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.

Scones

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

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 plates

694 Comments

  1. My question is concerning the butter. I have a lot of salted butter on hand that I need to use. Can I leave out the salt and use this butter?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Carol, if using salted butter, reduce the added salt in this recipe to 1/4 teaspoon.

    2. I never reduce the salt and always use salted butter. It has never been a problem.

  2. Michael Comstock says:

    Simply terrific

    1. Lyra Grabczyk says:

      Hi! I’m wondering if I want to make a mocha scone and add in more liquid like coffe how would I prevent it from being too liquify? Thanks!

      1. I just made espresso chocolate chip and used espresso powder

  3. This is my new favorite site. I have baked so many of your recipes and have not been disappointed. I love the video tutorials, it really brings to life your recipes. These scones came out beautiful. Thanks.

  4. Great recipe! I grated my cold butter and used buttermilk with add ins: orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Delicious! Bookmarked your site. 🙂

  5. Hi I have lots of bread flour and was wondering if I could use it in this recipe instead of all-purpose? Do you think it would make a significant change in the texture of the scone?
    Thank you!

  6. Rachela Ennesser says:

    ABSOLUTELY LOVE THESE SCONES!!
    Best scones ever! All things considered it’s a pretty simple recipe . I made lemon scones with home made lemon curd. used about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of curd. probably would make my curd a little stronger next time. Everyone raved about them; wanting the recipe!

  7. Awesome, I’m going to try these recipes (I like cheese and also blueberry/lemon).
    Sally; I’m curious if you have ever used splenda to replace sugar. I do regularly with banana loaf, replacing at about half the sugar amount and that turns out perfectly. I realize there’s a significant cost difference, but am wondering about the baking differences only.
    p.s. I don’t subscribe to any negative health issues related to aspartame, so please don’t message me regarding that issue.

  8. Trice Magill says:

    For a savory scone, how would you add bacon to the mix? Would that even be possible?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes, absolutely!! Chopped bacon would be great! See the list of flavor ideas above and follow the directions for the savory flavors (reducing the sugar and leaving out the vanilla) and use any combination of bacon, cheese, or other add ins you wish.

  9. Hello Sally – I would like to reduce this recipe to make just half of the scones. Do you think if I just reduce ingredients exactly by half that the scones would be the same?
    Also, I prefer using King Arthur’s Measure for Measure gluten free flour. Any thoughts?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ellen, 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.
      We haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flour but let us know if you do.

  10. I was wondering if I could use self rise flour and elimate the salt and baking power.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lee, We don’t recommend it. Self rising flour would require additional recipe testing.

    2. Lee, I tried self-rising flour once, when I’d already promised my husband some scones for breakfast, then realized I had no regular flour. I used 1 tsp of baking powder and just added a little pinch of salt. Turned out fine, not quite as good, but I’d say they were A minus scones, whereas the original recipe makes A plus scones.

  11. Could these be made without eggs?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Andrea, We haven’t tested this recipe with an egg substitute but let us know if you try.

  12. M. Forrester says:

    I’d like to use the master scone recipe to make maple scones using maple syrup. The amount of sugar will have to be adjusted to allow for the sweetness of the syrup and the amount of milk may also have to be changed to compensate for the liquidity of the syrup. Can you rework the recipe?

    1. Hi! I haven’t tested anything, but you can certainly try some adjustments. I would slightly reduce the cream to make up for the maple syrup addition. Or you can follow this recipe as written and top with maple icing like I do with the banana scones variation.

  13. Easy to make and the taste was great. Will be making these for future brunches.

  14. Simply the best scones I have ever made! My husband loved them. They disappeared very quickly.

  15. Hi Sally, If i were to refrigerate the dough overnight for baking in the am (to take on an early morning road trip), do i store in the big disk shape, or individually cut already on the baking tray already coated with the heavy cream and sugar?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sandi, You can cut your dough into wedges and then place them in the refrigerator. Brushing scones with remaining heavy cream and sugar can be done before or after refrigerating, it won’t make a noticable difference either way!

      1. THANK YOU! Love your recipes and videos!
        Happy Baking 🙂

  16. Hi Sally,
    I love the taste of the blueberry scones! It’s just wonderful! However, I’m having a problem with my dough being very crumbly and hard to work with. I didn’t seem to have this problem with the orange cranberry scones which were SO amazing!
    Any thoughts on how to fix a very crumbly dough or is this how it should be?
    Thanks kindly!
    Jen

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jen, If it seems too dry, add 1-2 more Tablespoons heavy cream in step 3. Enjoy!

