The Best Scones Ever is a big claim but I’m ok with it. After years of experimenting, I have finally found the perfect recipe for light and fluffy plain scones that rise perfectly and taste delish – no dry or crumbly scones here! What’s more, this is a classic scone recipe with no dried fruit and no faffing.
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We all know what a scone is right? We’ve all had a cheeky cream tea at a National Trust cafe right? But do you know just how easy they are to make? So easy! Unfortunately once you’ve made your own, all of those cute little cafes just can’t quite match up.
Sad times. But the good news is that a lovely afternoon tea or cheeky treat with a cuppa is only about 25 minutes away at any given moment. Wahey!
But why don’t your Best Scones Ever have fruit in them I hear you say? Because dried fruit is the devil, thats why. Sultanas were put on this earth purely to stick in your teeth and provide horrible little interruptions to the gloriousness of rich, fluffy (but still a little doughy), slightly sweet and crumbly scones.
They’re a Classic For a Reason!
There are just some things which shouldn’t be messed around with.
- Ready salted crisps are clearly superior to any fancy ass flavour.
- Weetabix should not contain chocolate chips or freeze dried anything and,
- Bacon sandwiches never need garish sauce, just simple classic butter.
- And scones. Scones should just be plain old classic scones!
Lets discuss the elephant in the room. How are you going to top your scones? As far as I am concerned this is a non-debate. A bit like which way round the toilet roll goes or if you should vaccinate children.
Correct: Scone –> Butter –> Jam –> Cream.
There are several reasons for this. Firstly, have you ever tried to spreading jam on top of a heaping dollop of clotted cream? Actually that’s the only reason you really need.
Now lets debunk the “the cream acts like the butter” argument. THE BUTTER IS THE BUTTER! Why are you not putting butter on your scone?! A slick of butter melts into the soft sconey crumb providing delicious extra salty moisture to the whole affair. My homemade butter is extra amazing.
If you are on a diet, this is not the recipe for you. Put butter on your (warm) scone. Actually a scone with just butter is one of my favourite ways to eat them. And scones should always be served warm.
I’ve just realised that there is a second scone based argument! They’re tricky little devils aren’t they! I can clear this one up too.
It’s pronounced “SC-OWN”. Due to the ‘Magic E’. Don’t @ me. I will not be swayed.
What about Savoury Scones?
There is most certainly a time and a place for a cheese scone. The most classic of the British savoury scones.
But do you know about Biscuits? Not the kind that you dunk in your tea but the American Buttermilk Biscuit kind? Because they’re basically savoury scones. But they’re folded into layers so they’re a little more on the flaky side and a little less short.
Make my Best Scones into a Feast
I truly believe that you can make any dish into a proper feast! Whether thats a feast for one after work on a Tuesday, a casual feast for four on a Friday evening or a feast for 12 for a special occasion!
Scones have many uses. But are most famously served with a pot of tea. Add a whole bunch of sandwiches, savouries and sweet treats to turn a simple cream tea into a full afternoon tea. Just don’t forget the butter, clotted cream and Strawberry Jam!
I have many recipes which will help create an afternoon tea feast! Try starting with my Puff Pastry Sausage Rolls and Quiche Lorraine followed by Sticky Toffee Buns and Russian Slice. Add a slice of Victoria Sandwich Cake to make it extra traditional!
Don’t forget to head over to my Feast Collection pages to find all of my tips and tricks to help you host a fun and stress-free feast. Plus remember to check out my recipe index to create your own awesome Feast!
How to Make Scones – Step By Step Video
Ingredients for my Best Scones
There are no particularly unusual ingredients in my scones. Nothing you don’t likely keep about the house anyway. Win!
A quick note about the butter. The butter does need to be cold. As cold as possible in fact. If the butter is at all softened, it will just melt into the flour with the additional heat of your hands. Cold hands never hurt either!
You can use spread rather than butter but the flavour will not be quite as delicious. But if it’s all you have then go for it! Whichever you use, I am a strong purveyor of always using salted butter.
Do You Use Plain or Self Raising Flour For Scones?
For most of my life I have used plain (all purpose) flour when making scones. But for this new and improved recipe I have switched to using self raising (self rising). It shouldn’t in theory make any difference but I found that it works perfectly this way so I not going to argue.
If you want to make your own self raising flour, check out this helpful flour guide from Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen.
If you are in the US and using self-rising flour, you can omit the extra salt from the recipe as self-rising include salt which self-raising does not here in the UK.
Or don’t? I usually use this section of my recipe posts to tell you about all the various ways that you can adapt the recipe. But this recipe is all about being classic so this is a bit awkward!
Ok! Ok! I hear you. If you really really want to, you could add some dried fruit. Or a dash of ginger. Or some lemon zest. Just don’t come crying to me ok!
The other simple variation is to pat the dough out into a round then cut the dough with a sharp knife like a pizza. This will make triangle scones which will taste the same. Perfect if you don’t have a cookie cutter or have a fear of circles. And actually this is a great method if you want to avoid waste.
Make it Vegetarian or Vegan
My Best Scones are suitable for veggies right off the bat.
