cranberry cheese scones

How to Make Scones – Dough Do’s and Don’ts

Are you also one of those people who doesn’t tend to follow recipes precisely? When you’re asked to add eggs in one by one, or to pour in the sugar slowly, or to use a separate bowl to mix the dry ingredients, you end up adding all eggs and sugar in one go, all in one bowl? Sounds familiar to me! If I don’t see a good reason to follow the instructions I don’t. Sometimes learning along the way that there was indeed a good reason to do so…

A scone, is one of those foods which needs some proper following of instructions. We’ll dig into which of those steps are actually important (and which aren’t) to give you that light, flaky scone instead of a brick. From there on, be creative and make scones your own!

What are scones?

The ‘traditional’ scones come from the United Kingdom. There, they’re almost always round and served with clotted cream and jam, as part of a British afternoon or ‘cream’ tea. These scones are slightly sweet, but not overly so (hence the jam). More importantly, they’re very flaky. Scones break apart easily and it makes for quite a unique eating experience.

From there, scones have traveled the world and don’t necessarily always look like that classic round scone anymore. They come in various shapes, sizes and flavors. American scones especially tend to be a lot sweeter. But, all scones will still have that characteristic flaky texture. It’s what unites the scone.

The main challenge for making scones is to achieve that crumbliness. It should fall apart easily when you pull a part off, but it shouldn’t crumble apart in your hands. You might be surprised to learn, that it isn’t that different from the American biscuit, Both are crumbly, light and moist and use very similar preparation techniques. But, biscuits tend to be savoury, even salty.

Classic British scones in the UK, eaten with clotted cream & jam.

Why are scones crumbly?

There are a few steps you can’t skip on to make a good scone. Aside from those, you can let your creativity go wild. These crucial steps all relate to creating that characteristic crumbly scone.

A crumbly scone breaks apart very easily into smaller bite size chunks. The opposite of crumbliness would be a well baked baguette. You have to tear a part off a baguette, taking a lot more effort than breaking of a piece of scone.

The main reason for these differences is the existence or absence of a gluten network. A bread dough is kneaded extensively to organize and align the gluten that are naturally present in wheat flour. That gluten network makes a smooth coherent dough. With scones though you do not want this gluten network to form!

Two steps help you prevent extensive gluten network formation:

1. Do not knead/mix more than you need to

Gluten are proteins. They align and form this strong network if there’s enough water and if the dough is kneaded extensively. It’s why any scone recipe will caution you against mixing once all the moisture has been added into the scone dough. Just fold it through with a spatula or gently use your hands.


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Be careful when using electric mixers when using scone doughs. Use them at a low speed when all the moisture is in and stop just before you think it’s ready. It’s easier to over than under mix a scone dough.

2. Rubbing in the butter

There is another way to help prevent gluten formation, it’s to put barriers in place for the proteins to interact. Butter, as are other others and fats, is good at forming these barriers.

It is why you add the butter to the flour first. Rubbing the butter into the flour puts those barriers in place. Rubbing in the butter consistently throughout the flour is essential for making that crumbly scone. At this point you can use an electric mixer without any risk of over mixing (just be careful to not melt the butter).

Butter contributes in more ways than just preventing gluten networks. By rubbing in butter into the flour you’re creating little pockets of the butter throughout the dough. Upon placing the scone dough into the oven these pockets of butter will start to melt. Where the butter used to sit is now an opening, forming a perfect ‘break’ area for when you’re pulling apart a piece of your scone. It is very similar to what happens when making puff pastry or short crust pastry, but to a lesser and less organized extent.

Other ingredients in a scone

A good scone contains at least that butter and flour. However, that won’t bring the scone dough together in a coherent mass, this is where the milk comes in. There should be enough milk to make a dough out of all the ingredients that doesn’t crumble apart. It’s better if it’s just a little sticky and wet, giving the dough some flexibility to rise.

That rise mostly comes from added baking powder or baking soda. The provide just that extra boost of lightness by puffing up the scone as a whole in the oven. Remember that baking soda only works well if there’s some other form of acid in the recipe. It works well with buttermilk scones for instance.

Last but not least a basic scone may contain a little salt and sugar for flavour. Aside from providing sweetness, the sugar also helps to brown the scone more quickly in the oven.

Crumbliness trouble shooting

Even if you’ve done everything right according to the theory, it go can wrong in practice. Different flours, different egg sizes, different butters, all affect the recipe. So what to do when things don’t turn out as you would have liked them to?

Why are my scones too crumbly?

The liquid that you add after adding the butter is required to keep the whole dough together. If there’s not enough water to keep the dough together, it will fall apart too easily and it will be very hard to bring it all together.

Also, it is important that you mix long enough for the ingredients to mix evenly. If there are still large clumps of flour or pockets with a lot of water, it won’t hold together in those areas.

Why aren’t my scones crumbly at all?

In order to get that crumbliness, you need those fat pockets. Not starting by mixing the flour and butter at the start can cause them not not form properly. However, there’s another thing to keep in mind. The butter has to remain solid while making the scones. If the butter melts completely those pockets are gone and it will become more bread like than scone like.

