I reckon everyone needs a foolproof scone recipe in their repertoire that can be whipped up in about 20 minutes when friends and family drop in. These big, fluffy plain scones are best enjoyed with jam and a generous dollop of cream. Perfect for afternoon or morning tea!
The key to big, fluffy scones is to not over-mix the dough. By grating the cold butter you’ll also ensure that it is evenly distributed throughout the dough without handling it too much. A quick and foolproof recipe that works every time!
Make these traditional English scones in about 20 minutes with 6 staple ingredients (no eggs needed).
- Butter – Unsalted butter works best for this recipe but you can use salted butter if needed. Make sure the butter is cold so you can easily grate it. I use the second finest side of my box grater.
- Flour – All-purpose flour or plain flour is all you need for this recipe. Make sure you sift it.
- Baking powder – Yes, 5 teaspoons sound like a lot but you that much if you’re after big, fluffy scones.
- Vanilla essence – You can substitute the essence with fresh vanilla beans scraped from one pod or vanilla extract.
- Salt – The salt adds flavor to the scones and is required. Sea salt works best but you can also use table salt.
- Milk – I prefer full-fat milk but lower fat options can be used as well.
- Do not over-mix the dough or the scones will be tough and chewy.
- Make sure the butter is cold to be able to grate it. On hot days you can pop it into the freezer for 5 minutes before grating to prevent it from softening too quickly.
- The scones need a short time in a HOT oven. Ensure the oven is up to temperatures before baking them.
This simple recipe is for plain scones but you can add the ingredients below to make some delicious variations as well:
- Cheese scones: Add 1/2 cup grated edam or cheddar cheese to the dough. Add an additional tablespoon of milk if needed.
- Date scones: Add 1/2 cup of chopped dates to the dough.
- Earl grey scones: Simply warm the milk and steep 2 teabags of Earl Grey in the milk for 3 minutes. Let the infused milk cool down to prevent it from melting the butter in the dough. Once fully cooled use it as per the recipe below.
- Lemon scones: Add the zest of one lemon to the dough and glaze the cold scones with a simple lemon icing made with 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp melted unsalted butter, and 1 cup powdered sugar.
It’s hard to beat the classic jam and whipped or clotted cream combination. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which comes first though. It’s a controversial topic for sure!
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Foolproof Scone Recipe
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter cold
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 5 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 cup milk cold
- 1 tbsp milk
- Preheat the oven to 220C/428F.
- In a large bowl, add sifted flour followed by baking powder and salt. Combine them.3 cups all-purpose flour, 5 tsp baking powder, 1/8 tsp salt
- Grate the cold butter into the dry ingredients and mix everything with your hands making sure the butter is distributed evenly.1/3 cup unsalted butter
- Add the vanilla essence and cold milk. Loosely bring the dough together with a spoon. Don't over-mix it. You're after a very rough and slightly crumbly-looking dough, not a smooth one.1 cup milk
- Add the dough to the bench and form a 2 cm thick circle or square with your hands or a rolling pin. Cut the scones into squares or triangles with a knife or into round shapes with a cookie cutter (approx. 10cm diameter).
- Brush the scones with milk and bake them on a baking tray in the oven for 13 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy!
Use the exact amount of baking powder and place the scone side by side when baking which helps them rise up instead of out.
Scones last 3-4 days in a storage container at room temperature. Simply reheat them in a microwave or oven before serving. You can also freeze them in a freezer-proof container for up to 3 months.