Filed Under: Breakfast | Brunch | How To

How to Make Perfect Scones

Recipe By Tessa Arias
  |  
November 18th, 2021
4.9 from 166 votes
4.9 from 166 votes

How to Make Perfect Scones better than your favorite coffee shop in just 35 minutes! Easy recipe with make-ahead instructions and tons of baking tips below.

Yield: 16 scones

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: The plain scones themselves are ultra buttery with a hint of sweet tanginess. There are so many flavors you can add directly to the dough, or accompany these with jam or flavored butter.
Texture: Extremely tender, flaky, and light. Every bite is heaven!
Ease: Super easy. They take less than 40 minutes from start to finish, plus you can make them ahead of time (specific instructions below)!
Pros: This is the perfect recipe to have in your back pocket for any special breakfast or brunch.
Cons: None! Maybe besides the fact that these are super rich 😉
Would I make this again? Absolutely, this is a go-to recipe!

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

Many scones are bland and dense. Why would I want to waste an indulgence on that?!

It wasn’t until I perfected my own recipe that I realized how delightful scones can be. They’re somehow sturdier and heartier than biscuits, but without being overly dry or crumbly.

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

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.

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

How to Make Scones

Get Flaky Scones with COLD Butter

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

Why is buttermilk used for 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.

I would highly advise using real buttermilk instead of a substitute. If you aren’t able to use buttermilk, you can also use heavy cream. You can learn more about buttermilk here.

How to make scone dough:

Whatever you do, do not overmix the dough or allow it to get too warm. Doing so will result in flatter, tougher, and less flaky scones. 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. LOVE.

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.

You can also pop the tray 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. And if this seems like way too much work, just skip this step. You’ll still have tasty scones!

Here’s how to laminate your scone dough:

  1. Turn the craggly mass of scone dough out onto your work surface.
  2. Shape it into a rectangle.
  3. Fold the rectangle in half like a piece of paper.
  4. Flatten it out into a rectangle again.
  5. Now fold it in half 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.

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 exclusively for HTH Members earlier this year. Take a look at Benjamin’s laminated vs. un-laminated scone:

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 work best!

  • Cranberry-Orange
  • Pumpkin
  • Blueberry: Use a spatula to gently fold in 1 1/2 cups blueberries to the scone dough as a final step before shaping. Take care not to break the blueberries or their color will bleed. If using frozen blueberries, keep frozen and don’t thaw before using.
  • 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

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

More scone recipes you’ll love:

4.9 from 166 votes

How to make
Classic Scones

Yield: 16 scones
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
How to Make Perfect Scones better than your favorite coffee shop in just 35 minutes! Easy recipe with make-ahead instructions and tons of baking tips below.

Ingredients

  • 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 buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Coarse sugar

Directions

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the center position and preheat to 400°F. Line two baking pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. Add the butter and cut with a pastry cutter or a fork until the butter is the size of large peas.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, 1 egg, and vanilla extract.

  5. 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.

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

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

MAKE AHEAD

  1. 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.

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

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

Recipe Notes

OPTIONAL STEPHere'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 in half like a piece of paper. Flatten it out into a rectangle again. Now fold it in half 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.
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to make scones, scones

January 2020 Baking Challenge

This recipe was the January 2020 selection for our monthly baking challenge! Every month you can join the challenge by baking the recipe and snapping a photo for a chance to win prizes! Full challenge details here. Check out everyone’s scones:

This recipe was originally published in May 2017 and was recently updated in 2021 with new photos and more baking tips! Photos by Joanie Simon.

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating




  1. #
    Colleen S — January 20, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    We had a visitor coming to our house for a morning meeting and I was stressing about what to make for a late breakfast. I made these scones and they were a hit! I made them exactly as the recipe is written (weights for the flour and sugar). I didn’t do any add-ins, but my family has requested that I make them again so I might add in something next time… or maybe not because they were so good as is!

  2. #
    Debbi Sherer — January 20, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    Delicious! I made blueberry lemon scones with a lemon drizzle. I am not usually a scone person, but these were so flaky and delicious!

  3. #
    Tori — January 20, 2020 at 9:09 am

    I thought this recipe was great and pretty easy, except for the last step. Being a beginner baker I thought it was confusing. I couldn’t figure out how to not over mix, but then still be able to dump it out and continue to knead. My dough (especially with having added frozen blueberries as a mix in) was too fragile to knead. Was I supposed to just do my best to shape the dough rather than knead? Not wanting to risk crushing up all my blueberries and making the scones too tough and messy, I ended up just rolling them into balls like cookies, but I wished they had that more traditional triangle scone look. I also wasn’t sure if the egg wash was just supposed to be yolks or the whole egg.

  4. #
    Tia Hughes — January 20, 2020 at 6:12 am

    I have never made scones before but decided to give this recipe a shot. It was soooo good! The recipe was easy to follow and the scones were super light and fluffy. I decided to make the regular scones this time, but now I want to make other flavor combinations.

  5. #
    Myriam — January 19, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    Great recipe fast and easy.

  6. #
    Mimi — January 19, 2020 at 1:38 pm

    Great base recipe. Fast and easy. I added pecans and dark chocolate chunks. They stood no chance against the family.