      1. Hi Sally I tried the blueberry scones using your receipt and they were yum. I had to change the size to smaller cookie size as the bigger wedges felt a bit uncooked.
        I wasn’t able to get heavy cream, where I live. Just had light creams. Is there a way to make cream heavier? Or thicker. I think the lighter cream changed the consistency to softer dough than what showed in your video.

  17. I don’t remember if I’ve commented before, but if so, it’s worth saying twice—best scone recipe EVER. I don’t usually have cream or buttermilk on hand, so I sub whole milk thickened with a splash of lemon juice, but other than that, I follow the recipe as written and then get creative with the add-ins. I’ve made ginger pecan scones with citrus glaze, black walnut and raisin scones, cranberry almond scones, blueberry scones, and plain scones with cinnamon & sugar on top…delicious every single time. Foolproof if you follow the steps. Thank you so much!!

  18. Kerry Rothfeld says:

    I made this recipe with blueberries and they were amazing. Will definitely visit your site again.

  19. Made afternoon tea for the family as a fun Sunday get together. Everyone praised the scones. I made plain ones and we topped with whipped cream and different types of housemade jams. Will def make again and also freeze uncooked pieces for weekend brunches!! Thanks for a meticulous job on the recipe and description, Sally!! Will check out your site again for sure.

  20. Hi, I was wondering what you recommend if I wanted to use honey or maple syrup in place of sugar. I think I read in a comment it hasn’t been tested but just wondering if you had an educated guess as to the amount I’d need to use and if it would affect the texture or baking. Thank you

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Maria, We haven’t tested anything, but you can certainly try some adjustments. I would slightly reduce the cream to make up for the moisture in the maple syrup or honey. 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!

  21. Kathy Fischesser says:

    I love blueberry scones. I havectried fresh and frozen but they always seem to explode. Watching your video and seeing your pictures, the blueberries are nice and round. Suggestions?

    1. Hi Kathy, this sounds odd, but if you can find particularly firm blueberries, those work really well in scones. I know that’s not very helpful, but what also works is dotting blueberries individually into the shaped scones. Skip folding them into the dough, shape the dough into a disc and cut into triangles, then press a bunch of blueberries into each scone. Less messy this way!

  22. I used this recipe for some cheese scones and substituted 1:1 gluten free flour which worked really well! I think the egg and a little bit of sugar gave them a lovely texture.

  23. These are wonderful for American scones, but then I love most of the recipes on your site and don’t have to tweak to make them better as I do so many others. Love this site! but just an FYI. English scones are nothing like American biscuits. If you’ve done them right, biscuits are light and fluffy. British scones are not. They are also not crumbly as some sites claim. They are rather dense and have a completely different mouth feel. I was given a recipe by a tea shop owner in the Uk and this recipe only uses 3 Tbs of sugar for 8 scones. British scones also don’t put anything in them unless possibly currants, not raisins. The purpose of the scone is to be the carrier of the jam or clotted cream (yummm) that you put on it. Most Americans I know don’t care for them.

  24. Tanisha Middleton says:

    Hi Sally, I want to make scones on this rainy afternoon but I’m all out of all purpose flour, can I use cake flour in place?

    1. Hi Tanisha, you can use cake flour in a pinch, but the scones will have a very light texture. You may want to remove 1-2 Tablespoons of heavy cream from the dough, too.

  25. I just made this recipe and added cinnamon and raisins. They are super delicious. Thanks for all the tips that will help next time I make them which just might be today. Getting the shape right was an issue. I should have refrigerated the dough before cutting in scone shapes. Anyway, great recipe and easy to follow.

  26. What does a relatively hot oven mean 350 ish 400 ish ????

  27. Well, they smell delicious and I’m sure they would be good – but I made the 8inch disc and cut it into 8 pieces. Put them in the oven for 20 minutes at 400° as instructed and they’re all burnt!
    Might try again at a lower heat setting but not happy with these ruined ingredients 🙁

  28. Kimberly Moore says:

    Great recipe, but what do you mean by “Place in the refrigerator or freezer as you mix the wet ingredients together”. I’m not exactly sure what you mean by that.

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kimberly, I’m happy to help! After you’ve mixed the dry ingredients together and cut in the butter to form pea-sized crumbs, place that mixture in the refrigerator or freezer. This way, that mixture stays very cold while you combine all of the wet ingredients together.

  29. Linda Gunelson says:

    Love, love, love, best recipe. Have made the blueberry, cinnamon chip, and caramel apple scones. The only thing I hate about this recipe is grading the Frozen butter. So I have come up with a solution that works for me. I grate a refrigerated stick of butter into a bowl and put it in the freezer for 20 minutes. It works beautifully and I don’t have to worried about my knuckles. Hope this helps someone else.

  30. Amazing recipe. 5 stars.

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