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. #
    MicheleB — February 17, 2020 at 11:57 am

    Tessa! Love this recipe. I had fun making it and the taste is AWESOME! Truly, one does need to eat these fresh or for sure within 24 hours. I love how soft, flaky, and delicious these scones are. Thanks for a wonderful recipe.Now for some clotted cream or lemon curd!
    Michele

  2. #
    Floranet — February 6, 2020 at 12:47 am

    Breath-taking one!! Keep up the Good work

  3. #
    Susan — February 2, 2020 at 8:33 am

    Made this with 1/2 and 1/2 and with no sugar sprinkled on top. Delicious!! Never made scones before but this will now be one that I will make often. Was sweet enough for me with no topping and will try with adding blueberries the next time. Also will try with strawberry shortcake

  4. #
    Maria Janowiak — January 31, 2020 at 6:16 pm

    Super Yummy! Mine turned out better than I expected them to, and I am very satisfied. Thank you for this wonderful recipe and the chance to enter the baking challenge! I made mine lemon poppy seed. MUST MAKE AGAIN!

  5. #
    Marina — January 31, 2020 at 10:47 am

    Definitely will be making these again. Easy to add any flavors and take it to another level

  6. #
    Marina — January 31, 2020 at 10:44 am

    Honestly I will definitely bake these again. Really easy to add any flavors and take it to another level

  7. #
    Bobbie — January 31, 2020 at 7:02 am

    amazing!! Definitely makinv them again!!

  8. #
    Ana Smith — January 31, 2020 at 6:00 am

    this was my first time making scones and they turned out great!

  9. #
    Ana Smith — January 31, 2020 at 5:59 am

    this was my first time making scones and they turned out good!

  10. #
    Kimberly Dierker — January 31, 2020 at 5:58 am

    Very light, airy, and delicious. I made mine with cranberries, orange zest, and cinnamon. Love that you can customize them! I ran out of white flour so had to substitute wheat flour for half the amount and they tasted fine. Next time I’ll try all white and see how it compares.

  11. #
    Kimberly Dierker — January 31, 2020 at 5:52 am

    Very light, airy, and delicious. I made mine with cranberries, orange zest, and cinnamon. Love that I can customize them. I didn’t have enough white flour so had to substitute wheat flour for 1/2 the amount and it turned out fine. I’ll have to try all white flour next time to see how it compares.

  12. #
    Marie-Christin Häge — January 31, 2020 at 3:04 am

    This is such an easy but amazing recipe! The scones turned out perfect. Really good to keep in mind when you need something that goes quick for guests or so. Love it!

  13. #
    Mariana Díaz Orlich — January 30, 2020 at 11:41 pm

    Never made scones before in my life and they turned out AMAZING!! Everybody loved them!

  14. #
    Vicki — January 30, 2020 at 8:47 pm

    Seriously another winning recipe from Tessa! Dry scones are the worst but these guys are moist and delicious! Made mine with white chocolate chips and yummmy!

  15. #
    Sarah Mueller-Buehler — January 30, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    Easy to follow and delicious!

  16. #
    Mandy Bashura — January 30, 2020 at 10:45 am

    Perfect scone recipe! Very easy and quick. I added a tsp of cinnamon and 1 cup of raisins. Delicious

  17. #
    Rebecca Lyman — January 30, 2020 at 5:30 am

    My family loved these!

  18. #
    Suzi F — January 29, 2020 at 9:05 pm

    I added blackberries to this recipe. They were a hit! Right after I made these I went to a bakery and tried one of their scones…this recipe 10x+ better! Yummm!

    • #
      Suzi — January 30, 2020 at 11:24 am

      Oops – sorry for the double post! I thought the first one didn’t go through.

  19. #
    Suzi — January 29, 2020 at 9:00 pm

    I made these with blackberries. They were a hit. Right after I made these, I visited a bakery and ordered one of their scones…this recipe 10 times + better!

  20. #
    Abigail Vasher — January 29, 2020 at 2:03 pm

    These scones are so flaky and delicious! I are one straight out of the oven. Can’t wait to make them again!

  21. #
    Kaitlin — January 28, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    My husband loved these scones! I added chocolate chips to the batter and then glazed them and they turned out delicious! I think these scones would turn out great no matter what you add to the batter. I will definitely be making these again!

