Your final guide to the perfect English tea scone – all common mistakes corrected

Your final guide to the perfect English tea scone – all common mistakes corrected

I couldn’t explain better than I have in the video.

Watch it.  Drop mic.  Peace out.  No more bad scones. Bye.

Your final guide to the perfect English tea scone – all common mistakes corrected

Yield: 7 scones


  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp (45 grams) plain yogurt
  • 3 tbsp (44 grams) heavy cream
  • 2 cups (240 grams) AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp (40 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 5 tbsp (70 grams) unsalted butter, diced


  1. Crack the egg into a cup and beat until smooth. Transfer 1 tbsp of the beaten egg into another cup and leave aside as egg wash (do not add water). Then whisk the plain yogurt and heavy cream with the remaining egg until even. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, light brown sugar and fine sea salt. Add the unsalted butter, then use your hands to rub the butter evenly into the flour until NO SMALL LUMPS OF BUTTER ARE LEFT, and the flour resembles yellow cornmeal. Add all the wet ingredients into the flour-mixture. First use a spatula to fold and mix everything together until no loose flour are left in the bowl, then use your hands to knead the dough a few times until everything comes into a ball. Transfer the dough onto the counter without dusting more flour, and continue to knead the dough a few more times until it is on the CUSP OF FORMING TINY BIT OF RESISTANCE WHEN YOU PUSH IT DOWN. If the dough sticks to the counter, use a pastry cutter to scrape it off. The dough should look even but not as smooth as a bread dough.
  3. Now dust the bough with a little flour to prevent sticking, and roll it out into 1 1/8" thickness. Press the flat side of the dough scraper on top of the dough to make sure it's flat and levelled. SLOWLY press down a 2" round cutter into the dough without twisting, then gently push the dough out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet without making large dents or making the dough too lopsided. Dip the cutter into some flour and tap on the edge to get rid of excess flour, and cut again. Once you run out of space, squeeze and remaining dough back together into a ball without big cracks, roll it out, and cut again. Repeat until you run out of dough. You should have 7 scones.
  4. Brush the beaten egg on the top surface of the biscuits, then leave in the fridge for 30 to 40 minutes UNCOVERED. Meanwhile, preheat the oven on 420 F/210 C. Right before baking, brush a second layer of egg wash on top of the first (semi-dried) egg wash. This double layer is going to give the cap a really shiny look.
  5. Bake the middle rack of the oven for 10 minutes, then turn OFF the oven, and leave the biscuits inside for anther 5 minutes to finish cooking. Transfer onto a cooling rack and serve warm with clotted cream (must) and jam.

Long string beans stewed in Thai curry tomato sauce

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  • Ruth McAllister

    December 17, 2020 at 10:37 PM Reply

    I learned a few years ago that clotted cream is actually dead easy to make!
    Google Chef John clotted cream.

    • Jennifer

      December 17, 2020 at 11:14 PM Reply

      Wow! Had no idea how it was made and I live in England. I am going to give this two-day clotted cream-making effort a try.

  • Ruth McAllister

    December 17, 2020 at 11:58 PM Reply

    For the last couple of years I’ve had an afternoon tea birthday party Dec 29th, making over 100 scones, lemon curd, fresh strawberry freezer jam and several litres of clotted cream. So freakin good!

  • Samantha

    December 18, 2020 at 11:12 AM Reply

    Ha! I love this…my mother is English (but we live in Canada) and we’ve been baking and eating scones forever; they taste good, but they certainly aren’t as perfect looking as these! Now I want to try your recipe…I think it’s bang on about the richness/fat, etc. I’m thinking maybe something like a wooden dowel that’s approximately the same size as the cutter could be used to push the dough out and therefore eliminate the pre-bake lopsidedness?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      December 18, 2020 at 2:27 PM Reply

      Samantha, yes I was just thinking I wish I had something like that :)

  • pamela

    December 18, 2020 at 12:19 PM Reply

    I agree. I think scones and biscuits are indeed different animals! Thanks so much for this detailed recipe. I’m going to give it a good try.

    Mandy, how would you feel about just slicing the dough with a knife or a dough scraper, with the cut being done straight down with no sawing (which would ruin the sides) to get square scones?? I used to make a cordon bleu cookbook scone recipe where we were instructed to roll out the dough sort of round and then slice them like for a pie cut into triangles. So there was never any problem with leftover dough. It would be possible to measure the slices so that they were less than 2 in. Also, since they are cut with a knife or the scraper it would not be necessary to worry about pushing them out from a cookie cutter. Thus avoiding premature lopsidedness. I know that round is traditional but square is not bad either.

    When you make the scones, do you use the weight measurement or the volume measurement? While looking at the video, you mentioned 2 cups of flour so I was worried there would be no weights in the recipe. I’m very glad you have the weight measurements because that is all that I would want to use… I really get a little upset with recipes that were created with volume measurements and then the recipe writer just goes to google to look up/estimate the weight measurement. Just my personal pet peeve. ;-)

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      December 18, 2020 at 2:27 PM Reply

      Pamela, yes scones can be square or triangle, but I’m obsessed with these round shaped tea scones w this particular look :). But of course you can do it in a different shape.

