How to Make Scones | The Perfect Scone Recipe (2024)

Tessa’s Recipe Rundown

Taste: The plain scones themselves are ultra buttery with a hint of sweet tanginess. Customization & flavor options are endless!
Texture: Extremely tender, flaky, light, and golden brown on top. Every bite is heaven!
Ease: Super easy. Less than 40 minutes from start to finish, plus you can make them ahead of time.
Pros: This is the perfect recipe to have in your back pocket for any special breakfast or brunch.
Cons: None!
Would I make this again? Absolutely, this is a go-to scone recipe!

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I never used to understand the obsession and appeal of scones. Not until I took a bite of a truly great one.

Many scones are bland and dense. Who wants that?

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It wasn’t until I perfected my own recipe that I realized how delightful scones can be. They’re sturdier and heartier than biscuits because they contain eggs and more sugar.

What I love most about them (besides all. the. BUTTER.) is that they belong on pretty much any breakfast or brunch table.

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You can dress them up by adding nuts, citrus zest, or chocolate chips. Or simply serve them plain alongside some local jam or homemade flavored butter. Or clotted cream, though this is more of an American scone recipe than British.

Any way you serve these, they’re bound to be perfect if you follow my tips below!

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Sprinkle of Science

How to Make Scones

Get Flaky Scones with COLD Butter

  • Butter must be COLD from the very start to when the dough enters the oven.
  • The cold butter melts upon entering the oven and the water content in butter evaporates in steam.
  • As the steam escapes, it bursts up and creates that beautiful tall, flaky, fluffy texture.
  • I like to cube then freeze my butter before assembling the dough.
  • I also always prefer to use unsalted butter for baking. You can find out why here: Salted vs. Unsalted Butter.

Why is Buttermilk Used in Scones?

This is absolutely the preferred liquid for scones. It will result in tender, taller scones because of how its acidity reacts with the baking powder and tenderizes the dough overall. It also adds a lovely tang to create more depth of flavor.

What if I Don’t Have Buttermilk? Can I Substitute and Still Make Scones?

I would NOT substitute buttermilk with a DIY alternative. If you aren’t able to use buttermilk, you can also use keffir or alternatively, heavy cream. You can learn more about the science of buttermilk here.

Tips for How to Make Scone Dough:

  1. Whatever you do, do not overmix the flour mixture or dough or allow it to get too warm. This will result in flatter, tougher, and less flaky scones.
  2. My absolute favorite tool for making biscuits or scone dough quickly and easily by hand (so I don’t have to lug out my food processor) is this OXO bladed pastry blender.
  3. Use a marble pastry board to help keep the dough cool. If at any point you notice the butter become greasy and melty, pop the dough into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes before proceeding.
  4. You can also pop the baking sheet of shaped unbaked scones in the fridge or freezer while the oven preheats, to ensure the butter remains nice and cold.

How to Make Tall, Flaky Scones BONUS tip:

We’re stealing a trick from croissant baking that I use in my Best Ever Pie Crust recipe! A little bit of “lamination” gets the scones to shoot up sky-high with tons of flaky layers. Don’t worry, it sounds more complicated than it actually is. If this seems like way too much work, just skip this step. You’ll still have tasty scones! Check out my for more tips.

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How to Laminate Your Scone Dough:

  1. If adding any mix-ins, fold into dough prior to step 2.
  2. Turn the craggly mass of dough out onto your work surface.
  3. Shape it into a rectangle.
  4. Fold the rectangle horizontally in thirds, like you’re folding a piece of paper to go into an envelope.
  5. Flatten it out into a rectangle again.
  6. Now fold it in thirds once more, but going the opposite direction. This will also help you to gently ‘knead’ the dough so it comes together into a more cohesive disk without overmixing it. Overmixing leads to rubbery and tough scones and biscuits.

Try to shape half your scone dough using this trick and half without to compare the difference. You’ll be surprised!

I actually demonstrated this during a live Zoom class recently Take a look at Benjamin’s laminated vs. un-laminated scone:

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How to Make Scones Ahead of Time:

The shaped unbaked scones can be covered and refrigerated overnight. Bake from the fridge as the recipe directs.

