How to Make Classic English Scones – It’s So Easy!

I’m kind of obsessed. My friend, Emily, co-owner of Emberry Farms, makes the best jam I’ve ever tasted. Currently, her sugar-free peach and sugar-free blueberry are making their home in my refrigerator, and I can tell you it’s going to be a short-term living situation.

I actually need to order more. Winter is coming, after all.

The jam is spectacular on the brioche I made a couple of weeks ago, but we needed other bread-type foods to spread it on. Otherwise, I was going to keep eating it out of the jar…with a spoon.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but we do try to at least pretend to be civilized around here.

When I came across pictures of our time in London a few years back, I knew I had to make scones.

Tea at The Orangery, Kensington

Scones are pure comfort food, any time of year. I love them for breakfast or brunch, or even as an afternoon snack when I come across a bakery that really does them up right.

Unlike some of my favorite American-style make-at-home scone recipes (blueberry/white chocolate, cranberry-orange, an out-of-this-world double chocolate from Sugar Spun Run, etc.), this is a classic English scone recipe; it’s similar to a buttermilk biscuit, but a little sweeter.

As a British friend once told me, a good scone doesn’t need anything fancy. A little cream, a little jam and you’re good.

These definitely fit the bill.

Here is what you will need:

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. caster sugar (fine grain sugar, in many grocery stores)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp finely ground sea salt
  • 1/3 cup (5 tbsp) cold, unsalted butter, cut into tiny pieces
  • 8 oz. buttermilk
  • 2 oz. whole milk
  • 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)


Preheat your oven to 400° Fahrenheit.

Line a large cookie or baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the flour, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar & salt in a non-reactive bowl (i.e. not metal), and mix lightly together. Do not sift!

Add the cut up butter to the bowl, and rub gently with your fingers until all of the butter is incorporated. Your mixture should look similar to the way it did prior to adding the butter.

Now, add the buttermilk and the milk.

Using your hand, scoop and blend the liquid into the flour mixture. Do not use your electric mixer or a whisk. You will overwork the dough, resulting in a tough scone.

Keep folding in the liquid, just until mixture comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead gently until all ingredients are incorporated and the dough forms.

Cover with a clean cloth and let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, gently roll out the dough until it is approximately 1″ thick. Too thin, and the scone will overbake, too thick and it will be doughy in the middle.

Using a 3″ biscuit cutter, press down into the dough and pull straight up. Do NOT twist the cutter at any point. Doing so collapses the sides of the circle, and your scones will not rise.

Place the cut circles on the prepared baking sheet.

Stack the scraps of dough on top of each other, and gently roll out to a 1″ thickness. Cut out your scones and lay them on the baking sheet. Repeat as necessary.

Brush the scones with the egg wash.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Turn the sheet around, and bake for an additional 2-4 minutes, until the scones are golden brown.

Remove to a cooling rack.

Serve warm with your favorite toppings. Clotted cream and jam, or even butter alone are awesome. Biscoff cookie butter or Nutella are also favorites!

Whichever you choose, enjoy!

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