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
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

621 Comments

  1. Made scones for the first time using this recipe and they came out great. I did half the batch with blueberry lemon filling and the other half chocolate chip. Not dry at all. Not too sweet. Easy to follow recipe. I’m glad this is the recipe I tested out 🙂

  2. We want to do rhubarb scones. Any suggestions on sugar? Or amount of rhubarb?

    1. Hi Julie, you can make the scones as written and use sliced rhubarb as the add-in. I wouldn’t add more sugar unless you’d like an extra sweet scone.

  3. Krystle Lake says:

    First time making scones but not first time eating, and I loved it. Thank you for this recipe

  4. Betsy Timmons says:

    Just tried these for the first time, and the bottoms got way too done. They baked for less than 16 minutes. What could I have done wrong?

    1. Hi Betsy, I recommend lowering your oven temperature to help ensure the scones bake more evenly. It could also be the heavy cream brushed on top that is burning. Feel free to go a little lighter on that addition before baking.

  5. I used half & half instead of cream, because it’s what I had on hand, and the result didn’t seem to suffer. The best scones I have ever made!

    In answer to another commenter’s question, I make sure my baking rack is in the top 1/3 of the oven when making scones (a suggestion found in another scone recipe). This may prevent the bottoms from burning.

  6. Excellent! This is the recipe I’ve been looking for all along. Thank you!

  7. Lord R. Peralta says:

    YUm. Made mine with ham, cheddar, and chives. I also used 20% whole wheat flour. They are absolutely delicious! Thanks Sally.

  8. Hi, Sally! I make the chocolate chip scones and they were a bit hit. Now, I’m trying some savory ones that are in the oven right now. My questions is about the frozen butter. I understand the need for it. However, my arthritic fingers take a beating, when using the box grater. Is there another option for grating the butter that won’t affect the outcome?

    1. Hi Rosemary, A lot of food processors come with a grating blade if you happen to have one available to you.

    2. Do you have any English scone recipes? Tried and tested?

  9. Yay for scones!! Great simple recipe thanks for the tips!!

  10. First time making scones so I followed your recipe exactly (used frozen mixed berries and heavy cream) and they came out amazing! So much better than the scones at the coffee shops we usually buy. Thank you for the delicious and easy recipe!

    1. celeste Creighton says:

      HI! Can these be made without add ins? Looking for plain scones to serve with toppings (clotted cream, jam, butter)

      1. Sure can!

  11. I barely succeed in baking but this recipe is amazing! Crust on the outside, crumbly but moist goodness on the inside, best scones i’ve made so far! Baked slightly longer than recipe up to around 30mins (probably oven dependent). Used quarter cup brown sugar instead and followed Sally’s advice to only add it into the wet dough.

  12. Hi Sally,
    Is there another way to cut the scones into their shape when the dough is finished. I don’t have a dough scraper like you and I would really like the perfect cut.

    1. Hi Taina, I don’t recommend it. The scones need to be individually shaped prior to baking. You can always use a sharp knife!

  13. Denise Ann Bamberger says:

    I made with some dried cranberries that were a gift….delish!!! Thanks for sharing this great recipe.

  14. Shelly Weiss says:

    I have been making scones for years, always using the same recipe (and a food processor). I tried your recipe (using buttermilk and mixed frozen berries) and I don’t think I will be going back. The grated frozen butter (brilliant!) and mixing by hand resulted in a wonderful light texture that I had not achieved before. I made a half batch and reduced the sugar slightly (scant 1/4 cup) but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. Great flavor, great texture and a great success at home. One question – any recommendations when using a convection oven (countertop, in my case) regarding temperature and/or time modifications?
    Thank you, Sally for the inspiration to keep baking and for all the great recipes and tips.

    1. Hi Shelly! So glad you are enjoying these scones. I’m unsure of the best temp and time using a countertop convection oven, but you may want to reduce the temperature by 25 degrees F. The bake time may be the same or slightly shorter.

      1. Shelly Weiss says:

        Thanks, Sally! I can’t wait to try new flavors. By the way, can I use the grated frozen butter technique for other things such as pie dough?

      2. Hi Shelly, For pie crust it’s best to use cubed butter. You want larger chunks in your pie!

  15. Hi Sally, it just so happened that I’m out of heavy cream but I have some sour cream in the refrigerator. Is there any way I can use sour cream instead of the heavy Cream??

    1. Hi Nai, you could definitely substitute some of the heavy cream for sour cream, but I don’t recommend substituting out ALL the liquid. Some sour cream and regular milk would be OK.

  16. Anisha Chheda says:

    Followed it to a tee. Made blueberry scones with a lemon glaze.

    So perfect.

    1. Hi Sally. How to make mint scones

  17. Amazingly tasty scones. I am not sure why my dough is so sticky but the results was so good, beyond my expectations.

    I made mine with dried blueberries and almond flakes.