  • Dulcistella

    December 18, 2020 at 6:38 PM Reply

    But aren’t scones supposed to be made without the egg? English scones, I mean…
    I recently made incredible biscuits with Samin’s recipe, but scones are a little bit different and I wanted to try them also. Also because Samin’s biscuits have a load of butter in them.

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      December 19, 2020 at 7:02 PM Reply

      Dulcistella, some do some don’t but mine does, and I like the richness it gives :)

    • Lori L.

      December 21, 2020 at 9:39 PM Reply

      Mary Berry puts egg in hers as well. I personally have always preferred scones with egg. It gives them less of an American biscuit texture.

  • Candice

    December 18, 2020 at 11:50 PM Reply

    I adored eating scones and clotted cream everyday after school in London and tried to replicate them at a tea party back in the U.S. but my scones were inedible and hard as hockey pucks. I never had the courage to attempt to bake scones again since then, but I definitely will try your recipe after watching your video!

  • Amber Clark

    December 19, 2020 at 12:01 AM Reply

    I’ve been baking scones/selling for some 20 years. Watched with fascination all the details. You did your homework! It’s admirable. I’m going to try this recipe perhaps for Christmas. I love your passion!

  • Melanie

    December 19, 2020 at 7:06 AM Reply

    Could I use full fat sour cream in place of the yogurt?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      December 19, 2020 at 7:01 PM Reply

      Melanie, no cuz sour cream has a lot less water content than yogurt so not 1:1 substitutable.

      • Hollis Evon Ramsey

        December 20, 2020 at 9:02 PM Reply

        What if I use ~2-3/4 T. Sour cream and ~1/4 t. water and mix to dilute the sour cream? Would that ratio work? I have an aversion to yogurt, to my dismay. I MEANT 1/4 T. WATER — THIS REPLY BOX DOESN’T LET ME GO BACKWARDS. That would work out to a little less than 1 t. but definitely more than 1/4 t.

        I also would use a knife or my dough scraper to cut into squares — that’s MY obsession.

        ps. Chef John’s clotted cream recipe is da bomb.

    • Roberta

      December 20, 2020 at 6:35 AM Reply

      If you put your scones just touching each other in a smaller tray they help each other to rise nice and straight.
      Just a little tip you might like to try.🤗

  • Susan Jeffrey

    December 20, 2020 at 9:22 AM Reply

    Perfect scones. Thank you for all the tips.

  • Jenny

    December 21, 2020 at 8:55 AM Reply

    Hi, these look so lovely :) Would Greek yogurt work, or would that be too thick?

  • Sabbian

    December 22, 2020 at 12:35 AM Reply

    At the risk of being tarred and feathered.. could you do this in a food processor?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      December 22, 2020 at 1:39 AM Reply

      Sabbian, lol not at all. You can with the butter part of course but be careful not to over knead the dough after the liquid is added :)

  • Sabbian

    December 22, 2020 at 5:50 AM Reply

    Thank you!I just discovered you today and I just love your blog and your instagram account. Now I’m going to go buy your book! 😘

  • elizabeth byrd

    December 23, 2020 at 2:58 AM Reply

    I just found your blog (via another great – Smitten Kitchen) and as timing would have it, I was pondering what to make for an elderly friend. A lady, no less, that enjoys Tea time every afternoon. Boom! It was serendipitous I ‘met’ you – your recipe is genius! I don’t like to bake, as it’s too ‘exact’ for a winger, but your instruction/video made it easy. Thank you!

  • sue atkins

    December 23, 2020 at 4:43 AM Reply

    And yet you twisted every time at the final end of the cut :)

  • Suzanne

    December 29, 2020 at 5:56 PM Reply

    Hi Mandy, do we have to sieve the flour? Also, can i leave it in the fridge longer? thinking of baking it the next day morning.


    • mandy@ladyandpups

      December 29, 2020 at 11:20 PM Reply

      Suzanne, no sifting needed. I don’t know if overnight in the fridge is a good idea. May dry out too much. I’d rather freeze them I think.

  • Terri Weaver

    January 2, 2021 at 9:45 AM Reply

    I love your precision; I love your passion for a scone. I will make these tomorrow and looking at those beautiful scones, I could almost cry. I love for a perfect score and I have had very few really, really good ones and alot, also of bad ones.

  • Linda

    January 11, 2021 at 5:43 AM Reply

    This is a very forgiving recipe!! I just had to make them today but I didn’t have yogurt, heavy cream and light brown sugar. I substituted with buttermilk, light cream and 1/2 dark brown sugar and 1/2 regular sugar. Then I made an epic mistake of putting the liquid ingredients in the flour before working the butter in. Well it turned out just fine! Thank you for making this recipe fool proof for me.

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