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How to Make Buttermilk Scones

Looking for soft, buttery, flaky scones to serve at your next tea party? This basic Buttermilk Scones recipe is everything you need and more. I’ll share with you all my tips and tricks for the most tender, delicious scones in any flavor!

Buttermilk Scones on a tray with jam

Fresh from the oven, the outside of these scones is crispy while the inside is soft and fluffy. These melt-in-your-mouth plain buttermilk scones are perfect the way they are, but it is super easy to spruce them up with mix-ins and any flavor your heart desires.

I love to serve these scones slightly warm with a cup of coffee for breakfast or with afternoon tea. If you must have something extra, a simple pat of butter and jam will do. Or get fancy with some:

How to make Scones

These basic Buttermilk Scones are made with lots of buttermilk of course, and some very cold butter for that delicious buttery taste and tender texture.

Making buttermilk scone dough

Making buttermilk scone dough (Photos 1 – 4)

  1. Start by working the cubed butter to the dry ingredient mixture with the tips of your fingers until about pea and bean size. Make sure to use cold butter.
  2. Beat together buttermilk, egg, vanilla, and add the mixture to the dry ingredients. Leave behind 1 – 2 tablespoon to use as egg wash later.
  3. Fold with a spatula until a shaggy dough forms.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and pat it out into a rectangle, fold it over itself a few times. Finally, pat it into a circle about 1” thick.
  5. Cut into 8 triangles and transfer to a lined baking sheet. Brush with the reserved egg wash, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar just before baking.
Buttermilk scone dough divided into 8

Buttermilk scone dough divided (Photo 5)

Customizing your own buttermilk scones recipe

This is the best scone recipe for customization. You can easily add flavors using citrus zest or different flavor extracts and spices. You can fold in dried fruits, fresh fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, pretty much anything you can think of!

  • If you’re using any kind of citrus zest, mix the zest with sugar to release the essential oil before you mix all of the dry ingredients together.
  • If you’re using ground spices, stir them into the dry ingredients before adding the cubed butter.
  • If you’re using a different kind of extract, reduce the amount of vanilla called for in the recipe to ¼ – ½ teaspoon but don’t omit it altogether. Then add the additional extract in with the wet ingredients.
  • If you’re using any kind of filling like dried fruits, fresh fruits, nuts, or chocolate chips, toss them into the flour mixture after you have finished working the butter in and just before adding the wet ingredients.
  • If you’re using delicate fresh fruits like berries, you’ll want to skip the “fold the dough over itself” step to avoid squishing the berries. Just shape the dough into a disk right away.
Scones on a plate

Buttermilk scones made with orange zest and dried cranberries

Baker’s Tips

  • Similar to making any type of pastry dough, you want to make sure the butter pieces are still visible within the dough. When the scones are baked at high temperature, the butter will melt leaving behind pockets, creating that flaky texture.
  • While working with this buttermilk scone dough and any variation of it, use only as much extra flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Adding too much extra flour can dry out the scones. A slightly wet dough will yield softer scones once baked.
  • Folding the dough over itself is a crucial step to create distinct layers and making the scones “flaky” when baked, with the exception when using berries for filling.
  • These scones do spread because the dough is softer, refrigerating or freezing the dough before baking could help curb the spreading and allow them to rise higher.
  • I like to use an insulated baking sheet for scones to keep the bottom of the scones from getting too brown. A regular baking sheet will work, but the bottom of the scones may get extra crispy.
  • This recipe makes 8 fairly large scones, cut them smaller if you wish to make a batch of 12 mini scones. Bake the mini scones for about 15 minutes.

Storing and reheating

These scones will keep at room temperature in an airtight container or wrapped individually in plastic for 3 – 5 days. They do not need to be refrigerated but will last longer in the fridge.

They are best when still slightly warm straight from the oven, but you can serve them at room temperature the next day, or warm them up in the microwave for 15 – 20 seconds. I like to wrap them in a damp paper towel when microwaving so they don’t dry out.