  18. Best baked good I’ve ever made!! I doubled the recipe and made three flavors: lemon zest, strawberry jam filled and almond poppy seed. I also subbed in half a cup of cake flour for each 2 cups of APP flour to make it flakier and used 3 tablespoons of sugar for each batch. Thank you so much for this recipe, it was easy to follow and had great tips. It was incredibly hot in my house so I had to keep on re-chilling the dough, but totally worth it!:)

    1. Janel Hassell says:

      Annika, I like your idea of adding jam as a filling. Yum.

  19. Hey Sally,
    I made these with blueberries but for some reason, they really spread. I followed your exact recipe and chilled it too. What happened?

    1. Hi Haina, Make sure all of your ingredients are very cold. You can even place your bowl of flour in the refrigerator if needed. 15 minutes is the minimum I recommend chilling the dough but you can chill it longer – up to overnight. 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.

  20. I wanted to reach out and say thank you for all your amazing recipes. When COVID bounded us for home, I took my time and tried perfecting my scone and general baking and I find myself always looking to your blog for amazing recipes. You have made a huge difference for me!

  21. ronnie ginnever says:

    Love this recipe. Shall I double all the ingredients to make 16 scones?

    1. Hi Ronnie! You can double this recipe to make 16 scones. Or you could even use this recipe (as written) to make 16 smaller scones. Follow the shaping/baking instructions in this sprinkle scones recipe for mini scones.

  22. Janine Pietrangelo says:

    Love this recipe! When I can get it right, they’re delicious. The only issue I have is every time I make them, the bottoms burn way before they are cooked. I’ve tried moving the rack to the very top, but it still is an issue. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Janine! So glad you enjoy these scones. It could be the coating of heavy cream burning on the bottom– perhaps a lighter brush of heavy cream the next time you make them? Or try reducing the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C) and baking for longer. Make sure you’re using a light colored metal baking sheet, too. That’s always helpful to help achieve more even baking.

      1. Janine Pietrangelo says:

        Thank you so much! I’ll try those things out 🙂 Thanks for all the amazing recipes; we’ve tried several and now you are our go-to baking website!!

  23. I use this recipe all the time. Lately I’ve been having trouble getting buttermilk, so I use heavy cream. It’s fine but buttermilk is better. I use salted butter and don’t bother with the freezing and grating – it was just a big mess when I tried it. Just chop up the butter and further go at it with a couple of knives. They’ve been coming out perfect lately.

  24. KY Professor says:

    Thanks for the A+mazing scone recipe, Sally! Love all the variations and combos of flavors! Any suggestions for a snickerdoodle scone?! Would love to digure out how to combine my kids’ fave cookie with your perfect scone recipe! Thanks again!

    1. You’re welcome! You might love my cinnamon chip scones— and feel free to dust them with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar before baking, too!

  25. Hi Sally, first off thank you so much for this base recipe, it is amazing and I love it! I’ve made quite a few batches of the blueberry ones and I do a lemon poppy seed one. Once the dough is made and shaped into triangles, I usually put them in the fridge overnight to ensure they are cold and don’t spread when I bake them. My question is: How long can I keep the prepared dough that is already shaped in the fridge for? Also how long can the pre-baked dough that is shaped stay in the freezer for? Do you find the frozen scones have a different taste then when keeping them in the fridge and baked right away? Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Laura, I’m so glad you enjoy this recipe! You can leave your dough in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours. Your baked scones will be good tightly covered in the freezer for up to three months.

  26. I made this recipe for the first time last week and it was a total hit with my flatmate, my beau, and his flatmates. I used WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, MONKFRUIT SWEETENER instead of sugar, and 75% of the cream I used was COCONUT CREAMER + 25% of the amount of regular cream, instead of just regular cream – since its what I had to work with. With these subs, they still came out delicious. I made Jalapeño Cheddar and Chocolate Chip. Such an easy recipe I’ll be making regularly! Check out my insta highlights @LolaSandra1 for pics <3

  27. I’ve made these twice. Once was just playing. And the second time today was with the mini chocolate chips. Comes out very good tasting. Except both times the bottoms burned. Any suggestions? Also do you have a good recipe for Devonshire cream? I found some on the Internet but they didn’t come out as good as purchasing Devonshire cream.

    1. Hi Wendy, So glad you enjoy these scones. It could be the coating of heavy cream burning on the bottom– perhaps a lighter brush of heavy cream the next time you make them? Or try reducing the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C) and baking for longer. Make sure you’re using a light colored metal baking sheet, too. That’s always helpful to help achieve more even baking.
      I do not have a recipe for Devonshire cream but let me know if you are able to find a good one!

  28. Daniel Torres says:

    Hey Sally do you have any tips on using this recipe in high altitude?

    1. Hi Daniel, I wish I could help, but I have no experience baking at high altitude. I know some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

  29. paula israel says:

    can you double this recipe without any adjustments?

    1. Hi Paula, for best taste and texture, I strongly recommend making two separate batches of dough.

  30. WOW!! These came out SOOOOOO good! I was not a baker until the pandemic, and now I’m into it. I watched your great tutorial, and I followed your recipe exactly. I froze the cut dough overnight and baked in the morning. I used buttermilk instead of cream and I added cinnamon as you suggested. My family LOVED them. Hand down the best scones, and possibly the best baked good I’ve ever tasted. Thank you!

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