Light and Tender Cream Scones

Tested & Perfected Recipes

scones

A good scone is light, tender and buttery — almost biscuit like. So why is it so hard to come by? After many trials, I finally found the answer and it all boils down to one simple ingredient: cake flour. I’ve got two recipes for you — this traditional one, which is delicious slathered with butter and jam, and a kid-friendly chocolate chip version.

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So, why cake flour? Cake flour is a fine-textured, low protein flour made from soft winter wheat. Less gluten forms when you mix it into the batter, which results in scones with a very fine, fluffy crumb.

You can make these scones in a food processor or by hand. It doesn’t really matter…just be sure your butter is very cold and try to work quickly. Today I’m using my machine; next week for the chocolate chip version, I’ll show you how to make them by hand.

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To begin, combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of your food processor and pulse until well combined.

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Next, “cut” the cold butter into the dry ingredients by pulsing several times until the mixture has the consistency of very coarse crumbs. Be careful not to over-mix. All those little pea-size clumps of butter create structure in the scones and give them a tender, fluffy consistency when baked.

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Add most of the heavy cream and an egg.

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Pulse until the dough comes together in clumps. It should be a bit sticky. If it seems dry, add the remaining cream.

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Dust a work surface with flour, then dump the sticky dough on top.

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If necessary, sprinkle more flour, little by little, until the dough is just dry enough to gather into a ball, then press it into a flat circle about 3/4-inch high. Be careful not to overwork the dough; you want to handle it as little as possible.

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Cut it into 8 wedges, then transfer the wedges to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

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Brush the unbaked scones with egg, then sprinkle with demerara sugar (this is just raw sugar, or the stuff in the brown packets at Starbucks). This gives the scones a nice golden color and sparkly, slightly crunchy top.

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Bake for about 10 minutes, until lightly golden and firm to the touch.

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Enjoy the scones fresh out of the oven with butter or softly whipped cream and jam.

My Recipe Videos

Light and Tender Cream Scones

Servings: 8 scones

Ingredients

For Dough

  • 2 cups cake flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 -3/4 cup heavy cream (do not substitute milk or light cream)

For Topping

  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon demerara sugar (also called raw sugar or turbinado)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the cake flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in the bowl of food processor fitted with metal blade. Pulse several times to combine.
  3. Add the cold butter and pulse quickly until mixture resembles coarse meal with pea-size clumps of butter within.
  4. Add egg and 2/3 cup of heavy cream and pulse just until mixture comes together in clumps. The dough should be a bit sticky. If it seems dry, add remaining 2 tablespoons heavy cream and pulse quickly again until just combined.
  5. Dust a work surface lightly with flour, then dump scone dough onto surface. Knead very gently a few times until dough comes together into a ball. (Sprinkle more flour, little by little, if dough is too sticky to work with.) Press dough into a flat circle about 3/4-inch high, then use a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles. Transfer wedges to prepared baking sheet. Brush lightly with beaten egg and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until tops are lightly golden and firm to the touch. Serve warm with butter or softly whipped cream and jam.
  6. Note: While they can be frozen (see instructions below), scones are best served fresh out of the oven or on the same day, reheated in a toaster oven.
  7. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The dough can be frozen for up to 3 months: Scoop the dough into mounds on a baking sheet, let set in the freezer, then place in a sealable bag and press out as much air as possible. Bake as needed directly from the freezer. (Allow 1 to 2 minutes longer in the oven.) To Freeze After Baking: Let the scones cool completely and store in an airtight container separating layers with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Before serving, remove the scones from the container and let them come to room temperature. **If you have the option to freeze the scones before or after baking them, you will get the best results if you freeze them before baking.

Reviews & Comments

  • Your instructions say to roll 3/4 inches high. WhAt is the diameter of the circle? Thanks, Nonna Gates

    • — J T Gates on September 11, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Nonna, I haven’t made this in a long time, so I’m guesstimating, but I’d say about 8 inches. Just eyeball it to make sure the dough is about 3/4 of an inch high. Hope that helps (at least a bit)!

