Gourmet Made Deliciously Simple

English Scones with Sweet Whipped Butter

These English scones with light and tender, cake-like crumbs are incredibly quick and easy to make. It’s practically impossible to mess up. You only need 30 minutes!

English scones with light and tender, cake-like crumbs is incredibly quick and easy to make. You only need 30 minutes of your day! It's our family's favorite! #englishscones #scones

Confession…

I’ve never liked scones. American scones, that is. They look fantastic, loaded with nuts, fruits and glazed, but they definitely don’t deliver the moist, flaky promises they make. At least, the ones I’ve tried. Granted, I’ve never tried making them myself. Afraid of disappointment, I guess.

Anyway, when we had an Afternoon tea at Savoy in London, we enjoyed the most deliciously moist and tender English scones for our first course. Oh my goodness, I was in love!  They were super tender, cake-like and light! We actually had to ask for more scones!

Since then, scones shot right up to the top of my to-bake list. After a few batches of trial and error, I’m finally ready to share with you my findings!

There's nothing better than a freshly baked English scones with tender, light crumbs! It's perfect with a smear of butter and sweet jam! #englishscone #scones

But before we dive into the recipe, let’s rule out a few things.

What’s the difference between British and American scones?

Well, first, the amount of butter. English scones use way less butter than american version, but they are meant to be served with whipped butter, or clotted cream and sweet jam/jelly. And unlike american scones, British scones are smaller in size and doesn’t have hundreds of varieties. You’ll only see plain scones, or with raisins/currants.

Sounds a lot like biscuits, doesn’t it? But there are some differences too.

Biscuits are flakier and crumblier than scones. English scones, on other hand, are quite light, but most importantly, they have delicate cake-like crumbs, that sets them apart from American scones and biscuits.

Now that we have a full understanding of what we’re getting, let’s talk about how to make english scones. I learned the technique for these scones on Cook’s Illustrated and slightly adapted their recipe. I’m using buttermilk/milk mixture in my batter for the lightest and moistest scones. In a pinch, you could use all milk, but use whole milk for the best flavor and richness, as there is not much fat going on in the batter.

My family loves these tender, light English scones warm with butter and jam. It's so easy to make these scones too! #englishscones #scones

Unlike biscuits, or American scones, we don’t need to use cold butter to create flaky scones. Instead, we will thoroughly incorporate softened butter into the dry flour mixture. This method minimizes the formation of gluten, as fat in the butter coats the flour proteins. Hence, tender, crumbly and light scones are born!

The batter will be a bit sticky, but don’t fret. It’ll be work out beautifully!

English scones- step by step photo instructions

Enjoy these light English scones with a smear of butter and sweet jam. You'll love the light cake-like crumbs and how easy it is to make! #Englishscones #scones

I loved serving my scones with sweet whipped butter and jam. My favorites are raspberry jam and apricot jam. My husband prefers strawberry jam though. Either way, they are great!

Super easy English scones with sweet whipped butter and your favorite jam! Brunch made right. #brunch #scones #englishscones

So have you tried English scones? Which one do you prefer, American scones, British scones, or biscuits?

If you have a trusted recipe for tender (not dry) american scones, please share it with me in the comments. Thanks for stopping by!

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English Scones

English scones with light and tender, cake-like crumbs are incredibly quick and easy to make. You only need 30 minutes! It’s our family’s favorite!

Yield: 16 scones

Prep Time:15 min

Cook Time:10 min

Total Time:25 min

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (120ml) buttermilk, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (120ml) whole milk, at room temperature
  • 3 ½ cups (435gr) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (65gr) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup (75gr) unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
Sweet whipped butter:
  • ½ cup (115gr) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup (60ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 1-2 tablespoons raw honey

Directions:

  1. To make the scones, preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Line the baking sheet with parchment paper, or silicone mat.
  2. In a medium jug, beat the eggs, buttercream and milk. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of mixture.
  3. In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add butter and mix until nice and smooth. (Tip: Thoroughly coating the flour with butter minimizes the formation of gluten creating tender and light scones.)
  5. Add egg mixture and mix until just combined. The dough will be quite sticky, but don’t worry. Transfer the dough onto well-floured surface.
  6. With floured hands, knead the dough to smooth out the surface and flatten it into 1-inch thick disk. Using 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out as many scones as you can.
  7. Gather the remaining dough and repeat the step #5, until all the dough is used.
  8. Arrange the scones on the prepared baking sheet, brush on the reserved egg mixture on each scone and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.
  9. Cool the scones on wire rack for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with sweet whipped butter.
  10. To make the sweet whipped butter, beat the butter, heavy cream and honey in a mixing bowl with whisk attachment until nice and fluffy.

Freezing Instructions: These scones freeze beautifully. Simply place the baked scones in a ziplock bag and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, microwave on high for 30-45 seconds, or bring it to room temperature on counter.

Video: I’ve made this recipe on my Instagram stories. If you’d like to see the recipe in action, check out my Instagram and find the featured story for English Scones.

Slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.

All images and text ©Shinee D. for Sweet & Savory by Shinee

Nutrition Information

Yield: 16 scones, Serving Size: 1 scone

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 167 Calories
  • Total Fat: 4.9g
  • Cholesterol: 34.2mg
  • Sodium: 102.5mg
  • Carbohydrates: 26.6g
  • Sugar: 4.9g
  • Protein: 4.2g

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All photographs and content on Sweet & Savory by Shinee is copyright protected, unless otherwise noted. Please do not use any of my photos without my authorization. If you would like to share my recipe, you may re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the full directions. Thank you for your cooperation!

This recipe was originally published on April 22, 2015. Updated with new photos in May, 2018.