Also, remember to not extensively knead the scone dough. Knead so that everything just comes together, but not anymore or again you will lose those air pockets.

scone trial results
One of many scone trials. In this trial, the scone dough was rolled out too thin, so they did not puff up as much. Apart from that we tested: Mixing everything in in one go; overall scone looked good, top right, but it tasted a little dry and bland. Substituting water for milk; turned out just fine, especially if you will be eating your scone will flavourful toppings. Adding two times the amount of butter, bottom two, these were more cookies than scones!

My scones haven’t risen enough

If your scones barely rise in the oven, reconsider the amount of water you’ve added. You might want to add more. Otherwise, increase the amount of baking powder/soda.

If you’re using baking soda, take care that you’ve added at least one sour ingredient (e.g. buttermilk). The baking soda needs something acid to be activated (read why here).

cranberry cheese scones
Well risen scones, some have even risen a bit too much! That’s easily solved for by adding a bit less baking powder or baking soda next time.

Adding fillings to a scone

You can jazz up the basic scone and include all sorts of fillings. Some fillings even help to create that light and crumbly texture, whereas with others you have to be a bit more careful that they don’t undo all your previous hard work.

Cheese scones

Adding grated cheese to your scone almost can’t go wrong. Cheese is mostly fat, with very little liquid. Therefore, cheese will serve a similar function as the butter in your scone, it will help keep it crumbly and light. To most scone recipes you can add grated cheese without it negatively impacting the texture. The recipe below contains some suggestions for quantities.

unbaked scones with blueberries
Blueberry scone dough

Fruit scones

Fruit contains a lot of moisture as so you should be a lot more careful with fruit than with cheese when adding them to scones. It is best to add the fruit towards the end, when you’re bringing the dough together and try not to break the fruit too much. The more you knead and break the fruit, the more moisture you will release and the more the scone will be affected.

If you want to add berries, use frozen ones, so that they don’t break down during kneading. A good fruit we found is cranberries, they barely release any moisture when they’re uncooked!

If you do want to add more moist fruit, reduce the amount of milk you’re adding. Fruit contains a lot of moisture, so reduce the amount of milk by the weight of 50% of the fruit as a start. If it’s still too dry you can always add water back in.

The science of cutting out a scone

There are roughly two ways to shape you scones. One is to roll out the dough into a thick sheet and cut it into pieces. This tends to gives the best rise since you haven’t interfered with the sides to much, allowing those to expand and rise. However, you can also shape them individually, more like little balls. They will puff up slightly differently as you can see in the photos on this post, but still taste great. Shaping them does tend to be hard when you’re dough is slightly sticky. Actually, if you’re able to shape them as nicely as a bread, your dough most likely isn’t sticky enough!

scone dough ready to bake
One of many scone trials, the ones on the left have been shaped into a ball by hand, the ones on the right were just cut out. Both turned out fine. As may be able to see, some have a brushing of milk over the top and some do not, both turned out similarly as well.
light fluffy crumbly scones
These scones were not cut, but shaped. Notice their domed top, not a typical scone look for sure, but they do still taste like a scone!

Do’s and don’ts of making scones

Apart from the main facts we just discussed, we tested out some more aspects! Based on that, here’s the highlights of the do’s and don’ts of scone making.

Definitely do…

  • Mix in the butter before adding the rest. This ensures an even distribution of the butter and the creation some of those buttery pockets.
  • Make a sticky, wettish dough, it will give a better rise.
  • Add enough baking powder to puff it up well and add something sour if you’re using baking soda.

And don’t…

  • Knead a scone dough, it should be way too wet to knead.
  • Add all ingredients in one go.
  • Add too much butter, if you do, it will turn out more like a cookie than a scone.
light fluffy crumbly scones

Scone Dough - Do's and Don'ts

Yield: 8 scones
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

A basic recipe for scones with a few suggestions for variations. Use the tips mentioned above to optimize and improve your scones. Make sure you do not skip on the rubbing butter step and treating the dough gently. Otherise, feel free to modify fillings and tweak it to your preferences.


  • 250g flour
  • 30g sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 50g cold butter
  • 135ml milk*
  • Little of milk (optional for a wash)

Optional fillings

  • 60g roughly grated cheese (larger pieces are better than very finely grated cheese)
  • 60g fresh cranberries, cut in half, it is very hard to knead them in when they're whole and round, they tend to bounce away


  1. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  2. Add the cold butter to the flour and knead through the flour until you have a slightly crumbly texture. It shouldn't be as crumbly as when making a fruit crumble, a slightly coarse sand is what you could compare it to. You could do this with a stand mixer, continue mixing until there's no large pieces left.
  3. Pour in all the milk and mix it through gently, either with your hands or a spatula/wooden spoon. It is important to stir as little as you can and stop stirring at soon as you have a cohesive dough. You can again do this with a stand mixer. Mix at the lowest speed until it just comes together, that happens in just a few seconds.
  4. If you're adding the fillings, now is a good point to add them. Knead the dough just a little so it comes together well and isn't too crumbly anymore.
  5. Flatten the dough into a rectangle/circle, whatever you prefer. Keep it quite thick (about 2 cm/1 inch) for a nice fluffly scone). Cut out your scones, we tend to just shaped the dough in a circle and cut out pie pieces, little triangles.
  6. Coat the top of the scones with some milk or egg wash for an even prettier top (although I always skip this!).
  7. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for approximately 20-25 minutes. The scones should be a light brown when they're finished.


*If you don't have milk at home, feel free to use water. We tested it out and the scones taste just fine, maybe even a little better than using milk.

