The best scone recipe – Tried and tested

I have put three different scone recipes to the test to find the ultimate scone recipe ready for National Cream Tea Day on 24th June. And the winner is …

Growing up in Devon and Cornwall (I lived right on the border) I have had my fair share of cream teas. My best friend Emma loves creams teas as well and when I go back home we try to have as many as possible. We do have a pet peeve about going out for a cream tea though …when they bring over a tiny pot of jam and cream, enough for about half one side of a scone. We ALWAYS ask for more. I mean the best part of a cream tea is the complete gluttony and over the topness of it all, I don’t want to ration my clotted cream!

It’s National Cream Tea Day on 24th June so I thought I would get prepared and attempt to find the best scone recipe ready for the big day. I have made scones a few times before but when I come to make them again I can never remember which recipe I used. So I have taken three different recipes and put them to the taste test. Each recipe uses a slightly different method to get a well risen scone.

Recipe 1 – Eggs and baking powder
Recipe 2 – Buttermilk
Recipe 3 – Warm milk, lemon juice and baking powder

I must briefly touch on the subject of jam or cream first. Firstly it isn’t a cream tea without clotted cream. You cannot whip up double cream and pretend, it has to be clotted cream and for me it has to be Roddas. Now for the next important bit – it is without a doubt, hands down cream first! That is all.


I have put three different scone recipes to the test to find the ultimate scone recipe ready for National Cream Tea Day on 24th June. And the winner is ...


Recipe 1 from Roy Levy, head baker at Gails Artisan Bakery
(Makes 9 scones)
360g plain flour
100g butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
70g caster sugar
80ml milk
1 1/2 eggs ( I used 1 large egg and 1 small)

Recipe 2 from BBC Good Food
(Makes 6 scones)
225g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
50g cold butter, diced
Pinch of salt
43g caster sugar
142ml  buttermilk

Recipe 3 from Jane Hornby
(Makes 6 scones)
175g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
43g cold butter, diced
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp caster sugar
86ml milk
Squeeze lemon juice

Beaten egg to glaze all

All the recipes start out the same. Sift the flour into a bowl. Add the cold, cubed butter and rub together buy accutane with your fingertips until the mix looks like fine bread crumbs. Stir in the sugar and pinch of salt.

Recipe 1
Beat milk and eggs together. Mix into the flour mixture with a knife to form a dough.

Recipe 2
Gently warm the buttermilk in the microwave and then quickly mix into the flour mixture with a knife to form a dough.

Recipe 3
Put the milk into a jug and heat in the microwave for about 30 – 60 seconds until warm, but not hot. Add the lemon juice and stir. Mix into the flour mixture with a knife to form a dough.

For all recipes – Heat oven to 200 degrees C. Tip dough onto a floured surface and lightly bring together with your hands.  Press out gently to about 4cm thick and stamp out rounds with a fluted biscuit cutter. Re-shape trimmings, until all the dough is used. Spread out on baking sheet and brush with a beaten egg. Bake for 12 – 15 mins until golden and well risen.

The results

I couldn’t eat all the scones to myself so I invited some of my family round to help me decide. I made sure that when I hosted my cream tea that clotted cream and jam were unlimited, as you know from my intro, cream teas need to be over the top. We had a lovely afternoon catching up over a cuppa and a cream tea. At the end I asked everyone to score the scones. 3 points to their favourite, 2 points to the second favourite and 1 point to their least favourite.

Before I announce the winner, I will mention that everyone said it was very difficult to chose a winner as they would of been happy being served any of the scones but one did have the edge. I agreed with the winning recipe, these particular scones had a really lovely flavour but I also found the dough was the nicest and easiest to work with.

The results were unanimous. Buttermilk is the winner!!!

So there we have it, the best scone recipe on the internet…. or so I think 🙂

Do you have a fail safe, go to scone recipe? I would love to hear about it. I am definitely up for trying out some more recipes and maybe eating some more scones, if I have to!

10 Comment

  1. Shazz says: Reply

    That’s interesting – I’ve always used lemon + regular milk as a buttermilk substitute (when only a small amount is needed & I don’t want to buy a 300ml container). I add the lemon juice to cold milk and let it sit until it’s up to room temperature (up to 30 minutes), and looks ‘chunky’.

    I’m glad you did this taste-test, it was very interesting! Perhaps I should go back to using real buttermilk.

    1. Thanks for commenting. We did feel the buttermilk had the edge but as I said it was a very close competition so I am sure your milk and lemon method is still DELICIOUS!

  2. Jam first!

    1. Cream firstttt 🙂 x

      1. Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaam!

        Actually what are you thoughts on adding butter too?

        1. Hello Charlotte, sorry for the delay, I must have missed this. My thoughts on butter …. not for me personally but I know my dad sometimes likes to use as much butter on his scones as I use clotted cream! I am sticking to what I know and love, Roddas clotted cream and raspberry jam 🙂 x

  3. I love the idea of a family tasting session, it sounds like a really fun day. I did a similar experiment last year to find my perfect scones. I didn’t end up choosing the buttermilk ones but I guess everyone has slightly different tastes. To be honest once they’re covered in jam and clotted cream I’d happily eat any of them!!

    1. Like you say, they are all yummy as long as they are topped with cream ( first) and jam. Thanks for having me #FoodYearLinkUp

  4. Brilliant read! I’m a buttermilk fan too, in lots of bakes but especially scones. I’ve never warmed it first though so I’ll try that too.
    I’m afraid I’m a jam first girl though hehe xxx

    1. Really? Let me know how it goes if you do decide to warm in next time, I would love to hear how it goes ( Noooooo seems I am out voted on the cream vs jam argument 🙂 )

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