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.

Scones

15+ Scone Flavors

Using the master recipe below as a starting point, toss in your favorite add-ins like white chocolate chips, toasted pecans, sweetened or unsweetened coconut, dried cranberries, peanut butter chips, etc. If it’s a particularly wet add-in like chopped peaches, blot them with a paper towel before adding to the dough. Top with lemon curd or any of the suggested toppings below. Above all, have fun finding your favorite flavor!

Blueberry scone interior

Print
Mixed berry scones and chocolate chip scones

How to Make Perfect Scones

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 large or 16 small scones
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Use this basic scone dough for any sweet scone variety. See blog post for a couple savory scone options. Feel free to increase the vanilla extract and/or add other flavor extracts such as lemon extract or coconut extract. Read through the recipe before beginning. You can skip the chilling for 15 minutes prior to baking, but I highly recommend it to prevent the scones from over-spreading.


Ingredients


Instructions

  1. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder together in a large bowl. Grate the frozen butter using a box grater. Add it to the flour mixture and combine with a pastry cutter, two forks, or your fingers until the mixture comes together in pea-sized crumbs. See video above for a closer look at the texture. Place in the refrigerator or freezer as you mix the wet ingredients together.
  2. Whisk 1/2 cup heavy cream, the egg, and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Drizzle over the flour mixture, add the add-ins, then mix together until everything appears moistened.
  3. To make triangle scones: Pour onto the counter and, with floured hands, work dough into a ball as best you can. Dough will be sticky. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour. If it seems too dry, add 1-2 more Tablespoons heavy cream. Press into an 8-inch disc and, with a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut into 8 wedges. For smaller scones, press dough into two 5-inch discs and cut each into 8 wedges. To make 10-12 drop scones: Keep mixing dough in the bowl until it comes together. Drop scones, about 1/4 cup of dough each, 3 inches apart on a lined baking sheet.
  4. Brush scones with remaining heavy cream and for extra crunch, sprinkle with coarse sugar. (You can do this before or after refrigerating in the next step.)
  5. Place scones on a plate or lined baking sheet (if your fridge has space!) and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
  7. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat(s). If making mini or drop scones, use 2 baking sheets. After refrigerating, arrange scones 2-3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet(s).
  8. Bake for 18-26 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and lightly browned on top. Larger scones take closer to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes before topping with optional toppings listed in the ingredients.
  9. Leftover scones keep well at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for 5 days.

Notes

  1. Special Tools: Glass Mixing Bowls, Box Grater, Pastry Cutter, Baking Sheet, Silpat Baking Mat, Pastry Brush
  2. Freezing Instructions & Scone Flavors: See blog post above.
  3. If adding fruit, use fresh or frozen. If frozen, do not thaw. Peel fruits such as apples, peaches, or pears before chopping.
  4. Overnight Instructions: Prepare scones through step 4. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Continue with the recipe the following day.
  5. Over-spreading: Start with very cold scone dough. Expect some spread, but if the scones are over-spreading as they bake, remove from the oven and press back into its triangle shape (or whatever shape) using a rubber spatula.

Keywords: scones

Scones on plates

336 Comments

  1. I’m so excited to try these – I’m planning on making these with rosemary. I have a great rosemary olive oil i want to add as well to really get a strong rosemary flavor, any suggestions for incorporating this?

    1. Hi Emily! While I haven’t tried this, you could try replacing a couple Tbsp of the heavy cream with the olive oil. Reduce the butter slightly too.

    2. so easy a cave man could do it kidding. But it really was pretty easy and almost every ingredient you keep in your house regularly which is always nice! I used Frozen blueberries, i thought they didn’t mush up as much as fresh ones would. Y’all all of Sally’s recipes are awesome and she’s my go to when i want To find a good recipe for something sweet !

  2. I made these as Mango & Dark Choc Chunk scones, as much as I detest grating frozen butter it is worth it – love this recipe! Thanks Sally so delicious with the best texture!

  3. It’s been ages since I’ve made scones and this recipe was fantastic & super simple! I loved how versatile this recipe is – makes it easy to use what you have on hand. I made these with 2 kinds of chocolate chips & walnuts. Came out delicious & the texture was perfection. 🙂

  4. These scones we’re delicious! I used blueberries and made a lemon glaze for the top. They were a HIT!

  5. Made these with dried cranberries and they came out perfect!! 🙂 Will totally make them again x

  6. Best and only scone recipe I use. I’ve made blueberry, blueberry lemon, orange cranberry, mixed berry, and strawberries and cream variations – all baked up beautifully and tasted amazing. These have become a go-to easy bake for me (yay for being able to use cold ingredients straight from the fridge!) and they always impress my coworkers when I’m feeling generous and bring them in. This time I also made an orange curd for the first time (with your lemon curd recipe) and was amazed by how good it was on blueberry scones. Magical.

  7. These are seriously the best scones I’ve tasted! I made the lemon blueberry ones, and they are divine. Thank you, Sally, for such detailed step-by-step instructions 🙂

  8. Hi Sally!!
    I was needing a little baking therapy today & made some scones for the baking challenge. This recipe is so simple & easy to follow! I made chocolate chip scones (LOVE the addition of cinnamon in those!) & (turkey) ham & cheddar for a savory variety. Both turned out fantastic!! I must say though I did not expect to like the savory ones over the sweet but man are they good!! Thanks for yet another fantastic baking challenge!

