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How to make the perfect scones

There are few things more inviting than a plate of freshly baked scones, dripping in cream and jam. Follow Food magazine's step-by-step guide to buttermilk scones below and you'll be whipping up these tasty goodies in no time.
How to make the perfect scones

PREP + COOK TIME: 35 mins



  • 2½ cups self-raising flour

  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 30g butter, cold

  • 1¼ cups buttermilk, approx, plus extra, to glaze

  • ¾ cup strawberry jam

  • 300ml cream, whipped

  • icing sugar, to dust



Preheat oven to 210°C. Grease a deep 20cm-square cake pan. Sift flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Add butter; it should be fridge-cold and diced or coarsely grated. Rub it into the flour using your fingertips.


Make a well in flour mixture; add as much of the buttermilk as you need to make a soft, sticky dough. You may need more than 1¼ cups liquid, depending on how the flour absorbs it. Use a flat-bladed knife to ‘cut’ the liquid through the dry ingredients until it comes together.


Turn the dough out, smooth-side up, onto a lightly floured surface, using either a plastic spatula or your hand. Pour cold water into the bowl and leave to soak for easier washing-up later. If your fingers are sticky with dough, ‘dry-clean’ them, away from the scone dough, by rubbing them with flour.


Use your hands to pat dough out evenly, working from the centre to the outside edge. Keep the dough an even thickness of around 2cm – there’s always a tendency to press the dough out too thinly on the edge, leaving a hump in the middle. If you’re making a large amount of dough, use a floured rolling pin for this process.


Using a floured 5cm round cutter, cut rounds from the dough. We started in the centre of the dough and worked towards the outside edge. Lift scone shapes into pan, and position so they’re barely touching each other. Briefly knead the scraps of dough together; repeat pressing and cutting, then place in the pan.


Glaze the scones. Egg yolk will give the darkest colour, water the palest finish, while milk will ensure a good middle-of-the-road colour. Bake for 15 minutes or until browned. The scones should sound hollow when tapped on the top. Serve with jam and cream and dusted with icing sugar.

Want to try more of these delightful dough-y morsels? Go to our collection of 20 scrumptious scones recipes for sharing or try one of the ideas below.

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