Ultimate scones

Ultimate scones

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(76 ratings)


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Cooking time

Takes 25-35 minutes

Skill level



Serves 5 - 6

Learn the secret of making perfect scones every time, with Angela Nilsen's ultimate recipe

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Freeze only after baking
Nutrition info

Nutrition per scone (without the trimmings)

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  • 225g self-raising flour, preferably organic
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 50g slightly salted butter, chilled, cut in small pieces
  • 25g golden caster sugar
  • 125ml buttermilk
  • 4 tbsp full-fat milk
  • a little extra flour for dusting
  • strawberry jam and clotted cream, to serve

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  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7/fan 200C and lightly butter a baking sheet (unless you’re using a non-stick sheet). Tip the flour into a mixing bowl with the salt. Shoot in the butter, then rub together with your fingers to make a reasonably fine crumbed mixture, lifting to aerate the mixture as you go. Try not to overrub, as the mixture will be lighter if it’s a little bit flaky. Now stir in the sugar.
  2. Measure the buttermilk, then mix in the milk to slacken it. Make a bit of a well in the middle of the flour mixture with a round-bladed knife, then pour in most of this buttermilk mixture, holding a little bit back in case it’s not needed. Using the knife, gently work the mixture together until it forms a soft, almost sticky, dough. Work in any loose dry bits of mixture with the rest of the buttermilk. Don’t overwork at this point or you will toughen the dough.
  3. Lift the ball of soft dough out of the bowl and put it on to a very lightly floured surface. Knead the mixture just 3-4 times to get rid of the cracks.
  4. Pat the dough gently with your hands to a thickness of no less than 2cm and no more than 2.5cm. Dip a 5.5cm round fluted cutter into a bowl of flour – this helps to stop the dough sticking to it, then cut out the scones by pushing down quickly and firmly on the cutter with the palm of your hand – don’t twist it.You will hear the dough give a big sigh as the cutter goes in. Gather the trimmings lightly then pat and cut out a couple more scones.
  5. Place on the baking sheet and sift over a light dusting of flour or glaze if you wish. Bake for 10-12 minutes until risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack, uncovered if you prefer crisp tops, or covered loosely with a cloth for soft ones.
  6. Serve with strawberry jam and a generous mound of clotted cream (Cornish people put cream first, then jam, Devonians the other way round). Eat them as fresh as you can.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, March 2003

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PHinch94's picture
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4.5/5 rather than 4 really.

Always received very well, but a crumblier and larger scone size (!) is better in my opinion.

joanneflynn's picture
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I have struggled to find a recipe that gives me what I consider the 'perfect' scone. Just found it. Absolutely delicious. So light and fluffy.

georgie249's picture

Gorgeous. Followed to the letter and they were perfect. Such fun to make too, I loved the little sigh as you cut them out! Took them in to work and everyone was so impressed, and yet it was the work of minutes to make.

jul34es's picture
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Just had these for pudding and they are so easy to make and taste great too

marta121286's picture

Delicious! Can't believe how easy they are to make. Making them every week now.

debandlola's picture
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Quick to make, easy and delicious. I didn't have any buttermilk so used yogurt instead. Still resulted in light and fluffy scones.

CharlieSt.'s picture

Brilliant and easy. Made them with half-half whole wheat flour/plain flour and added some bicarb of soda. Delicious!

Looney76's picture
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I made scones for the first time and they went down a treat. I'm going to make them again next weekend and I'm going to add some sultanas :)

ruthy10's picture

I doubled the recipe and used a small cutter to make lots of small scones, brushed them with with milk and they came out lovely and golden. Served them with some thick double cream polish raspberry moose that my husband brought back from Poland, just lovely. Will definitely make again and possibly add some dried fruit next time.

ceegat's picture
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A really easy recipe to follow with great results. A great one to cook with the kids.

emcooper's picture

I have had some disasters with scones in my time, but this worked really well. I added one and a half teaspoons of ground ginger (after reading the mixed comments on the ginger scone recipe on this website). I'm planning to adapt this to add fruit next time.

rexlavaflow's picture

I never considered myself very good at scones because they were always too compact and hard.
I followed this recipe to the letter and they were light and delicious. I'm now going to try my hand at a savoury version, using the same technique

roosty's picture

good recipe, a keeper & will def do these again :-)

theByrdScale's picture

Have always had trouble with scones...made these today & was careful to follow the recipe and they were delicious, with lemon curd and cream : )

FabFive's picture

Best scones I have made. Ran out of SR flour, so used some wholemeal SR flour in second batch - seem fine, just needed a couple of extra minutes in the oven. One batch just wasn't enough - so I'd say double it!

dysphoria's picture

Great recipe, used gluten free flour :) with no troubles, can always knead more with gluten free, but stuck to the recipe. Rolled the circles out by hand that worked fine.

parker-chops's picture

Actually, Cornish people put the jam on first and then the cream....the other way round just makes no sense! How can you get traction and a good spread if putting jam onto cream?!

julia@'s picture

What a great recipe. And foolproof. I had a sticky blob that I could not control. Realised I had no cookie cutter (?) at last minute so used a glass which was a disaster so ended up throwing lumps onto the baking tray and they STILL turned out great !!! What a luxury to have freshly baked scones with clotted cream and jam :0)

chrissieeeliz's picture

I know nothing about baking so to everyone else this may be a extremely stupid question, but what is buttermilk ?? and do I make it or buy it ?

well_preserved's picture

Buttermilk is a cultured milk. You will find it in the dairy chiller cabinet in yer average supermarket , next to the various creams. I believe that plain yoghurt makes a suitable substitute, although I have never tried that myself.