Light and Tender Cream Scones

Tested & Perfected Recipes

These light, tender and buttery scones are delicious on their own or slathered with jam.

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Good scones are 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.

What you’ll need to make Light and Tender Cream Scones

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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 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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How to make them

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

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Light and Tender Cream Scones

These light, tender and buttery scones are delicious on their own or slathered with jam.

Servings: 8 scones

Ingredients

For Dough

  • 2 cups cake flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off (see note on substitution)
  • 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: If you don't have cake flour, you can make your own: simply whisk together 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 cup cornstarch.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Made these today and I don’t think I’ll ever eat another store bought scone again! Delicious and light…not heavy like most store brands. I added grated lemon rind and juice from 1/2 a lemon. Absolutely wonderful! Love Once Upon A Chef!

    • — Deborah Ortiz on February 26, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hey Jenn,
    I must say this is by far the best scone recipe I have had the pleasure of baking but for some reason, the baking powder taste was overshadowing the experience. Any suggestions to remedy this?

    • — T Delicious on February 11, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi, Sorry to hear the baking powder overshadowed the taste of the scones. Do you think there’s any chance you mismeasured the baking powder (or anything else)?

      • — Jenn on February 11, 2021
      • Reply
  • Absolutely best scone. I should have doubled the batch because they were devoured. Served with clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam.

    • — Keeping It Simple on January 29, 2021
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  • I just tried these for the first time. Oh, my goodness! Light, tender, flakey, and delicious. I have been craving a cinnamon cream scone from a bakery in my old town, so I made a slight alteration to get closer to it. I added approximately 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the mix. I added a slight dusting of cinnamon and regular sugar to the top along with the egg wash before baking. My husband says these are better than the ones we loved from the bakery! I also cooked only half, saving the other four with two each in freezer bags to cook later.

    • — ML Wommack on January 28, 2021
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  • I made the plain scones once again for my children’s’ breakfast. As usual the disappeared almost before I sat down. This time, I experimented with 2/3 cup of craisins and a tablespoon of orange zest. And made them as minis this week. I think I like them even better small.

    Question: your book has blueberry scone using all purpose flour…has this been updated to cake flour, too. It does make a difference. Thanks, Jenn, your recipes are my automatic go-to.

    • — Susan Rittenberg on January 28, 2021
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  • Hi Jenn,
    Just got your book for Christmas- love it!!! ( was already a fan) I am trying to make your blueberry scones but can never seem to get the cold butter and flour mixture to mix right. Butter is to hard or soft… I’m useless doing this by hand which is why I always avoid making dough. I have a tiny food processor. Is that better then a standing mixer?

    Jackie

    • — Jackie on December 29, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Jackie, so glad you liked the book! Sorry to hear you struggle with the butter/flour mixture. A food processor is definitely a better option than a stand mixer for that but not sure if you’ll be able to fit everything into your food processor. You may need to do it in a few smaller batches. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 31, 2020
      • Reply
  • Can you add fruit, cranberries or blueberries to this recipe?

    • — Jim Waltersdorf on December 29, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Jim, I wouldn’t recommend adding fruit here but I do have a blueberry scone recipe from my first cookbook and a dried cranberry version in my upcoming cookbook. Email me at [email protected] if you want either of those recipes.

      • — Jenn on December 29, 2020
      • Reply
  • I tried making scones years ago but they were so dry that I didn’t bother again. Of course your recipe was excellent, Jenn! I also appreciate that you mentioned in the comments below that for those who don’t want to buy cake flour, just replace two tablespoons of every cup of all-purpose flour with cornstarch. Please add this great tip as a note to the recipe when you can (it’s on the chocolate chip scone version but not on the cream scone one).

    • — Monique on September 28, 2020
    • Reply
    • Glad you liked these. 🙂 And great suggestion about adding the note about the flour substitution — done!

      • — Jenn on September 29, 2020
      • Reply
  • These were the best scones that I have tried, even better than the ones I had in the UK. Thank you!

    • — Taline on August 16, 2020
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  • The scones are so delicious and easy to throw together. We devoured them too quickly. I test out recipes at home for my husband to cook at his fire station. Can this recipe be doubled using the food processor method? By the way, the other firefighters (and my family) love every recipe we’ve made. Thank you so much!!!

    • — Marisa on July 5, 2020
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    • So glad they were a hit! Yes, this can definitely be doubled as long as they have a food processor large enough to fit the ingredients. 🙂

      • — Jenn on July 6, 2020
      • Reply
  • Thank you Jennifer for sharing this recipe, the scones turned out amazing, I added orange zest and mini dark chocolate chips, very decadent tasting🙌🙌👌

    • — Rashida on July 5, 2020
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  • I made these but added orange zest and dried cranberries to it. Absolute yums and the sweetness level was just right. Love it!

    • — Rebecca on June 26, 2020
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  • Wow – these are great and extremely forgiving.

    I’ve never made scones before so I’m not sure if they traditionally are a forgiving pastry (?), but I’m shocked!

    Jenn, I have to apologize because I am not a fan of reviews on a recipe when the recipe has been altered, but I want everyone to know – don’t be scared to try this!