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  1. This is not the clearest of recipes to follow. You haven’t stated what type of flour, neither have you stated what type of butter (salted or unsalted?). In your ingredients list you have stated to use milk but in your top tips you have talked about addding water?

    • Hi Alex,
      Thanks for coming by! I’d be happy to clarify. The flour that you’ll need to use is just plain white flour. Using whole grain will make it very dense and if you decide on using self raising flour, cut down on the baking powder. Butter is always unsalted in pastry here, unless we mention otherwise. It gives you a lot more control over the saltiness of the final product. With regards to milk & water. I’ve clarified that in the post now, you can use either one, depending on your preference, milk will contribute a bit to taste as well as colour. Overall, feel free to play around with the recipe and make it work for you!
      Hope that helps.

      • I am hoping to make these this week – will be vegan-izing them – using Oat milk or coconut cream and vegan butter or shortening. If anyone has experience with the substitution, let me know, otherwise, I’ll report back if anyone is interested 🙂

        • Yes, let us know how it went!
          We’ve had a lot of success making pancakes as well as bechamel and a few other things using oat milk :-). I would suggest oat milk over coconut cream since coconut cream contains quite a large amount of fat so might slightly throw off your ratios.

  2. Hello and thanks for this brilliant advice. I have a question about the scone bottom. I made a batch today that were pretty great (if I do say so) – every element just worked out really well – except I feel as though the bottom of the scones were a bit cakier than the very slightly firm/crunchy (not really crunchy – but I’m not sure how to describe it) that I was looking for. Would this have to do with oven temp or greasing vs baking paper? Any advice would be much appreciated.

    • Hi Vicki,
      Glad to hear the post was useful for you!
      With regards to the ‘cakeiness’ of the bottom, good question. Personally, I always use baking paper and don’t grease, but a little oil on the bottom would most likely make it a bit more crispy if that’s what you’re looking for. The oil will help the transfer the heat more efficiently.
      If it’s only the bottom you’re not happy about, I wouldn’t change the oven temperature or you might risk drying out the top, which is shame. What could maybe help you there is the position of your rack of scones in the oven (that is, if you’re using bottom+top heating or a gas oven, for a convection oven is shouldn’t really matter). Placing it closer to the bottom, so closer to the heat source, should help it crisp up a little.
      Last but not least, I’ve read that the type of baking tray you use can impact the colour of cookies, so I’m guessing it can do the same for scones, although I haven’t tested it out. A darker sheet tends to bake the bottom faster, making it a little darker but also more brown.

      Hope that helps and again, thanks for coming by!

  3. This is great advice. Do you have any advice on how to prepare ahead of time. (Freezing the dough rounds vs Freezing and reheating the cooked scone). Do you have any recommendations? Thanks

    • Hi Janet,

      So happy to hear it helped you! I must say I haven’t tried preparing scones ahead of time. That said, my recommendation would be to freeze the dough, thaw it overnight and bake them in the oven the next day. Your main challenge would be to freeze them well. Place them on a tray, covered in a plastic bag. After a few hours or so, you can take them from the tray and place them in the bag only. When you defrost them, take them on a tray again, well separated, so they don’t stick together again. Make sure to really completely defrost them before baking or you’ll risk a raw center. They can’t be store indefinitely due to freezer burn, they’ll dry out over time.
      You could also bake them and then re-heat them. However, you might risk drying them out too much then.

      Good luck!

    • I have made scones for about 10 years now, and I always freeze my scones unbaked. This process never compromises the texture, flavor-nor the rise of the scone. I like to do this becauae I can always enjoy a freshly baked batch. After I cut my scones into the desired shape, I place them in the freezer for about one hour, in a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Then I take them out and put them in a freezer safe plastic bag. When I want to bake a fresh batch, I take the amount I want, and simply put them in the oven-no need to defrost-just need a bit more time to bake. Also, you may add cream or egg wash before baking. The scones will keep in the freezer up to 3-5 months.

      • What is the recipe you use? I made a batch of Stonewall Kitchen and they were light flaky and wonderful, I can’t seem to find a homemade recipe that tastes the same in flakiness.

    • Hi Lara,

      Thanks for hopping by and this interesting question! Leaving you scone dough on the counter for half an hour shouldn’t matter that much. The following things might happen, but shouldn’t impact your final scones that much.
      – Butter will become softer, if it’s really hot outside it will melt, making the dough stickier and harder to handle.
      – Your dough will start drying out. This isn’t much of an issue if it’s just a little, but don’t leave it out for hours or it will negatively impact the dough.
      – Since you’re not using yeast, but leavening agents it won’t rise or proof.
      – The flour will hydrate some more, however, since you’re not using whole wheat flour that won’t really impact it that much.

  4. I’ve just made my first batch of scones following the recipe on the back of the flour packet. Whole meal flour, salted butter softened, mix all together but only for a short time. I couldn’t roll out as so wet so added more flour and more flour! Disaster. I found your site once they were in the oven and realised why they turned out flat and dry and tasteless. I’m determined to learn how to make scones so shall try again following your advice. Thank you for this page, really helpful

  5. Hi there. I’ve been making scones for a couple of years now and they come out pretty perfect every time. I’ve made all the mistakes you’ve mentioned plus a few more! Something I employ now though is to add the sugar to the egg and milk and stir well. I also whisk in the baking soda to the flour for an even distribution which gives a more consistent rise. Thank you for your tips.

