Ultimate scones

Ultimate scones

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(106 ratings)

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



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 25g golden caster sugar
  • 125ml buttermilk
    Buttermilk pancake mixture in bowl with whisk



    There are two types of buttermilk. Traditional buttermilk is a thin, cloudy, slightly tart but…

  • 4 tbsp full-fat milk



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

  • a little extra flour for dusting



    Flour is usually made from grinding wheat, maize, rye, barley or rice. As the main…

  • 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.

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Comments, questions and tips

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4th May, 2020
This is a fantastic recipe, it's not difficult to follow and the resulting scones were amazing, crisp on the outside but soft and light on the inside. I managed to get eight out of this quantity of dough. The outside of the scones went soft after they were stored in an air-tight container so it might be better to leave them out if you want to maintain the crust. The supermarket had sold out of buttermilk so I used cheap natural yoghurt and semi-skimmed milk, neither of which seemed to do any harm.
10th Aug, 2019
This is a fantastic recipe I did double the amount. They rose lovely and were fluffy inside. I have made scones before but they tend to turn out a little hard inside but not these I will definitely be making these again
Christine Quach's picture
Christine Quach
22nd Jul, 2016
Great recipe! I have tried 3 times already and they are always perfect. Only small thing is I have put 1/4 tsp of bicarbonate soda before put in buttermilk, add some frozen fruits lastly and cover the top with some eggs. The scones look nice, being lighr and very soft, sweet enough and go well with butter and jam. Thanks for a good protocol.
stacey.louise's picture
30th May, 2016
Fist time making scones and I picked this recipe as it seemed to be the most simple one I could find. The method was really easy and they were so quick to do. They turned out really light and flaky. They were lovely with jam and cream. I will be making more of these again soon.
Nicslittlesister's picture
4th Apr, 2016
Lovely easy recipe with outstanding results, make double as you'll be really pleased with them !
29th Feb, 2016
I make scones regularly and often take in to work and share. I like to try different recipes in the quest for the perfect scone. These were chewy and flat (and I followed the recipe). I definitely wouldn't give them to anyone to eat. I'd recommend the classic scone recipe on here instead.
11th Sep, 2016
I agree, Mine just out the oven much flatter than I expected with not much inside. Disappointed and followed the recipe!!
greedy guts
13th Feb, 2016
Very disappointed, rather claggy, not as good as my usual recipe - Delia Smith's Devonshire scones. Think I'll try that recipe next time and substitute some buttermilk if I've got it to use up.
4th Nov, 2015
do you have on your site; conversion measures for grams to cups, for ex?
10th Sep, 2015
Followed the recipe to the letter. Tasted beautiful, not dry at all and with the right texture. Tasted even better with clotted cream and strawberry jam.


HayleyWeaver's picture
26th Mar, 2018
How many scones does this make approximately?
goodfoodteam's picture
2nd Apr, 2018
Thanks for your question. This makes 5 - 6 scones.
12th Feb, 2016
Why do you add the sugar last in step 1?
goodfoodteam's picture
28th Apr, 2016
You rub the butter just with the flour for the best concentration and reaction of the fat with the flour before adding the sugar. Angela who wrote this is a stickler for finding and devising the best recipes, so give them a try!
gwen007's picture
18th Sep, 2014
Hi I am unable to find buttermilk so how much milk and lemon juice should I use to replace the buttermilk and is uht milk ok ?
4th May, 2020
I used cheap natural yoghurt instead of buttermilk, it worked perfectly
13th Oct, 2014
I found buttermilk in Tesco in the cream and milk section...
10th Oct, 2014
Lovely recipe. Very light and fluffy scones. I found that at 200c Fan they needed longer than the 12 minutes. I did mine for about 16 mins in total. I have put an egg wash on them and when this was a good golden colour I took them out, about 15/16 mins though.
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