A stack of two Buttermilk Scones

Unique scones recipe you’ll love

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, send me a photo, rate it and don’t forget to tag me @wildwildwhisk on Instagram. I’d love to see what’s cooking up in your kitchen. Cheers!

Buttermilk Scones on a tray with jam

Buttermilk Scones

Looking for soft, buttery, flaky scones to serve at your next tea party? This basic Buttermilk Scones recipe is everything you need and more. I’ll share with you all my tips and tricks for the most tender, delicious scones in any flavor!
4.96 from 23 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Bread, Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American, European
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8 scones
Calories: 271kcal
Author: Trang

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 cup all-purpose flour (270 g)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (63 g)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 oz unsalted butter (cold & cubed, 113 g)
  • cup buttermilk (160 g)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Turbinado sugar for topping

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Sift flour, baking soda and baking powder into a large mixing bowl, add kosher salt and sugar, whisk to combine.
  • Add cold cubed butter to the flour mixture, work the butter into the flour with your fingertips or a pastry blender until all the butter pieces are about pea and lima bean size.
  • Add egg, buttermilk and vanilla extract to a small bowl, whisk to combine. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the liquid mixture, reserving 1 - 2 tablespoon to use as egg wash later. Fold with a spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.
  • Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board or countertop, and pat the dough out into a rectangle about 1/2” thick. Fold the dough over itself and pat it out again, do this about 3 - 4 times. Then shape the dough into a circle about 1” thick. Cut into 8 portions.
  • Place the scones on the parchment-lined baking sheet, brush the top and sides with reserved egg wash, and sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet 5 - 10 minutes before transferring the scones to the wire rack to cool completely. Best served warm.

Video

Notes

  • Customize this recipe using citrus zest, different flavor extracts and spices, as well as adding filling such as dried fruits, fresh fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, ect.
  • Folding the dough over itself is a crucial step to create distinct layers and making the scones “flaky” when baked, with the exception when adding fresh berries for filling.
  • This scone dough will spread, if you want it to be taller or spread less, you could freeze the dough after cutting it into 8 before baking or pat it out taller than 1”.
  • This recipe makes 8 large scones, you can divide it into 12 smaller scones if you wish. Note that smaller scones will bake faster so you’ll need to adjust the baking time appropriately, about 15 minutes.
  • I like to use an insulated baking sheet for scones to keep the bottom of the scones from getting too brown. A regular baking sheet will work, but the bottom of the scones may get extra crispy.

Nutrition

Serving: 83g | Calories: 271kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @WildWildWhisk or tag #WildWildWhisk!

Buttermilk scones pin image

This post was originally published on 9/10/2018. The post has been updated and republished on 6/5/2020 with the latest improvements, extra tips, and a video to help you in the kitchen.

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64 Comments

  1. CharityW
    June 29, 2020 /

    5 stars
    OMG!!! This is the first time I’ve ever made scons before! So delicious! My dough was extremely wet, so next time I’ll cut back on the liquid. I don’t have a silpat, so I used a paper lunch bag. Worked perfectly. I will Definitely be making these again!! Thank you for sharing your great recipe.

    • Trang
      Author
      June 29, 2020 /

      Thanks Charity! I’m glad it still tastes delicious. If the dough is too wet, you can add some extra flour when working with it as well. Make sure to hold back some liquid for egg wash too.

  2. Sherry
    June 9, 2020 /

    5 stars
    Delious. I had never made scones before, this was so easy. The taste and texture was great. I gave some to my neighbor and she raved about them. Making again tomorrow. These are perfect. Thanks for sharing.

    • Trang
      Author
      June 10, 2020 /

      I’m so happy to hear this Sherry! Thank you for giving it a try 🙂

  3. John
    May 31, 2020 /

    5 stars
    I have tried 8 scone recipes (including several from well known authors and British baking show judges) and these are absolutely superior to the others. I have made these several times using a variety of flours and dried fruits. I have frozen the dough and they baked from frozen wonderfully (adding extra bake time of course). When frozen, I have brushed them with half and half cream. This recipe is the outstanding!

    For those of us who measure ingredients by weight, it would be so useful to provide this info as part of the ingredients. I see that you provided, in your comments, weights that you actually used, vs just a mathematical conversion, thanks for doing so.