  22. #
    Kenny — January 28, 2020 at 5:52 pm

    I haven’t ever really had scones before let alone made them, but this receipt was really easy and delicious a few craisins and walnuts and they were delicious. I will definitely make again

  23. #
    Elisa Sellars — January 28, 2020 at 12:25 pm

    This recipe has produced my most successful scones – they turned out tender and light. Fabulous! I used the fan convection oven and baked for 11 minutes. This time I used lemon and lavender for a subtle flavor. I will use this base recipe to try savory flavors as well.

  24. #
    Barb — January 28, 2020 at 4:57 am

    My family loved these. They were easy to make!

  25. #
    Fithria — January 27, 2020 at 9:59 pm

    I made with the lemon and poppy seeds combo. Delish!

  26. #
    Logan — January 27, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    Best scones I’ve ever made! I added orange zest to the dough and orange juice to the icing. I’ll be making these again soon!

  27. #
    Debbie — January 27, 2020 at 10:12 am

    I made these and sit in 2: 1/2 blueberry lemon zest with lemon glaze and half chocolate chips with very vanilla glaze. My husband and son loved them. Can’t wait to try a different variation next time.

  28. #
    Chrysta Hiser — January 27, 2020 at 8:10 am

    omg! these turned out perfect! So tender and just a bit of sweetness. Perfect!

  29. #
    Elizabeth Bogges — January 27, 2020 at 6:35 am

    This scone recipe is perfect! I’ve made them 3 different ways- without fail they were perfect!

  30. #
    Elizabeth Bogges — January 27, 2020 at 6:33 am

    The basic scone dough is prefect for add-ins of your choice! I have made a few different batches, using cinnimon chips, blueberries & lemon- YUM!

  31. #
    Lucy — January 26, 2020 at 11:14 pm

    I love how easy and versatile this recipe is!
    The end result is so light and buttery

  32. #
    Christina Lund — January 26, 2020 at 8:06 pm

    I had never made scones before, and they were way easier to make than I thought they would be! I love that you can change up the flavors so easily.

  33. #
    Myreen Leanca — January 26, 2020 at 7:01 pm

    I made this recipe twice, the first time I was in a hurry so surely I made mistakes by using not-so-cold butter, even forgot about adding the egg, but they still came out pretty tasty (add-ins were ham and cheese). The second time was perfect, used frozen butter instead and grated them onto the bowl of flour. Worked really well, now I have these delicious blueberry scones.

  34. #
    Evgeniya Kuzina — January 26, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    This is the first time I’ve made scones and they turned out great! Thanks for the recipe!

    I did substitute baking soda and baking powder to just baking powder (4 times the baking soda amount) and sadly my scones didn’t really raise 🙁 Is it a must to have both? Am I missing something?

  35. #
    Michelle — January 26, 2020 at 4:23 pm

    Super easy recipe. I love the extra baking powder too because it made them really fluffy! Will make again.

  36. #
    Michelle Sandeen — January 26, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    These are amazing scones – they are borderline almost-too-fluffy to be scones, but don’t quite cross the line. I was delighted by how mine turned out. I made them into orange scones with some orange zest and using a bit of orange juice concentrate mixed into the buttermilk; two oranges seemed to be about the right amount of zest for this recipe. I have made a lot of scones before and these were some of the best.

    I liked the effect of the scones being brushed with egg and will be doing that whenever i make scones from now on.

  37. #
    Caitlin — January 26, 2020 at 11:50 am

    I made this recipe using frozen blueberries and they came out amazing! So flaky and tender.

  38. #
    Joanna Ryals — January 26, 2020 at 11:37 am

    These scones were quick and easy to make. Love that the base recipe can be customized and the resulting texture is perfect. These will be a staple!

  39. #
    Donna Tamburi — January 26, 2020 at 10:25 am

    These are oh so good!! Made mine cranberry orange. Broke my keto diet, worth it !! Had 2.

  40. #
    Jann J — January 26, 2020 at 10:21 am

    I made this and they were very good-not too sweet which is usually my complaint about scones. We like all things lemon so I added 2 tsp of grated Meyers Lemon (ML) rind and substituted fresh ML juice for the vanilla. Served with a healthy dollop of homemade ML curd and they were perfect. I would definitely make again!

