Master Scones Recipe

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!


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, 2 forks, 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 or any of the suggested toppings below. Above all, have fun finding your favorite flavor!

Blueberry scone with a bite taken from it

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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
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


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.



  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.
  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 before topping with optional toppings listed in the ingredients.
  9. Leftover scones keep well at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for 5 days.


  1. Special Tools: Glass Mixing Bowls, Box Grater, Pastry Cutter, Baking Sheet, Silpat Baking Mat, Pastry Brush
  2. Freezing Instructions & Scone Flavors: See blog post above.
  3. If adding fruit, use fresh or frozen. If frozen, do not thaw. Peel fruits such as apples, peaches, or pears before chopping.
  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.

Keywords: scones

Scones on white plates


  1. I’ve been using this recipe for a few years now with great success using different additions (chocolate chips + walnuts; chocolate chips + dried cherries; blueberries and lemon zest; etc.). Today I used gluten-free flour (used Bob’s red mill 1-to-1) (we’ve newly discovered a wheat allergy in the family) and they were great! Thank you for this recipe!

  2. Hi Sally….question…

    .If I use salted frozen butter…how much actual salt do I use in the recipe? T0o many comments ..can’t find the answer, if it’s listed already…..Thank You…:)

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Susie, if using salted butter, you can reduce the added salt to 1/4 teaspoon. Enjoy your scones!

    2. Deborah kerr says:

      Thank you for this lovely scone recipe… Its the best scone I’ve ever made and i love how versatile it is, i love all those flavours.. And thank you for the teaching you’ve included.. As a first time user of Sally’s baking addiction www this ia now my go to for baking and know how.

  3. Camille Hinkle says:

    Made the scones, i am getting burnt bottoms
    Baked on parchment paper
    Any hints
    Stove is spot on.

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Camille, maybe take a look at the cookie sheets/pans that you are using. Dark metal sheets typically over-bake bottoms and thin flimsy cookie sheets = burnt bottoms. You can also try moving your pan to a different position in your oven – away from the heat source, or turning your oven down a bit. Hopefully this helps for next time — thanks so much for giving these scones a try!

    2. I used a heavy dark pan, parchment paper and the drop method. They were perfectly done at 18 minutes. Held together and not burned. The pan can make a difference but perhaps you cooked them for too long for your pan

      1. Lacey Cross says:

        Also check your oven temp it may say one thing but be a very different temp inside.

  4. Karen Duldhardt says:

    These are a lot of work. I wouldn’t try making them again. I’ll just buy them.

  5. Amanda Jayne says:

    Umm… Just tried to grate frozen butter and grated a chunk of skin off of my finger when my hand slipped off the *slippery* as melting butter BUTTER. I guess I’m the dummy for following a dangerous instruction. Two layers of bandaid but there’s still blood dripping in the mixture. Yum.

    1. As with all sharp instruments you have to use care. I did the frozen method and worked a little slowly. I also held the butter with the wrapper as long as possible to keep it colder. I’ve definitely cut myself accidentally with a grater before and it’s super unpleasant. Definitely use caution.

    2. Why not use a Cuisinart to grate the butter. Fast and finger-free. Just an idea. I’m no baker!
      In any case, I’m going to try this… i have a recipe from a teahouse in Ireland I want to try but I wanted basics. Thank you Ms. Sally!


      1. I’m new to baking and I love this recipe – so easy and quick to make.
        Are there any clotted cream recipes on this site?

      2. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        So glad you love these scones. We don’t have a tried and true clotted cream recipe, but let us you know if you find one you love!

    3. Try coating the butter stick in flour before grating. Helps to keep a firmer grip and prevents the butter from clumping too much as it’s grated.

    4. SarahYisrael says:

      working through these now! I’m stoked to see how they come out!

    5. Having made these quite a few times now, I actually grate the butter when it’s cold (pulled straight out of the fridge, not the freezer), then I throw that grated butter in the freezer. Much easier to grate and gives me the same final product.