    • Hi John, thanks for sharing your tips, mixing in the baking soda is a simple but very smart tip to add!

  6. I’ve tried a number of times to make scones over a lot of years & keep giving up
    Decided to try again today before I read your advise & same thing as always happened again! Everything was weighed correctly, oven correct temp.
    The scones ended up with a crusty top, what am I doing wrong?

    • Hi Claire, sorry to hear your scones aren’t working out! Was the only thing that didn’t work out the crusty top, but were they crumbly and well baked otherwise? If so, you might be able to help that by changing your oven settings. Oven types have a big impact on whether the top browns (a gas oven for instance gives barely any browning, whereas top heating will make it more brown). If it’s too crusty you might try with bottom heating only as an experiment if your oven can do that. Also, too much sugar in a scone can make them crusty, but it sounds like you have that under control.
      Good luck, let me know how it went!

  7. Is there a need (no pun intended!) To either rest dough before cutting out scones or any need to rest it at all

    • Hi Siobhan,

      No, for scone dough resting is not necessary, if anything resting may make it slightly less crumbly. So no need to wait!

  8. I made scones and they turned out great except for the bottoms … The bottoms almost caught on fire and turned out totally burned even though the scones had barely started to bake by the time the bottoms started smoking. I baked them on parchment paper, parchment paper didn’t burn and oven temp was only at 375 … I liberally floured my surface to form the scones and I’m wondering if the scones would burn like this because of too much flour being left on the bottom and then being baked … Just trying to see what I might have done wrong before trying again. The scones were amazing, just had to cut off the bottoms, I transferred them to a new parchment lined pan half way through the bake time and the second half through the oven didn’t smoke but the bottoms were already a lost cause after the first 10 minutes

    • Hi Jesi,

      That’s unfortunate, but I’m glad to hear the top part worked out good and tasted nice!
      That said, there are a few things that you could look at:

      • Does your oven only heat from the bottom (gas ovens for instance heat from the bottom only)? If so, place the rack up higher in the oven, that can make a big difference for something burning (or not). If it is a setting you can change, I would suggest selecting “bottom + top” heating or “convection” for scones.
      • Loose flour on the bottom of a pan/tray is very prone to burning, especially if there is a lot of it. Since it is so dry it tends to brown quite quickly. Did you have loose flour lying on the tray as well? If so, did that burn as well? Generally speaking a normal dusting of flour on your scones shouldn’t burn them since the moisture from the scones should keep that flour somewhat cooler.
      • Baking on parchment paper shouldn’t be a problem in regular cases. However, if you can’t find another solution, you might consider baking on silicon mats. Silicon is known to bake less aggressively (which is in most cases actually a disadvantage) and might help you out here.

      Hope that helps!

      • My oven heats from the bottom, so I’m baking at a temp of 375° and I’m using the tray in the top third position. The second batch I made sure to dust any excess flour from the bottoms and I still had a really bad problem with the bottoms burning by the 10 minute mark. Would they possibly burn if the butter isn’t cold enough? Should I try refrigerating them for a while before baking or possibly stack two trays together to help limit the direct heat on the bottom of my baking sheet? This is driving me nuts, but I’m committed to figuring it out … Any other suggestions would be appreciated

        • Hi Jesi,

          It does indeed sound like you’ve covered all the basics, like not baking too low in the oven. Do you have this same problem when baking cakes etc. in this oven? Or is quite unique to these scones?

          • I’m afraid that cooling won’t help that much since it will also result in a longer overall baking time. That said, a short blast in the freezer that doesn’t really cool down the center, but does cool the outside might just buy you a little time?
          • Have you also tried lowering your sugar content? Generally, the sugar causes your scones to brown, lowering that can definitely help (although of course they will also be less sweet).
          • You could try baking them on a tray that is a lighter colour (if you have one).
          • I was thinking you could try baking them on a pizza stone (or something similar), but without pre-heating the stone. Regular baking trays heat up quickly, but these massive stones (or cast iron for instance) don’t. That might just buy you some time (although in almost any other cases you won’t want to do this) and could be worth a shot. Take care that once they are hot, they take a long time to cool down again because of all the heat within.
          • The most desperate option I can come up with is to flip your scones after a few minutes in the oven. If your surface is so hot, the overall baking time might just go down and both top and bottom will be brown (hopefully not black!)
          • Apart from those, looking at your recipe might be the best way forward. Sugar is the main one, but have a look at what else you’re using. It’s mostly the sugar + proteins that cause browning. You could consider replacing some of the milk with water to lower that protein content just a tad.

          Hope any of these (or a solution you come up with yourself) works. Let me know how it goes!

          • I have had a lot of luck with INSULATED ,light colored baking sheets .
            They are in the box store advertised as Insulated baking sheets .they are made up of three layers aluminum top and bottom with the center being a Insulated layered ,they have been on the market since at least the early 90’s,Important never totally submerged the baking sheets the center will soak up the dish water and ruin the baking sheet, I have found these baking sheets to be foolproof to not burn the bottoms of anything that is baked. Good Luck

          • I find that dark coloured cookie sheets tend to burn the bottoms so I use heavy professional type aluminum sheets (at Costco) or other sources. If you are using non stick or dark trays reduce oven temp by about 25 degrees F.