How to Freeze Scones:

Place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month. If baking from frozen, add about 2 minutes to the baking time.

Scone Flavor Variations:

Feel free to get creative with your scone flavorings! Listed below are some ideas with specific ingredient additions. But you can add in about 3/4 cup of dried fruit, chocolate chips, nuts, etc., to the dough. If using fruit, dried fruit or frozen berries such as raspberries work best!

  • Cranberry Orange
  • Pumpkin
  • Blueberry
  • Chocolate Chip – Tastes like scones and chocolate chip cookies had a baby!
  • Lemon Poppy Seed: Add 3 tablespoons poppy seeds + 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest to the dough.
  • Cinnamon Sugar: Mix 3 tablespoons granulated sugar with 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and sprinkle on the egg-coated unbaked scones.

How to Make A Glaze for Scones:

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (188 grams) powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water, milk, or citrus juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, or other extract
  • Citrus zest, to taste, if desired


Whisk all glaze ingredients together until thick but still pourable. Spread over cooled scones and let stand until set.

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More Recipes You’ll Love:

  • Shallot, Jalapeno, and Cheddar Scones
  • Red Lobster Cheesy Garlic Biscuits
  • Quiche Lorraine
  • Ultimate Muffin Recipe (customizable!)
  • Chocolate Chip Scones
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Monthly Baking Challenge Recipe Pick

This recipe is the current pick for the Handle the Heat Baking Challenge. Bake the recipe, snap a photo, and upload it for a chance to win PRIZES.

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How to Make

Classic Scones

Yield: 16 scones

Prep Time: 20 minutes mins

Cook Time: 15 minutes mins

Total Time: 35 minutes mins

Review Print


How to Make Perfect Scones better than your favorite coffee shop in just 35 minutes! Easy scone recipe that is ultra buttery, flaky, and flavorful. Make-aheadinstructions and tons of baking tips below.


  • 3 cups (381 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 sticks (170 grams) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 cup (237 grams) buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Coarse sugar


  • Adjust the oven rack to the center position and preheat to 400°F. Line two baking pans with parchment paper.

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

  • Add the butter and cut with a pastry cutter or a fork until the butter is the size of large peas.

  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, 1 egg, and vanilla extract.

  • Make a well in the middle and add the liquid mixture. Mix until just combined. Don't over mix. If adding in dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, or other flavorings, do so now.

  • Transfer the dough to a floured surface. *Optional Step: See Recipe Notes for lamination instructions.

  • Divide into 2 equal parts. Lightly knead each into 3/4-inch thick, 6-inch diameter rounds. Cut each round into 8 wedges and place on your prepared baking pans. Space them out about 2 inches apart.


  • At this point the unbaked scones can be refrigerated overnight, or sealed and frozen for up to 1 month. If baking from frozen, add about 2 minutes to the baking time.

  • In a small bowl, combine the remaining egg with 1 teaspoon water. Brush over the scones. Sprinkle with the coarse sugar.

  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. The scones are best served warm, or within a few hours of baking.

Show us!If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a picture and share it on Instagram with #handletheheat so we can all see!

Recipe Notes

OPTIONAL STEP: Here’s how to laminate your scone dough:

Turn the craggly mass of scone dough out onto your work surface. Shape it into a rectangle. Fold the rectangle horizontally in thirds, like you’re folding a piece of paper to go into an envelope. Flatten it out into a rectangle again. Now fold it in thirds once more, but going in the opposite direction. This will also help you to gently ‘knead’ the dough so it comes together into a more cohesive disk without overmixing it. Continue with step 7 above.

This recipe was originally published in May 2017 and was updated in 2023 with new photos and even more baking tips. Photos by Joanie Simon.

How to Make Scones | The Perfect Scone Recipe (2024)


What is the secret to making good scones? ›

Baking tips for making the perfect scones

The colder the better when it comes to scones, we recommend a chilled bowl and pastry cutter too. Use pastry flour: This will create a noticeably lighter scone. However, self-raising flour works just as well and creates a higher rising scone that holds its shape nicely.