  7. #
    Dinner Club Diaries — January 19, 2020 at 11:01 am

    First time making scones and these were great! My only regret is the eggwash. I don’t like the yellow color they gave to my scones. Next time i’ll brush with heavy cream, but there will be a next time! Great recipe!

  8. #
    Andrea Castillo — January 19, 2020 at 10:00 am

    Great recipe for a make ahead breakfast! Will definitely be using it again and again.

  9. #
    Amanda Juarez — January 18, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    These came out really good but my dough was really sticky and wouldn’t knead or let me cut so I made them into drop scones. Any tips to have the dough be less sticky?

  10. #
    Faith — January 18, 2020 at 5:40 am

    These scones are so easy to make and result in a perfectly tender treat. Easy to customize with whatever flavor you like! I’ll definitely be making these again and again!

  11. #
    Tim Moore — January 16, 2020 at 10:35 pm

    This recipe is amazing. I subbed eggnog for the cream and added dried cranberries, which turned out better than expected.

  12. #
    David Williams — January 15, 2020 at 11:17 am

    Cranberry with orange glaze
    Best scones ever !!!

  13. #
    PJ Bibby — January 15, 2020 at 12:46 am

    I love the texture of these Scones, buttery, flaky and just the right density, also not too sweet.
    I added dried apricots, dates and orange zest to mine.

  14. #
    Caroline Vaczy — January 13, 2020 at 11:40 pm

    These scones are delicious and so easy to make! The frozen butter tip was super helpful. Thanks Tessa!

  15. #
    Jennifer — January 13, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    I don’t usually like store bought scones, but these blew me away. They came together easily, smelled wonderful and tasted even better. Going to make more to freeze and share with the family.

  16. #
    Shirley H — January 13, 2020 at 11:24 am

    Delicious! The exterior is crisp while the interior is soft

  17. #
    Shirley H — January 13, 2020 at 11:18 am

    Great crispy exterior and soft interior

  18. #
    Kira Olsen — January 12, 2020 at 5:48 pm

    Super yummy and flakey!

  19. #
    Karen Gray — January 12, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    I made several scone recipes before and these rate right at the top. I love the way the rose and the soft texture.

  20. #
    Taylor Flowers — January 12, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    These are absolutely delicious. I added chocolate chips and they were a hit!

  21. #
    Nikki Christensen — January 12, 2020 at 12:08 pm

    Super yummy! I added golden raisins and I love it:)

  22. #
    Julia Herdegen — January 12, 2020 at 10:21 am

    I had to make a few substituons, using half cream cheese and half milk because we didn’t have milk, but the recipe worked amazing. I made a batch for my whole family, and they liked it so much I got asked to make another!

  23. #
    Megan Lehmann — January 12, 2020 at 9:11 am

    My daughter and I made these together. Very easy and delicious! They were definitely almost-5-year-old approved, especially paired with fresh strawberries and my Aunt’s apple pumpkin butter.

  24. #
    Elizabeth Casey — January 11, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    I made these scones this morning and before noon, half were gone! I used currants and orange zest for the scones and orange juice in the glaze – so yummy!

  25. #
    Kimberly Stump — January 11, 2020 at 1:16 pm

    Easy, delicious recipe! I added a few raspberries and sprinkled sugar over the finished scones and my family devoured them.

  26. #
    Elizabeth — January 11, 2020 at 6:43 am

    I’ve been making scones for years – these are the lightest and fluffiest by far!

  27. #
    li — January 10, 2020 at 7:37 pm

    Thanks for the recipe .The scones are crisp on the outside & tender inside when served warm. I like it because it is not too sweet and you can add other fillings or toppings. The dough was very moist so I rolled it between two sheets of plastic.I let it chill in the refrigerator until cold before baking. The small pieces of butter in the dough create little cracks on the scone when it is baked.

  28. #
    Jodie — January 10, 2020 at 12:37 pm

    Easy, delicious, customizable recipe. Made my nonscone fan bf a believer.

  29. #
    Kelsey Loureiro — January 10, 2020 at 8:11 am

    I love this scone recipe! I especially love the flexibility. I can’t wait to make it again and again with different flavors

  30. #
    Mike — January 10, 2020 at 7:07 am

    These came out great!

  31. #
    Daniel Feinberg — January 10, 2020 at 6:27 am

    recipe was easy follow. although the pic is taken in a scone pan i followed the directions and cut one as described but the other piece of dough was divided into 6 pieces for a larger scone. they’re delicious. Better than the boxed ingredients you can buy. next batch will be crystallized ginger, orange zest and cranberry

  32. #
    Valarie Allen — January 9, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    I must admit, that I have a favorite scone recipe. I had a favorite scone recipe until I tried this one with my best seller which is cranberry with white chocolate. Love this recipe!

  33. #
    Emily Leishman — January 9, 2020 at 8:04 pm

    Made these white chocolate peppermint scones and the turned out really well! Very easy and declious!

