Homemade scones, dripping with strawberry jam, are a favourite British tea-time treat. I’ve been making this quick and easy recipe for years, and it never fails. The scones are fluffy and delicious, and with ony 4 basic store cupboard ingredients and 10 minutes of prep time you could be enjoying your own homemade scones today!
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I remember my mother, who must have had the patience of a saint, trying to teach me to make scones at home when I was six or seven years old. She’d place me in front of a bowl of flour and butter, with instructions to ‘rub it all together until it looks like breadcrumbs‘. And I’d stand there rubbing away for what seemed like hours, until the butter had been rubbed in to my mother’s satisfaction and the kitchen and I were both covered in flour.
Then she’d mix in the milk and I’d measure out the currents from a brown paper bag (because they were sold loose, by weight, in those days) and we’d get on to my favourite bit – the rolling out.
I’m sure I rolled them too thin ‘but mummy if I roll them thinner we’ll get more out‘ and handled the dough far too much. And they probably turned out more like crispy current biscuits than light, fluffy scones. But I do remember the sense of achievement when they were removed from the oven and I could see the results of what I’d made. I think the fact that I was allowed to make a ‘scone man’ out of the trimmings, with currents for eyes and buttons, added to the enjoyment.
These days though, my technique has improved somewhat. My homemade scones are gently pressed out, rather than being vigourously attacked with a rolling pin. The dough is handled as little as possible and left much thicker, to give the scones a fair chance of rising. And my trimmings are carefully pressed back together to form a final delicious scone 🙂 (albeit a bit lopsided).
How to make homemade scones
You only need 4 main ingredients to make your own scones at home. See the printable recipe card at the end of this post for exact measurements and instructions.
Flour -you will need self-raising flour. I you don’t have self-raising flour you can make you own. Just add 1 teaspoon of baking powder to each cup (125g) of all purpose or plain flour.
Butter – you can get away with using brick margarine instead, but butter gives a much better flavour.
Sugar – not too much sugar, you don’t want the scones to be too sweet. 1 tablespoon per cup of flour will be sufficient.
Milk – It doesn’t make any difference whether you use full fat or semi-skimmed milk.
Currents, raisins or sultanas – these are optional. If you want to make fruit scones you can just add a handful of dried fruit before adding the milk.
Salt – also optional
Mix the scones
- Place the butter into a mixing bowl, add salt if using. Add the butter and rub with fingertips until the butter is all incorporated and the mixture resembles find breadcrumbs. Lift your hands above the bowl as you do this to allow as much air as possible to be incorporated.
- Mix in the sugar.
- If using fruit or cheese, add it at this point.
- Add the milk and mix lightly with a flat-bladed knife until just combined.
- Tip out onto a work surface, press together lightly until it just comes together in a soft ball. Don’t knead the dough.
- Press out to flatten, approximately 2cm thickness. You can use a rolling pin if you prefer, but I find that just pressing out with my hands works perfectly well.
- Try to handle the dough as little and as lightly as possible.
Cut out and bake
- Using a fluted cutter, cut rounds from the dough. If you don’t have a cutter you can use a glass or a cup.
- Do not twist the cutter. This is important. If you twist the cutter you will tear the edges of the scones and they will not rise evenly.
- Once you have cut out as many scones as you can, gather the trimmings together and press out again. You should be able to get another 2 or 3 scones from the trimmings.
- Place the scones on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. If you don’t have baking parchment you can just grease the baking tray lightly with oil or margarine, or spray lightly with a cooking oil spray.
- Brush the top of the scones with milk
- Bake in a preheated oven (200C / 400F) for 20 minutes until well-risen and golden.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- To serve, split the scones, spread with butter and your favourite jam, and optionally top with a spoonful of thick whipped cream.
- You could try topping them with homemade strawberry jam, or homemade orange curd.
- These scones are best eaten fresh. You can keep them in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- You can also freeze these scones. When you are ready to eat them, just defrost in a hot oven until they are warmed through.
You can turn these homemade scones into fruit scones by adding a handful of sultanas, currents or raisins to the dry mixture before adding the milk.
Or if you would prefer cheese scones just add a handful of grated cheese before adding the milk and sprinkle a little grated cheese on top before baking.
Your questions answered
Making homemade scones always brings to mind two questions – how do you pronounce the word scone, and what goes onto the scone first, jam or cream? I think the answer to both of these questions depends on where you live.
How do you pronounce Scone?
If you come from the north of England, as I did, you will know there is only one way to pronounce scone, and that is sc-on, to rhyme with gone.
However, if you are a bit more posh, and grew up in London and the surrounding areas, you are more likely to pronounce it as sc-own – to rhyme with own.
And just to add a bit more confusion to the mix, I was on a touring holiday in Scotland a few years ago, and arrived in a little town called (you’ve guessed it) – Scone. The locals pronounced it Sc-oon – to rhyme with tune.
So there you have it, three possible pronunciations! How do you pronounce Scone? Let me know in the comments.
What goes first, the cream or the jam?
This is an age old debate – do you spread your scones with jam and then add the cream, or do you do it the other way around and spread the cream on first?
After much research (ie a bit of googling) I can tell you that the majority of people prefer to put jam on first and then top with cream. See this article on the age old debate.
I have to say that I go along with the majority here. Have you ever tried to spread jam on top of cream? The cream goes everywhere!
Don’t forget to check out my handy Cookery Conversion Calculator if you want to convert any of your recipe measurements from grams to cups, ounces, tablespoons or millilitres and vice versa. You can also use the calculator for converting oven temperatures between Fahrenheit, Celsius, and Gas marks.
If you live at a high altitude you may find you need to adjust your baking recipes to compensate for this. You can read all about it in this post on baking at high altitudes.
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Recipe – Quick and easy homemade scones
Quick and easy homemade scones
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- Baking sheet
- Baking parchment
- 3½ cups (490g) self-raising flour
- ⅓ cup (75g) butter
- 3 tablespoons (50g) caster sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup (180 ml) milk
- Pre-heat oven to 200°C / 400°F
- Sift flour into a mixing bowl and add the salt.
- Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs
- Mix in the sugar.
- Add the milk and stir with a knife until just incorporated.
- Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until the mixture comes together in a soft ball.
- Press out into a flat circle or rectangle to roughly 2 cm thickness.
- Cut circles with a fluted cookie cutter and place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment
- Brush the top of the scones lightly with milk
- Place the tray into the centre of a pre-heated oven and bake for 20 minutes until nicely browned.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Serve spread with butter and strawberry jam. You could also top with a spoonful of whipped cream.
- Best eaten fresh.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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