      • — Jenn on September 12, 2018
      • Reply
  • These are delicious and come together quickly with a food processor. I’ve made variations with cinnamon chips, orange zest and cranberries, cranberries and white chocolate chips, etc. If you have a double oven where the top oven is smaller, I’d recommend just using the big oven; the smaller oven with heating elements so close to the cookie sheet cook these delicate scones a bit too much on the bottom. I pre-ordered your cookbook last week, Jen–can’t wait!

    • — Sue on March 11, 2018
    • Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed them, Sue – and love all your variations! Thank you for your support with the book. I hope you enjoy it – and btw, there’s a wonderful blueberry-lemon scone recipe in there. 😊

      • — Jenn on March 12, 2018
      • Reply
  • My all-time favorite scone recipe

    • — Melanie on March 7, 2018
    • Reply
  • Can l use whipped cream that is thawed out in place of cream for the scones? All your recipes are 5 stars.

    • — Violet Thompson on May 11, 2017
    • Reply
    • Sorry Violet, I don’t think that would work here– I’d stick with the heavy cream.

      • — Jenn on May 12, 2017
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! You know how you can make “homemade” cake flour by substituting some cornstarch…. will arrowroot powder work the same? In all of my research I can see how you can use arrowroot to thicken sauces, gravy etc. but NOTHING about how to bake with it…other than fruit pies where the natural juices need to thicken. Curious what info you can share…unfortunately the kitchen I bake for won’t order me cake flour yet so I have to make do with the homemade version.

    I made a test batch of your scone recipe using “cornstarch cake flour” and after cutting I froze them. Going to bake off on the am and see how they turn out! Wish me luck!

    • — Andrea Spruell on April 25, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Andrea, I wish I could help, but I don’t know anything about using arrowroot powder to make cake flour– I’m sorry!

      • — Jenn on April 26, 2017
      • Reply
  • I have been looking for a scone recipe just like this one. All of the other scone recipes I have tried in the past have been so heavy. This one is perfect and came out exactly like I was looking for. I added cranberries and grated orange peel into because I love the flavor of orange and cranberries. This is my forever scone recipe. Going for blueberry and lemon on my next batch.(Probably this weekend! Can’t get enough!)

    • — Theresa on March 3, 2017
    • Reply
  • Jenn, great tip…I make scones all the time, cut and freeze them , unbaked, 2 to a package. To bake frozen scones, heat oven to 375 and bake frozen scones for 20-25 minutes. Can brush with some cream and sprinkle with sugar prior to baking, but not necessary. So good and so easy. Tip courtesy of Martha Stewart. Second tip, do all your mixing with your hands for a very tender scone. I wear latex gloves which makes the mixing easy.

    • — Carol on February 4, 2017
    • Reply
  • Greetings from Australia :),,

    I just finished making this scones they look and taste very yummy just as you describe it!

    Tried several of your recipes and follow them as instructed and turns out happy bellies all around me 🙂

    Thank you so much for putting on REAL recipes and testing them for all of us beginners. May God bless you and Family 🙂

    Liz.

    • — Liz on May 24, 2016
    • Reply
  • I used 1 Tablespoon of baking soda, as your recipe calls for, against my better judgment. My entire family thought these had a weird after taste, and no one would eat the rest (I made two batches in succession). I knew immediately it was because there was too much baking soda. I cut that down to 1 teaspoon and the bad after taste was gone.

    • — John on April 16, 2016
    • Reply
    • John, it’s 1 tablespoon of baking powder, not baking soda.

      • — Chris on December 10, 2016
      • Reply
  • Best ever scones….light and tender.

    • — Elsie on December 10, 2015
    • Reply
  • Hi, Jenn-

    I make these scones all the time and they are always a big hit. If I wanted to make bite sized portions, would I have to make any modifications? Thanks!

    • — Amy Decker on December 9, 2015
    • Reply
    • Yes Amy, I would reduce the baking time a bit if you make them smaller. I’d start checking them after about 8 minutes. Keep you eye one them and pull them out when they’re lightly golden and firm to the touch.

      • — Jenn on December 9, 2015
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Do you suppose it would be ok to prepare the dough the night before and bake them in the AM for b’kfast ?