    I ended up using regular flour (accidentally) and dropped a second egg in the milk mixture (which I then tried to fish out). I was also doing this in a kitchen that was reading 86 degrees. I popped my butter in the freezer to try to get it to be cold/solid again because I understand the importance, but by the time I got the dough mixed and shaped – it honestly looked like I should’ve cut my losses and thrown the mess in the trash. I AM SO GLAD I DIDN’T! To my surprise, the goop turned into what looks like professional scones. They taste amazing – just as Jenn described. Moral of the story – try the scones and stick with it no matter what!!

    Thanks for always giving us such great recipes! I’m also positive if you follow the recipe better than I did your results will be out of this world.

    • — Jessica Temple on June 24, 2020
    • Reply
  • Is cake flour the same as pastry flour?

    • — Seema on June 18, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Seema, they are slightly different. See more details here.

      • — Jenn on June 19, 2020
      • Reply
      • Thank you! I can’t wait to make this for brunch Sunday.

        • — Seema on June 19, 2020
        • Reply
  • I made this recipe last week and made it again today! The scones were amazingly delicious with strawberry jam & clotted cream! I love the recipe and it’s so easy to make! I finally found a scone recipe that turns out right and yummy! Thank you xoxo!

    • — Nazlin Ibrahim on June 17, 2020
    • Reply
  • After living in the U.K. for 5 years and enjoying their high tea I’ve been on the lookout for the perfect scone recipe.. this is it!! Just had a high tea for my extended family here in the USA and these were a hit! Homemade clotted cream and jam too of course. We also had your chocolate cupcakes and they were a huge hit as well. Thank you for all your amazing recipes! I’m a huge fan!!

    • — Jo on May 28, 2020
    • Reply
  • These are so amazing! It is like biting into a small bit of heaven! I used vanilla sugar when I made mine and they were delicious!

    • — Becky on May 16, 2020
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  • Am I able to use a hand blender instead of a food processor to work the butter in?

    • — Selina on May 8, 2020
    • Reply
    • Yes, you can cut the butter into the flour mixture with two knives or rub it in with your fingers – it will just take a while. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 8, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi, I can’t seem to find cake flour. Is there a substitute I could use to make these?

    • — Selina on May 8, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Selina, you really need cake flour for these, but you can make your own with all-purpose flour and cornstarch; for every 1 cup of AP flour, replace 2 tablespoons with cornstarch. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on May 8, 2020
      • Reply
      • Thank you! And do you think I can use a hand blender instead of a food processor to incorporate the butter?

        • — Selina on May 8, 2020
        • Reply
        • Hi Selina, I wouldn’t use a blender but you can cut the butter into the flour mixture with two knives or rub it in with your fingers – it will just take a while.

          • — Jenn on May 8, 2020
          • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Please advise on why you have not added cornstarch and cream cheese to this recipe? Also why have you not done the cutting and stacking of the dough as in the buttermilk biscuit recipe?

    • — Simphiwe on April 11, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Simphiwe, I don’t include cornstarch as cake flour already includes it. I honestly don’t recall why I chose heavy cream over cream cheese in this recipe but it does work well.

      • — Jenn on April 14, 2020
      • Reply
  • I made these scones yesterday and added 1/3 cup of currants to the dough. They came out so light and fluffy. I’ve been making scones for many years and like this recipe the very best. Even reheated this morning, they tasted just great.

    • — Paula on January 23, 2020
    • Reply
  • I have tried about 5 scone recipes and this is the best by far. Adding to my recipe book permanently. thanks so much!!

    • — Beth on January 12, 2020
    • Reply
  • These are incredible! I made them exactly as instructed and they were perfect! Thank you, as always!

    • — Cassandra on December 7, 2019
    • Reply
  • Is there a reason that you use cream instead of buttermilk?

    • — LeAnn on April 18, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi LeAnn, I always use cream in my scones and buttermilk in my biscuits — not sure why, just habit I guess.

      • — Jenn on April 19, 2019
      • Reply
  • These scones are delicious. The outside crust is buttery crisp, and the crumb is light, tender, and flakey but not dry. I substituted light cream for the heavy, even though the recipe said not to, and can’t see that it had a negative effect on the texture. I’ve made a lot of scones over the years, many with heavy cream, and these scones were every bit as good. I added 2 tablespoons of butter to compensate for the fat in the heavy cream. The only other tweaks I made to the recipe were to add lemon zest and currants, but that would not have affected the consistency of the scones. I mixed the dough by hand and only needed 1/2 cup of cream to moisten the flour. My yield was 6 scones, not 8.

  • Made these after trying to replicate my local tea house experience. These are amazing. Followed the recipe exactly minus the pretty sugar topping. My family ate the whole first batch straight out of the oven. I had to make a second because it was to share with a few ladies. I agree with the recipe notes, best eaten right away. I didn’t think they tasted as good the next day.

  • Hi Jenn,

    Should the cream and egg be room temp or cold?

    Thanks !

    • Hi Malak, It doesn’t make any difference here. Enjoy!

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