    • Trang
      Author
      May 31, 2020 /

      Thank you for a wonderful review, John!

    • Trang
      Author
      May 30, 2020 /

      Hi Les, thanks for making the recipe and a wonderful video 🙂

  4. Carol d
    May 19, 2020 /

    5 stars
    Absolutely perfect. I did add extra vanilla, and brushed with buttermilk instead of egg. , sprinkled with brown sugar instead of white.

  5. Silvia
    May 18, 2020 /

    Just made them and they are amazing! I am going to try to add different flavours but the base it perfect!!

    • Trang
      Author
      May 18, 2020 /

      Thanks Silvia, they are the perfect vehicles for other flavors!

  6. Sheri
    May 14, 2020 /

    5 stars
    Just made these this morning – my new favorite scone recipe!!! I added candied and fresh ginger. Used frozen butter which I grated into the flour. Turned out wonderfully light, flaky, fluffy. Thanks for a great recipe! Can’t wait to try more variations.

    • Trang
      Author
      May 14, 2020 /

      Oh I love candied ginger, such a clever addition. Thank you for the wonderful review!

  7. Anita
    May 13, 2020 /

    Melt in your mouth scones.

  8. Stan
    May 10, 2020 /

    5 stars
    Came out beautifully ,Made it for my wife Kamie for Mothers Day treat with a cup of Jacobs Coffee.She said it was way better that store bought muffins.Light and deliciously moist,Thank you very much for the recipe.

    • Trang
      Author
      May 11, 2020 /

      What a wonderful Mother’s day treat, happy mother’s day to your wife and thank you for the review! 🙂

  9. Winston Ng
    May 2, 2020 /

    Not sure what I do wrong. I measured everything properly, but the dough was wet to handle.

    • Winston Ng
      May 2, 2020 /

      Wait, nevermind. I figured out what I did wrong. I was supposed save some of the buttermilk mixture but I ended up putting everything in.

      • Trang
        Author
        May 2, 2020 /

        Hi Winston, sometimes cup measures can vary depending on how you measure it, 1 cup for me is usually about 135 g, sometimes 140 g but I know for some people 1 cup can be 120 g which will definitely affect the texture of the dough. If the mixture is too wet to handle, add a little more flour, but keep in mind that you don’t want it to be dry because the scones will end up too dry after baking. This dough should be a little wet and sticky, just keep the surface and your hands floured well, if it sticks a bit, it’s totally fine, use a scraper for the counter surface.

  10. Aarti
    April 18, 2020 /

    5 stars
    This was my first time ever making scones and I am a beginner baker, and these were AMAZING! I decided to grate the frozen butter in the flour and chilled the cut scones in the fridge for half an hour before baking. CAME OUT GREAT!

    • Trang
      Author
      April 18, 2020 /

      Thank you Aarti! I’m so happy to hear they were a success! Keep on baking 🙂

  11. Kimberly Wint
    April 14, 2020 /

    5 stars
    OH MY GOD !!! I literally tried 3 times to make scones these came out amazing and fluffy !! I wish I can send you a reaction video I’m so happy !!!

    • Trang
      Author
      April 14, 2020 /

      I’m so happy to hear and I can totally feel your excitement through your comment 🙂 🙂 Thank you so much for baking with my recipes!

  12. Emma
    April 10, 2020 /

    These were great, so easy and yummy! I added some cinnamon in the dough and on top. I have had a lot of bad experiences with online recipes but I think you’ve just gained my trust 🙂

    • Trang
      Author
      April 12, 2020 /

      Thank you so much Emma! I’m so happy to hear you like this recipe, I hope you try others and please let me know if you have any questions at all. I’m here to help and hopefully continue to keep your trust.

  13. Barbara
    April 7, 2020 /

    5 stars
    Delicious, fluffy, scones! First time using your recipe and they turned out better than I expected.😀

    • Trang
      Author
      April 8, 2020 /

      Thanks Barbara! I’m so happy to hear they exceeded expectations, yay!

