Look you might just think I’m being big headed but this really is The Best Cheese Scones Recipe. They’re delightfully crispy on the outside, beautifully soft in the centre and packed to the brim with cheese. Try them once and I know you’ll agree!
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I didn’t really grow up eating cheese (long story) so scones were always the sweet, no fruit kind to me. But as an adult I started to see the appeal of a savoury version and tried a few chesee scones. Both bought and homemade.
I have to admit that I more often than not I found them quite disappointing. Dry was a regular complaint and most had barely a hint of cheese to be found (I’m looking at you National Trust).
Until I made an error trying a cheese scone recipe from James Martin. I didn’t read the recipe properly (story of my life) and added 50% more cheese to the mix than I was supposed to. Well they were the best cheese scones I’d ever eaten. It turns out the answer to moist and cheesy cheese scones is quite simply more cheese.
This recipe isn’t based on the James Martin one, instead I started with my Best Scones Ever! recipe and adapted it. And woah, it is good! The one thing I did keep is steering clear of cutting out rounds and making triangle scones. Sweet scones must be round for me but I have no problem with oddly shaped cheese ones. Plus they are easier to make with zero waste.
How to Serve Cheese Scones
I know that many people are perfectly content to eat a room temperature scone but I cannot be convinced that there is anything greater than a hot cheese scone. The crumb goes extra soft and the cheese melts to give you the best texture and taste. A little extra salted butter spread on them and I cannot resist.
To reheat them I simply give them a short blast in the microwave. You could alternatively use the oven or an air fryer if you want them to be a little more crisp on the outside
But there are many time when a temperate scone would still be more than welcome – on a buffet, at a street party, in a lunchbox, etc. They are ideal for bake sales too – they always go down an absolute treat.
As for what to serve them with, of course I’ve already mentioned butter. But just like in my Chutney & Cheese Sausage Rolls, chutney is a perfect accompaniment too. Try my Fresh Fig Chutney with Orange or Simple Blackberry Chutney for great homemade options.
I have also been known to make a bacon sandwich with cheese scones or even use them as a cheeky base for an eggs benedict instead of an English muffin. Trust me, that’s just gorgeous! Cheese scones are just a quick bread – use them in place of bread and you can’t go wrong.
Ingredients for Best Cheese Scones
Flour & Raising Agent
I’ve used regular plain flour (all purpose in the US) and added baking power for the rise. This recipe uses a little more baking powder than is found in self-raising/rising flour so this makes the most sense to me.
Your butter must be good and cold to rub into the flour – this is essential for the perfect scone texture.
I always use salted butter. If you insist on using unsalted, you will need to add some extra salt to the recipe or it will be bland.
This is not the time to use a margarine or spreadable spread, you don’t need much so proper butter only please!
I have simply stated grated cheese in the recipe. It is up to you what cheese or mix you use.
I used a mix of mature cheddar and red Leicester. I love using red Leicester as it provides that extra kick of colour to the scones. Double Gloucester is another good coloured cheese with great flavour.
I also often use grated mozzarella – the texture is brilliant in the scones but it is best to mix it at least 50/50 with a harder, more flavourful cheese.
English mustard powder is the only extra flavour to these otherwise very simple scones. The mustard flavour enhances the cheesiness and adds a little extra interest.
If you can’t find mustard powder, you could add wet mustard instead. You might need to add an extra spoon or flour or add slightly less milk to make up for the extra moisture.
There are loads of potential ways to vary the flavour of these cheese scones. I’ve kept this recipe very plain and simple just so that it is the perfect base to make lots of variations.
Cheddar and Sage Scones – add finely chopped sage to the mix. Go easy as too much can taste soapy. Fresh or dried is fine, you need even less dried than you need fresh. Use 100% good strong cheddar for maximum cheese flavour.
Spring Onion Cheese Scones – add fine sliced spring onions (scallions) to the mix. You can make the flavour as prominent or not as you want. They don’t need to be cooked before being mixed in.
Ham or Bacon and Cheese Scones – Mix in finely chopped ham or cooked bacon. You can also sprinkle a little extra on top to go nice and crispy. Be careful not to add any liquid bacon fat as this will change the texture of the scone so make sure to drain it well.
Cheese and Herb Scones – Add your favourite mix of fresh or dried herbs to the mix. I like to use sage, oregano, parsley, chives, thyme and rosemary.
