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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 or 2 forks, like we do with pie crust, 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

Look At All Of Your Scones!

Many readers tried this recipe as part of a baking challenge! Feel free to email or share your recipe photos with us on social media. 🙂

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 1x
  • 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

Scale
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for hands and work surface
  • 1/2 cup (100ggranulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream or buttermilk (plus 2 Tbsp for brushing)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 11.5 cups add-ins such as chocolate chips, berries, nuts, fruit, etc
  • optional: coarse sugar for topping

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. To make mini (petite) scones, see recipe note.
  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. Feel free to top with any of the toppings listed in the recipe Note below.
  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. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Overnight Instructions: Prepare scones through step 4. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Continue with the recipe the following day.
  5. Scone Flavors: See blog post above. If adding fruit, use fresh or frozen. If frozen, do not thaw. Peel fruits such as apples, peaches, or pears before chopping. If desired, add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon with the flour. I usually add cinnamon when making chocolate chip scones.
  6. 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.
  7. Mini/Petite Scones: To make smaller scones, press dough into two 5-inch discs and cut each into 8 equal wedges. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  8. Optional Toppings: Vanilla icing, salted caramel, lemon icing, maple icing, brown butter icing, lemon curd, orange icing, raspberry icing, dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

Keywords: scones

Scones on white plates

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. what are your thoughts on using “fake” sugar like Monkfruit? I know it doesn’t make it KETO but it does reduce the sugar.

    My blueberries aren’t ready yet, so will have to use frozen organic. I put my butter chunks in the freezer and use my FP. just pulse it. that seems to work for me. the dump and add the liquid ingredients.

    any thoughts on how to make these into ‘drop’ scones?

    1. Hi Suzi! We’d love to help but we are not trained in baking with sugar substitutes. For best taste and texture (and so you don’t waste your time trying to adapt this recipe since it may not work properly), it may be more useful to find a recipe that is specifically formulated for sugar substitutes.

      See our banana scones recipe for tips on making drop scones.

    2. I use either all or half palm sugar to lower the glycemic index and make things healthier. Make makes baked goods crunchier. Palm sugar adds a caramel note to baked goods and they appear darker in color so gauge your cooking times accordingly,

  2. Received your email this morning and it’s now 11 am and I’m enjoying these amazing scones. The only additions I made were lemon oil (I buy from King Arthur or Sonoma Syrup Co) and sprinkled almonds with the sugar on top. I had fresh blueberries but used some frozen as I think it’s easier to mix and keeps the dough cold. These are light delicious not to sweet perfect. I’m in Phoenix it’s incredibly dry so I used a couple tablespoons extra of cream, highly suggest the Shamrock brand heavy cream it’s delicious. I’m going to make apricot scones next I buy the dried ones from Nuts.com great source for all kinds of nuts etc. Thank you for another wonderful recipe.

  3. Hi Sally, can we substitute regular butter if we don’t have unsalted butter?

    1. Hi Alice, you can use salted butter and reduce the added salt to 1/4 teaspoon.

  4. Hi Sally! Can frozen strawberries be used as well in the scones?

    1. Hi Theresa! Yes, you can use chopped fresh or frozen strawberries in scones. If using frozen, do not thaw. Happy baking!

  5. Love love love loveeeee this recipe! My mom and friends have all asked for it! I’ve done it with black berries but will be trying blueberries for tomorrow.

    I noticed a comment on sugar substitute, I’ve only ever used munk fruit and also subbed for oat flour and they still turn out wonderfully 🙂

  6. These are delicious! I used buttermilk and the flavor was awesome! Thanks for another great recipe, Sally!

  7. This recipe was excellent and made the whole process very simple. Next time, I will be a little quicker to ensure my butter stays a bit colder, but I still have a good flake – crumbly without being dry! Absolutely delicious!

    I added feta and dill to mine (inspired by spanikopita), which was tasty but definitely means you can cut the salt in half!

  8. Hi Sally, I love your scones! Everyone I have made them for loves them too! I am looking for a ginger scone recipe. How would you modify your master scone recipe for ginger scones? Thank you.

    1. Hi Jeanne, we haven’t tested a ginger scone recipe. But you could try adding some chopped candied ginger and some powdered ginger to the dry ingredients. Some lemon zest would be a great addition, too (so tasty with ginger!). Let us know what you try!

  9. After an epic fail on scones last week from another bakers recipe, I turned to this base recipe. I have been tasked with all the baking for my sisters tea party themed baby shower. I’m planning 2 sweet and 2 savory options. With blueberry and orange ginger being the sweet. I made the first batch of blue berry and misread my measure cup using 3/4 cup of butter milk. Oh no! I realized this after putting them into the oven. Although they ended up spreading a lot, they were still delicious and crumbly. Good thing this was my trial batch. Haha Got it right with batch two for the orange ginger which are currently chilling in the fridge before they get baked. This recipe when followed to the T is perfect. Simply make your add-ins as preferred.

  10. I have been making scones for years. I was skeptical at first. However, this is by far the best recipe I have ever used. They turned out perfect. I will be trying more of your recipes.

  11. I have been making scones for years. I was skeptical at first. However, this is by far the best recipe I have ever used. They turned out perfect. I will be trying more of your recipes.