    Thanks for all the great recipes.

    GP

    • — George Ponapart on October 24, 2015
    • Reply
    • Hi George, Yes, that should be fine but any longer than overnight, I would freeze the dough.

      • — Jenn on October 24, 2015
      • Reply
      • Great.
        Thank you!
        (PS, I’m afriad I made these but wasn’t as successful as some others. My dough was very damp in the Cuisinart and I had to add quite a bit of extra flour (and mixing). The end result was ok, but not great. Next time, I’ll add the cream in smaller increments.

        • — George on October 26, 2015
        • Reply
  • I grew up going to our state fair every fall and getting scones filled with raspberry jam was my favorite. Now I don’t have to wait for the fair because these scones are amazing. Taste is scrumptious and they are super easy to make. Can’t wait to try your other scone recipes, especially the pumpkin one!

    • — Janice R. on September 4, 2015
    • Reply
  • These scones were delicious.
    I’m not able to figure out the food processor so I did the mixing in a bowl.
    It worked out well.
    I also used extra butter (big teaspoons of butter), a tad more cream and cut the circle into six parts.
    I added 1 cup of currents as I am partial to them.
    The cake flour seems to be the difference plus the massive amounts of cream/butter.

    Then I baked for 15 minutes.
    I have three out of six pieces of scones left.
    My older son inhaled one piece as soon as it was out of the oven.
    Younger boy nibbled at the piece he took and I finished it off for him.
    I have had two pieces already.

    This is an excellent recipe for scones.
    I had planned to make a batch of scones last week and only got around to it today but it was worth the effort.

  • Yummy! So light and flaky. A real scone!!

    • — Kerri Andrews on March 28, 2015
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen,
    I can’t seem to find cake flour. Will pastry flour work just as well?

    • — T.A. on February 7, 2015
    • Reply
    • Yes, it should be fine. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 7, 2015
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    I want to make almond and dried sour cherry scones. How much extract and cherries would you recommend? Also curious why your pumpkin scones dont’t call for cake flour?

    Thanks!

    • — Kerrie on December 14, 2014
    • Reply
    • Hi Kerrie, I think I may have answered you by email but I would say 1 cup of cherries and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. I don’t use cake flour in the pumpkin scones because the pumpkin makes the scones very tender.

      • — Jenn on December 18, 2014
      • Reply
  • Is it possible to add blueberries to this scone recipe. If it is possible, what amount would you recommend?

    • — Ellie on December 6, 2014
    • Reply
    • Hi Ellie, Yes it’s possible; I’d probably add about 3/4 cup — too many might make these a little too tart.

      • — Jenn on December 7, 2014
      • Reply
  • Nothing makes scones tender and flakey like butter and cream—delicious!

    • — susie on July 19, 2014
    • Reply
  • The best recipe for scones ever.

    • — Bimpe on February 20, 2014
    • Reply
  • I’ve been craving a fresh baked scone for some time now and these cream scones hit the mark! They were delicious & tender beyond belief. I was thrilled that they were so fast and easy to pull together. I couldn’t be bothered to pull my food processor out so I mixed them by hand. This one is definitely a keeper! Thank you!!

    • — Gayle on July 23, 2013
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I used all purpose flour for the scones instead of cake flour, it still was yummy! I added some dice up sweet potato in the scones and turnout delicious.

    • — Liz on March 13, 2013
    • Reply
  • These scones are perfect, as is. Easy, quick, and so light and tender. I wouldn’t change a thing.

    • — Sandra on March 10, 2013
    • Reply
  • These scones rival the ones at the tea shop in a nearby town. Ilovetomake them on a old weekend afternoon. I recently sicovered that Trader Joes has Sheffield stable heavy cream which I keep inmy pantry just in case I run out of cream in fridge. Works pretty well.i recently tried adding toffee bits to a batch of scones which met with rave reviews

  • I made these for my garden clubs annual High Tea. They are so melt in your mouth good! We served them with lemon curd and jam but I loved them plain. Another perfect recipe as have been all the ones I have tried. Thank you for such a wonderful resource.

