How to Make Perfect Scones

great sconess

How do you pronounce scone?

Either skawn (rhymes with prawn) or scone (with a long o) is correct. Unfortunately creating the perfect scone is a little more difficult than learning how to say it.

A scone is a tender, buttery cousin to the American biscuit. It is a bit richer and usually a little sweeter, perfect for spreading with butter and jam. They are simple to make and you can easily have them on the table within 30 minutes. Scones should be tender and flaky and that’s where the problem often comes in.

Tips for Perfect Scones

  • Make sure that all of your ingredients are well chilled. Once you mix the dry ingredients put the bowl in the freezer for a few minutes if you have time. Don’t remove the butter from the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. Keep the milk very cold, too. Doing these things will help ensure that the finishes scones are flaky.
  • Use a soft wheat flour. Pastry flour or cake flour works well.
  • Don’t over mix the butter. You want the butter cut to the size of pebbles and completely covered by the flour. When the butter melts it leaves holes is the scone and makes it flakier.
  • Knead your dough with a light hand.  Mix it just until all of the ingredients come together — don’t work it too much.
  • Cut straight down and don’t twist the cutter. Refrain from evening up the sides, too. This will allow your scones to rise as high as possible in the oven.
  • After you’ve cut the scone and placed it on the baking sheet let them rest for 20 minutes. If the kitchen is very hot then place them in the refrigerator for the resting time. Allowing the scones to rest lets any gluten that has developed to relax and the result is a more tender scone.
  • Don’t over bake these scones or they will become dry.
  • You can add 1/2 cup dried fruit pr chopped nuts, if desired

Storing Scones

Scones are best when eaten warm and fresh but there are ways you can make sure that you have delicious, fresh scones available any time you like. Just freeze them and store in an airtight, food safe container for up to three months. When you are ready to eat one reheat it in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes or warm in the microwave for a few seconds.

You can also store unbaked scones. Follow the instructions up to the resting point. Place the cut scones on a baking sheet and place in the freezer for 30 to 45 minute, or until they are frozen. Place the frozen, unbaked scones in a freezer container and store in the freezer. When you are ready to bake get them out while you are preheating the oven. You don’t want to thaw them all the way.

Perfect Scone Recipe

Makes 12 scones


  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, optional
  • 1 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon water


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Grease a baking sheet.
  3. Blend the flour and baking powder together in a large bowl.
  4. Cut in the butter, salt, lemon zest, and sugar until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
  5. Add the milk and gently mix to make a soft dough.
  6. Turn out onto a floured surface.
  7. Gently pat the dough out to a 3/4 inch thickness.
  8. Cut into rounds with a large round cutter.
  9. Place the scones on the greased baking sheet.
  10. Mix the egg yolk and water and brush on the tops of the scones.
  11. Sprinkle with sugar crystals.
  12. Let stand on the counter for 20 minutes. If the kitchen is hot put them in the fridge during this time.
  13. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
  14. Let cool for a minute or two before serving.

photo credit: ironypoisoning via photopin cc

- Marye Audet

Marye Audet is an author, freelance writer, and editor. Cooking, baking, and recipe development have been a major part of her life since she baked her first loaf of bread at age 13. Luckily, with a husband, eight children, a son in law, and three grandchildren she has enough test-tasters to handle the steady stream of experiments that come from her kitchen.

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