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

  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
    • 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
    • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Sadie on April 14, 2019
    • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Larke on April 11, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Should the cream and egg be room temp or cold?

    Thanks !

    • — Malak on February 9, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Malak, It doesn’t make any difference here. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 9, 2019
      • Reply
  • This is a great and easy recipe that is hard to mess up even when working with my little daughters that can care less about instructions. You are going to make “Vie de France” lose a regular 🙂

    Anyway, I have been a big fan of your recipes and website for a long time. Nearly tried all the recipes on the website and they never failed. Got several copies of the book when it came out to gift just because I felt you deserved so much more for what you do. As lazy as I am in writing reviews, I thought I write this one to say THANK YOU !!!

    Book signing in the Village sometime ? 🙂

    Have a great holiday season with your family and many THANKS for your passion and dedication!

    • — ST on December 9, 2018
    • Reply
    • ❤️

      • — Jenn on December 10, 2018
      • Reply
  • Your instructions say to roll 3/4 inches high. WhAt is the diameter of the circle? Thanks, Nonna Gates

    • 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)!

  • 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!

    • 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. 😊

  • My all-time favorite scone recipe

  • Can l use whipped cream that is thawed out in place of cream for the scones? All your recipes are 5 stars.

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

  • 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
    • 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!

  • 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!)

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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, it’s 1 tablespoon of baking powder, not baking soda.

  • Best ever scones….light and tender.

  • 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!

    • 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.

  • 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
    • Reply
    • Hi George, Yes, that should be fine but any longer than overnight, I would freeze the dough.

      • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!!

  • Hi Jen,
    I can’t seem to find cake flour. Will pastry flour work just as well?

    • Yes, it should be fine. Hope you enjoy!

  • 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!

    • 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.

  • Is it possible to add blueberries to this scone recipe. If it is possible, what amount would you recommend?

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

  • Nothing makes scones tender and flakey like butter and cream—delicious!

  • The best recipe for scones ever.

  • 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!!

  • 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.

  • These scones are perfect, as is. Easy, quick, and so light and tender. I wouldn’t change a thing.

  • 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.

  • Can these be made without the cream??

    • Hi Lindz, Unfortunately, the recipe won’t work without the cream. Sorry!

  • Make these tonight and they were great. Quick and easy – the best kind of scones.

  • 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.

  • I am looking forward to trying this recipe to have with Chai tea

    • — Elizabeth C. in Kansas
    • 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!

  • 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!

  • Can’t wait to make these… i have a special jam that has been waiting for the perfect scone to pair with…

  • 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

    • When you freeze them do you thaw and bake or do you bake them straight from the freezer…what temp too?
      Thanks,

      • Hi, I would let them thaw in the refrigerator before baking them and then bake them at 425 degrees.

  • 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
    • 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!

  • I made these and they are delicious. Turned out great and were so light. Very easy to do.

  • So easy and so good! I made these for a baby shower and they were a big hit!

  • I have been looking for a GOOD scone recipe for awhile. Thank you!!!

  • 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!

  • Loved the cake flour change from my usual recipe. Divine!!

  • These remind me of the scones I had in Ireland. I will be making these this weekend!

  • 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.

  • 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!

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