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45 comments

  1. Hi, Shinee! I’ve never tried making scones before, so I’m very excited about your recipe. Especially because the scones in your photos look scrumptious!
    However, I’m absolutely terrified at the amount of baking powder this recipe calls for. Are you sure it’s tablespoons and not teaspoons? I think that may have been the reason behind Holly’s [above comment] absolute gloopy gluey mess.

    • Hi, Alejandra! Yes, 2 tablespoons of baking powder. I know it’s a lot, but that’s what original recipe from Cook’s Illustrated calls for. They say it yields the lightest and fluffiest scones. And I have to agree with them. Hope you give these a try, and let me know how they turn out, if you do. 🙂

  2. Are you sure your gram conversions are accurate? I really don’t know what went wrong here, I have been making English scones for a long time (being English!) and tried your recipe, followed the instructions to the letter (weighing out number of grams rather than cups) and my ‘dough’ was an absolute gloopy gluey mess that certainly couldn’t be kneaded! I ended up having to get someone to scrape it off my hands and chuck a load of self raising flour in there until the dough reached the right texture. I think this is the first time in my life I’ve managed to mess up scones – I didn’t think that was possible!

    • Hi, Holly! I’m so sorry to hear your dough didn’t turn out. I just double checked the measurements and everything looks right. I even checked it against the original recipe on Cook’s Illustrated. I’m puzzled as what went wrong. Since you’ve weighed the flour and everything, it should have been accurate. I’m clueless.

  3. Yes  thoroughly mixed the ingredients. The scones looked exactly like the ones in the picture!

    • My only other guess would be the flour amount. If you didn’t weigh the flour when measuring it, it’s very possible you’ve added a bit too much. Excess flour will definitely cause denser scones.

  4. I tried these scones and they did not turn out good. I did exactly what the recipe told me, and my scones looked like the ones in the picture, but they did not taste good at all! They were really dense! So disappointing! Save yourself all the work and money, because these scones are…….. Don’t try them!!!!!!

    • Hi, there! I’m sorry for your experience. I’m surprised your scones turned out dense. Did you thoroughly mix the dry ingredients with softened butter? This step is crucial for light and cake-like texture of these scones. I’ve made this recipe many times, and always get light scones.

  5. I am so excited to have found this recipe. We have a big group coming for dinner June 6th in honour of friends coming from England and was looking for authentic English scones recipes. I will do my first practice batch tomorrow – can’t wait. They look amazing and thanks for sharing

    • Yay, I’m so glad you found this, Janet! Please do let me know what you think of these scones. I hope you’ll love them as much as we did. 🙂

  6. Hi Shinee,
    I chose your English scones as my Host favorite for this week on Foodie Friends Friday Linky 145. Thanks for linking up! Cindy 

  7. Thanks for the clarification between American scones, English scones and biscuits. I might make some this weekend. 

  8. These look wonderful. I’ve mastered white bread and wheat bread. I have a French bread recipe I like…but am looking for one I like better. 
    But I have had horrible luck with biscuits. 
    Maybe I’ll give scones a chance. (Yes, I read they’re different than biscuits!) Figured maybe a different “format” of bread might work better. 
    Thanks for the step-by-step pics. I find those so useful, especially with bread products. 
    Jennie
    p.s. I found your post via “Lou Lou Girls Fabulous Party” (the April 27th one!)

    • I’m glad my step by step photos are helpful! Definitely give these scones a try. They are now our family’s favorite. Hope you will love it too. Thanks for visiting!

  9. These look great! Thanks for the tutorial and info.

  10. Stopping by from Lou Lou Girls. These would make a wonderful after Church snack. Pinned!

  11. These scones sound delicious and look very pretty too! Beautiful photos and great styling, love the piped butter. I hear ‘ya about American scones….I found that this recipe (adapted from ATK) ends up pretty moist and delicious though: http://thespicetrain.com/2014/11/11/cranberry-scones/ 

  12. Yum! I love scones. I’ve tried one recipe once, but the scones were so dense! I’m going to give your recipe a try! Thanks so much!

  13. Oh my! Your description of these is amazing. I can almost taste them! I’ve always thought scones were awful but I think you’ve convinced me to give yours a try for sure!! Yum!

  14. Meant to add the Clotted cream is from Devon or Cornwall, most often.

  15. Just to let you know of a slight error in your post. It’s clotted cream (usually from Devon) not clotted cheese.

    Amanda

  16. I am an excellent baker but my biscuits always seem to come out like a hockey puck!

    But because these scones are put together so differently I think I might have more luck. I’ll let you know how it goes!
    I just looked at the last of your vacation pictures and they were lovely! or should I say yummy? Looks like you had a fantastic time.

    • The trick is in incorporating butter into flour mixture to prevent too much gluten development. It worked perfectly every time. I hope you will have the same success. Please do let me know how you like them. Thank you, Cynthia!

  17. These look sooooo good!! Yummmm!

    Anyhoo, I found your blog through a fellow blogger, and just thought I would stop by and say hi! It would totally make my day if you did the same.. or better yet, keep in touch!

  18. English scones, British scones, or biscuits. .  I’ll take them all!!! 😛 Will definitely try these!! Love these, Shinee!! 

  19. Shinee, these look amazing! And this is so eye-opening for me to see how easy scones are to actually make! Thank you!

  20. Shinee, these look SO good- It’s so hard for scones to come out so pretty! 

  21. HOLY COW THESE ARE GORGEOUS! I’m drooling!

  22. Hi Shinee! Just discovered your blog from visting Karen’s (Food Charlatan)….it’s beautiful! These scones look so beautiful and flaky. I too dislike the American ones that end up so dry and brittle. These look fluffy and just perfect – I can’t wait to try your recipe! Thank you for sharing xo

  23. I like the idea of these way more than other scones! I tried making scones once and failed — these look way better!

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