  34. #
    Tabitha — January 9, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    This recipe was easy to follow, taste great, and a bonus was, it didn’t need to be refrigerated before baking

  35. #
    Len’s Oven Lovin — January 9, 2020 at 9:29 am

    Absolute DELICIOUSNESS!! These scones are so good. You can add any flavor you want to them and still get these light, buttery, biscuit-y scones that are perfect.

  36. #
    Meg — January 9, 2020 at 8:06 am

    I tried this last week. I added dried cherrys and white chocolate and it’s so so good!

    I didn’t have buttermilk so i used milk and heavy cream (combined).

    It was so soft and yummy!

  37. #
    Melissa Thompson — January 8, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    So delicious! Light and fluffy unlike so many other dense scones I’ve made. Not difficult to make either. We did the cinnamon and sugar variety which gave them that special something extra. Definitely recommend!

  38. #
    Melissa Thompson — January 8, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    These are delicious! So light and fluffy, not dense like so many other scones I’ve made. They were not difficult to make either. We did the cinnamon sugar variety and it was just enough to give them that little extra something. Definitely recommend.

  39. #
    Jill Puhlmann-Becker — January 7, 2020 at 8:23 am

    This recipe came out wonderful. The scones were a light, beautiful texture and so tasty!

  40. #
    Robin Mack — January 6, 2020 at 7:05 pm

    These taste amazing and have a great texture

  41. #
    Connie — January 6, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    EASY, easy and so tasty!! I added cranberries and orange zest and a bit of cinnamon, glazed with an orange juice glaze. Delicious!!

  42. #
    Lenore V — January 5, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    Great recipe! Came out light & fluffy, nice buttery and not too sweet taste. Tried it with a traditional cream wash and the egg wash as in the recipe. The egg wash gave it a nicer brown top. But both ways tasted great. Definitely will use this recipe again.

  43. #
    Lenore — January 5, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    Great recipe! Came out light & fluffy, nice buttery and not too sweet taste. Tried it with a traditional cream wash and the egg wash as in the recipe. The egg wash gave it a nicer brown top. But both ways tasted great. Definitely will use this recipe again.

  44. #
    Marguerite Sterling — January 5, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    It was easier than I imagined. I followed the instructions and used one if the suggested variations, using lemon and poppyseeds. I will definitely be making them again.

  45. #
    Sandra D — January 5, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    Made the scones as Cinnamon Raisin. Recipe was easy to follow and the scones came out light and flaky. Will definitely keep this recipe handy to use again and again and again. I also put some in the freezer for an easy breakfast treat!

  46. #
    Berenice Luong — January 5, 2020 at 10:27 am

    Super easy and delicious. I made mine using craisins.

  47. #
    Kate — January 5, 2020 at 10:18 am

    I made this exactly according to the recipe, and they turned out perfectly! While definitely more of an American style scone, guests still raved over them at the Afternoon Tea at which they were served. Even better with clotted cream to cut the sweetness a tad! Thanks TA!

  48. #
    Erin m. — January 5, 2020 at 5:31 am

    These smell great! I made a cinnamon sugar version.

  49. #
    Jennifer Borowski — January 4, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    I made this month’s scone challenge with butterscotch morsels which makes them taste like pancakes with maple syrup!!

  50. #
    Joanne C Johnsen — January 4, 2020 at 1:09 pm

    Easy and fool proof. And I’m excited for a recipe that works well with gluten-free flour as my joints aren’t pleased with my holiday diet of cookies and cake. Dipped some of mine in the same glaze as the cinnamon rolls. Reminds me of Panera scones. 🙂

  51. #
    Kelly M — January 4, 2020 at 11:54 am

    These scones taste wonderful and are VERY tender although, I will admit, I added both eggs to the dough by mistake. I will definitely make this recipe again, using only one egg in the dough, which should make them slightly less fluffy. My husband prefers scones to be a little more dense. I made the cinnamon sugar version this time but would love to try the Cranberry Orange version next time.

  52. #
    Kristina Quinones — January 4, 2020 at 10:26 am

    Flaky and soft. Cranberry and orange is definitely a favorite flavor.

  53. #
    Rachel Balsley — January 4, 2020 at 10:04 am

    Could’ve used more sugar or alternate recipes for flavors, mine came out like biscuits. But fun to make and well-written recipe!

  54. #
    Sarah Carver — January 4, 2020 at 9:05 am

    I have never really cared for scones before but these were great! I made mine with frozen blueberries and mixed with the coarse sugar topping really made them taste special. Thanks for challenging me again Tessa!

  55. #
    emily — January 4, 2020 at 7:05 am

    The most light and fluffy scone recipe I have made yet! I like the addition of the egg.

  56. #
    Zoe — January 3, 2020 at 8:33 pm

    Light and airy and fluffy – went back for seconds!

  57. #
    Kayleen Amador — January 3, 2020 at 7:02 pm

    Best scones ever!!

  58. #
    Cassie Ducharme — January 3, 2020 at 5:21 pm

    So quick and easy! I love the variations too!

  59. #
    Jill Worthy — January 3, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    Great base recipe

  60. #
    Jill Worthy — January 3, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    This a is a great scone recipe. I made mine with cranberries and orange oil and zest. I also prefer cutting my scones round for more even baking.

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