  9. I made mine savory, with blue cheese and onion powder, along with bagel spice, whatever that is. Adds a crunch and some speckles!

  10. Your banana scones are my favorite treat to take to a brunch. I’m pretty self-conscious about my baked goods but these are always a hit. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hello Sally!!!!
      So excited today because it is my first time to finally join your monthly baking challenge after many years of doing almost all your recipes : ) And this is my second time to do a scone recipe, my very first was your Funfetti Chip Scones! I feel very successful the second time since i made sure my butter was frozen before grating and after mixing with the dry ingredients, plus the extra 15 minutes of the dough in the refrigerator really makes the difference : ) Your Chocolate Chip Scones was a huge hit!

  11. This was my first attempt at scones. And my second. Within two days. Because they were so dang good! I made my first batch mocha pecan, using espresso powder, coffee extract, mini chocolate chips, and pecans. The second batch was savory, bacon cheddar with cayenne pepper. Not sure which I liked best! I currently have the cinnamon chip scones in the oven. Can’t wait to try those and the triple chocolate ones! Give me all the scones!

  12. Hi Sally! I made two batches of the mini scones for my coworkers. One batch got pretty burnt on the bottom, any idea why? Baked for about 17 min. The flavor is good, though with how much you raved about these being moister than typical scones, I was surprised when they turned out a bit dry for me. I posted pics to the FB group, though probably cant see any issues from the images I took. Anyways these are tasty and the directions are easy to follow.

    1. Hi Lydia! Try turning down the oven heat if you decide to make the mini scones again. I wonder if they were over-cooked. That could be why they tasted dry as well.

  13. I made the chocolate chips scones, and they are divine ! Can’t wait to try a savory one !

  14. Hi I tried scones for the first time. My scones were browning way too much evne though I reduced baking time. I was wondering if it’s coz I have a convection oven? Do you use a convection oven for this recipe ?

    1. Hi Niyatee! I actually use a conventional oven. Typically when baking with a convection oven, it’s best to lower the baking temperature by 25 degrees F. I recommend that if you decide to try the scones again.

      1. Hi I tried them again at 180C and used orange zest and orange icing, they tasted amazing! the only thing was they were slightly cakey in the interior, do you know why that could happen?

  15. I have made scones every weekend in May! I started out with blueberry lemon then cranberry orange then cherry almond and now pumpkin. We have loved them all! I was wondering if you have considered a chocolate zucchini scone. I think they would be delicious, but I’m not sure on the right amounts of cocoa powder and zucchini. Thoughts? I was thinking of adding chocolate chips and/or a chocolate glaze

    1. So many scones, I love it! Thank you so much for trying so many scone recipes, Courtney. I love the idea of a chocolate zucchini scone, but I haven’t tried it yet. I recommend using my chocolate scone recipe as the starting point though!

  16. One word. AMAZING!! I made the raspberry and almond scones and they turned out perfect! My family loved them and can’t wait for another batch this weekend. This is the best recipe, thank you Sally!

  17. I followed this recipe exactly but added raspberries with blueberries. They were light and delicious! They remind me a little of blueberry muffins! So good! I ate the whole batch!

  18. Tried the recipe and absolutely loved it! I made multiple flavors and all of them were terrific. I made strawberry, pineapple, kiwi, apricot and blackberry scones- all deliciously amazing! Definitely making it again

  19. This is my new favorite scones recipe- thank you Sally for your work to perfect it! I tried the cranberry orange variation. My batch would have turned out flawless, but I forgot to lower my oven rack and they got a little crispier than I usually care for…however, that’s all the more reason to enjoy them with a dunk in some hot tea!

  20. Made these over the weekend and they were absolutely amazing. Will definitely be making them again!!

  21. I forgot to rate the recipe in my comment just a little while ago. DEFINITELY 5/5!! 🙂

  22. I had some blueberries I needed to use and remembered your master scones recipe. I added cardamom too and they were delicious! Definitely will be hanging onto the recipe. I will admit I only had 2% milk though so used that, and they turned out fine though I can tell they’d be even better with a higher fat content!

  23. I’m never one to choose a scone at a bakery; however, these homemade ones are delicious! I tried your apple variety for the May Baking Challenge – easy to follow, and they were a hit with the crew at work. Thanks for another great recipe!

  24. This truly was one of the easiest recipes to make. And my family absolutely loved them! I added dried cherries, orange zest and almond extract. And if course, I had to add an orange glaze on top (I can’t pass up a glaze!) I also took a risk and used almond yogurt in place of the cream because that was all I had on hand (oops) – and it worked just perfectly! I made the dough the night before, shaped and chilled overnight, and then cooked them in the morning so we had warm scones for breakfast. Yum yum YUM!!

  25. Great recipe! I made the blueberry-lemon scones and they were cripsy on the outside and really moist and flakey on the inside! Next time I might freeze them over night before baking to prevent them from spreading

  26. Easy-peasy! I made the lemon blueberry version, I used frozen blueberry and really want to try fresh next time! The frozen blueberry + lemon zest made my scones appear a little green in spots, not what you’d expect from a blueberry scone- LOL. Still delicious!

    1. Yes, frozen berries do tend to bleed their color easier – but still taste delicious! 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed them!

1 3 4 5 6 7 8

Leave a Reply

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

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.

Recipes You’ll Love

Archives

Categories

Sally's Baking Challenge

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe.

View More

Sally's Cookie Palooza

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

View More

Sally's Pie Week

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

View More

My 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

×