    • Hi Philo,

      Great question! It could have to do with how you cut the scones. If you don’t use a round cutter but cut the dough into triangles for instances, the sides that you cut tend to rise slightly less if the cut isn’t as clean. Also, if you add a lot of baking soda it might rise too much for the structure to hold on to it, bending over. You can often prevent this by changing how you cut or by making them less high.
      Generally speaking though, scones don’t lean as easily since the dough is quite sturdy, slightly adjusting your recipe, making it a little firmer and with less baking soda/powder might help.

      Good luck!

  9. Hi and thanks for giving me a chance to ask a question,
    Ive found the base of my scones seem hard ,
    I use a flat metal oven tray lined with greesed paper ,
    The inner scone is really soft and taste nice “but the base is hard rather than soft,
    Why is this please?

    • Hi Danny,

      Happy to have you here! It’s a good question, here are some of my thoughts:

      • Are you using bottom heating only in your oven? If you only heat from the bottom, the bottom has more of a tendency to burn or dry out. IF you don’t have another choice, consider baking them on a higher rack position.
      • Is the top also a little harder than the inside? If so, you could consider baking at a slightly lower temperature, for a slightly longer period of time. That should still cook everything, but won’t be as harsh on the outsides.
      • In general, a scone will always be harder on the outside than on the inside since the outside dries out more quickly. A more radical solution might be to store your scone in a plastic bag for a few hours. It will lose some of its freshness and crunch, but should even out the overall scone.

      Hope that helps!

  10. This might be a dumb question but…if you shape the dough into a circle and then cut into triangles, do you separate the pieces before baking or leave it all together?

    • Hi Lily,

      That’s a good question! You do have to separate them out onto a baking tray before baking. The scones will puff up in the oven and if you don’t separate them they grow onto one another. Also, they won’t cook as evenly if you stick them together.

      Kind regards,

      • Thanks for the reply! I’ve never made scones before and absolutely none of the recipes I’ve looked at actually say to pull the pieces apart after cutting so I figured I should check.

        • You are right, you shouldn’t pull them apart, us Brits use a special cutter like a biscuit (cookie) cutter. The Scones in the U.K. mostly are more symmetrical than shown. In a cream tea they are never as shown in the picture, the are round and more neat. Doesn’t matter at all, except it’s not accurate to say they look like British Scones (the average British Scone). You’d never pull the dough about. It’s handled lightly. 🙂

  11. I’ve just made a batch of scones following your recipe with a few tweaks. I used self-raising flour and omitted the baking powder. I added raisins and used water instead of milk (and you’re right – they turned out better than the ones I baked a while ago using milk and following another recipe). Since I like my scones more savoury than sweet, I halved the sugar. Ate them with butter and jam. Delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe and the tips!

  12. Is baking powder and Bread soda interchangeable? You mention both but are they used differently? Also could you use orange juice to mix and would it change other ingredients?

    • Hi Finn,

      Great question and you can’t just exchange the two! You can only use baking soda if there’s a sour ingredient in your dough (e.g. buttermilk or lemon juice). It needs the acid to leaven. You can use the baking powder without an acid being present. You can definitely use orange juice in the batter, but it likely won’t make the batter taste like orange. If you want orange-tasting scones I’d recommend mixing in some orange peel.
      We’ve got two other articles that might help you here:

  13. Do you have advice on how to troubleshoot already baked scones? I got a batch from a friend, but they are clearly undercooked and the top is really soft still. They have a good taste, so I don’t want to toss them…but wondering if I can put them back in the oven? or will that make it worse?

    Thanks for advice!

    • Hi Barbara,

      You’re in luck! It’s a lot easier to fix undercooked scones than it is to fix overcooked dry scones. Pre-heat the oven to the temperature mentioned in the recipe. Once it’s warm add the scones in, I would suggest starting with 5 minutes in your case since they sound quite undercooked. Keep an eye on them though since you’ll have to guess a little when they’re done.
      If you are ever left with left-over scones that have started to turn stale, you can reinvigorate those as well. Just place them back in the oven for a few minutes. It will freshen them up considerably. They will of course turn a little drier, but definitely less ‘old’ than the non-re-heated ones. Good luck!

  14. What advice do you have for scones that flatten out. I’m sure it may have a lot to do with the butter being too warm… but do you have advice or a best practice to ensure this doesn’t happen?

    • Hi Mo,

      Chilling the butter can help, but you could also try to add less moisture to the dough. Generally, flattening out happens if the dough is too wet and too flexible, less moisture helps it holds it shape.

      Hope that helps!

  15. when i make scones that usually turn out ok but after a day or two they tnd to dry up and are no good can you advise me what is causing this.

    • Hi Briony,

      I’m afraid that this is just about impossible to prevent! Wheat-based products like scones, bread, pancakes will all stale over time (we discuss how that works here). The best way to revive them is to put them back in the oven for a few minutes, heating them back up makes them a lot ‘fresher’ again. However, this only works for the first few days, after that, they’re simply too old. You can then use them as crumbs in various oven dishes for instance. Bread and scones that you buy in stores to stay ‘fresh’ longer, but they do so by adding additives that most of us won’t have at home.

