Scones add a little extra class to any breakfast or brunch—they feel just a little fancier than other breads and pastries. Plus, they’re delicious! And while many bakeries and grocery stores sell scones, making them at home is totally doable too. Why not give it a try?
If you’ve ever wondered how to make scones from scratch, know that putting together a batch of DIY scones in your kitchen doesn’t have to be intimidating. Easy scones, coming right up!
Read on for all of the details, including the best scones recipe to try and a link to a “how to make scones” video.
All About Scones
Scones were first developed in Scotland in the early 1500s as a quick bread made with oats and baked in a griddle. They became more popular in England in the 18th century. Anna the Duchess of Bedford—who lived from 1788 to 1861—insisted that her servants bring scones as part of her daily teatime ritual. As a result, many people hold her solely responsible for the rise in popularity of scones. Today, scone lovers who like to keep it traditional enjoy scones just the way she did—with clotted cream on the side.
Unfortunately, scones tend to get a bad rap. Many people criticize them for being too dry or crumbly. Scones are dryer than other breads and pastries, but the right recipe and technique can ensure that they’re not so crumbly that they’re no longer enjoyable to eat. You’ll read more about how to make scones moist below.
Scones also have a reputation for being hard, which typically happens when scone dough is overworked. But you’re about to become a scone-making expert (especially if you’re willing to put in some time and practice), so that common criticism won’t apply to you! Scones are also best eaten when they’re hot and fresh out of the oven, so you may have found them to be hard in the past if they were prepared hours (or days) before.
The Secret of Good Scones
Passionate baker and amateur cook Lea Harris shares everything she knows about how to make perfect scones in this tutorial. According to Harris, the secret to overcoming dry scones comes down to mixing and working the dough properly.
If you’re struggling with how to make scones moist and fluffy, be sure that when it’s time to mix your dough (more on that below!), you work quickly. Taking too long to work and knead the dough will cause it to become dry and tough. You’ll also want to use your hands to work the dough, rather than a rolling pin. Generally speaking, it’s best to avoid overworking the scones before they’re baked.
Learn How to Make British Scones
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How to Make Scones Yourself
Step 1: Preheat the Oven
Preheat your oven to 220℃ or 430℉.
Step 2: Measure Out Your Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own basic scones. Wondering how to make blueberry scones—or scones with any other fruit? Just add them to the recipe.
- 8 oz all purpose flour
- ½ tsp of baking soda
- ½ tsp of cream of tartar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 ½ oz unsalted butter
- 1 oz of sugar
- Approx. ¼ pint of milk with lemon juice or buttermilk
- Optional: tbsp of blueberries, raisins, or fruit
Step 3: Mix Dry Ingredients
Using a large bowl and a spoon, mix together your dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and sugar.
Step 4: Add Butter
Slice your butter into small pieces before adding it to your mix of dry ingredients. Use your hands to work the butter into the other ingredients until it looks like breadcrumbs.
If you’d like to add raisins or other fruit to your scones, this is the time to do it!
Step 5: Add Milk
Once all of your dry ingredients are well mixed with the butter, start adding the milk or buttermilk. Don’t pour all of it in at once, as you may not need it all! Incorporate it slowly with a flat-bladed knife until you have a slightly sticky dough
Step 6: Knead Dough
Put a thin layer of flour on your work surface, then set your ball of scone dough on top of it. Quickly knead the dough and pat it flat with your hands—not a rolling pin—until it’s just over an inch thick.
Remember: working the dough too roughly or for too long will result in dry or tough scones.
Step 7: Cut Scones
Use fluted cutters to cut individual scones out of the dough you’ve kneaded. Set them on a pan.
If you want to get really fancy, you can add a milk or egg wash to the top of the scones for an extra shine.
Step 8: Bake!
Place the pan on your oven’s middle rack, then bake for 10 minutes. Your scones may need to bake for up to 15 minutes, depending on how big they are. You’ll know they’re finished when they are well risen and golden.
How to Make Cream for Scones
Scones are traditionally served with clotted cream. Making your own heavy cream takes a few days, but the only ingredient required is two cups of heavy cream!
Preheat your oven to 170-180℉. Pour the cream into a shallow casserole dish or glass baking dish, then put it in the oven for 12 hours, uncovered.
When you remove the cream from the oven, you should find that it has developed a skin on top. Let it cool to room temperature. Once it’s cooled, cover the dish and refrigerate for eight hours.
Once the eight hours are complete, skim the thick layer of clotted cream from the top of the pan, then skim it to create a smooth texture. If it’s too thick, you can add some of the thinner liquid from the pan back in.
Clotted cream can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
If your scones are dense, heavy, or dry, there’s probably an issue with the way you’ve worked the dough! Next time, try kneading it more gently or for a shorter period of time. The texture of your finished scones may also suffer if the dough isn’t cold while you’re working with it. If you’re concerned about this, you can always pop the dough into the refrigerator for a few minutes to cool it down.
If you’d like to make your scones even lighter, consider using pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour, or a mix of all-purpose and cake flours.
If your scones aren’t rising correctly, it’s probably because you’ve put the scones in the oven before it’s fully preheated, which affects the rising agent. Wait to bake until the oven is the right temperature.
How to Make Scones Vegan, Gluten Free or Keto
For Vegan Scones
Substitute vegan butter or solid coconut oil for conventional butter and almond milk for conventional milk/buttermilk.
For Gluten Free Scones
Sub in a gluten free flour blend for the conventional flour. Many well-known flour brands manufacture a version of this, which you can find in a mainstream grocery store.
For Keto Scones
Making keto scones is a bit more complicated because the wheat flour and sugar included in the recipe for most conventional scones are not keto-friendly. In order to make keto scones, you’ll use a combination of almond flour and coconut flour.
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