How to Make Perfect Scones

Yield: 16 scones

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

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

Truly the BEST recipe I've tried, and super easy!!! Make ahead instructions too. LOVE.

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 bunch.
Cons: None! Maybe besides the fact that these are super rich ๐Ÿ˜‰
Would I make this again? Absolutely, this is a go-to!

  • How to Make Perfect Scones better than your favorite coffee shop in just 35 minutes! Easy recipe with make-ahead tips and flavor variations included
  • How to Make Perfect Scones better than your favorite coffee shop in just 35 minutes! Easy recipe with make-ahead tips and flavor variations included
  • Perfect scones for a Mother
  • How to Make Perfect Scones better than your favorite coffee shop in just 35 minutes! Easy recipe with make-ahead tips and flavor variations included
  • How to Make Perfect Scones better than your favorite coffee shop in just 35 minutes! Easy recipe with make-ahead tips and flavor variations included
  • Perfect scones for a Mother's Day Brunch!

Photos by Constance Higley.

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?!

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 included

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.

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 included

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.

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 included

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

Perfect Scone Baking Tips

Butter

It must be COLD. The cold butter 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.

Buttermilk

This is absolutely the preferred liquid for scones. It will result in tender taller biscuit because of how its acidity reacts with the baking powder. It also adds a lovely tang to create more depth of flavor. If you donโ€™t have buttermilk on hand, you can also use whole milk or make your own DIY buttermilk. The texture won’t quite be the same since milk simply isn’t as thick as buttermilk. For more substitutions, you can my BAKING SUBSTITUTIONS GUIDE HERE.

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.

Make Ahead

The shaped unbaked scones can be covered and refrigerated overnight, or placed in an airtight container and frozen for up to 1 month. If baking from frozen, add about 2 minutes to the baking time.

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 included

By the way, I’ve put together a BEAUTIFUL Mother’s Day Brunch guide that includes these scones, but with several flavor variations plus recipes for different flavored butters. Download it by clicking the image below:

How to make
Perfect Scones

Recipe By Tessa Arias, Handle the Heat
Yield: 16 scones
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes

Ingredients

3 cups (381 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks (170 grams) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 cup buttermilk (or milk if you donโ€™t have buttermilk)
2 large eggs, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Coarse sugar, for sprinkling (if desired)

Directions

Adjust the oven rack to the center position and preheat to 400ยฐF. Line two baking pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

Add the butter and cut with a pastry cutter or a fork until the butter is the size of large peas.

In a separate bowl whisk together the buttermilk, 1 egg, and vanilla extract.

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.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and 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

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.

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

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

About Tessa...

Tessa is a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. She loves to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. She's on a mission to make the world a more unapologetically DELICIOUS place. Tessa lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

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12 Responses to “How to Make Perfect Scones”

  1. #
    Louise W — May 5, 2017 at 3:50 am

    Can’t wait to try your recipe and tips so I can add one more ultimate perfection goodie to my baking files.

    • #
      Tessa — May 9, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      Yay! Love that.

  2. #
    Sherry T — May 5, 2017 at 4:31 am

    I am an American, married to an Australian, lived on 4 continents, including Australia. We have a dear Welsh friend who made 500 scones a day for many years at a seaside cafe for breakfast and morning tea. I have her recipe for scones, taught how to do them, by her side, and it is so different to yours and the scones that are sold in the US. From shape and texture both. As well as the ones my mother in law made in Australia. I am going to try them them, side by side, and compare notes, so to speak. I have had this recipe 25+years, so have never tried any other one, except a pumpkin scone recipe from Australia. But, for every recipe there are many ways to make them, and no one way is right or wrong . Looking forward to the experiment.

    • #
      Tessa — May 9, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      Looking forward to hearing your thoughts, Sherry! American scones are quite different than British style ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. #
    sealark — May 6, 2017 at 7:51 am

    thank youth scones are great. we are a b/b in Avalon n.j. these will be a staple on our menu

  4. #
    anna — May 7, 2017 at 3:47 am

    I made these scones today, combining the flour and butter with the liquid ingredients using a small knife and then patting out the dough and cutting it with a cutter, without kneading it any further. I thought the batter was a tad on the dry side as I am using to very wet and sticky scone batters, but they came out rather wonderful; light, fluffy and with a rich flavour. This is a great recipe for American scones. Well done Tessa and keep up the good work!! I really appreciate all the time you put into researching and perfecting recipes. Saves us heaps of time experimenting:)

    • #
      Tessa — May 9, 2017 at 4:40 pm

      I’m so pleased to hear that, Anna! Cheers xo

  5. #
    Anne — May 7, 2017 at 7:50 am

    I made these this morning for my family, and everyone loved them! Wonderful recipe; it’s been years since I’ve made scones, but these were better than any I remember. I used whole wheat pastry flour and added chocolate chips to half and cranberries to half, but I think next time I will leave them plain ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you Tessa!

    • #
      Tessa — May 9, 2017 at 4:39 pm

      Yay! I’m so glad to hear that! Thanks for letting us all know how you made the recipe your own ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. #
    kharamina — May 11, 2017 at 10:40 am

    It’s so simple I can hardly wait to make this. l’ll be sure to send you pictures..

  7. #
    Louise W — May 15, 2017 at 3:49 am

    OMG! They just came out of the oven (6:30 a.m.) and they are the BEST scones I have ever made….and I’ve tried a few different recipes. Have to keep reminding myself that I baked them for my co-workers so I can’t have a second one with my morning coffee. Once again, you’ve knocked it out of the park with your talent and tips. Thanks!

    • #
      Tessa — May 16, 2017 at 7:08 pm

      Oh, wonderful!! So thrilled to hear that.

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