  16. My Dad was a baker, specialising in Irish soda bread. One thing I remember him saying was how important it was to use the correct proportions of bread soda and buttermilk, or in our case we used sour(ed) milk. Important not only for getting the correct amount of rise, but also the taste. As I recall it, the bread soda, or bicarbonate of soda, reacts with the lactic acid in sour milk, or buttermilk to form H2O (water), sodium (salt) and carbon dioxide, the gas which forms the bubbles to raise the bread. But – if you are careless and put in too much baking soda, or too little acidic liquid, or (a major sin) if you leave lumps in the soda, what happens is that the conversion is incomplete, and some of the sodium bicarbonate turns into sodium carbonate, what your granny would have known as washing soda. So if you ever bit into a scone or soda bread to taste a somewhat bitter, slightly soapy crumb, well that’s what it was! If using fresh milk rather buttermilk or sour milk, we’d add Cream of Tartar to add the acidity. AFAIK baking soda is a combination of bread soda and cream of tartar.

    • Yes, baking powder is cream of tartar and baking soda. The tartar creates an acid to react with the soda when liquid is added.

  17. Hi,

    Can I make the dough the previous night and bake it next morning? Will the scones turn out right?

    • Hi Murali,

      I wouldn’t recommend that, the dough changes overnight and the scones won’t turn out as well. You could try freezing them overnight and then baking them from frozen the next morning, you will have to add a few minutes in the oven, but that could work. Otherwise, you could try par-baking the scones, so bake them just a few minutes shorter than you normally would and finish baking the next day.

      Good luck!

  18. I was just wondering if you knew the ratios of the ingredients for a scone recipe? I can’t seem to find it online anywhere. Thanks.

    • Hi Sam,

      The recipe above gives a ratio of ingredients for a scone recipe. That said, there’s not just one ratio that works and not just one set of ingredients that works. There are a lot of possible variations that will all work to make a scone, depending on what exactly it is you’re looking for.

      For the recipe above, you could express that in the following weight ratios:
      a flour:sugar:butter:milk ratio of 8.3:1:1.67:4.5.

  19. hi can you please tell me why are my scones little soft on bottom or is that right i am new doing scones i use gas oven i put on 6 turn on oven for 20 min also put my baking tray in on first shelf to get hot while making the scones hope you can help me

    • Hi Barbara,

      Are the scones only soft on the bottom and is the top fully cooked and crispy?
      If you’re looking for a crispy bottom, a little oil or butter on the bottom of the scone can help to crisp it up if you’re not yet happy with your bake. Be careful though, the oil and especially butter do make it more prone to butter, so there’s a fine balance.
      In my experience, baking in a gas oven tends to take a little bit more time than in an electric oven (although every oven will be different), so you could try to bake it a little longer. If your scones would burn if you’d do that, turn down the temperature by one mark to allow for some extra baking.
      Last but not least, even though you might not expect it, a darker baking tray can in some cases speed up browning and baking on the sides of your bake, so that might be one to consider.

      Hope that helps!

  20. Hello there

    May I know what time of grated cheese is best to be added to the scones mixture? Apart from cheese, what else can be added that could complement the cheese flavour?

    • Hi Ida!

      It’s best to add a firm cheese to the scones. A cheddar or a Gouda cheese will all work well. Any cheese that doesn’t release too much moisture and preferably has a strong flavor (so it doesn’t ‘disappear’ within the texture). You could try Parmezan as well or even a little bit of blue cheese, just reduce that content as it will be very strong in flavor!
      A fresh moist mozzarella or a moist goat’s cheese won’t work as well. Their high moisture content will change the texture of the scones (and you’ll have to adjust your recipe).

      Good luck!

  21. I am 72 the old man,carer for wife I followed the recipe for scones, my cheese we fine grated. Did not know about the buttermilk. Set oven to 200c. Fan.but still did not rise. But wife are 3, said they where very good. Soft inside but a bit crispy on outside. Overall, they tasted good, but slightly round top. Thank you for the help, I will do your way in future.

  22. Hello I really appreciate on your recipe..I was wondering how long does a sconne take to get rather its expiry period..thanks

    • Hi Alice,

      A scone without any fillings tends to get old before it spoils. Within a day or two it will taste a lot drier (it’s staling). If you notice this, revamp the scone by reheating it in the oven for a few minutes. If you want to store them for longer I would suggest freezing them. You can just thaw them and eat right away, or reheat in an oven.

      If your scone contains fruits it is more perishable and can have mold growth within a few days. Freezing is your best bet here, storing them in the fridge will only make them turn stale quicker!

      As with most foods, use your judgement and previous experience and don’t just rely on a set number of days/hours, every recipe and situation is different (e.g. do you live in a very humid, hot environment vs. a cool moderate one).

      Hope that helps!

  23. Actually, in England we use self raising flour 8oz, 2 tsp baking powder, 2 oz margarine or butter. Doesn’t matter if is salted or unsalted butter as you can just add a bit of salt if it is unsalted butter and 1 oz sugar (white) 1 beaten egg made up to 150ml with milk. Heat oven to 220c, rub with finger tips butter or margarine into flour, when looks like breadcrumbs add baking powder and sugar, mix with a fork to combine. Make a well in the centre and SLOWLY add the egg and milk mix, you may not need it all. Stir with a fork until combined and not too wet. Roll with a rolling pin to about 1 cm and cut out circles with a 5-6cm cuttter. Use a fluted cutter as a scone is sweet. If you are making cheese scones you can use a plain cutter as that would be savoury. Place in the hot oven for 10 mins. Once raised and pale in colour remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
    To serve, do not butter the scone. A scone should be cut with a tea knife and NOT broken with the fingers – very bad manners, Add a dollop of STRAWBERRY jam, with a jam spoon and dollop of freshly whipped cream, or clotted cream (usually more yellow than cream due to the high fat content). Some add cream and then jam, but it is personal preference which way you put jam and cream on. Starve with a nice cup of tea.