      Hope this tip helps—I definitely did the same thing the first time I tried grating frozen butter!!! Hope your finger’s ok!

  6. This is definitely my new go-to scone method. I used powdered buttermilk, skipped the vanilla, made drop scones (18 minutes in my oven), coated with a little half and half and sprinkled with turbinado sugar. Easy and very tasty.

  7. Hi, in stead of heavy cream or buttermilk can I use (Greek unsweetened 10% fat) yoghurt?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Esther, you can substitute yogurt for a slightly denser scone. (Or substitute just some of the heavy cream/buttermilk for yogurt so you’re not eliminating all of the liquid). Let us know how it goes!

  8. My 11 made these for her online class at school. The recipe was very straightforward and easy to follow. The whole family loves them and said they were the best scones we’ve had! Thanks for the recipe, it’s a keeper 🙂

  9. Wow! This Was my first time baking scones and I am so happy with the result! My Victoria Day long weekend will be great with these and some jam and cream. Now that I’ve made the basic, I will try some add-ins. I would say I slightly overcooked them but they are lovely. The only change I made was that I used half yogurt and half milk, as I forgot to buy heavy cream.

  10. Made these tonight and they were delicious! A fantastic recipe that you can tweak to suit your own preferences and needs.
    I have a lactose intolerant person in my family. To make these dairy-free, I used canned full-fat coconut milk instead of cream, and I used dairy-free “butter”. Still turned out crispy on the edges and light and flaky in the middle!
    Another thing I tweaked – I brushed my scones with melted “butter” after taking them out of the oven. This keeps them from getting too dry, and adds a nice salty, buttery flavor to your crispy edges.
    I added lavender and earl grey tea for flavor. They were a hit! Can’t wait to try different combinations & additives.

  11. I’ve other recipes which were good, but this is simply perfect. My forever recipe.

  12. Your recipe sounds delightful. Do you bake scones on the upper third rack ?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi David! We suggest the middle or bottom third (if your oven tends to run a bit hot).

  13. Nance Somerville says:

    Made these this morning with Oregon Strawberries, in season… and they were uhhhmazing!! I omitted poppyseeds, but otherwise followed exactly and voila… yummy! I made your strawberry shortcake recipe last night and those were amazing too! Pretty much anything from your blog is spot on and delicious.

    Any ideas for making a peanut butter scone? Same as master scone recipe and perhaps just a cup of chunk peanut butter and half a cup of semi-sweet choc chips? Add a lil more flour if too wet?

    Thanks for all the amazing recipes!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Nance! Thank you so much for the kind and positive feedback. We haven’t tested a recipe for peanut butter scones and it would take some additional recipe testing for us to give you a confident answer. Let us know if you try anything!

  14. This recipe looks wonderful! Excited to try. Is it possible to use bread flour? Thank you in advance!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Erika, you can certainly try bread flour in this recipe. The scones may taste chewy and a little more dense. All-purpose flour is best.

  15. Great recipe. I’ve tried two batches in a week!
    I want to ask about the best way to store. The first batch stayed crispy on the outside for 2 days after baking when I saran wrapped and covered in a pyrex container. The second batch turned soft on the outside the next day even though I stored the same way.
    Storing issue? Icing factor? No idea but definitely would like to preserve the crunchy texture without them becoming stale. What do you recommend?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Betty, was there anything different between the two batches — flavors, ingredients, etc.? That can certainly impact the longevity of the scones, as well as varying temperatures / weather. It could also be that your second batch was slightly less baked than your first. Keeping them in a well-sealed, dry place should help the scones to keep well at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for 5 days. Glad to hear you’ve been enjoying this recipe!

  16. Hot tip – I cubed my very cold but not frozen butter with a knife and added it my food processor with the dry ingredients and pulsed it until the butter bits were the right size. Way faster, safer, and easier than grating the frozen butter!

  17. How long can it keep if frozen after baking? I’m thinking if saran wrapping each scone.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Michelle, scones will freeze well for up to three months.