  41. #
    Kelsey — January 26, 2020 at 9:00 am

    Made this with frozen apples and cinnamon–delicious!

  42. #
    Megan — January 25, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    This step-by-step breakdown makes a recipe I have always found intimidating doable! Even better, they are flaky and delicious!

  43. #
    Evgeniya Kuzina — January 25, 2020 at 7:37 pm

    This is the first time I’ve made scones and they turned out great! Thanks for the recipe!

    I did substitute baking soda and baking powder to just baking powder (4 times the baking soda amount) and sadly my scones didn’t really raise 🙁 Is it a must to have both? I thought they were sort of substitutable

  44. #
    Evgeniya — January 25, 2020 at 7:36 pm

    This is the first time I’ve made scones and they turned out great! Thanks for the recipe!

    I did substitute baking soda and baking powder to just baking powder (4 times the baking soda amount) and sadly my scones didn’t really raise 🙁 Is it a must to have both? I thought they were sort of substitutable

  45. #
    Katharina Kretschmer — January 25, 2020 at 10:43 am

    Never made scones before – but these are so worth it! Made them with blueberries and they are so yummie!

  46. #
    Melanie Araar — January 25, 2020 at 10:14 am

    This recipe is great. The scones are soft and buttery, and this recipe is a blank canvas that you can add things to and make any flavor you like.

  47. #
    Jackie Schiefer — January 25, 2020 at 6:31 am

    Perfect Scone recipe.

  48. #
    Heidi Barthel — January 24, 2020 at 11:57 pm

    This recipe is so yummy! I overworked the dough a bit, but it was the first scone I’ve ever made. I made the cranberry orange scones. 🙂

  49. #
    Rhae — January 24, 2020 at 6:06 am

    This is such a fantastic recipe and it’s a great base for so many flavor options. I made raspberry earl grey and jalapeño cheddar. SO GOOD!

  50. #
    Angela Kirk — January 23, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    Absolutely amazing recipe! The scones came out so light, buttery and literally melted in my mouth when I tried one fresh from the oven. Highly recommend!

  51. #
    Tiernan — January 23, 2020 at 3:52 pm

    These were absolutely incredible. Everyone that tried it was asking for the recipe. Probably one of the best things I have baked so far!

  52. #
    Natalie J Vandenberghe — January 23, 2020 at 1:36 pm

    I love your recipe! I substituted whipping cream for the buttermilk because I was trying to get rid of the cream (and I didn’t have buttermilk–I know, I could’ve soured some milk) I didn’t come here to enter your baking challenge. In my search for recipes, I ended up here and decided “may as well…” LOL
    I’m not experienced with taking and posting photos, but now that I know the winner is randomly drawn AND there’s an additional entry for previous participation, I just may enter again. Wish me luck!
    I’ll probably add dried cranberries or cherries next time.
    Thanks again!

  53. #
    Melynne Vick — January 21, 2020 at 8:21 pm

    Absolutely loved these! So easy and good!

  54. #
    Deirdre almendarez — January 21, 2020 at 7:09 pm

    These are so easy to make! A new fave for our family.

  55. #
    Stacie Mihok — January 21, 2020 at 11:30 am

    THIS IS AN AMAZING RECIPE! I hae made it three times now and it has come out perfect. I love how you can customize it and add anything to it to make it your own. I made it twice with mini chocolate chips and once with nothing added to it. Both were perfect. Another amazing recipe from Tessa!!!!

  56. #
    Nancy Remy — January 21, 2020 at 11:12 am

    Tessa has done it again. Another great Challenge and you can be so creative with it.

  57. #
    Nancy Remy — January 21, 2020 at 11:08 am

    Tess has done it again! What a great recip and you can make it however your creative mind likes.

  58. #
    Kristen — January 20, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    First time making! Easy-to-follow, tasty recipe!

  59. #
    Andrea — January 20, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    Lovely lemon flavor w the perfect scone texture

  60. #
    Andrea — January 20, 2020 at 4:05 pm

    Lovely lemon flavor & perfect scones texture

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