Make it Vegetarian or Vegan
This best ever cheese scone recipe is suitable for vegetarians as written.
To make the Best Vegan Cheese Scones, you need to make 3 simple substitutions. All three are super easy to get hold of in mainstream shops and shouldn’t pose any problems.
The first is the butter. Use a block type plant based butter. Make sure it is salted or add extra salt.
The second is the milk. Use your favourite neutral and unsweetened plant based milk. If it is thicker than regular skimmed milk, let it down with a bit of water until it is the right consistency.
The third is the cheese – use a plant based cheese substitute or mix. You might need to experiment with the type you use as I understand that they are not all equally successful at melting. Or tasting like cheese.
Make it Allergy Friendly
This recipe is free from nuts and egg.
Gluten Free Cheese Scones: You can make these scones with a gluten-free flour blend – either store-bought or homemade. You may find that you need to add slightly more or less milk than stated in the recipe so add it a little at a time and use a little extra if needed.
Dairy Free Cheese Scones: To make them dairy free, it is best to follow my recommendations for making vegan scones given above.
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 Cheese Scones
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.
These cheese scones are great to make in advance – up to 24 hours and then bake off as needed.
You can also freeze them raw and then either allow them to thaw before baking as normal or bake straight from frozen. To do this you will want to turn the oven temperature down slightly and cook for a little longer.
To freeze them raw it is best to freeze individually on a tray and then move them to a bag or container for longer term storage. They will otherwise just stick together in a big lump.
They can also be frozen once cooked and thawed to serve. I would not plan to bake them more than 24 hours in advance if they are not being frozen.
Leftover Best Cheese Scones
Cheese scones are at the best in the first 24 hours after baking. They will still be good for a couple more days especially if they are being reheated.
If you really don’t think they are going to get eaten before they go stale, pop them in the freezer.
If you have memory like mine and your forgot them and they went stale already, whizz them up in a blender to make breadcrumbs. Sprinkle on a mac and cheese or other bake for a great crunch topping.
Tips for the Best Cheese Scones
Don’t be fooled by how dry the dough looks before your have turned it out and brought it together – it never looks like you have enough liquid but you more than likely do.
It is worth spending a moment making your square of dough lovely and even. You’ll see from the images that I made mine nice and square and even thickness from the middle to the edge with nice straight size. This does affect the rise of the scones and overall bake, I’m not just being difficult, I promise.
Feel free to add a little less cheese but don’t be tempted to add any more. I’ve taken this recipe to the brink of how much cheese the dough can hold!
When cutting the scones, try to use a large knife and make one smooth cut at a time. Press down with the whole knife rather than making jagged cuts – again this if to make sure they rise well rather than just aesthetics.
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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The Best Cheese Scones Recipe!
- 250 g Plain Flour (All Purpose) - plus a little extra for dusting
- 60 g Salted Butter
- ½ tsp Sea Salt Flakes
- 1 tbsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp English Mustard Powder
- 100 g Grated Cheese (Shredded Cheese)
- 150 ml Skimmed Milk
For the Glaze/Topping
- 1 tbsp Milk
- 25 g Grated Cheese (Shredded Cheese)
- Preheat the oven to 200c fan | 220c | 430f or equivalent.
- Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper or reusable baking mat. Unless you have a super non-stick tray that you trust with your life like mine.
- Measure 250g Plain 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 ½ tsp Sea Salt Flakes, 1 tbsp Baking Powder, 1 tsp English Mustard Powder and 100g Grated Cheese 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.
- Use your hands to shape the dough into a square. It wants to be about 2cm thick. Try to make sure the square is equally thick from the edges to the middle. Shore up the edges so they are as square as possible.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the square into quarters and then again from corner to corner until you have 8 triangles. Tip – Dip the knife into a little flour before each cut to prevent sticking.
- Carefully move each triangle to the baking tray. Allow enough space between them for the scones to expand in the oven. (I was a bit risky using the size tray that I did but I got away with it – just don't go any more risky than I did).
- Use around 1 tbsp Milk to brush the top of the scones. Try not to brush the sides or this will prevent them from rising so well.
- Sprinkle 25g Grated Cheese over the tops of the scones – around half a tablespoon per scone. Try not to lose to mush on the tray so do this carefully and slowly and pick up any dropped pieces that you can.
- 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.