  18. Just tried your ham and cheddar scones. My daughter has an intolerance to the sugar in dairy products so I used almond milk with vinegar in place of butter milk, and vegan butter. They were amazing! Thank you for the recipe.

  19. Hi, Sally,

    I am going to make your scone recipe for a ladies’ tea and am wondering if I can cut the scones with a round biscuit cutter? The biscuit cutter is quite sharp and thin. I hope to hear from you very soon! Thank you for your wonderful recipes!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Linda, You can simply shape the dough into circles the same way we shape these Banana Nut Scones. Enjoy!

  20. Sally,
    Thanks for such a great recipe! My scones turned out perfect, since you gave perfect tips. Mine took 25mins on the top-third rack of my gas oven at 400F. I also used the grater disc on my food processor (for those of you who are scared for your knuckles) and made sure the butter/dough is never softened before baking. Ignore the comments about this being too hard to make or too bothersome (they can keep their store-bought scones…their loss lol).

  21. LOVE this recipe! But have a question – I’d like to make PEACH scones using fresh peaches. Have you tried? Any tips? Thanks again – great recipe 🙂

  22. Namita Sharma says:

    I have been using this recipe for a few years now and the scones are a hot everytime! Now I try diff flavours and they are all so amazing. Thank you for this. q – my niece is allergic to eggs and gluten. Can I sub the flour to GF flour and use egg replacer and maybe some flax powder instead of eggs?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Namita, we’re so glad you enjoy these scones! We haven’t tried them with gluten-free flour or any egg replacers, but we’d love to know if you give it a try.

  23. Hi Sally, I tried the dough is too soft that I need to add more flour. Using all purpose flour or self raising? Scones flattened, overall taste good. What can I replace buttermilk short expiry. Thanks

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jessie! We use all purpose flour here. Flat scones are usually a result of warm butter in the dough, make sure to keep it very cold before baking! Heavy cream and buttermilk both work great in these scones.

  24. Rosemary Ruiz says:

    Fantastic recipe, my first attempt at scones and they came out wonderful. I would love the nutritional value of these wonderful delicious scones

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rosemary, we’re so glad you loved these scones! We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients. Plus, many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients listed. However, there are many handy online calculators where you can plug in and customize your exact ingredients/brands. Readers have found this one especially helpful:

  25. Hi Sally, can I bake the scones immediately when done or do I need to put the scones in the fridge for how long? Freezer or 2nd compartment? Thank you for your great recipe

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jessie! You can freeze them after they cool to room temperature completely.

  26. Hi Sally, some shops don’t sell heavy cream can I substitute all purpose cream by Cowhead . How about whipping cream? Pls advise, thank you very much

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jessie! Whipping cream should be a good substitute. Let us know how they go!

  27. Hello, first of all thanks for the recipe, I have made it before and it was great.

    This time, I would like to make earl grey with raspberry scones. Is there any way to incorporate earl grey tea into this recipe? Many thanks in advance.

  28. Sally – frozen, grated butter?! YOU ARE A GENIUS! I absolutely love this technique and find it works really well for my pie crusts too. I will never go back. Thank you!

  29. Hello Sally,
    As soon as I added the 1.5 cups of blueberries my dough became very wet. I added more flour and thought I had added enough (and put them in the freezer for 15 minutes) but they are extremely “wet”. What did I do wrong? I followed your measurements precisely.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sheila, Any chance you used frozen blueberries? If so, do not thaw before using them. This is a very sticky dough! If you decide to try these again and your dough is too sticky to work with, try coating your hands with flour and do the best you can to shape them. Since we are chilling the dough before we bake them you can try forming your circle the best you can, refrigerate it and then re-shaping if needed before cutting. The colder the dough the less sticky / wet it should be. Hope this is helpful!

      1. Thanks for your quick response. This is wonderful. I used fresh blueberries, and frozen butter and put the dry ingredients in the freezer before mixing. I will try it again and might try with a different add-in. Watching the video I didn’t think it was supposed to be sticky, so that’s also helpful. Video makes it look so easy LOL.

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