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Say goodbye to dry scones. A secret ingredient makes these light, tender and buttery.

Good scones are light, tender and buttery – almost biscuit-like. So why are they so hard to come by? Even most coffee shop and bakery scones are dry and dense. After baking many batches of scones, I found the secret to success boils down to one simple ingredient: cake flour. Cake flour is a finely-milled flour made from soft wheat with a lower protein content than all-purpose flour (7 to 9% versus all-purpose’s 10 to 12%). Less gluten forms when you mix it into the batter, which results in a very fine, fluffy crumb. It’s typically used to make cakes (obviously!), but it also makes incredibly good scones. These are simple and delicious slathered with butter and jam. For a kid-friendly variation, try these chocolate chip scones.

What You’ll Need To Make Scones

ingredients for scones

If you don’t have cake flour, you can make your own: simply whisk together 1¾ cups all-purpose flour and ¼ cup cornstarch.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups cake flour, 2½ teaspoons baking powder, 2½ tablespoons granulated sugar, and a scant ¾ teaspoon salt.

whisking the dry ingredients for scones

Add 5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces.

cold butter cubes added to dry ingredientsUse your fingertips to rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with pea-size clumps of butter within.

butter rubbed into dry ingredientsIn a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together ⅔ cup heavy cream and 1 egg.

heavy cream and egg whisked together

Make a well in center of dry ingredients, then pour the cream/egg mixture in.

wet ingredients and dry ingredients together in bowlUse a rubber spatula to mix until the dough comes together into a mass. It should be a bit sticky but not so wet that you can’t handle it with your hands. If it seems dry, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of cream.

scone dough in bowl
Dust a work surface lightly with flour, then dump the scone dough onto the surface.

scone dough on floured work 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 7 inches in diameter and ¾-inch thick.

scone dough pressed into ballUse a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles.

scone trianglesTransfer the wedges to the prepared baking sheet. Brush lightly with a beaten egg and sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon demerara sugar.

scones on baking sheet with egg and sugar toppingBake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the tops are lightly golden and firm to the touch.

baked sconesServe warm from the oven with softened butter or jam.

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Scones

Say goodbye to dry scones. A secret ingredient makes these light, tender and buttery.

Servings: 8 scones
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

For The Dough

  • 2 cups cake flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off (see note on substitution)
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 2½ tablespoons sugar
  • Scant ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅔ -¾ cup heavy cream (do not substitute milk or light cream)

For The Topping

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

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cake flour, salt, baking powder and granulated sugar. Add the pieces of cold butter. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with pea-size clumps of butter within.
  3. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together ⅔ cup heavy cream and the egg. Make a well in center of dry ingredients, then pour the cream/egg mixture in. Using a rubber spatula, mix until the dough comes together into a mass. It should be a bit sticky but not so wet that you can't handle it with your hands. If it seems dry, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of cream.
  4. Dust a work surface lightly with flour, then dump the scone dough onto the surface; dust the dough with a bit of flour as well. Knead very gently a few times until the dough comes together into a ball. (Sprinkle more flour, little by little, if dough is too sticky to work with.) Press the dough into a flat circle about 7 inches in diameter and ¾-inch thick, then use a sharp knife to cut into 8 even triangles. Transfer the wedges to the prepared baking sheet. Brush lightly with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the demerara sugar. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the tops are lightly golden and firm to the touch. Serve warm from the oven with softened butter and jam.
  5. Note: If you don't have cake flour, you can make your own: simply whisk together 1¾ cups all-purpose flour and ¼ cup cornstarch.
  6. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: To freeze before baking, place the raw scones on a baking sheet, let set in the freezer, then place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. 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 for up to 3 months. 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 before baking.)

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 scone
  • Calories: 294
  • Fat: 16 g
  • Saturated fat: 10 g
  • Carbohydrates: 33 g
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Sodium: 191 mg
  • Cholesterol: 93 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • Too dry. Would never use this recipe again.