  14. Arlene
    April 4, 2020 /

    5 stars
    Just made these this morning. They came out great and took no time at all. Next batch I’ll be adding some blueberries.

  15. Audrey
    February 11, 2020 /

    5 stars
    The lightest fluffiest scones I’ve ever tasted or made! Absolutely delicious, even without the turbinado sprinkled on top. EXCELLENT recipe!! Going to try it next with different add-ins. Thank you Trang!

    • Trang
      Author
      February 12, 2020 /

      Thank you Audrey! I’m so happy to hear you enjoy these. The possibilities are unlimited with add-ins 🙂

  16. Karen Stonier
    February 2, 2020 /

    WORST scone recipe ever. We have used lots of different recipes and this, by far, was the worst. I am not sure if the ratio of ingredients is incorrect but these spread out rather than puff up. They stuck to the parchment paper, too much butter for sure. I would cut the butter by one third for starters. The texture was horrible. Won’t be using this recipe EVER again.

    • Trang
      Author
      February 2, 2020 /

      Hi Karen, I’m sorry the recipe didn’t turn out for you. I’ve made these for many years and a lot of readers have made them successful. It sounds like perhaps something went wrong when you made this recipe, I’d be happy to help you troubleshoot if you ever decide to try it again. Thank you for giving it a try.

    • Brandon
      April 26, 2020 /

      haha a Karen complaining like that, how quaint…

  17. Joy
    January 31, 2020 /

    5 stars
    Dough is visibly very soft thay i need to add more flour..
    Final result Golden baked tender buttery goodness and i choose to serve with decent slice of butter and generous dolop of softly whipped cream. Heaven.

  18. Grace Elder
    January 5, 2020 /

    5 stars
    I made your scones yesterday. My daughter said they were the best ones she had ever eaten. And that says a lot, considering she has tried a large variety throughout the years. I hope to serve my next batch with fresh strawberries and clotted cream. This will be my first attempt at making homemade clotted cream. So if you have a recipe you’re willing share, it will be the first choice. Thank you for what you do. Looking forward to the next recipe I use from your collection.

    • Trang
      Author
      January 5, 2020 /

      Thank you Grace! I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed the scones. I don’t have a recipe for clotted cream unfortunately… Be sure to let me know what you try next 🙂

    • CharityW
      June 30, 2020 /

      “Gemma makes clotted cream for the first time” is the best video I watched. It’s short, sweet, and to the point! If you Google how to make it and then click on videos. I had to scroll down a bit to find it. She has long brown hair and wearing a blue dress. I hope you find this helpful and good luck!

  19. Julia Harrison
    January 4, 2020 /

    5 stars
    I made these today amd they were wonderful!! I added some frozen diced strawberries (from strawberry season last summer) and they were delicious. Great recipe!!

    • Trang
      Author
      January 5, 2020 /

      The addition of strawberries sounds delicious! Thanks for the feedback 🙂

  20. Kathy
    January 1, 2020 /

    I made these tonight because I wanted to use up some buttermilk I had in the refrigerator. I added some cinnamon and fresh ground nutmeg. They were great! Light, tender and not dry at all. Will keep this recipe for sure. Thank you.

    • Trang
      Author
      January 1, 2020 /

      Thank you Kathy, I’m glad you like these 🙂

  21. November 15, 2019 /

    5 stars
    I had to raise an eyebrow at the egg…don’t know that I’ve ever come across a scone recipe with an egg in it. But this recipe produced the lightest, yummiest, most tender scone I’ve ever turned out! Only had a bit more than 1/3 C buttermilk, so used half-and-half for the remainder of the liquid. I also baked a bit longer…more like 23 minutes. And I added lots of cinnamon—and maybe next time cinnamon chips—for a taste that was perfect for a chilly November morning. Long story short, this is a fantastically flexible recipe that yields amazing results. It is going in the permanent collection for sure!

    • Trang
      Author
      November 16, 2019 /

      Thanks Shanna! I’m glad you enjoy the recipe, and here’s to more scones!

