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. Each ingredient serves a very important purpose and I bet you have most of them on hand right now!

  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.


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

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


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.



  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.


  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


  1. I made your pumpkin scones. First time making scones and the instructions were so clear they came out PERFECT and delicious! The maple glaze is the perfect touch! Grating frozen butter is also an added arm workout bonus 🙂

    1. So happy you tried the pumpkin scones and loved them!! Thank you for your positive feedback, Holland 🙂

  2. Just finished baking blueberry scones. The taste is awesome, but they are a light color. I didn’t sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar, could that be the issue?

  3. This is an excellent recipe. My other half protested about grating the butter, but if this is the result, it’s totally worth it. We’re looking forward to scarfing this first batch down so we can experiment with other add ins.

  4. I love your scone recipe, it has never failed me! I just used it to make strawberry lemon poppy seed scones which are divine. Previously I’ve made cranberry orange, pumpkin, and caramel apple – all delicious!! Thanks, Sally!

  5. These are amazing! I was inspired to try a savory version, so we did cheddar and breakfast chicken sausage. So delish, they are going to disappear quickly!
    Some of them spread funny so now I think I need to try a sweet version to experiment

  6. I LOVE Sally’s scone recipe (and prefer using heavy cream over buttermilk). I think I’ve made nearly every combination and our family favorites are apple cinnamon, lemon blueberry and chocolate chip. I make them minis for a quick snack or lunchbox treat. 🙂 Thanks for the great tutorial!

  7. So excited I made the blueberry scones! Having never made scones before, they turned out perfect! Watching your video on Facebook made all the difference. Now I can’t wait to make the cranberry orange scones. Thanks for the delicious recipe!!

  8. I usually don’t like scones but these were so moist! Will add them to the regular rotation as an easy treat to make and share. Used coarse sugar and felt they didn’t need glazes. Made strawberry lemon, blueberry, and banana with mini chocate chips. Another great, simple recipe everyone loved! Thanks Sally!

  9. I made strawberry basil scones with buttermilk, using 3/4 cup chopped fresh strawberries and 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, and oh boy! They taste just like summer! Couple notes: the dough was way too dry so I added a couple tablespoons of buttermilk as the notes suggested, but it was still a little hard to shape the dough. And they did end up spreading a little despite refrigeration, so they’re not the best-looking scones I’ve ever made. In general I think I prefer a higher ratio of cream to butter, but overall they turned out very tasty!

  10. So good!! I made the strawberry lemon scones and added a 1/4 teaspoon of lemon oil because I love lemon and they are perfect! I found I did need to add the extra tablespoon of heavy cream to bring it all together. I’ll be trying the different variations in the future. Thanks for the great recipes !

  11. Hi Sally!! I made the savoury ones…..added a bit of cheese and whatever herbs we had and they were absolutely delicious!!! Everyone loved them…thank you Sally!

  12. This recipe was so much easier than I expected. I would advise those using blueberries to get the small ones as the large ones weren’t near as pretty and busted quite a bit in the oven. I definitely need some lessons in shredding butter without making a gigantic mess. 🙂

  13. This was my first time making scones and your recipe made it so simple! My husband who normally doesn’t like scones couldn’t get enough. Thank you for the easy and delicious recipe!

  14. Scones Round 2. This time your Triple Chocolate Scones, and they came out beautifully! That’s what I like about your recipe blog, the product is perfected BEFORE you publish. I’m down to 2 blogs yours is my favorite! I got tired of the blogger saying if you try this maybe …

  15. Made the cinnamon chip scones, and even though I severely burnt the bottoms from leaving them in the oven too long, they are so good!

  16. These are sooo good. I made mine with maple roasted pecans & dark choc chips – to die for. I meant to freeze some but they didn’t last long enough to actually make it into the freezer. Brilliant recipe Sally, thank you

  17. We made Chocolate Chip Scones with your raspberry icing. Beautiful, simple and delicious. Thank you. I always have help in the kitchen. Once my husband finds out its a Sally recipe, he can’t resist. As Always, thank you!

  18. Just made 3 batches this afternoon – Blueberry, Lemon Lavender & Strawberry Poppyseed. The texture and flavors were all SPOT ON!!! Sally, your recipes never fail. I truly appreciate that about you – thank you for testing out your recipes to the nth degree before you put them out there. One question though … I made mini triangles (split each batch into 2 disks) and every time, they spread! Or fell i.e. I never got the perfect poofy triangles like yours. I worked fast with cold frozen ingredients, followed instructions, even stored the unbaked scones in the freezer for 30-mins before baking. But they all spread. I did manage to salvage some of them by reshaping them midway through baking. Any thoughts or suggestions for next time? Are circles easier to keep shape? Or mini squares?

    1. Hi Faye! If you notice them spreading no matter what you try to do, add a little more flour when you make them again. Even an extra 1/4 cup will definitely help! So glad you tried them. I love the mini size!

  19. Love the versatility of this recipe! Made savory scones using fresh rosemary, minced garlic, shredded parmesan cheese and buttermilk. Brushed the tops with additional buttermilk, salt, pepper and more cheese. They made my house smell amazing and were quick and easy to put together! Looking forward to trying different variations of ingredients!

  20. I just made your blueberry scones- my first time making scones ever, which is crazy because scones are my favorite pastry! And they are absolutely delicious!! I left out the cinnamon because I just didn’t think I’d like that added flavor, but I may add it next time just to see! Thanks!

  21. So I wanted to try something different with these! I love this scone recipe. It is so versatile. I made these today but instead of using vanilla I reduced some rootbeer and used that as my flavoring for my scone and the glaze. My add in was white chocolate chips. So in essence what I went for was a rootbeer float scone! So good… Im happy with my result! Thanks for another solid recipe Sally!!

  22. Grating the butter seems to make for decadent, perfectly flaky and moist scones. We made the cranberry orange version, which was VERY tart, but balanced perfectly by the orange glaze. I am a huge fan of real cranberries, so this recipe is a winner to me. The scones themselves were moist, light, and perfectly crispy flaked on the outside. What a great bake!

  23. I made the savory version with ham, cheese, and scallions – they are so good! I forgot to reduce the sugar (oops) and still they were great. The sea salt on top really helped. Great recipe!!

  24. I didn’t think I could make scones because years ago I tried and didn’t like how they turned out. Then I found your pumpkin scones recipe, and that changed things for me. Perfect, delicious, moist scones, every time. This time I tried your chocolate chip scone recipe, and your strawberry lemon poppyseed recipe.

  25. Wow amazing just amazing!!! Love them so much. Made chocolate chip the first time. Can’t wait to try more flavors!

  26. The last few months I’ve played with plenty of scone recipes trying to find *the ONE* and here it is!!! My kids described they as “a sugar cookie and a pancake together”. Accurate. They are SO good. I’m tossing out all the other recipes.
    Thank you Sally!!

  27. I love making scones for breakfast. It’s an easy thing for my kids to grab and take with to school. Our favorite is the pumpkin scones but we also love the caramel apple scones we just tried today. Delicious!

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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