A very simple scones recipe that produces golden brown and slightly sweet, buttery scones drizzled with an unforgettable brown butter glaze! The perfect breakfast, brunch, or snack item.
Oh my heavens, do I have the best scones recipe for you today! They are crumbly, tender, buttery, slightly sweet and so so delicious. Enjoy plain or make my brown butter icing to drizzle over the top for an extra special finishing touch.
But first, What is a Scone?
A scone is a traditional British baked good made of wheat or oatmeal, raised with baking powder, and baked on sheet pans. It’s the main component served with afternoon tea and not to be confused with a tea cake (which is leavened with yeast). Growing up in Canada, this is what I understood scones to be. Similar to a biscuit, but much more delicious because it’s sprinkled with sugar or topped with a sweet glaze.
But just in case you thought biscuits and scones were basically the same things, let me stop you right there! While they have a lot of similar ingredients, there are a few that set them apart too. Just like you would make a biscuit, this scone recipe is quite similar, except has the addition of eggs. Biscuits typically only call for flour, leavening, salt, butter, and milk. But these scones have the addition of 4 eggs and uses heavy cream in place of the milk.
Many of you also might equate a scone with fry bread, especially if you are from Utah or Idaho, but in fact, that is incorrect.
Scone Recipe Ingredients
For this simple scone recipe, you’re going to need a few pantry and fridge staples and anything else you’d like to add to this recipe to customize it (berries, nuts, etc.):
- All-Purpose Flour – to fill out the scones but also used to shape the dough into a circle. The dough will be wet so the flour is used to prevent sticking to the counter and your hands.
- Granulated Sugar – this is to sweeten. You can decrease the amount of sugar used here but the overall texture and flavor will change.
- Baking Powder – to help the scones rise slightly.
- Salt – used for flavor.
- Cold Butter – cold butter works in scones just like it works in pie crust. Not only do they provide flavor but they also are the key to flakey and moist scones. Either use cold butter, cut up into small chunks or freeze your butter and grate it with a cheese grater.
- Heavy Cream – stick with dairy that has a higher fat content, such as heavy cream, for this recipe. You could also use half & half or buttermilk!
- Milk – this is used to brush the tops of the dough which encourages browning while baking.
- Eggs – used for structure and lift.
- Powdered Sugar, Vanilla Extract, Milk, and Butter – the brown butter glaze is optional, but oh so good and takes this scone recipe to the next level. Sounds fancy but couldn’t be easier! Feel free to not brown your butter and instead just combine the powdered sugar, vanilla and milk until the icing is the consistency of school glue.
How to Make Scones
With the holidays coming up, I thought this recipe would make a fabulous indulgent breakfast or afternoon snack to go with some coffee or tea. Keep in mind this recipe makes about 16, so feel free to cut the recipe in half if you don’t have a crowd to feed. You can also cut these extra small and get 32 mini scones which are perfect for those teas or baby showers.
For more detailed instructions on how to make scones, including increments, baking times, and video tutorial, scroll down to my printable recipe card below.
- Combine the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
- Cut cold butter into the dry ingredients until the size of small peas.
- Whisk heavy cream and eggs together in a liquid measuring cup and pour in. Mix until just combined.
- Roll dough on a floured board and cut into triangles.
- Brush the tops with milk and bake until golden brown. Cool before glazing.
How to Prevent Over-Spreading
Over-spreading happens when the butter is too warm and is just melting instead of releasing steam to create air pockets in the dough. If you are afraid that your scones will spread, refrigerate the shaped scones for at least 15 minutes before baking.
If you still find that your dough is spreading too much as it bakes, remove from the oven and press back into shape using a spatula. Then return to the oven to bake. Good luck!
Brown Butter Icing
What is better than just regular icing? Browned butter icing. Browning your butter adds nuttiness and a deeper flavor. Plus you get beautiful little flecks in your icing.
To brown your butter, melt in a skillet over medium heat, swirling or stirring occasionally. Wait for the milk solids to foam and continue to stir until amber in color (be careful not to burn your butter). Remove from heat. Then whisk in powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla to create a glaze and drizzle slightly cooled scones.
You could also dust with just powdered sugar.
If you store baked scones in an airtight container, they will stay fresh for about two days before turning very dry and crumbly. This is a baked good that tastes best within 24 hours of baking.
Luckily for you, you can make these scones and then freeze them for later! Either freeze baked or unbaked with these instructions.
Bake scones as directed and cool. Do not top with icing. Freeze in an airtight bag or container for up to 4 months. To thaw, transfer the scones to the counter for a few hours or overnight in the fridge. Either warm in the microwave or in the oven, then top with icing!
Once you are done cutting the dough into wedges, freeze on a plate or baking sheet for at least an hour. Then transfer to an airtight bag or container and freeze for up to 4 months. To bake, either bake from frozen, adding a few minutes to the baking time or thaw overnight and bake as normal.
Overnight Scone Recipe
To make these scones the night before, follow the instructions, stopping after you cut the circle of dough into 8 triangles. Cover and refrigerate overnight. When ready to bake, preheat your oven and continue where the instructions left off.
The possibilities are endless! Add your favorite fruits, berries, nuts, chocolate, or savory add-ins. Change up the icing or add sprinkles!
- English Scones Recipe
- Lemon & Cranberry Scones
- Almond Blueberry Scones
- Green Onion, Swiss & Parmesan Scones
- Chocolate Covered Coconut Almond Scones
- Cornmeal Blueberry Scones
- Pepperoni Pizza Scones
The printable recipe card is below, happy baking 🙂
Simple Scone Recipe
For the scones:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 light-colored baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Blend in the cold butter using a pastry cutter until the butter is in pea-sized pieces.
- Combine the eggs and heavy cream in a separate bowl and quickly add to the flour/butter mixture. Combine until just blended. The dough will be slightly sticky.
- Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and be sure it is well combined. Flour your hands, the top of the dough and a rolling pin. Roll the dough out to 1-inch to 1 1/4-inch thick. Using a knife or cookie cutter, cut into 4-inch squares and then in half diagonally to create triangles.
- Place on prepared baking sheets. Brush tops of scones with 2 tablespoons milk or cream. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the tops are golden and crisp.
- While scones are cooling, make the glaze: melt butter in a small pot over medium heat. Swirl the melted butter for a few minutes until it starts to foam, smell nutty and you can see little brown speckles. Remove from heat.
- Pour in vanilla, milk and powdered sugar. Whisk until thick and combined. You may need to add more milk or powdered sugar depending on the desired consistency you prefer. You want it to be the same thickness as white school glue. Drizzle over each scone.
- Enjoy scones at room temperature. Store in airtight containers for up to three days.