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
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
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. Hi Sally, this is the 3rd time I baked. I tried blueberry, cranberry & sea salt caramel great taste!
    Each time I do the dough is very sticky I can’t cut it. Need to add more flour pls advise, thanks

  2. Hi Sally, after shaping the dough and cutting them into wedges, do you cover them with something (such as plastic wrap) before placing them in the fridge for chilling?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jessica, we usually don’t cover the scones since the chill time is so short, but you can certainly cover them with plastic wrap or a dry, clean towel if you’d like.

  3. Hi Sally, I made blueberry, cranberry & sea salt caramel great taste! Dough is wet & sticky need to add more flour. May I know what went wrong? Pls advise, thank you.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jessie, if your blueberries and cranberries were particularly wet, that could be contributing to the wetness (as well as the added caramel). It’s a sticky dough, but you can certainly add more flour as needed to help bring them together. Sounds like it was a delicious combination!

  4. hi i want to make this for my partner next week but have two questions

    do i need to make any adjustments using pastry (not cake) flour instead of all purpose

    also

    can i use a biscuit cutter to make round scones instead of wedges?

    thank you

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ace! All purpose flour is best for this scones recipe. You can definitely make round scones if you prefer!

  5. Yum! Made cherry chocolate chunk scones with this recipe. Lovey texture. Nice and moist.

  6. Great , my first scones ! I used a lemon zest and rehydrated pistachios for the kick ,lovely!

  7. Can I make the dough a couple days ahead of time and refrigerate it?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sarah! See make ahead instructions in the blog post and recipe notes. If making ahead more than one day, we recommend freezing the dough. Enjoy!

  8. Laurna Coluni says:

    Hello Sally oh my my I made your scone recipe tonight for the first time and wow they are delicious moist and a toasty, because like you said put the heavy cream on top and the sides I can taste the cinnamon and vanilla along with the blueberry the best I ever had, I agree with you when you said better then the bakery. I will be giving two to my neighbors I can’t wait to hear what they have to say. I am so happy they turned out the way they did when I made them. Thank you again for another delicious recipe.
    Laurna from Queens New York but recently retired to Florida.

  9. Laurna Coluni says:

    How can I post a picture of the scones , delicious there is only 7 in the photo because I eat one lol.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Laurna! We’re thrilled to hear you enjoyed these scones so much. Feel free to send us a photo at [email protected] — we’d love to see them!

  10. Rachel Eikenberry says:

    I tried this recipe and doubled it to make extra and they tasted strongly of baking soda! I wonder if when doubling you don’t double the soda?? Very unusual aftertaste.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rachel, it sounds like your baking powder may have been clumpy. Double check to make sure it’s not expired and that it’s fully incorporated with the dry ingredients — otherwise, there may be too much baking powder in certain parts of the dough. If you’re finding it difficult to mix the double batch, it might be best to make them separately to ensure the baking powder is fully incorporated. Hope this helps for next time!

    2. Are you using baking soda or baking powder? They are not the same.

  11. Joan Devlin says:

    I have made many scones using many recipes but this one wins hands down!
    I used my food processor for mixing the dry ingredients and pulsing it for 1 second five times. It cut the butter in perfectly. Added blueberries and hand mixed the dry and wet ingredients in a large bowl. Perfection.

  12. Hi Sally! This recipe looks wonderful! I was wondering, could I substitute the buttermilk or heavy cream with regular milk?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Bella! If you don’t have any buttermilk, you can make a DIY soured milk. For every 1 cup of buttermilk, add 1 or 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Fill with enough regular milk to yield 1 cup. Whisk together, then let sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe. Whole milk is best, but you can use any fat or nondairy milk. The lower the fat, the less “rich” the baked good will taste.

  13. Hi Sally,
    I can’t wait to try your recipe! I do have a question about substitutions: do you have any suggestions for substituting maple syrup for the sugar, accounting for the extra liquid? Any help appreciated!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Andrea! We haven’t tested anything, but you can certainly try some adjustments. We would slightly reduce the cream to make up for the moisture in the maple syrup or honey. If the dough is too sticky to shape you may have to add a bit more flour. Let us know if you give anything a try!

  14. Hey sally, I’ve already made your blueberry scones and they are to die for!!! Quick question: For the herb scones can i use dried herbs instead of fresh?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Bowen! We find fresh herbs to taste best, but you should be able use dried if necessary. You’ll need less dried herbs. Let us know what you try!