    • Thank you Tricia! It sounds delicious 😀 and I did not know that fluted cutters are used for sweet and plain cutters are used for savoury, thanks for teaching us something new.

      • Hi

        I made scones today but whatever I did I was always left with a small line of uncooked dough. My first batch was flat and bready, had only made scones once at school ten years ago. Second one was better, I payed close attention not to over work the dough this time, they came out rustic shaped. after 15 minutes it had a beautiful texture and colour but it still had a doughy stripe in the middle. So I kept adding 5 minutes with the timer and adding and adding until they were near burnt on both batches, I tried with foil but not much change. The top was crispy and the bottom soft. I used a fan oven at 180c as per my recipe, self raising flour, Margarine, sugar and milk. My thoughts might be I need even more work on my dough or my oven isn’t hot enough since I’ve heard that they prefer hot temperatures. I’ve heard that chilling the dough/using cold butter helps a lot. Yet to achieve crumbly, first was bready secong was cakey! Please help, thankyou

        • Hi Liz,

          Seems like you’re booking progress already :-)!

          Could it be that in the second batch you used a bit too much moisture which might have made it hard to cook through? Scones really just need enough water to come together (which is often less than you think), which might also help with the crumbly-ness. For the crumble, adding in enough butter/margarine, and not mixing too long once you’re adding the moisture can help. If you want them a little more airy, you can also add a little extra baking powder. That will help the lift, self-raising flour sometimes just doesn’t give enough of a rise, probably start by adding 1/4 tsp per 250g flour.

          Good luck!

  24. Thanks for the recipe. I didn’t have cream, so used plain yogurt instead. I also scaled down the recipe and made six mini scones. They turned out great!

  25. I have just made these scones today while surfing the net looking for a nice recipe to try and have to say they are far too sweet for me – I went for cheese and onion ones. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a cheese scone recipe using sugar – needless to say I’ll be leaving it out next time around. They also burnt – they were in for 20/25 minutes so aren’t nice at all sadly.

    • Hi Emma,

      Sorry to hear that! Did you add caramelized onions to your scones? Keep in mind that onions can be surprisingly sweet, so I fully agree that taking away the sugar when using the onions would be a smart move for a next try. Onions also tend to release a lot of moisture so you might have had to add a little extra flavor to make up for that. Hope they turn out better next time and hope the tips in the post above will help you improve your scones as you go!

  26. Hello,

    Curious if you could double or even triple a scone recipe; or should each batch be made separately?
    Thanks in advance for the help.

    • Hi Brie,

      Yes, you can generally double or triple a scone recipe. Do keep in mind that at some point you might not be able to do all the mixing by hand anymore or need a larger mixer (and oven)!

  27. I can understand wanting to get things “right” because I’m the same way. I’ve recently started to bake again after not doing anything for many years. You’d think I’d do OK because I used to make pies from scratch as well as cookies, cakes, soups and stews, etc. That doesn’t help me now, though. I’ve worked through how much to work the butter without doing too much, and the same for the batter when forming the scones. Just one of the things… I just took some peach scones out of the oven and they smell wonderful!
    This suggestion may help you. I went to college in my 40s and had to take a computer class. I knew almost nothing about computers as did many of my classmates and early in the course a person freaked out because he’d accidently deleted something. Our instructor’s reply was to tell us nothing is ever permanently deleted; it’s only temporally misplaced. I think of that when I do things that are out of my comfort zone.
    LOL, I’ve now taken up coloring for relaxation but I couldn’t relax because I worried what the right colors would be for something. I finally decided not to cheat by looking up things; I just color whatever comes to mind and I have to admit the results look pretty good.
    Scienchef, I use this post to double check what I’m doing, including for this batch. I love all your suggestions and the way you encourage us to try different ingredients. I’m wondering if you use
    sugar crystals? I had a scone at a bakery that had that and it really added to the taste of the scone, so now I use it when I bake.

    • Hi Kathy,

      Thanks for coming by Kathy! I agree, there’s generally not just one way to get things right (especially in kitchens with so many variables and different tastes and opinions)!

      Personally, I generally don’t use sugar crystals on the outside of my scones, but have seen and eaten them in bakeries and they add a nice crunch. It’s a completely valid modification of the recipe to make it your ‘perfect’ scone! If you do add the sugar crystals, are you using a little liquid (water, milk, egg?) to help them stick on the outside?

  28. Hi Scienchef,
    I’m wondering about your thoughts on using a scone pan versus a sheet pan.
    Also, I saw clotted cream in a grocery store and it was very expensive so I didn’t buy it. Since you’ve mentioned it can you explain how it differs from butter? I’ve tried different fruits in the scones to enhance the flavor but they still seem to be missing something and butter doesn’t seem to help it much either. Is it the clotted cream that enhances the taste?

