How to Make Perfect Scones
Yield: 16 scones
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
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!
Many scones are bland and dense. Why would I want to waste an indulgence on that?!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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)
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.
I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)
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