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!

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, 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

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
  • 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


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.
  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.

Notes

  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

888 Comments

  1. I made these scones twice in 2 weeks (I used blueberry, blackberry and raspberries). They came out perfectly delicious each time. Already shared the recipe with my sister.

    1. CHRISTINE Robinson says:

      Hi from England North Yorkshire
      I made these scones today for the 1st time. Different from others I have made in the past.They closely resemble my mother’s French pasty recipe which my husband adored when she was alive.
      For me they were just a little too sweet ,so I will reduce that content next time I make them.Which won’t be long as they were absolutely delicious

  2. I used this recipe to make blueberry cream cheese scones for a midnight snack, and it was divine! After I cut the scones, I let them chill in the freezer for 20-minutes then baked in convection oven at 375 for 20-minutes, then increased to 400 for the last five minutes. They turned out super flaky and buttery delicious! Kids said they were amazing!

    1. What are the adjustments for the ingredients for the blueberry, cream cheese scones. It sounds wonderful!

      1. Great recipe. I make scones in the Kitchenaid. Use the paddle to mix the dry ingredients. Cube the butter. Mix it again with the paddle on stir or one speed higher, until it looks like a course meal. Then switch to the hook attachment and add the wet. Again on stir until it’s one ball of dough. Add chips and stir until distributed.

  3. These scones are better than the ones I used to buy at Starbucks! I love this recipe – it’s so clear and easy to follow, and the results are absolutely delicious! Even my husband likes them, and he doesn’t like scones. If there’s any downside to this recipe, it’s that the scones are so good, they’re always devoured immediately and then I have to make more…

    1. I live in Minnesota and we’re going through a terrible spell of below zero weather! 2-8-21. I bundled up and made these outside on my porch at -2 below zero today! I’ve only eaten ONE scone that was wonderful and have been chasing after a good one ever since! I’ve NEVER found a good recipe or tasted one as MARVELOUS as your recipe! I can’t thank you enough for showing and sharing! I’m hooked on your website, one master baker to another! Bless you!!

  4. I wish I never saw your recipe and sticked to English one! English scones suppose to rise high to the sky! And yours are flat as pancakes! Next time I will listen to my guts.

    1. I have made these scones several times and never had a problem with their risking. Not sure what your doing wrong but it truly is not the recipe

  5. Can I double this recipe as is need 12 at least.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Marlene, for best results, we’d recommend making two separate batches rather than doubling. That prevents over- or under-mixing the added volume.

    2. So versatile!

      Some of my favorites so far…
      Walnut & cherry
      Blueberry & lemon
      Lemon & pistachio
      Matcha tea & macadamia nut
      Cranberry & orange
      Apricot & pecan
      Ham & cheddar
      Chorizo & dried pineapple
      Chili mango
      … every few days, I come up with another combo that always seems to work with this master recipe.

      If your scones come out flat, it’s not the recipe… the dough just isn’t cold enough!

  6. If making savory scones BEWARE. Do NOT Zuse her recommend 2 tablespoons of sugar (reduced from the 1/2 cup for sweet scones). Yuck. I made jalapeño cheddar scones and followed everything else exactly as written. They were disgustingly sweet and tasted so nasty with the cheddar jalapeño flavor. It was like putting a sugar cookie inside Mac n cheese. Just gross. Probably would be much better w/ only 1 tbsp versus 2 of sugar. Blenheim. Please consider rewriting that part for savory ones.

  7. Never made scones before, but I’ve tried several other recipes from Sally’s Baking Addiction & they’ve all been wonderful. This one was no different! These scones are amazing!!! Good thing, too since my girls have discovered they love tea parties. I have a feeling we will be trying ALLLL of the variations!

  8. Wow!! I’m going to try orange cranberry scone! Or orange ginger! Orange and dark chocolate chips 🙂

  9. Charlotte Haanela says:

    I love this recipe. I used whole milk instead of heavy cream and margarine. They turned out awesome!

    1. how much milk did you use in place of the heavy cream,this will be my first time making these,I will also use the margerine in place of butter as you did

      1. Charlotte Haanela says:

        Hi Alberta,

        I used the same amount of heavy cream as I did milk. Hope they turn out.

  10. I have made them twice in two days. Thank you so much for such a marvelous recipe

  11. Best scones. Have made them multiple times… Blueberry almond, strawberry white chocolate, toffee chip, ham and cheese. Best recipe all day long and most coffee shops can’t get scones right like this does!!!