  15. Barbara Healy says:

    Could I use coconut cream in place of better milk. I’ve loved all your recipes!!!!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Barbara! We recommend full fat canned coconut milk (unsweetened) in place of the buttermilk.

  16. These were tasty, but quite flat. Next time, I would pat the dough into a circle that is ~1.5″-2″ thick, rather than following the suggested diameter.

  17. Sherri Linderman says:

    Love this base recipe!!! This morning I used fresh tart cherries, almonds, and white chocolate.. yum!

  18. I’ve been making your scones for about a year now and have tried many flavor variations. All were delicious! My favorites so far are blueberry, pumpkin, and candied walnut. I have found with wetter fruit like raspberry and strawberry that you need to add a little extra flour. It is also helpful to cut strawberries and lay them on a paper towel lined tray in the fridge while mixing the dough to help blot off some extra moisture. Once you’ve made these a few times it is easy to get the feel for the dough and determine if you need to add a little extra flour or cream to get it right. I make these often and always have some in my freezer ready to bake when I want a quick morning pastry fresh from the oven. Great recipe!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Thank you so much for your kind feedback, Linda — we’re thrilled you enjoy our scone recipe!

  19. This recipe is awesome!!! I’ve never been able to make scones before, but this is idiot-proof. I’ve tried a few different add-ins now and I haven’t had a single issue.

  20. This scones recipe has worked perfectly!

  21. Kathleen Quinones says:

    I’ve only made scones recently but they have been great! As has everything you teach us! I did try the ham, cheddar and scallion today. I cubed the ham pretty small because I wasn’t sure how it would fit into the dough so it was a little eraser-like. How big should the cubes be? I tell everyone about you. My friend made the keylime pie with some of the keylime juice you recommended that I gave her. Another huge success and follower. Also, I have never made better meringue. Thank you!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kathleen! You can cut the ham however large you would like it – smaller pieces incorporate easier into the scone dough. Thank you so much for making our recipes!

  22. Brian Simpson says:

    My scones came out crumbly and a bit dry, what am I doing wrong

  23. Nancy Pridham says:

    Best recipe ever!
    I cannot believe how fantastic these scones taste-and I followed your tutorial which I think is key to success!
    My favourite so far are Cheddar, ham and Jalapeño as a savoury and Lemon-Cranberry with a lemon drizzle! WHOOP

  24. Try using more flour during shaping. If it is still too sticky to cut, your butter may have gotten too warm. Refrigerate for 30 min before shaping.

    You can also dip your knife/bench cutter in flour, which should help it slide thru.

    -Keri (professional chef)

  25. I know it’s supposed to be a wet dough but I had to add at least 2 extra cups of flour to make it even slightly workable but still not enough to form into triangles. They came out like bread cookies?

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Isabell, The dough should be sticky but workable. Did you happen to make any changes to the recipe or substitute any ingredients?

      1. I didn’t use any subs! I was very surprised as I’ve had this website for recipes and had success and I was baker years ago, just couldn’t remember my scone recipe 🙁

  26. Hi Sally! Ive loved every recipe of yours I’ve ever tried so there was no surprise that these scones were AMAZING! My first batch I mistakenly added frozen chokecherries thinking they were Saskatoon berries so the stones in the berries weren’t so pleasant… Oops! But I remade them with actual Saskatoon berries, a batch with fresh herbs and Swiss cheese and a third batch with sliced almonds and chocolate chips. This is my go to scone recipe. Thanks for sharing everything with us that you do! Much love from Manitoba, Canada. Xx

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Joanna, We are so glad that this is your go to recipe! Happy baking!

  27. Victoria Elder says:

    I have celiac disease and have to eat gluten-free. This recipe works perfectly using Cup4Cup gluten-free flour. I’ve brought them to work (cinnamon chip with vanilla icing) and everyone raved and asked for the recipe.

  28. Sally, this recipe is incredible. I m now making them every day for my family. I have used, raspberry with almond slivers, apples and walnut and raisins. You are a baking genius. Thank you for sharing with us home bakers.

  29. This is my favorite scone recipe. I usually make mixed berry (blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries). Delicious!

  30. Hi Sally!

    I am so excited to try these! I love baking and have not made scones in ages! I was just wondering, how do I tell they are finished baking? Can I use the tooth pick test?
    Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jess! Bake scones until golden brown around the edges and lightly browned on top. Enjoy!

1 19 20 21 22

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Sally's signature

Recipes You’ll Love

Archives

Categories

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe. Review Sally's Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions.

View More

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More

My Cookbooks

Sally's Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally

×