topping

Instructions

  1. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder 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, and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Drizzle over the flour mixture, add the add-ins, then mix together until everything appears moistened.
  3. To make triangle scones: 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. For smaller scones, press dough into two 5-inch discs and cut each into 8 wedges. To make 10-12 drop scones: Keep mixing dough in the bowl until it comes together. Drop scones, about 1/4 cup of dough each, 3 inches apart on a lined baking sheet. To make mini (petite) scones, see recipe note.
  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(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).
  8. Bake for 18-26 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and lightly browned on top. Larger scones take closer to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes. Feel free to top with any of the toppings listed in the recipe Note below.
  9. Leftover 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 in the recipe below. Or thaw overnight, then bake as directed.
  3. Freeze After Baking: Freeze the baked and cooled scones before topping with icing or confectioners’ sugar. 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. Scone Flavors: See blog post above. If adding fruit, use fresh or frozen. If frozen, do not thaw. Peel fruits such as apples, peaches, or pears before chopping. If desired, add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon with the flour. I usually add cinnamon when making chocolate chip scones.
  6. 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.
  7. Mini/Petite Scones: To make smaller scones, press dough into two 5-inch discs and cut each into 8 equal wedges. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  8. Optional Toppings: Vanilla icing, salted caramel, lemon icing, maple icing, brown butter icing, lemon curd, orange icing, raspberry icing, dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

Keywords: scones

Scones on white plates

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Jut made your blueberry scones recipe. They are delicious! I used buttermilk, not cream- they are crisp on top and delicious inside. The hint of cinnamon is perfect. Yes, my hand got a workout on the box grater, and the dough is a bit sticky- as it should be! Can’t wait to make more!
    Thank you for this easy and delicious recipe.

  2. I made these plain the first time, without fillers other than the vanilla for flavor. And it was so very yummy! I also placed the tray of unbaked scones into the freezer while the oven reached baking temperature. I think that helped a bit as my kitchen was SUPER hot that day and the butter started melting.

    SOOOOO delicious! The first batch disappeared as if they never existed!

    Thank you for the yummy recipe!

  3. This is it!!! This recipe does not disappoint. I didn’t have buttermilk so I soured whole milk. I made a maple glazed walnut and a blueberry. The beauty of this recipe is that I can make a big batch, freeze it and have scones at a whim! Only con is grating that frozen butter. It’s a necessary messy evil so ga ahead and make a big batch! YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT!!

  4. I can’t wait to try the scones. Do you have any suggestions on trying almond scones with almond paste?

    1. I USED TOASTED CHOPPED ALMONDS, AND ALMOND FLAVORING. VANILLA DOWN TO 3/4 teaspoon & 3/4 Vanilla.
      WAS WONDERFUL!!! 1/2 the batch was drizzled with almond icing & 1/2 with sparkling sugar!

    1. Hi Liz, absolutely. See the blog post section titled “How to Freeze Scones” for more details!

    2. Made the petite scones and 18 minutes @ 400° is far too long, burnt on bottom

    1. Hi Sandy, we haven’t tested lard in our scones recipe, but we do recommend sticking with butter for best flavor.

  5. Hi! I’ve made the raspberry almonds scones and the pecan ones. They were amazing! I follow the recipe to the tee and they come out perfect every time. My husband, kids, sisters and coworkers loved them!!!
    I would like to make lemon poppyseed without the strawberries. Would you add lemon juice? How much and how will that change the rest of the recipe?

    1. Hi vmcr, yes, you can use half-and-half instead of heavy cream in this scone recipe.

      1. I use half and half and they come out delicious! I’m going to try heavy cream this time though. I want to see if they are better.

  6. Hi Sally!
    I read in comments that it is possible to leave the egg out and replace with a couple more TBs of heavy cream… but would you be able to say how much? 2?
    I’m new to baking without eggs, but have a couple of vegetarian friends whom I’d like to make this recipe for…

    Thanks so much!

  7. I have not made this yet. My hands are very weak, grating frozen butter might not be an option wouldn’t a food processor work?
    Actually, couldn’t I make the scone dough in the food processor?
    Please let me know as soon as possible because baking day for Christmas treats is Friday, the day after tomorrow.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Hi Becky, A lot of food processors come with a grating blade, if you happen to have one available to you you can use it for the butter. If you do use it to mix the ingredients together, be careful as food processors can be quick to overwork the dough.

      1. I am making several batches so needed to use the food processor. Just pulse it enough to combine everything; just until it comes together. Then use your hands to form into shape. Mine turned out great.

  8. I prepped these last night and baked them this morning for a Friendsgiving Brunch. Wow! Just wow! First, everyone was excited as they saw the scones go in the oven. Then they smelled them. Mmmm! The faces when they took those first bites, worth every bit of butter grating. Everyone loved them! I made a chocolate chip/cinnamon batch and a blueberry/rasberry batch. They were such a hit! Friends were squirreling away scones in pockets and purses for later. I used buttermilk and used the grated frozen butter suggestions. I really think it makes the difference. I will have to make these again tomorrow…ok, maybe tonight. 🙂

  9. Lovely recipe but can I swap heavy cream for whole milk? Do I need to add something else because of the substitution?

    1. Hi Jonelle, For the best tasting pastries, stick with a thick liquid such as heavy cream, or for a slightly tangy flavor you can use buttermilk. Thinner liquids will change the flavor and appearance of the scones.

  10. Have not tried it yet but am looking forward to it. Will let you know the results

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