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-ahead 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 😉
Would I make this again? Absolutely, this is a go-to!

I never used to understand the obsession and appeal of scones. Not until I took a bite of a truly great one, that is.

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

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


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.


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 don’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.


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:

Photos by Constance Higley.

5.0 rating
7 reviews

Perfect Scones

Yields 16 scones
Prep Time 20 minutes Cook Time 15 minutes Total Time 35 mins


  • 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 don't have buttermilk)
  • 2 large eggs, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Coarse sugar, for sprinkling (if desired)


  1. Adjust the oven rack to the center position and preheat to 400°F. 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.


    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.


If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a picture and share it on Instagram with #handletheheat so we can all see!

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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39 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 🙂

  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 🙂 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 🙂

  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.

  8. #
    Cynthia — June 1, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    I have never left a comment on a blog before, but I had to for this recipe. These are amazing! I just made them for my daughter and husband who will be going camping this weekend. I gave one to my husband and tasted a small piece of his and it was so delicious! I didn’t add anything to it- it was a plain scone. I’m hoping they will be just as delicious for the next few days. Thank you!

    • #
      Tessa — June 2, 2017 at 9:26 am

      I’m so pleased to hear that, Cynthia!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  9. #
    Jane — June 13, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    I found this recipe on Pinterest, after using a different recipe that was quite disappointing. The scones made with your recipe are wonderful! I made a”plain” version and one with white chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate and toffee bits. They came out fluffy, with lovely pockets of air, and were not dense at all. I especially like the “Tips” that you’ve given for this recipe, as I like to know the science behind baking. I will definitely add this recipe to my collection as well as pass it on to friends and family.

    • #
      Tessa — June 14, 2017 at 10:22 am

      I’m so pleased to hear that, Jane! Thank you for taking the time to leave your comment 🙂

  10. #
    MarcyG — June 16, 2017 at 8:29 am

    These were GREAT! Cut into 4’s instead of 8’s (bigger scones). What a great recipe. You could add just about anything to these. Have tried Salmonberry jam and Nutella on them. Yum! DIL added cheese. You could actually make them savory too.

  11. #
    Erica Lea | Buttered Side Up — July 12, 2017 at 10:13 am

    I’m going to make these for my sister’s belated birthday party today! Planning on serving them with strawberries and whipped cream for a shortcake vibe. 🙂 Can’t wait!

    • #
      Tessa — July 12, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      Yay, Erica! Happy birthday to your sister!! Hope she enjoys them 🙂

  12. #
    C hart — August 8, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    How do you store these? BTW, they are awesome! I made 2 batches, one with fresh cherries and another with blueberries. This is from someone who is not a very good cook!!

    • #
      Tessa — August 10, 2017 at 9:27 am

      Your answer is in the last line of the recipe 🙂 Make ahead instructions are included in the post as well.

  13. #
    Marilyn Daugherty — December 8, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    I am eager to try this recipe after reading the comments. Do you have a gluten free version. I was thinking of almond flour, not a blend with rice, potato, tapioca. Perhaps you know of other gluten free flours. thks.

  14. #
    Sister Mary — January 14, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    Dear Tessa,
    Your recipe is one I want to try for an upcoming event. I have left over fresh cranberries from Thankgiving. Can I just chop these up and fold them into the batter? Thank You, God Bless

  15. #
    Lindsey — January 21, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    I LOVE the taste of these scones! So simple! My batter was quite wet and sticky and was very hard to transfer. I followed the instructions to a T, so I’m not sure what went wrong! Please help!!!

  16. #
    Rachel — January 30, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    I followed the recipe to the letter and they turned out really well. Except they tasted very strongly of baking powder. I made sure that the dry ingredients were well mixed before adding the wet ingredients. Are you sure it calls for 1tbsp of baking powder and not 1 tsp? Apart from that they were lovely with jam to mask the bitter taste.

  17. # — January 31, 2018 at 4:51 am

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  18. #
    Sheila — February 18, 2018 at 10:14 am

    I just made these, they are to die for! I added fresh blueberries. They are so light and fluffy.
    My grandmother was Scottish and her’s were heavy and dense. In love with these!!! Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  19. #
    Kelly — March 15, 2018 at 5:57 am

    Hi there! Can all of you that have made these give me some ideas of how much fresh fruit or dry add ins (choc chips, dry , dried fruit, etc) per recipe? Thank you

  20. #
    Liza — March 25, 2018 at 11:46 am

    Hi Tessa, I made these scones this afternoon and Oh my goodness, and as the name describes, they are perfect! I added the zest of one large orange and made an orange glaze to drizzle on top. I love scones and this is going to be added to my collection of treasured recipes. Thank you for sharing your recipe. I’m enjoyig a couple with my afternoon tea as I’ m tryping this comment. Cheers!

    5.0 rating

  21. #
    Cindy — March 27, 2018 at 8:12 am

    I have made 3 batches of these. Love them. One with walnuts, two with walnuts and chocolate chips.i tried the freezing and pulling out 2 at a time when I wanted them. This will be my go to recipe. I am going to try with apples and cinnamon today. Wish me luck. My family just asked me to bring some for Easter brunch.

    5.0 rating

  22. #
    Marj — March 29, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    Hi! I want to give this a go but the thing that’s confusing me is the cup and grams. 3 cups of flour is definitely not equivalent to 381g. Which one should I follow?

  23. #
    Beth — April 12, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Thank you SO much for the freezing instructions! Just to be clear 😉 since you say to add 2 minutes to the baking time… does that mean you’re baking from frozen? Or should I thaw first so as to do the egg wash/sugar topping?

  24. #
    Harriet — April 19, 2018 at 7:17 am

    This recipe is a little different from the onesI normally make, I going to try your recipe. I can’t wait to taste them. Thanks.

  25. #
    Ellen Henderson — May 15, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    Oh my goodness! The scones are dynamite!!! I made them today as a trial run for the Royal Wedding viewing party this Saturday!!! Easy, beautiful, as well as, delicious. They will definitely be on the menu for the party! Thank you.

    5.0 rating

  26. #
    Maria Pappas — May 18, 2018 at 11:00 am

    I just made these scones, and they came out sooooo yummy! I added chocolate chips and am very happy with them! I would definitely make these again, but will buy a pastry cutter first, getting the butter to be large pea size pieces was a little challenging with a regular fork. Thank you!

    5.0 rating

  27. #
    Yvonne C — May 18, 2018 at 11:42 am

    I plan to make these, but was wondering if I only wanted to make 8 scones, could I just halve the recipe ingredients?

  28. #
    Maria Mullins — May 19, 2018 at 10:20 am

    Wow! I Love this recipe!! These turned out so well for a “Royal” event last night. I added chocolate chips to the dough. Savoury and flaky! Definitely making these again!

    5.0 rating

  29. #
    Patty — June 5, 2018 at 7:25 am

    Tessa, your basic scone recipe is absolutely delicious! Even though I used a gluten free flour blend, and made my own buttermilk, (using half & half), they are tender and light. I only cut 6 scones from each round, and brushed the tops with half & half. If they are this good without any additions, this will be the recipe I turn to when a craving strikes. Thanks for another trustworthy recipe!

    5.0 rating

  30. #
    Alysia — June 6, 2018 at 7:40 am

    This is my GO-TO scone recipe. Thank you for adding the knowledge about why to use COLD butter, buttermilk, etc… I am a self-proclaimed scone queen now, lol. Thank you Tessa!

    5.0 rating

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