I am sharing today an amazing English Scones Recipe. The scones come out tall, golden brown, with crisp edges, while from the inside fluffy and light. In this post, I share a variety of add-ins to create different flavoured English scones. Enjoy them with your afternoon tea, strawberry jam, clotted cream, or butter; they are delicious plain too! There are many tips and helpful information in this post to make the best scones. Don’t forget to watch my video and the step by step photos explaining how to make this treat!
Scones are easy to make. However, not everyone can master making them. I have tasted flavourless, dry, and flat scones. Making them is a little tricky; it’s similar to making muffins. When you over mix the dough, it turns dry; if you overbake them, they lose flavour, and too much baking powder makes the scones tall but with a bad aftertaste.
Following this recipe and the techniques I have used, the scones will be outstanding! The scones come in different shapes like triangles and squares, and in different sizes too, but in this post, I kept the shape and size as the original English Scones to keep the classic look.
These English scones are perfect for breakfast, brunch, or grabbing one while having coffee.
British Scone vs. American Scone
In America, the scones are called Biscuits; they are a little dry and served with gravy and stews. You can hardly taste the sugar in the biscuits, and the dough has a lot of baking powder. Don’t get me wrong. I love biscuits and enjoy them with sausage and gravy. All I’m saying is that both scones and biscuits look the same but taste different. In some biscuit recipes, you will use less butter and more shortening.
Ingredients to make English Scones
Flour: I always use all-purpose flour when making scones, but in case you wish to use self-rising flour, then reduce the amount of baking powder to 1 and a half teaspoon.
Baking Powder: The leavening agent. In many recipes of scones, the amount of baking powder is a little too much for my taste, so I have reduced it in this recipe. Baking powder makes the scones tall and looks pretty, but I’m not fond of the aftertaste of the baking powder.
Sugar: In the authentic recipe, the amount of sugar is less, I mean for 2 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar is enough since people like to serve the scones with jam, cream, and at times with chocolate, but I like my scones sweet because I enjoy having them plain; hence I have increased the amount of sugar in this recipe.
Salt: It enhances the flavour.
Milk: Use full-fat milk. It tastes good in baking and helps to keep the scones moist longer. You can replace the milk with heavy cream for a richer tasting scone.
Unsalted butter: Omit the salt if you are using salted butter, but It’s best to use unsalted butter. Use the butter while chilled; it gives an amazing texture to the English Scones.
Egg: One large egg to give a good lift and colour.
Vanilla: I love the flavour, but you can use lemon or orange zest.
How to make English Scones from Scratch?
Making the scones takes a few minutes so you can quickly prepare the dough in the morning and make fresh homemade scones for breakfast!
- In a bowl, add the dry ingredients, flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, and mix well.
- Add the chilled butter, use a food processor, or even better, use the tip of your fingers and rub the butter with the dry ingredients until you get a wet sand-like texture.
- Whisk the egg with the milk and vanilla, take three tablespoons from this mixture and keep aside to brush the scones later. Gradually add the milk and egg mixture to the flour and butter and mix gently. Depending on the flour you are using, you might not need to use the whole liquid.
- After working the dough for a few seconds, pour the dough over your working counter.
- Dust the working surface and the dough and form a one-inch high disc.
- Dust the cookie cutter cut through the dough and place the scones on a lined baking sheet.
- If your kitchen is hot or the dough is not cold to the touch, then place the scones in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes before baking. You can cover the scones with plastic wrap refrigerate them overnight and bake them in the morning.
- Brush the scones with the milk and egg mixture.
- Bake the scones in a very hot oven 200C/425F for 15 to 17 minutes.
Tips for making great English scones every time
- Make sure that your ingredients are cold, especially the butter. While working on the dough, it should feel cold. Keeping the dough cold will prevent the butter from melting, and if the butter melts in the dough, the scones will spread while baking.
- If you are adding blueberries to the scone dough, make sure to freeze them for 20 minutes before adding them to the dough to prevent the blueberries from bleeding in the dough, which means extra moisture in the dough and that later will prevent the scones from having that flaky texture. Frozen blueberries will also help the dough to stay colder longer.
- When using raisins, place them in a bowl and cover them with cold water and place them in the fridge for at least 15 minutes; this will soften the raisins and will keep them cold. Make sure to pat the raisins dry before adding them to the dough.