  12. My family loved these. I used buttermilk, added lemon zest, cinnamon, a tiny bit of mace and nutmeg, and chopped walnuts, dried dates, and half
    of a fresh apple for a holiday mincemeat flavor. My husband and I like the grated butter technique. Thanks Sally.

  13. Thank you for my new favorite scone recipe! Flavor and texture are more consistently amazing than with other recipes I’ve used. Mine are still a bit flat though I follow your instructions to the letter, but they’re getting better with each batch. I’ll get there!

  14. My family loved these scones! I had to use a little bit more butter and didn’t have the full amount of heavy cream, so I substituted but it still tasted amazing! I used the drop method, and only wish I had baked them for a couple of minutes less (rather than 18 minutes). I doubled it and did not find it too dense, it only rose a little, but that’s what I expected because I have only ever had ‘biscuit’ dense scones and these ones were perfect 🙂

  15. Tried the plain master scone recipe. Although different from traditional English scone recipe, they were absolutely delicious. Crumbly on the outside and soft and moist on the inside. However, I used Demerara brown sugar and a little cinnamon. They were amazing! Will definitely use this recipe again.

  16. These scones turn out amazing! Thanks for a great recipe with many flavor options. Any suggestions on how to make maple walnut scones?

    1. Hi Michele! I would love to make maple walnut scones sometime– just haven’t tested a recipe for them yet. You can certainly try some adjustments to this recipe though. I would slightly reduce the cream to make up for the moisture in the maple syrup. If the dough it too sticky to shape you may have to add a bit more flour. Or you can follow this recipe as written and top with maple icing like we do with the banana scones variation. Let us know if you try anything!

  17. Rebekah Engleright says:

    I tried making scones before and was unsuccessful. This recipe was absolutely amazing. I made it as directed with mini chocolate chips and made a second batch with cinnamon, nutmeg, white chocolate chips, and walnuts (topped with a maple glaze). So yummy!
    Will definitely make these again!

  18. Love this recipe!! My go-to! Can we double it or is it better to make it one batch at a time?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ekta! You can double this recipe to make 16 scones. Be extra careful not to handle the dough too much!

  19. Just mixed my third batch, cherry and dark chocolate. Can’t wait. We have them with afternoon coffee. Made orange cranberry, our favorite so far, and lemon blueberry. Thank you!

  20. alberta burbank says:

    what if i wanted to make orange ones,how would i do that,how would i cut them up & would it be the same as i would do if i was doing the berries? also when would i use cinnamon?I also saw where whole milk was used in place of heavy cream could i use 1% in place of the cream

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Alberta! You can add orange zest like we did in this recipe. We don’t recommend adding chopped oranges, as they are too wet to add the the batter without issue. For the best tasting scones, we recommend sticking with high fat heavy cream.

  21. Kathy Farney-keck says:

    Just made candied ginger scones. These are fantastic.

  22. These are the most delicious scones I have ever eaten and I made them myself! I can’t even believe it because I am NOT a baker or a cook. Have my second batch in the oven in two weeks. I have 4 kids in college who are going to be shocked with what I can create when they come home! Thank you!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We’re so glad you love these scones, Candace!

  23. These scones did not rise for me and were too sweet.

  24. These are everything you want in a scone. Crisp, flaky on the outside and moist, tender crumb on the inside. My first time making scones and I am now obsessed.

  25. Wow! This was my first attempt at scones and they’re unbelievably good. This will be an awesome recipe to have on hand when overnight guests are able to come again – or the girls for coffee, or a late afternoon snack with the Hub….

    1. Thank you so much! The scones rose perfectly, were even better the ones I had at a Cafe in the UK. Had been craving them ever since.

  26. Any suggestions if I want to try making gluten free scones? What kinds of alternative to wheat flour do you think would work and what measurements?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Suzi! We haven’t tested it, but other bakers have had good luck with a 1:1 GF baking flour like Bob’s Red Mill.

  27. Perfect Scones! I reduced the sugar by half and it was perfect sweetness for me and my family. Made it with blueberries and cinnamon and it tasted heavenly.

    Can we substitute all purpose flour with whole wheat flour?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ramaa, white whole wheat flour will dry out the scones a bit. We suggest you begin by replacing half the all purpose flour with white whole wheat flour to see how that goes.

  28. How may I integrate dried lavender flowers in this recipe? Cannot wait to try this recipe out.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi El, have you seen our Buttermilk Lavender Scones recipe? We’d recommend giving that one a try!

  29. Made these but a savory version by omitting the vanilla and adding onion and garlic powder, ham and cheddar cheese. They where delicious!

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