    • — Judy on March 9, 2013
    • Reply
  • Can these be made without the cream??

    • — Lindz on January 15, 2013
    • Reply
    • Hi Lindz, Unfortunately, the recipe won’t work without the cream. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on January 15, 2013
      • Reply
  • Make these tonight and they were great. Quick and easy – the best kind of scones.

    • — Emily on December 3, 2012
    • Reply
  • I made these today! In the past I’ve had bad luck with scone recipes, but these were delicious even though I don’t own a food processor. Light and crumbly and just sweet enough. I added some sultanas.

    • — Emily on August 13, 2012
    • Reply
  • I am looking forward to trying this recipe to have with Chai tea

    • — Elizabeth C. in Kansas on June 26, 2012
    • Reply
  • Whenever I have friends over for tea, I like to bake something special. I made these scones and everyone fell in love with them!! I added 1/8 tsp each of powdered ginger and cinnamon and used half A-P flour and half whole wheat flour. I’d make them again in a heartbeat.

  • I made these for a brunch I was hosting, and they were a hit. Not one was left for me to snack on!

    • — Rose on May 20, 2012
    • Reply
  • This is the recipe I’m choosing to review as my entry in the Boos giveaway. I have made these scones 3 times now and they are wonderful and truly easy. The first time I was not happy with the amount of salt taste so the next time I just reduced it to a grind. They were perfect. Last week when I made them I added dried blueberries in the final pulse. These are my go to recipe for scones!

    • — Linda on May 15, 2012
    • Reply
  • Can’t wait to make these… i have a special jam that has been waiting for the perfect scone to pair with…

    • — Ada Howe on May 15, 2012
    • Reply
  • I freeze the unbaked scones and the bake them fresh as I need them. This works great because there only 2 of us in the house

    • — reenie on May 15, 2012
    • Reply
    • When you freeze them do you thaw and bake or do you bake them straight from the freezer…what temp too?
      Thanks,

      • — mamalala on November 26, 2015
      • Reply
      • Hi, I would let them thaw in the refrigerator before baking them and then bake them at 425 degrees.

        • — Jenn on November 26, 2015
        • Reply
  • scones are one of my most favorite breakfast foods and I believe butter and cream are the unsung heroes of the ultimate scone

    • — susie dyksinski on March 1, 2012
    • Reply
  • I just made these scones last night with some dried cranberries, orange zest, and walnuts- they were a hit with my family! They can’t wait for me to make them again. Thank you for such a delicious, and simple recipe!

    • — Melissa on March 1, 2012
    • Reply
  • I made these and they are delicious. Turned out great and were so light. Very easy to do.

    • — Linda S on March 1, 2012
    • Reply
  • So easy and so good! I made these for a baby shower and they were a big hit!

    • — Becky on March 1, 2012
    • Reply
  • I have been looking for a GOOD scone recipe for awhile. Thank you!!!

    • — Michelle on March 1, 2012
    • Reply
  • I love this scone recipe because it is so versatile. I’ve made it various times with several add ins. So far, my favorite was adding a teaspoon of maple extract and chunks of fresh pear (dehydrated in a low oven for about an hour). Yum!

    • — Rachel on March 1, 2012
    • Reply
  • Loved the cake flour change from my usual recipe. Divine!!

    • — Laura on March 1, 2012
    • Reply
  • These remind me of the scones I had in Ireland. I will be making these this weekend!

    • — Mara on October 24, 2011
    • Reply
  • I just posted pumpkin scones today, but your cream scones look so great with the jam I may just have to make another batch. I could eat scones every morning for the rest of my life!

  • I love scones too…I usually brush the tops with extra milk for a smoother texture. I will have to try your recipe. Thanks!

  • These look wonderful, thank you

  • Yum! All your pastry recipes makes me want to finally go out and buy a food processor.

    • — Cynthia on October 20, 2011
    • Reply
  • Interesting! Our recipes are identical except for the cake flour. I cannot wait to try this!

  • Mmm I love scones. Those look delicious!

  • I’ve been searching for the perfect scone recipe and I can’t wait to try this one!

    • — J. Lefebvre on October 20, 2011
    • Reply

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