- Do not over mix the dough; few seconds are enough time to mix the ingredients. Kneading the dough will result in tough scones.
- If your kitchen is hot and no matter what you did, the butter in the dough melted, then after shaping the scones, place them on a lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Take the baking sheet out of the fridge and straight away bake the scones in a preheated oven.
- Ovens are different in a sense; some have the heat distributed evenly. Others produce more heat to a part in the oven. In my oven, the left side is the hottest. The scones will not come out with a golden top in all ovens, so when the scones are done and not golden, you can turn on the broiler for a few minutes to bring out that color.
- When adding lemon or orange zest, add it with the butter and work it in the flour and the other dry ingredients. The zest has some oil that will spread evenly in the scone’s dough.
- Preheating the oven is an essential step to bake flaky from the outside and tender crumbs inside the scones. The high heat in the oven quickly bakes the scones, and instead of melting the butter and spreading the scones, it allows the butter to cook the dough and give it height.
How to store scones frozen and raw?
You can freeze baked and unbaked scones, but I would like to mention that the frozen unbaked scones will rise but not be as tall as the freshly made scone dough. However, the flavour and texture will stay the same.
Freezing raw scones: When you are done shaping the scones, place them on a baking sheet and freeze them for one hour, then place the frozen raw scones in a Ziplock bag and freeze for up to 2 weeks. To bake frozen scones, place them on the baking sheet and turn on the oven. When the oven reaches the desired temperature, brush the scones with heavy cream or egg wash and pop them in the oven. Add 5 to 7 minutes more to the baking time.
Freezing baked scones: When the scones come to room temperature, wrap each scone with a plastic wrap and then place all the wrapped scones in the Ziplock bag and freeze them for up to 3 months. To thaw frozen baked scones pop them in the microwave for a few seconds.
Storing Scones at room temperature
Place the baked scones in a Ziplock bag or an airtight container, and it can stay on the kitchen counter for up to 2 days.
How to serve Scones?
You can serve English scones with clotted cream, whipped cream, jam, lemon curd, butter, or cream cheese. My favourite way to enjoy the scones is a little different, but I enjoy cutting the scones in half and dipping them in hot black tea. Try it; you might like it!
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- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ cup sugar use 2 tablespoons if you like less sweet scones.
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg cold
- ½ cup unsalted and chilled butter cubes
- ⅔ cup whole milk cold
- Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and keep it aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg with vanilla and milk. Take three tablespoons from the mixture and keep them aside to use later in brushing the scones.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Mix well using a whisk or a wooden spoon.
- Add the chilled butter to the flour mixture and work it through using the tip of your fingers, rubbing the butter with the flour until you get a wet sand-like texture. If your kitchen is hot and the butter is melting, stop and place the bowl in the fridge for 15 minutes and then start rubbing the butter and flour again.
- Gradually add the milk and egg mixture to the flour and gently mix to combine. Depending on the brand of flour you are using, you may not need to add all the liquid to the dough. At times, when I make the scones, I am left with around three tablespoons of liquid.
- Pour the dough onto the floured surface, dust your hand with flour work the dough into a ball and press it down to form a one-inch high disc. If the dough is sticking to the working surface, dust the working surface with flour.
- Dip a 2-inch or 2.5-inch biscuit cutter in the flour and then push it straight in the dough, do not twist the cutter when cutting the scones; doing so will prevent the scones from rising as tall. Form a disc from the dough scrap, and you can cut out two or three more scones; these scones will not rise as tall as the first cut scones, and that’s normal.
- Place the scones on the previously prepared baking sheet, brush the scones with the egg and milk wash, and bake the scones for 15 to 17 minutes or until golden in colour.
- When the scones are golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, turn off the oven and place the scones on a wire rack to cool.
- Use cold ingredients. If possible, place the flour after measuring it in the fridge for 15 minutes if you are working in a hot oven.
- Preheat the oven before making the dough. Most ovens reach the desired temperature within 15 minutes.
- When making big batches of scones, place the raw and shaped scones in the fridge while the first batch is baking.
- If your hands a warm, then use a spatula to mix the dough.
- If the dough is sticky, then add one or two tablespoons of flour to it but try not to overmix the dough.
- The scones made from the scrapped dough won’t rise too high, and that’s alright. They will still taste amazing.