    • — Patricia on June 24, 2022
    • Reply
  • These are absolutely delicious. Fortunately here in the UK there is no aluminium in our baking powder. I think these are more like what we call a shortcake but whatever you call them my husband wants no other! Lovely recipe Jen.

    • — Jan Rutledge on June 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • Jen, I love the flavor of vanilla. If I add vanilla to this recipe, will it still work?

    • — Laurie on June 18, 2022
    • Reply
    • Yep 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 18, 2022
      • Reply
  • I just made these and they vanished! Even my adult son who said he doesn’t like scones gobbled his down. We had them with butter and lemon curd, absolutely delicious! And so easy to put together! Thank you, Jen for another winner!!❤️

    • — Katie on June 13, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made these this morning. Easy. Light. I liked them. But there was a bitter under-taste that was perhaps the baking powder? Another person mentioned this. Yes, I used the specified amount and didn’t get confused with tea and tablespoons. Next time, I’ll use a different brand and cut back a little.

    • — Linda Lyons on June 12, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Linda, You might try an aluminum-free baking powder like Rumford.

      • — Jenn on June 12, 2022
      • Reply
      • Hi Jenn, wanted to know if I could add Zante currants or cranberries and how much would I use. Thanks in advance.

        • — Arlene Nelson on June 12, 2022
        • Reply
        • Sure, Arlene, that’s fine. I’d suggest about 1/2 cup. Please LMK how they turn out!

          • — Jenn on June 13, 2022
          • Reply
  • Hello Jenn
    I have deliberately stayed away from making scones because my friend makes delicious fluffy ones and I tried many years ago to make them and failed. Now I am encouraged to try your recipe. I am gluten sensitive. Can the flour be gluten free such as Bob Red Mill All purpose Gluten Free flour or BRM Baking and Pastry flour? I am asking since you mention that some of the success of this recipe is the creation of less gluten. I also have used Molly B Gluten free flour which is only available here in Toronto Canada and I do like it better for making those special occasion cakes.

    • — Donna on June 12, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Donna, I haven’t made these with gluten-free flour, so I can’t say for sure. (Oftentimes, readers will comment that they’ve adapted my baked goods to be gluten-free, but I don’t see any comments mentioning that here, so you’d be the “guinea pig.”) Please LMK how they turn out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on June 13, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi! Could you add cinnamon into the recipe for cinnamon scones? A teaspoon or two? Would you have to alter the other ingredients? Thank you! Can’t wait to try these?

    • — Joani on June 11, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Joani, sure I think you could add cinnamon to this. I’d recommend starting with 1/2 teaspoon. I’d love to hear how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on June 13, 2022
      • Reply
  • Genius! Cake flour! I love it. I cannot wait to try these and your other versions. I use cake flour in my favorite pound cake recipe (along with a trio of extract-vanilla, lemon and almond) It is always a big hit. Now I more recipes to use cake flour! Yeah!
    Thank you once again.

    • — Lynn on June 11, 2022
    • Reply
  • How I would make these Lemon Scones or is that not possible?

    • — Dorothea on June 11, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Dorthea, Sure – I’d add a teaspoon of lemon zest to the batter. These would also be nice with a lemon glaze on top. I have a scone recipe with a lemon glaze in my first cookbook. If you don’t own the book, email me at jennifer@onceuponachef.com and I’ll share the recipe with you. 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 14, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn!
    I love scones! Can I add blueberries or raspberries to your recipe? If so, do I change the other ingredients in any way? Thanks so much.

    • — Doreen on June 11, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Doreen, I wouldn’t recommend that as the berries will add liquid to the scones and throw off the wet/dry ratios. If you have my first cookbook, I have a recipe for blueberry scones on page 189. If you don’t have the book, but would like the recipe, email me at jennifer@onceuponachef and I’d be happy to send it to you!

