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

921 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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).

  8. 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 🙂

  9. 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.

      1. Namita Sharma says:

        I tried this master scone recipe with GF flour (Robin Hood) and egg replaced. Stuck to everything as is and added 2-3 tablespoons of milk. Baking time of 22 mins was a tad too long. The scones were crispy texture and super delish. My niece gave me a big hug.

  10. 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.

  11. 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
    Thanks

    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: https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. Hi Sally, love all your recipes and love these scones!! Question…I brushed them with whipping cream and added the coarse sugar however, when they bake, the sugar melts into the scones so I didn’t really have the texture or sugar taste on top when you bite into them. How do you get your coarse sugar to stay coarse and not baked in? Thank you!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jodi, what type of coarse sugar did you use? It’s possible that the sugar wasn’t as coarse and melted into the tops of the scones easier. You can always wait until the last few minutes of bake time and then sprinkle the sugar on top, and that should help minimize them melting into the scones. So glad you enjoy the scones!

  18. It’s a very coarse sugar but it does have a flavor so maybe that’s why it’s melting. I’ll use your suggestion and add it later in baking. Thanks!!

  19. Denise Hills says:

    Wow, just wow. This was a great base recipe that we added a bit of lemon zest and fresh black raspberries. We like a lot of fruit and added 1.5 cups of berries for our desired berry-ness. But a solid base scone recipe!!

  20. Best scones I ever made! Added mini chocolate chips and walnuts. But grating frozen butter is a workout!!! Earned my scone!!

  21. Hi – these are great. They were perfect from the oven. Just one question- the next day after being in an airtight container, they had softened and were more cake like. How can I store them so they maintain the crisp exterior?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Alia, so glad you enjoyed these scones! It could be that your batch was just slightly under baked, leading to a softer scone on day 2. For next time, you can try baking them a minute or two longer — and 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. Hope this helps!

  22. Tried the blueberry scones today. EXCELLENT. I’m grateful for the video to be sure I was doing everything right. I honestly didn’t think they were going to turn out because it felt so rough and messy when trying to shape it and cut it. We didn’t put sugar or icing on them and they were just sweet enough. We’re at 5,280 elevation and we baked for about 28 minutes and it was perfect. Can’t wait to try a savory batch.

  23. These are super easy and delicious. I used walnuts and apricot and they turned out wonderful! I added buttermilk with cinnamon and sugar for my glaze, and they turned out perfect! Love this recipe.

  24. Martha Whiteman says:

    Love this basic scone and its flexibility. In most of Sally’s recipes, the butter, egg, milk are brought to room temp. In this recipe, since the butter is frozen, are the egg and cream at room temp, or from the fridge? Thanks!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Martha, cold is best (to keep the dough cold), but it doesn’t make a huge difference. So glad you enjoy these scones!

  25. Michele Mahoney says:

    Hi Sally & Team!
    Just curious – when freezing scone dough wedges before baking, do you brush with the heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar before freezing? Thank you!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Michele, you can do so either before freezing or right before placing the frozen scones in the oven — either works!

  26. Karen Wagoner says:

    These were the first scones I ever made and they were so good. I made white chocolate cranberry. I made the mini scones baked them on parchment paper for 18 minutes and they were over cooked on the bottom. I used dark baking sheets. I don’t know if that was the problem. Still so tasty. Any suggestions?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Karen, it’s possible it was your cookie sheets. 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!

  27. Love this recipe it is better than any other that I have made before, I made mine with cranberries and pecans and they were delicious!!

  28. Thank you for this Sally! I’ve made a few of your scone recipes and they have all turned out wonderfully!
    If I wanted to make a chai spiced scone, what would I need to change and how much spice do you think would bring the flavor forward?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kelli, a chai spiced scone sounds delicious! We’d recommend keeping in the cinnamon then adding about 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom and 1/4 teaspoon of ground all spice to get that chai flavor. Then, you can add more / less of the chai seasoning in future batches depending on how pronounced you like the chai flavor. Let us know how they turn out for you!

      1. Thank you so much! They turned out great, I ended up taking your suggestion and added an extra dash of cinnamon and ginger. Then I added a sprinkle of ground cloves. I used a chai-maple glaze to frost them and that really sealed the deal and made them a total hit. Thank you again!!

    2. Mine failed! I followed the recipe to a T and they spread out. I even had them in the fridge for 15 minutes before baking.

      1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Linda! Did you use heavy cream (thinner liquids can change your results)? 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 we 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. Thanks so much for giving these a try!

  29. Pat Mangels says:

    Hi Sally, I have been making scones for years from my English friend in England. I have to say, your recipe is far superior to theirs. Theirs are dry and too crunchy after they get cold, your texture is fabulous outside and yummy and moist inside. So far I have made the cranberry orange and blueberry, yummy, yummy! I think grating the butter is the trick. Thank you for all your tips.

  30. Summer Lestage says:

    Hi Sally I wanted to give you an update on the white chocolate lime scones. They were yummy!!! I only had one lime so I added some zest to kick up the lime flavor. Next time I will use two limes. Thank you for your help. My boys loved them.

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