To make my scones vegan, there are a few simple swaps:
- Switch the butter for vegan baking block.
- Switch the milk for a flavour free plant-based milk.
- Use plant-based milk to glaze the scones before baking.
The scones may not be quite so golden brown and shiny due to the plant milk glaze but don’t worry, they will still taste pretty good.
Make it Allergy Friendly
My scone recipe is free from nuts.
Dairy or Egg Free: Use the vegan swaps given above to make my Best Scones suitable for a dairy or egg allergy.
Gluten Free: Swap the flour for gluten free flour and make sure that the baking powder you use is suitable for gluten free diets.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Equipment Notes for my Best Scones Ever
I always specify a flour shaker in my equipment lists when a floured surface is needed. They are super cheap and super handy. You can vaguely control where the flour is going to cut down on clean up time and you get a nice even layer of flour rather than some clumps and some bare bits.
You could alternatively spoon some flour into a mini sieve or just use your hands. Throwing it from a distance is best in this case if a little messy!
I had a right odd assortment of cookie/biscuit cutters until I was bought a handy set of plastic cookie cutters. They are smooth on one side and fluted on the other in various handy sizes. I like the plastic as they don’t rust and they stack nicely for storage. I also have the star versions.
To see more of my recommended equipment items for new bakers, have a look at my post featuring all the essential equipment you might need.
It is also perfect inspiration for gifts for a budding baker in your life!
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
The good news is that scones take very little time to prepare so making them just before you want to eat them is often not a problem. You can however make them in advance, freeze them on a baking tray then move to a large sandwich bag once fully frozen. The individual scones can then be baked off from frozen when you want one (or more).
You can also bake then freeze in exactly the same way. Allow the scones to thaw naturally.
Leftover Plain Scones
Blast the scones in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds and they will be perfect to eat for a couple of days after baking.
If the scones are not reheatable, try slicing them thinly and using them like the bread in a bread and butter pudding. Or, turn them into breadcrumbs, mix with a little melted butter and scatter them over fruit before baking.
Best Scone Tips
Add a little more flour or milk to get a sticky but handleable dough as required. This will be especially true if subbing a gluten free flour or using a plant based milk.
You can pat the dough out ready for cutting on a clean work surface but using a wooden board makes clean up easier.
If you don’t have cookie cutters, you can use something like a glass to cut out the rounds. The trick is to use as thin a glass as possible, ideally with straight sides. The other trick is to not twist. This makes the dough catch on itself and hinder the rise.
Alternatively, pat the scone dough into a round. Use a large sharp knife to cut the dough into slices like a cake. Put the slices straight onto the baking tray for triangle scones with no waste.
If you want to take the rise of your scones to the next level, try the layering method in my Breakfast Biscuits recipe.
Don’t be tempted to skip lining the baking tray. There is nothing sadder than a stuck scone. Or 6.
I sort of apologise for my militant approach to Sc-owns. There is obviously a time and a place for fruit and flavours and even cheese but sometimes, the classic is worth revisiting.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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More Simple Sweet Bakes
Best Scones Ever! (Small Batch)
- 250 g Self Raising Flour (Self-Rising) - plus a little extra or dusting
- 60 g Salted Butter
- 50 g Caster Sugar (Superfine Sugar)
- ½ tsp Baking Powder
- ½ tsp Sea Salt Flakes
- 150 ml Skimmed Milk
Optional for Glaze – Choose 1
- 1 Egg
- 1 tbsp Milk
- 2 tbsp Double Cream (Heavy Cream)
- Preheat the oven to 200c fan | 220c | 430f or equivalent.
- Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper or reusable baking mat.
- Measure 250g Self Raising Flour and 60g Salted Butter into a medium mixing bowl.
- Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until breadcrumb like in texture.
- Stir 50g Caster Sugar, ½ tsp Sea Salt Flakes and ½ tsp Baking Powder into the flour/butter mix.
- Measure 150ml Skimmed Milk into a small jug. Add the milk to the crumbed flour mix a little at a time.
- Keep mixing gently until it forms a dough. You may not need to use all of the milk. If you add a little too much, simply add a little more flour. Try to work the dough as little as possible and turn it out onto a lightly floured board.
- Press the dough into a rough rectangle. It wants to be about 2cm thick. You can use the cutter to check that you can cut out 4 rounds.
- Use a 2¾ inch / 7 cm fluted cutter to start cutting out rounds. Dip it into a little flour before each cut to prevent sticking. Place each round onto the lined baking tray cut.
- Press the offcuts of dough together and pat it out to the same thickness as before. Try to work it as little as possible. Cut out another round.
- Repeat once more. You should just have enough for one more.
- Crack and beat 1 Egg then brush the tops of the scones to glaze. Alternatively use roughly 2 tbsp Double Cream or 1 tbsp Milk.
- Pop in the oven for circa 15 minutes.
- Take out the oven when golden brown and put on a rack to cool. Or eat them super hot out the oven smothered in butter. Your call.
- Split and serve with butter, strawberry jam or another preserve or curd and clotted cream (in that order! Don't @ me)