  22. September 15, 2019 /

    5 stars
    I had to get creative with this recipe this first time trying it, only because I was lacking several ingredients, but was really in the mood for scones! It turned out I only had 1 and half cups of white flour (and no whole wheat), so I filled out the second cup with oat fiber – wish I’d thought to use almond flour, which I keep in the fridge; maybe next time! Also, I only had 1/3 c. of buttermilk, so added some liquidy yogurt to top it off. My baking powder is nearly one year post expiration. Used coconut flour to dust the board. No turbinado sugar, but I do have a somewhat coarse raw sugar from TJ’s. And yet, with all those tweaks, my scones came out looking beautiful and puffy. Best of all, they’re delicious (typing this last bit with one hand cause the other is holding a scone 🙂

    • Trang
      Author
      September 15, 2019 /

      Excellent Julie! So glad they came out delicious with all your tweaks. Baking is all about experimenting so keep on doing what you’re doing, you got it!

  23. Charles
    August 21, 2019 /

    4 stars
    I cooked these separated on parchment paper so that they would brown on all sides. They looked and tased great, but, if anything., I should have made them thicker before putting them on the parchment. They spread more than I thought they would. This may not bother most people and it is NOT a big deal, but I like to slice my scones in half and toast them. These are too thin for me to slice. I will make again and see if I can make them thicker.

    • Trang
      Author
      August 21, 2019 /

      You can certainly cut them smaller and thicker next time.

      • CYNTHIA Bennett
        November 2, 2019 /

        I made this recipe but added 1cup of cranberries(dried).. It was great..

        • Trang
          Author
          November 4, 2019 /

          Great Cynthia, this recipe is perfect for mix-ins!

  24. Mary Beth
    August 20, 2019 /

    5 stars
    I have never made a lighter scone. My husband ate one and said “Wow these are the lightest scones I have ever eaten, some can be rock-like.” I only tried your recipe because I had the buttermilk, now it will be in my recipe file.

    • Trang
      Author
      August 20, 2019 /

      You made my day Mary Beth! I’m so glad you tried it 🙂

  25. Lanet
    July 20, 2019 /

    5 stars
    Delicious, fluffy, and so easy to put together

  26. Christine H
    June 20, 2019 /

    Just made these in Denver, CO while visiting a friend and they came out great even at altitude. I didn’t even think about any modifications until they were in the oven.

    • Trang
      Author
      June 20, 2019 /

      Glad to hear, thanks Christine!

  27. Ralph Craig
    May 5, 2019 /

    I had to use at least two tablespoons of of preserves to keep these sweet babies from floating off the plate. I will own up to letting the dough sit covered for 10 or 12 minutes to give the acid a headstart working with the powder/soda stuff before popping in the oven. This is now officially my goto scone recipe, thank you so much! BTW, I’ve been baking for 62 years, and still looking to improve…

    • Trang
      Author
      May 6, 2019 /

      Thanks so much Ralph! That’s amazing, 62 years of baking, it’s an honor to have you here. I’ve been using this basic recipe and branch off to many different flavor scones, and I’m glad you like it!

  28. Heather
    April 9, 2019 /

    5 stars
    I just made this today because I had exactly 2/3 c of buttermilk left over from making Irish soda bread. I substituted whole wheat pastry flour and egg substitute because that’s all I had in the house, and the scones came out delicious!!!! This will be my go-to scones recipe from now on!

    • Trang
      Author
      April 10, 2019 /

      Excellent Heather, this recipe is so versatile and forgiving and that’s why I love it. You could add whatever filling you’d like next time or check out some of the other scones in the archive for inspiration! 🙂

  29. October 13, 2018 /

    5 stars
    It’s really great to find a basic scone recipe without additions. These would be lovely with some jam and cream and a nice cuppa

  30. September 11, 2018 /

    5 stars
    Now I’ve craving a warm scone with some chia jam and a cup of tea! They look great Trang. Love the step by step photos too!

    • Trang
      Author
      September 11, 2018 /

      Thanks Leanne! Warm scone with chia jam sounds perfect!

  31. September 11, 2018 /

    A perfect recipe!

    • Trang
      Author
      September 11, 2018 /

      Thank you Mimi!

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