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

Ingredients

    WET INGREDIENT:
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp (45 grams) plain yogurt
  • 3 tbsp (44 grams) heavy cream
  • DRY INGREDIENT:
  • 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

Instructions

  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.
https://ladyandpups.com/2020/12/17/your-final-guide-to-the-perfect-english-tea-scone-all-common-mistakes-corrected/

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71 Comments
  • 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.

    • Shimizu iju

      February 20, 2021 at 5:29 PM Reply

      I’m very trilled to try your recipe, I’ve wanting to have THAT scone, the perfect scone. Thank you

  • 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.

    • Pamela

      June 5, 2021 at 11:56 AM Reply

      The official baker for the Queen adds an egg to the scones he makes….according to his YouTube video. I’ve with and without…
      ;-)

      • Pamela

        June 5, 2021 at 12:00 PM Reply

        Sorry for the error, I meant: I’ve seen with an egg and without.

  • 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!

    • Sandy

      February 6, 2021 at 7:09 AM Reply

      What about adding raisins or dried cranberries to the dry ingredients?

  • 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 :)

    • Thao

      February 19, 2021 at 11:22 PM Reply

      I have such hot hands that they practically melt butter after a few seconds :( I put the dry ingredients in the food processor and pulsed lots of times to get the butter fine but I poured all that into a separate big bowl and added the liquid ingredients instead. Worked amazing!

  • 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.

    thanks!

    • 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.

  • Phoebe Boak

    January 25, 2021 at 8:24 PM Reply

    I can’t believe it that I have to “knead” the dough because all other recipes I have tried, have told me not to! So, I simply must try this recipe, and I did! I had wanted to show you a photo of the scones I made – following your recipe, but I can’t post any photos, unfortunately. Well, I love all the smiling cracks! ✌️😁✌️

  • Ellyna

    February 1, 2021 at 12:06 PM Reply

    Hi Mandy. Thank you for sharing. I made your recipe and it turned out perfect. Every single one has a split in the middle.
    As I’m from Malaysia and the western is quite hot now, , I need to work quite quickly as the butter in the dough starts to melt as i cut and put it together again

    Once again, thank you for your awesome tips.

    • Mike Saxon

      June 22, 2021 at 9:04 PM Reply

      Hi Mandy. Thanks for your 10 years of dedication to the English scone recipe; I love your attention to details. Like Ellyna I too live in tropical Malaysia (Sarawak), and share her challenge of making butter-based pastries such as scones, croissants and even ordinary pie crusts at our kitchen temperature (today 32 degrees Celsius, 90 oF). I even have to cool down my croissant dough for proofing, otherwise the butter melts!
      Solutions: I use a spare air-conned bedroom at 20-23 oC. I pre-chill all ingredients, mixing bowls, pastry board and rolling pin in the freezer before starting.

  • AwesomeReader

    February 13, 2021 at 2:52 AM Reply

    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

      February 13, 2021 at 1:51 PM Reply

      Hi, yes absolutely!

      • Miss H.

        February 15, 2021 at 9:38 AM Reply

        Came across your site again via another recipe blog’s link to.. not even this scone recipe. Something else! Savoury iirc. That linked recipe was much older, doesn’t have a vid to go with.

        I think this scone recipe is one of the latest one? I have been a fan of sorts since your purple bread days with that self-induced overabundance of purple sweet potatoes, in Beijing? Lol.

        So I was pleasantly surprised that there’s a face to go with the posts now?! (shows how long I have not visited your site…) Video too?! Wow! *watches* even thou I’m not looking at anything baked to begin with. I’m glad I did.

        You are exactly as I had imagined, I think? In the most positive way, very perfectionist almost to the point of ocpd lol. Quirky. Cool. I likes. Thanks for making this vid. Im gonna try some scones baking soon. Cheers.

  • Clara Pang

    February 17, 2021 at 3:23 AM Reply

    Just made these this morning. Great video and tips. I was curious about the kneading as I too have made many scone recipes and was always told to NOT mess with the dough too much. What a discovery! They turned out great. I left them in the oven a couple minutes longer as they hadn’t reached the beautiful golden color yours were at 15 min. I also didn’t have a tall enough cutter, so that was a challenge. Very delicious, though. I will definitely make these again!

  • Richard

    February 18, 2021 at 4:10 AM Reply

    While watching this video i noticed something that also occurred to me while watching your flaky pastry video. In both videos you mention adding light brown sugar to the recipes and then demonstrate scooping the sugar from a bowl and sprinkling it into your mixture. This seams odd since brown sugar does not sprinkle, it instead clumps into the shape of the spoon. After watching the videos over, I’m wondering if you might be using Turbinado sugar or Demerara sugar instead. Can you please clarify what this strangely acting light brown sugar is?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      February 18, 2021 at 1:05 PM Reply

      Richard, oh, the light brown sugar I’m using is from Korea and it’s not clumped up (like dark brown sugar). Perhaps it’s just a drier version? But I think it should be still fine to use a wetter light brown.

  • AP

    February 22, 2021 at 5:36 AM Reply

    Do you think it is possible to make these ahead of time, freeze, and then bake? Would you egg wash and rest, then freeze, egg wash again and bake from frozen or let thaw first? Thanks so much :)

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      February 22, 2021 at 1:51 PM Reply

      AP, yes you can :). In this case I would prolly just apply a single layer of egg wash before baking (no thawing).

