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!

Overhead picture of 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.

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

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.

Scones ingredients

Blueberry scone dough

Blueberry scone dough

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. 🙂

Unbaked blueberry scones on baking sheet

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.


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 interior

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 plates


  1. Jacque Massegee says:

    Absolutely delicious. I made them for the first time today and added blueberries

  2. Amazing recipe!!! Next time I will freeze before baking. Only question I have is should brush the dough with heavy cream before freezing or after, right before they’re popped in the oven?

    1. Hi Emma! It actually doesn’t matter either way– I’ve done it both and it doesn’t make a difference. Glad you enjoyed these!

  3. Sally – Have or can you make these with either almond or coconut flour and a sugar substitute?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mary, we haven’t tested this recipe with flour/sugar alternatives. If you try it, let us know how it goes!

  4. Surekha Pai says:

    Sally these scones were excellent. Skipped the egg still were very Goood. So making another batch Your video of recipe helped too Thanks

  5. Hi Sally, I’ve made clotted cream and would like to make your scones to go with it. How would you recommend using the liquid that’s left from the clotted cream? I’ve seen some recipes suggest using it in place of milk or heavy cream but I’m not sure if that would work for your recipe. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    1. Hi Polly, I wish I could help here but I haven’t tested this dough that way before and therefore can’t give a confident answer. You can certainly try it though.

  6. Lindsy Detarjany says:

    Made these and loved them 🙂 was looking to bake with some maple syrup for Canada Day and was wondering if/how you’d incorporate that into this recipe. Are your banana maple scones a different texture than these? Because these are so good!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lindsy, The banana scones have the same crunchy exterior and soft interior as this recipe – I think you will love them! You can also use the maple icing from the banana scones on top of any other flavor.

  7. Great recipe! I think the frozen butter made such a huge difference – first time using this method. Can’t wait to experiment with sweet and savoury versions of the recipe and technique! Thank you!

  8. Hello. I had two questions:

    1. Could sour cream be used instead of buttermilk or heavy cream?

    2. If I wanted to just bake 4 or 6 muffins, how much should I reduce the ingredients by?

    Thanks a lot.


    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mary, I do not recommend using sour cream in place of buttermilk/heavy cream. For a half batch of scones, simply divide each ingredient in half. They also freeze beautifully so you could make a full batch and keep any leftovers in the freezer. We share more details about freezing instructions in the blog post. Happy baking!

    2. Patti Morman says:

      I used sour cream and a little milk bc I didn’t have heavy cream. My result was very good!!!

  9. Teresa Prichard says:

    First, the smell from the oven is phenomenal. But the taste is a piece of heaven. We had freshly picked blueberries and red raspberries that tasted terrific in this scone. I limited the raspberries, but they just added such extra “oomph” to the final taste. Most excellent recipe.

  10. This recipe is amazing! Probably the best scones I’ve ever tasted. I made them with sour cherries from our tree. Fabulous! Thank you so much.

  11. Hi! My friend’s favorite flavor is apricot and almond. I was gonna sub almond extract and used dried apricots or should I use fresh?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      What a delicious flavor combination! Either fresh or dried will work – add between 1 and 1.5 cups of either.

  12. Hi Sally! wanted to ask if i can use bread four (high protein) instead of AP flour?

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

  13. I have been making this recipe almost once a week for several months. We love these scones, its hard to leave them alone during the day!

  14. Toni Taylor says:

    We are making lemon poppy scones using lemon curd as the add in. 1/2 cup of curd. The first time worked but now they are overspreading. Ideas?

  15. M. Forrester says:

    What can you use instead of heavy cream or buttermilk?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi M, for best results I recommend using heavy cream or buttermilk. You could definitely substitute some of the heavy cream/buttermilk for Greek yogurt or sour cream, but I don’t recommend substituting out ALL the liquid. Some Greek yogurt/sour cream + regular milk would be OK, too. We haven’t tested exact measurements, though. If you try it, let us know how it goes!

  16. Susan Stanicek says:

    I love your scone recipe! I’m wondering if you have advice on how I can make them more dense and less soft inside?

    I also made your lemon layer cake for the fourth and it was a hit. So delicious! I saw someone added red and blue sprinkles which I plan to do next year

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Susan, We would love to help! Replace some (or all) of the heavy cream with plain yogurt. That will create a thicker base and a denser scone.

  17. Patti Morman says:

    I love this recipe! First time I’ve made scones, and I probably won’t even try another recipe! I’m a fan of cardamom, so used it along with cinnamon. Mixed in dried figs, dates and toasted pecans. Omg! I’m going to experiment with about a 1/4 or 1/3 pecan flour next time(I know better than to mess with a great recipe!).

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