    • Hi Kathy,

      Thank you for informing me about the existence of scone pans! I didn’t even realize these were a thing :-). As such, I’ve never used them myself, but did a little research and have a few thoughts on them:

      • Scone pans seem like quite specialized pans with a set pre-determined shape, pretty much a single-purpose tool. Unless you make scones very very often (in the shape of the pan) I wouldn’t invest in pans that are so specialized, especially since you can make perfectly fine scones without one. That said, opinions differ (as you can read in this thread on thekitchn). Maybe some of those arguments resonate well with you (or don’t).
      • If you want your scones to be the exact same triangular shape that might be another reason to buy one.
      • Same if you have to bake scones for a business, that look the same every day and need to be done quick.
      • That said, I’m not too sure what the added benefit of a scone pan is apart from that uniform consistent shape. Scone dough holds its shape quite well (unlike a pancake batter for instance). As such, you don’t need something to keep it into shape.
      • What’s interesting to me (having lived in the US and traveled to the UK) is that scones are often triangular in the US (which is where the scone pan could be used) and round in the UK (where just about every recipe uses a round cutter to cut the dough in evenly shaped portions, don’t think many people in the UK use a scone pan).
      • Baking something in a pan will give a different result than baking it on a sheet pan. It even depends on the material your scone pan would be made of. A black heavy cast iron pan will give different results than a light aluminum pan (the black cast iron tends to give a crisper bottom for instance). When baking on a sheet pan your scones are surrounded by air, air conducts heat quite differently than a metal material and as such will give a slightly different result (and different baking time). Not having tried a scone pan myself I’m not 100% sure how different they’d be.

      Hope those make sense :-).

    • Hi Kathy,

      To prevent my answer from becoming too long I’m covering your other questions here :-).

      We wrote another article about clotted cream that might just help you understand what it is (you can read it here). Clotted cream is probably closer to whipping/heavy cream than it is to butter, though it is a lot thicker than heavy cream (and contains more fat). You wouldn’t use clotted cream in your scone dough but eat it on the side. It definitely isn’t a must, you could even use something like mascarpone to get a similar experience (though of course purists would disagree, but I find you need to be a little flexible to fit to whatever is available where you’re at). Clotted cream definitely adds some richness and freshness to the scone.

      If you feel you scones are missing something you could consider increasing the salt content. Salt content is quite personal, I tend to not use a lot of salt, but if you’re used to scones with more salt it might lift up the flavors more (adding more salt won’t immediately make scones salty, but it can lift out certain flavors!). Personally, I enjoy eating scones with fruits on the side, the freshness and sourness is a good complement to the heavier scone.
      Lastly, not all butters are the same, butter can add a lot of flavor to scones, if you’re using one that has a nice flavor. This is something you could consider as well!

  29. I’d never made scones before so I thought I’d give it a try. 3 different online recipies I consulted all said to add 4 tsp of baking powder to 2 cups of flour. That sounded excessive to me, but how could all 3 recipies be wrong, I thought. Well, my scones came out bitter. Are people going round eating bitter scones and claiming they’re delicious? I wish I’d found your recipie instead. I’ll be giving it a go soon.

  30. hi i make scones every 3 mths or so and they always come out magnificent , i dont use butter , little bit of salt , sift the self raising flour and salt small amount of sugar NO baking soda and only add cream, lemonade NO milk dough comes together really quick by hand hardl kneed at all cut with a cutter 50-55 mm perfect cook at about 180 in preheated for app rox 15 min or just as soon as the top starts to show any browness , the lemonade works a treat as does the cream instead of milk and you dont need butter , they just break apart in your hands lol cheers

    • Hi Steve,

      Never thought of using lemonade in my scones! A specific type of lemonade you use? I can imagine the sweetness and sourness are a great add to a good scone, thanks for sharing :-).

  31. I haven’t read all 79 comments. ….
    Can I make my scones ahead…an hour or 2?? And put them in the oven when I need them to be ready? If so…would I leave them on the bench or in the fridge?

    • Hi Philippa,

      Yes, you can! Scones will remain fresh and tasty for those two hours so if you don’t necessarily want them hot you can just leave them to cool to room temperature before eating.
      If you’d like them hot out of the oven I’d suggest you make the dough and place it in the fridge before baking just before you need them. Alternatively, you can bake them just a few minutes short (make sure they’re cooked, not raw, just not yet as brown as you’d like) and then pop them in the oven again when you need them.

      Since it’s only two hours that you need to cover you can store the baked scones at room temperature, unbaked I would store them in the fridge for that amount of time.

  32. I’m making my second batch of scones, right now. My 1st batch were cinnamon chip scones with homemade cinnamon chips. They turned out pretty well. The recipe instructed to add the chips to the dough after it’s mixed & turned out onto the counter. I was worried about over kneading the dough so my cinnamon chips weren’t mixed in evenly. My question is, could the chips be mixed in to the flour mixture, after the butter, but before the wet ingredients??

    • Hi Michelle,

      I don’t see why you couldn’t mix them in sooner. As a matter of fact, I’d expect it will actually help prevent over-kneading (thus too much gluten development) of the dough. The chips will be in the way of the gluten forming a network (I’m assuming the cinnamon chips are strong enough to not disintegrate when you mix and knead the dough). Since cinnamon chips won’t interfere with your dough otherwise (e.g. this wouldn’t work for fruits which would release all their moisture) I would try it. Also, I agree with you adding it after the butter, it is harder to properly incorporate the butter with all those chips in the way.

      Good luck!

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