      • — Jenn on June 11, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen, They sound wonderful and I am going to try them. One trick I’ve been using for a while is to freeze the butter and grate the frozen butter into the dough. When the butter melts in the oven it creates delicious little flakey pockets. The idea came from another recipe that also suggests putting some rough salt on too before baking. Love your recipes, they are all so good! Alex

    • — Alexandra Bednar on June 11, 2022
    • Reply
  • I have made many scones over my 82years for entertaining friends for an English cream tea but this recipe is definitely the best. So light and fluffy – perfect. I did omit the sugar because as you may know Brits tend not to sweeten things as much as their North American counterparts and when you slather on the raspberry or apricot jam and cream, no additional sweetening is necessary. The recipe (as so many of your recipes) is a keeper.
    Thank you Jenn.

    • — Dena on May 20, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hands down, the best scones and I have made many. Most recipes call for buttermilk but I had heavy cream that was on the verge of turning so I used that. Light fluffy and melt in your mouth good. The house smelled incredible while these were baking and these scones were a huge hit.

      • — KGaylin on June 9, 2022
      • Reply
  • Can I make these without a food processor ?

    • — Annie L on May 13, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Annie, 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 14, 2022
      • Reply
  • Can I make the scones with almond flour? Would I need make any changes?

    • — Rani Lohana on May 11, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Rani, I wouldn’t recommend almond flour here — I’m sorry!

      • — Jenn on May 12, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    I’ve made these as they are and they’re delicious. Would this recipe work baked as British scones are, cut out with a round cookie cutter and baked clustered together?

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    • — Nicole on April 23, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Nicole, so glad you like these! Yes, I think what you’re describing would work. The bake time may be slightly longer so just keep an eye on them. I’d love to hear how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on April 26, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn.. is this recipe okay to double or triple? Thanks, Nicole

    • — Nicole on January 29, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Nicole, that should be fine but beyond that, things can get lost in translation. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 31, 2022
      • Reply
      • Thanks Jenn for your reply. Yes I’ve heard it becomes tricky at a certain point. It’s a science I’ve yet to dabble in! Thanks again, love all of your recipes!

        • — Nicole on February 3, 2022
        • Reply
        • Great recipe. The first time I made these I did the recipe exactly as written. I had a friend visiting from out of town and we made two batches and added some extra goodies. One batch we added orange zest and cranberries. The other batch we made we added finely chopped fresh rosemary, some chopped dates, and some pinenuts. They were absolutely amazing. I plan on making scones often now as I can’t imagine not having this yummy goodness on a regular basis.

          • — Denise McGraw on March 19, 2022
          • Reply
  • As advertised. Beautifully light scones. I nixed the sugar topping and instead mixed half rye flour and it still worked wonderfully. I usually have one or two leftover wedges. Not this time! This will easily become my staple scone recipe.

    • — Karen on December 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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
      • Hi Jenn,
        I wanted to make these and ship them out for my sister in Miami for her birthday.
        Any tips?

        Thanks

        • — Rani Lohana on December 1, 2021
        • Reply
        • Hi Rani, Unfortunately, I don’t think scones are a great choice for shipping as they don’t stay fresh for very long. If you’d like to send baked goods to your sister for her birthday, some other options are any of my banana breads or biscotti, the Toffee Almond Sandies, or the Scottish Shortbread. Hope that helps!

          • — Jenn on December 2, 2021
          • Reply
    • Use Rumford baking powder no aluminum in it
      The only baking powder to ever use

      • — Carol J Winkelman on June 11, 2022
      • 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
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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 jennifer@onceuponachef.com 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
    • 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
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
  • Is cake flour the same as pastry flour?

    • Hi Seema, they are slightly different. See more details here.

      • Thank you! I can’t wait to make this for brunch Sunday.

  • 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
    • 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!!

  • 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!

  • Am I able to use a hand blender instead of a food processor to work the butter in?

    • 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!

  • Hi, I can’t seem to find cake flour. Is there a substitute I could use to make these?

    • 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!

      • Thank you! And do you think I can use a hand blender instead of a food processor to incorporate the butter?

        • 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.

  • 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?

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • I have tried about 5 scone recipes and this is the best by far. Adding to my recipe book permanently. thanks so much!!

  • These are incredible! I made them exactly as instructed and they were perfect! Thank you, as always!

  • Is there a reason that you use cream instead of buttermilk?

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

  • 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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