  12. I found your recipe today and headed to the store for what I needed! After reading all your lessons I read the recipe again. Having never made scones I followed your instructions to the letter! The scones were fabulous, flaky, moist and the flavor is wonderful. I made half with cranberries and half with fresh blueberries and topped them with the vanilla icing. All I can say is WOW!!! These will be a regular addition to our house, thanks for sharing your expertise. Lee

    1. So glad you loved them, Lee! Thank you so much for giving this recipe a try.

    2. Lee commented that they are delicious and didn’t share with her BFF. I will be making these myself! Debra

  13. I’ve tried this recipe and for once followed the directions to a T. The were absolutely fabulous n moist.
    BTW I’ve been baking professionally for years.

  14. Hello Sally, I have an egg allergy, can I use a substitute or leave it out?

    1. Hi Van, we have not tested these scones with an egg replacement. We don’t recommend leaving it out completely. If you try any alternatives, we’d love to know how it goes.

  15. I love this recipe so much and have made these over a dozen times now. I follow it to the letter because why mess with greatness. I love all your recipes I have tried so far and every time I bake something from your site I always get compliments. I’ve been baking for years and you are now my go to for all things baking. Thanks for making such wonderful recipes, and by the way, using a box grater for frozen butter is genius!

    1. Thank you so much for making and trusting our recipes, Rebecca!

  16. I’ve made these once before and they were amazing! Now I’m trying it a second time but I’m unsure about how best to add additional liquids. Specifically, I’m trying to make dirty chai scones and another recipe asks to add 1/4 c of espresso. Should I lower the amount of buttermilk to accommodate the 1/4 cup of espresso or add it in addition? Thanks!

    1. Hi Sally, We haven’t tested this but we recommend keeping the liquid ratios the same. You can use instant espresso powder in the buttermilk, or replace 1/4 cup of the buttermilk with brewed espresso. Let us know if you try it!

  17. Hi Sally,
    I am doing g cooking clases with my 9 year old grand daughter this summer and the first thing she wants to learn how to make are scones.
    ? Can I bake on air bake cookie sheets or regular?
    And parchment paper or silicone or does it matter?
    1st class this afternoon!
    Would love to hear from you!
    Can’t wait to try your recipe.

    1. Hi Dee, you can use either type of baking sheet, and either parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Have fun baking with your granddaughter!

  18. Hi! I love your recipes! I make your pizza dough and Stromboli all the time. Any time I need a recipe, I go to you! I recently had a brown sugar scone at a coffee shop in PA. It was delicious! I would like to replicate that scone. I have been baking for almost fifty years but have never made scones! I found your recipe for scones and want to try it, but I don’t see anything for brown sugar scones. Do you have any idea how I could go about making some? Thank you!

    1. Hi Charlotte! A brown sugar scone sounds delicious – you can definitely use brown sugar in these scones and maybe even add some cinnamon to compliment the flavor like we do in this recipe for cinnamon chip scones. Let us know what you try!

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

  19. Hi Sally! Thank you for this recipe. I want to make cardamom scones for my moms birthday. It’s her favorite spice. Any tips on how much to add? Maybe just a teaspoon with other dry ingredients?

    1. Hi Jean! Yes, absolutely! That should work beautifully. Let us know how they go.

  20. I made this with blueberries and a lemon zest glaze that had my in-laws convinced I had brought them from a bakery, They were soft and moist, so delicious!

  21. I was wondering if I could substitute sour cream instead of the buttermilk or cream.

    1. Hi Sharon, For best results we recommend using either heavy cream or buttermilk. You could substitute some of the heavy cream/buttermilk for Greek yogurt or sour cream, but we don’t recommend substituting out ALL the liquid. Some Greek yogurt/sour cream + regular milk would be OK, too. We haven’t tested exact measurements, though. If you try it, let us know how it goes!

  22. The scones are amazing, would it be a sin to substitute the buttermilk with yoghurt?

    1. Hi Kithue! For best results we recommend using either heavy cream or buttermilk. You could substitute some of the heavy cream/buttermilk for yogurt, but we don’t recommend substituting out ALL the liquid. Some yogurt + regular milk would be OK, too. We haven’t tested exact measurements, though. If you try it, let us know how it goes!

  23. Have you ever done a “dairy free” version of these scones? I want to make them for someone but they are unable to have dairy. I love your recipe and have used it many times!

    1. Hi Courtney! We’ve never tested a dairy free version of these scones. Full fat coconut milk can work in the place of heavy cream, but butter is an imperative ingredient for flaky scones. Let us know if you give anything a try!

  24. I LOVE YOUR RECIPES!! I feel like these taste amazing but did not fluff up the way I wanted. What do you think I did wrong?

    1. Hi Kristen! Is your baking powder fresh? We find it starts to lose its effectiveness after about three months. Also, be sure not to overwork the scone dough as it can cause them to come out a bit more dense. Hope these tips are helpful for next time!

  25. 2 more batches using the master recipe. 1 of cherry/chocolate chip and 1 of blueberry.
    I did use Sally’s tip for having the vanilla icing set up. Might have ended up with a little extra hands on time, but well worth it. It set up just fine. BTW, I made a double batch of icing.

  26. I’ve had tremendous success with all of these scone recipes, so first, a huge thank you!

    I received a request for Pina Colada flavour and I’m wondering if you think using crushed pineapple (after blotting to remove extra pineapple) and using coconut milk instead of heavy cream might be a reasonable way to get the flavours without messing up the baking chemistry. I’ll try it anyway but wondering if you had thoughts about these substitutions.

    1. Hi Alison, whole wheat flour would produce a rather dense and dry scone. You could try half all-purpose flour, half whole wheat flour first and then adjust for more or less in future batches based on those results and your preferences.

  27. Have made several batches for work. Coworkers keep asking for them.

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