How do you get the best rise on scones? ›

To ensure taller scones, start with a thicker dough disc and place the scones on a tray with sides, allowing them to slightly touch one another. This arrangement encourages the scones to push against the pan and each other, promoting height.

Why are my scones not light and fluffy? ›

Overworking the dough: when you overwork your dough, your scones can come out tough and chewy, rather than that desired light, crumbly texture. The trick is to use light pressure and only the work the dough until it just comes together.

What kind of flour makes the best scones? ›

The secret is using cake flour instead of all-purpose flour. It's lower in protein and makes for ultra-tender scones. If you don't have any on hand, you can easily make your own using all-purpose flour and cornstarch (see the FAQs below).

Should scone dough rest before baking? ›

The explanation is simple: As with other doughs, including pizza dough, resting lets scone dough's gluten relax completely, so that it doesn't snap back during shaping or baking.

Is it better to make scones with butter or oil? ›

For example, if you substitute oil for butter or margarine, you can significantly reduce the amount of saturated fat in your baked goods. This streamlined recipe for Light Scones uses just 3 tablespoons of canola oil, which contains a fraction of the saturated fat found in butter or margarine.

What not to do when making scones? ›

Just a reminder: Don't overwork the dough or the scones will turn out rubbery – or worse, bullety and hard. Cut out your scones cleanly. Twisting the cutter can impair the rise. If you use a fluted cutter, you can't twist it.

How thick should scone dough be? ›

It is far better that the scone mixture is on the wet side, sticking to your fingers, as the scones will rise better. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and flatten it out with your hand, or use a rolling pin, to a thickness of 1-2 cm (1/2 – ¾ inch).

Why don t my scones rise high? ›

The longer you get the dough sit before baking it, the less your scones will rise. Try to bake the dough as soon as you finishing kneading and rolling it out. Letting the mixture sit too long will cause the gas bubbles from the leavening agent to disappear. These gas bubbles are what help the scones rise.

Why do you mix scones with a knife? ›

The knife is a method to mix in a rough manner. If mixed thoroughly with a spoon or dough hook until smooth and well mixed, the dough will be worked too much, the components in the flour will combine too well etc and the result will be tough heavy scones, not lighter and a bit crumbly.

Why do my scones go flat in the oven? ›

Why Are My Scones Flat? Expired leavening agents. Your baking powder and/or baking soda could be expired. Most scone and biscuit recipes call for quite a large amount of leavening, and if either are expired, your scones simply won't rise to beautiful heights.

Why are my scones heavy and dense? ›

My scones have a dense, heavy texture and poor volume

You may have used too little raising agent or over handled the dough before it was baked. The oven may have been too cool.

Is heavy cream or buttermilk better for scones? ›

You could use buttermilk instead of heavy cream in this recipe if you prefer. Its acid reacts with the baking powder to keep the dough tender. But since we use heavy cream and an egg, this dough is richer than traditional biscuit dough and doesn't need much tenderizing.

What is better for scones buttermilk or heavy cream? ›

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.

Is it better to sift flour for scones? ›

3. Don't forget to sift! Be sure to double or even triple sift your flour, as it takes away the clumps in the flour allowing for more air pockets in the scone dough - the result being a fluffier and more crumbly scone.

Why do my scones spread out and not rise? ›

The most likely reason I can think of is that you omitted the leavening, or what you used was flat. Another reason might be that your dough was too warm when you baked it, so it spread more while baking. Of course, scones are not yeast products, so they shouldn't rise as much as bread would.

How do you make scones rise and not spread? ›

Pack the scones closely on the baking tray so they will support each other as they rise rather than spreading. Make scones the day you need them – they taste far better warm.

Why do you rub butter into flour for scones? ›

The Secrets of The Rubbing-in Method

When cold butter is rubbed into the flour, it creates flaky pockets of flavour (which soft, room temperature butter can't do). Once the cold butter and liquid (e.g milk) hits the oven, the water in the butter and cold liquid begins evaporating.

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