Ultimate scones

Takes 25-35 minutes


Serves 5 - 6
Learn the secret of making perfect scones every time, with Angela Nilsen's ultimate recipe

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freeze only after baking

Nutrition: per scone (without the trimmings)

  • kcal262
  • fat9g
  • saturates6g
  • carbs42g
  • sugars5g
  • fibre1g
  • protein5g
  • salt0.9g
Save to My Good Food
Please sign in or register to save recipes.


  • 225g self-raising flour, preferably organic
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 50g slightly salted butter, chilled, cut in small pieces



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 25g golden caster sugar
  • 125ml buttermilk
  • 4 tbsp full-fat milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

  • a little extra flour for dusting



    Flour is a powdery ingredient usually made from grinding wheat, maize, rye, barley or rice. As…

  • strawberry jam and clotted cream, to serve



    Once available in Britain for just a brief period during the summer, strawberries are now a year…


  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 jam first, then cream, Devonians the other way round). Eat them as fresh as you can.

Ads by Google

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.

Comments (122)

nickygooii's picture

Very light, and not too sweet - delicious! I would glaze with egg wash next time to make them look more appealing

katkemp_45's picture

I added sultanas which had been soaked in boiling water for about half an hour - the result was perfect. It is tempting to overwork the mix but I agree that doing so results in a tough end product. Will use this recipe again!!

lacheshirechat's picture

Three things: The Devons and Cornish do it both ways, the jam and cream, it just depends on how YOUR Mum or Gran did it; that'll always be considered "The Right Way, Period." I love it however I can get it!

Second: If you are having a bit of problem with these marvellous scones NOT rising, then it is probably the self-raising flour. If it's been open MORE than a month or two, the leavening will be 'tired' and you'll need to add a bit of baking powder, like a 5ml teaspoon or two. I actually prefer to use plain flour and add the baking powder myself, that way I KNOW it will work! (And if the baking powder was opened more than 6 months ago, toss it and buy new!)

Three: The lady who gave the other recipe at the beginning of the comments section? That's this recipe, just in ounces, not grams ;)

Plus, I found sultanas or crystallised ginger was fantastic in this! Now going to try grated orange peel and chocolate chips next!

anncardus's picture

Actually it's the Devonians that have clotted cream with jam on top. The Cornish do butter then jam then cream.

cali118's picture

Very nice! Easy and taste really good!

superali99's picture

Make sure your oven is hot and make sure that your oven tray is in the oven when it is warming up. Take the tray out only when the scones are ready to bake and put it straight back in, this ensures that the scones start to cook straight away.

I eat them warm from the oven just with butter and find that they are just wonderful.

superali99's picture

Once the mixture is on the work surface I literally touch it two or three times lightly with my fingertips to smooth the surface and shape it into a round-ish shape - don't knead it like making bread as it knocks all the air out and your scones will end up being flat and biscuit-like.

Even though this recipe uses self raising flour, the scones will not rise considerably in the oven so you need to make sure that you do not flatten the mixture out too much, it may seem to be too tall when you look at it on the work surface but use the tip of your thumb as a guide. From the recipe above, I make only 4 scones cut with a floured knife from a round, so they come out sort of triangular with a rounded edge.

superali99's picture

I've tried may scone recipes and this is the one that has given me the best results - But you must follow the recipe to the letter.

I would not try and make substitute buttermilk using milk and lemon, if you cannot get buttermilk then use sour cream or creme fraiche. I use a food processor with the plastic blades, not the metal blades, to crumb the flour and butter and to add the buttermilk but as soon as the mixture comes together in a ball I stop and tip on to the work surface. I only added about 100ml of the buttermilk/milk mixture so you definitely do not need the full quantity from the ingredients list.

shirliethegirlie's picture

Delicious and very easy to make, Cornish put jam then cream which is definetely the correct way, this is the way The Ritz in London recommend it!

vicwhyte's picture

In NZ people usually serve them with jam, then quite thickly whipped cream. That's how I grew up and still prefer them that way to clotted cream! Also in NZ we don't use cutters - people tend to cut the dough with a knife into halves then into eight or so oblong shapes which look very rustic, more farmhouse style I guess!

humaira_mayet's picture

All i can say is WOW. Didnt have any clotted cream so just used whipped cream with jam. Also, if you're having trouble finding buttermilk, adding in the juice of a quarter of a lemon should work, rather than just a squeeze. You can also try using half full fat milk and half natural yogurt in place of the buttermilk. Hope this helps.

littlecooks's picture

I tried this scone recipe & even though I forgot to add the sugar they were fantastic with jam & cream.
I made 6 large plain scones & they rose beautifully. My suggestion to why some didn't rise is probably the mixture had been worked too long. Some people roll their mixture out which can stop teh scones rising, I pat mine, cut into equal sizes with a knife then form them into a rounded shape.
Food is for experimenting with - don't give up if any recipes don't work out the first time.

lottstarr's picture

I am Cornish and it's jam first and that is the RIGHT way!!!!!!!

l-thomson's picture

Also found that the scones didn't rise at all, and I was left with something far more biscuit like. Didn't use buttermilk, I tried the milk and lemon idea, I wonder if this is what stopped it working so well?

middie's picture

try making mock clotted cream with a cup of cream and half a cup of mascarpone whipped together with a tsp of vanillla extract

Linnyma's picture

Best recipe ever for scones. Easy to make, lovely and light. Buttermilk is usualy found by the cream in a supermarket. This recipe makes 5 or 6 scones.

mydigitalself's picture

Correction. Once they cooled down the inside was just fine. But still, they didn't rise very much at all. Tried the other recipe on this site (Classic scones with jam) and they worked perfectly.

mydigitalself's picture

This turned out a total disaster, what am I doing wrong?

The dough was incredibly sticky, so much that I couldn't easily separate it with the cutter. The scones hardly rose at all and were still wet on the inside after baking for 15 minutes.


Questions (4)

Unsure about the cooking time or want to swap an ingredient? Ask us your questions and we’ll try and help you as soon as possible. Or if you want to offer a solution to another user’s question, feel free to get involved…

Be the first to ask a question about this recipe…

Tips (1)

Got your own twist on this recipe? Or do you have suggestions for possible swaps and additions? We’d love to hear your ideas.

Be the first to suggest a tip for this recipe…