      • AP

        February 27, 2021 at 10:35 AM Reply

        Just wanted to report back that I tried freezing them and it worked perfectly! Adjusted bake time slightly longer but other than that they were spot on. Also got two coats of egg wash on because on the frozen scone the first layer kind of freezes quickly so two coats can be applied. Thank you for this amazing recipe :)

        • mandy@ladyandpups

          February 27, 2021 at 4:28 PM Reply

          AP, awesome!!

        • Ben

          June 25, 2021 at 7:36 PM Reply

          Hi AP,

          Can you let us know how much the bake time increased? I would love to have these perfect scones ready to go from the freezer for guests in the morning :)

          I just want to be precise about bake time with baking from frozen, since my cutter is closer to 2.5 inches in diameter and I already got dangerously close to underbaking my first batch.

          • mandy@ladyandpups

            June 26, 2021 at 12:09 AM

            Ben, I always trust visual cue more than hard rules. “When golden browned’ is what I would suggest.

  • Bev

    April 11, 2021 at 11:20 AM Reply

    Hi! Can we substitute heavy cream with whipping cream?

  • Selene

    April 11, 2021 at 2:57 PM Reply

    Mandy, I’d like to thank you for sharing this amazing recipe. I followed exactly besides the shaping, I only shaped it into a disc and cut like a pizza. Came out divine! I’m a Taiwanese living in Singapore, so proud of you!

  • Tina

    April 16, 2021 at 9:19 AM Reply

    I just tried this recipe and it was a massive success! They all turned out like that perfect one you showed off.

    That said I used a scale and think it helps significantly in replicating this recipes ratios.

    The only alteration I did was add some lemon zest and poppy seeds since it’s my favourite flavour combination for scones.

    Thank you for this fantastic recipe. Any suggestions on bake time if I want to freeze them for future baking?

    Thanks!

    Tina

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      April 16, 2021 at 1:55 PM Reply

      Hi Tina, yay! I always freeze them unbaked then bake them maybe a couple minutes longer straight from the freezer.

      • Tina

        April 16, 2021 at 11:08 PM Reply

        Thank you! Will make some more tonight and follow you baking instructions. Now I’ll have scones on demand!

        Also, I wanted to let you know I found you through food52. You really have a talent for explaining and demonstrating recipes that is very engaging. Wishing you all the success!

  • Florence Ho

    April 19, 2021 at 4:36 PM Reply

    These scones are so inviting I can’t wait to make them! My hubby loves little cubes of cheese in them. How much cheese cubes/ grated cheese should I add?

  • Dea

    April 21, 2021 at 4:21 PM Reply

    Tried the recipe today. Learned alot thru many of your mistakes. Tq

  • Maya

    April 29, 2021 at 5:33 AM Reply

    Love your thorough guide, they turned out perfect, quite happy with this. Very grateful to you! Quite different method than I am used to as well so I am mind blow. Also side note : I used cane sugar instead of brown, and Greek yoghurt instead of regular (it’s very smooth and creamy here not at all like concrete ^^).
    I was wondering how tall is your scone cutter ? mine is also 2 inches wide but seems less tall than yours. My scones turned out smaller in size, lovely regardless.

  • Shilpy Bansal

    April 30, 2021 at 1:16 PM Reply

    Hi Mandy…I tried your scones recipe & they came out PURRFECT!! Dear if I am doubling the recipe should I double the baking soda & baking powder as well?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      April 30, 2021 at 1:22 PM Reply

      Shilpy, doubling the recipe would mean doubling everything, yes!

  • Leona

    May 13, 2021 at 10:23 PM Reply

    Thank you so much for this recipe! My flatmates LOVED them – a big compliment, since two of them are British (I study in the UK)! I made a double batch, and added red leicester to half. Making these again asap!

  • Charlie

    May 13, 2021 at 11:04 PM Reply

    Thank you! I love a perfect English scone. You are a person that tends to perfection, so I am going to aid you in this. Scone is pronounced ” Sc “ah” ne.

  • Thao

    May 14, 2021 at 5:18 AM Reply

    I made these scones last week and they were absolutely perfect! I ate almost all of them straight from the oven – whoops!

  • Mike Saxon

    June 22, 2021 at 9:29 PM Reply

    Thanks Mandy. Couple of Qs: Fan convection oven or non-fan oven? Do you think low-protein cake flour instead of AP flour would help tenderness of the scones?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      June 23, 2021 at 1:33 AM Reply

      Mike, I was using the no-fan setting. I’ve never worked cake flour before so I don’t know. But AP flour works great for me and the scones are nowhere near tough.

  • Janina

    June 30, 2021 at 5:51 PM Reply

    Can I use caster sugar instead of light brown sugar ?

  • Sue

    July 3, 2021 at 9:29 AM Reply

    I have now made 2 batches of these scones. One plain, to try out the recipe & one with dried blueberries. No worries about what to do with the leftover scones, as there were none. I really appreciate this wonderful recipe and your detailed explanation in the YouTube video. Magnificent with strawberry jam and clotted cream.

  • Barbara Joiner

    July 17, 2021 at 3:08 AM Reply

    I enjoyed your video on you tube, thank you. I was not sure about your teaspoon measurements. I had always thought a bakers teaspoon is the same height above the spoon as below, but in the video, yours are level. Can you clarify please?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      July 18, 2021 at 2:14 AM Reply

      Barbara, I’m not sure I understand the question. You mean is it a heaping teaspoon or a leveled teaspoon?

  • Barb Joiner

    July 18, 2021 at 2:43 AM Reply

    in your video, the teaspoons you add are FLAT i.e.level.
    In baking recipes, 1t is the same amount above as below.
    Please clarify your recipe.

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      July 19, 2021 at 1:17 AM Reply

      Barb, I always go with leveled/flat measurement with spoons and cups :)

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