Today I’m sharing my carefully tested and perfected BEST scone recipe. Tender, flaky, buttery, and with plenty of tips on how to add your favorite mix-ins! This recipe is simple and comes together in less than 30 minutes (including bake time!). Recipe includes a how-to video!
The Best Scones of Your Life (Seriously)
I always thought that scones were unapproachable. I don’t know if it was the name, their unusual wedge-like shape, or what, but something about them just seemed too fancy and high-brow for my humble kitchen.
It wasn’t until college when I was procrastinating from writing a particularly tedious Psychology paper that I decided to first try my hand at them and was shocked to find that, hey, scones are actually really, really simple.
In fact, they’re just about the furthest thing from unapproachable. Scones aren’t much different from biscuits (and if you’ve tried my easy biscuit recipe, you know how humbly straightforward that recipe is), their fluffy, buttery interiors are just slightly sweeter and their shape is just a bit more pointed.
Let’s dig in to today’s recipe so you can learn everything there is to know about how to making scones in your own kitchen.
What You Need
All of these ingredients are basics that you probably already have on hand. I’m not going to go over each one, but let’s touch on a few key players:
- Flour. Use plain (all-purpose) flour and not self-rising or your scones will become much too tall and tip over.
- Butter. This is possibly the most important ingredient in my scone recipe recipe. If you can get your hands on it, I recommend a high quality European butter, which is more expensive but has a higher fat content and makes for delectable, tender results.
- No egg! I don’t usually list out ingredients that we don’t use, but I’ve gotten a lot of comments asking if I simply forgot to include an egg in the ingredients. Nope! There is no egg needed, I found that using one here makes the scones less flaky and less melt-in-your-mouth. We use heavy cream here for our fat and to bind the dough together.
- Mix-ins. My scones recipe is perfect without any additions whatsoever, but if you’d like you can add frozen fruit (or fresh fruit, it’s just a bit messier), chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, or your favorite fruit zest. They’re so easy to customize!
Tip: Keep your butter as cold as possible! I like to freeze mine for at least 15-30 minutes before I begin making scones. Cold butter pieces distributed throughout the dough makes for tender, flaky, buttery layers. If the butter gets too warm at any point, your scones are prone to becoming flat and dense.
Why a Food Processor?
I haven’t always used one, and in fact all of my previous scone recipes (like my chocolate scones) were made by cutting the butter into the dough using a pastry cutter or grater. However, scone dough is pretty dry, and a lot of people had trouble getting the dough to cling together doing this manually.
By using a food processor instead, the machine does all of the heavy lifting for us without overworking our dough. I highly recommend using one if you have it! Pictured above is the food processor (affiliate) that I use. It was a bridal shower gift 4 years ago and it’s a workhorse, I use it all the time!
Tip: Always press straight down when cutting your scones, never saw into the dough! A straight cut helps them to rise straight and properly, sawing will yield scones that tip over with less defined edges.
Frequently Asked Questions
I really recommend enoying the same day you make them, preferably still warm soon after coming out of the oven.
However, you can store them in an airtight container for 1-2 days, but in my opinion scones are always best enjoyed the same day that they are made.
Yes, you may use a grater or a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour instead, but the dough will be very dry and require more effort to come together, I discuss this in more detail above and provide instructions in the recipe.
Prepare the dough as instructed, cut it into wedges, and then wrap each scone in cling wrap and store in an airtight container (or Ziploc bag) in the refrigerator for up to three days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
If baking from the refrigerator no changes will need to be made. If baking from frozen there is no need to thaw but you may need a few extra minutes in the oven. I always wait until just before baking before brushing them with cream and sprinkling with sugar.
Yes! To freeze baked scones, let them cool completely after baking. Once they’ve cooled, transfer them to an airtight container (Tupperware or a Ziploc bag works well, I like to loosely wrap each scone in wax paper or parchment paper so they don’t stick together).
To defrost you can microwave them from frozen. The time required will vary depending on the power of your microwave.
Enjoy within 3 months of freezing.
Pictured above is a lemony variation, I included notes in the recipe below on how to make them this way, too!
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Let’s bake together! Make sure to check out the how-to VIDEO in the recipe card!
The BEST Scone Recipe
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (250g)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar (50g)
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup very cold unsalted butter I like to place my butter in the freezer 15 minutes before beginning to ensure it is cold (113g)
- ½ cup heavy cream (120ml)
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup your favorite add-ins optional: frozen berries, chocolate chips, nuts, etc.
- Additional heavy cream for brushing over scones optional
- Additional sugar for sprinkling over scones optional
- Preheat your oven to 375F (190C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the basin of a food processor and pulse to combine.
- Cut butter into Tablespoon-sized pieces and scatter over flour mixture, pulse until butter is cut up into the flour mixture and butter pieces are no longer visible.
- Combine the heavy cream and vanilla extract in a measuring cup and pour heavy cream over your flour mixture.
- Pulse until dough begins to clump together.
- Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and (handling lightly, as you don’t want to over-work this dough) add any add-ins at this point, gently working them into the dough. Fold the dough in half over itself and use your hands to gently flatten layers together. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and fold in half again, repeating this step 5 times and taking care to not overwork the dough.
- Form the dough into a smooth disk about 1″ thick by 6″ round.
- Cut the disk into 8 wedges, pressing the knife straight down with each cut.
- Transfer wedges to prepared baking sheet and place about 2″ apart. Brush lightly with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake on 375F (190C) for 14-16 minutes or until edges are just beginning to turn golden brown. Don’t over-bake your scones or they will be dry and tough.
- Allow scones to cool on baking sheet before serving and enjoying.
How to Make Lemon SconesAdd 1 Tbsp of fresh lemon zest into the scone batter with the butter Once scones have cooled, dip in a simple glaze made of 1 ¼ cup (160g) powdered sugar, 1 ½ Tablespoons (20ml) lemon juice, 1 ½ teaspoons of water, and ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract.
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Recipe originally published July 17th 2018, updated to provide more information, answer frequently asked questions and to be more clear, recipe remains the same!