7 Scone Tips that will make you an expert – Bec's Table (2024)

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Are you tired of making scones that just don’t turn out the way you expected? It’s possible that you just need a bit more insight into the ingredients and techniques. Becoming a skilled baker is a journey of continuous learning. Every new tip you acquire, brings you closer to perfection (and in this case, an expert in scone making).

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In this blog post, we’ll share 7 essential scone making tips that could be the game changers you’ve been searching for. With these tips in hand, you’ll be well on your way to creating the most delicious, fluffy, and tender scones you’ve ever tasted. 🙂

7 Scone Tips that will make you an expert – Bec's Table (1)
7 Scone Tips that will make you an expert – Bec's Table (2)

What are scones?

At their core, scones are a type of baked good made from a simple mixture of flour, water, butter, and a leavening agent. Additional ingredients, such as salt, sugar, cream, milk, and egg (often used as a wash), can be incorporated to enhance their flavour and texture. However, defining a scone goes beyond its basic components; it’s also about what they mean to you and the memories they evoke.

People’s preferences for scones vary widely based on their experiences and the first scone they ever tasted. Cultural factors play a significant role in shaping these preferences as well. For instance, scones from England, Ireland, and America each have distinct textures and characteristics. With each reflecting the unique baking traditions of these regions.

In countries like Australia, where diverse cultures come together, scone preferences can be even more varied, often leading to passionate discussions and debates. When trying a new scone recipe, it’s essential to approach it with an open mind and appreciate the end product for what it is. By doing so, you’ll not only expand your scone repertoire but also gain a deeper understanding of the rich culinary tapestry that scones represent.

Scones as a quick snack when guests drop by

Using self-raising flour, cream, and water is excellent for what I consider great scones. Lemonade or soda water can also be used instead of plain water to add more rise; we had some fun with this at our Bake Club meetings using different flavours. For example, elderflower, rhubarb and raspberry cordial mixed with soda water.

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Free Scone making course

If you’re interested in perfecting your scone-making skills we also have a free Mini Course available. It includes the 7 scone making tips I’ve shared here, plus a few more. I’ve also created a video for Thermomix and Non-Thermomix scone making. As someone who learns best by watching, I highly recommend giving it a try.

Go to the FREE scone course

1. What happens when I overwork my scone mix?

When you overwork the flour in your scone mix, you develop more gluten, which can result in tough scones.

2. How should I mix my scones?

If you have warm hands, be mindful of keeping the butter or cream cold while working with the dough. Use a knife, bowl scraper, fingertips, or food processor to bring the dough together just enough to combine the ingredients.

3. How do you make tall scones?

The key to achieving tall scones is to begin with a taller dough. While the dough will rise during baking, you cannot expect a one-inch high scone to double in height after baking. To ensure taller scones, start with a thicker dough disc and place the scones on a tray with sides, allowing them to slightly touch one another. This arrangement encourages the scones to push against the pan and each other, promoting height.

4. What flour should I use for scones?

Navigating the vast array of flours at supermarkets can be a daunting task. Many quick scone recipes recommend self-raising flour, which contains a leavening agent that helps achieve the desired rise. Without this leavening agent, scones can become dense and heavy. However, you can opt for plain flour and add the appropriate amount of baking powder to your mix. This method allows you to control the amount of lift in your scones without compromising flavour, resulting in a well-balanced and delicious final product.

5. Baking soda or Baking powder for scones?

If a recipe requires plain flour and a leavening agent, substituting self-raising flour is possible, but it may not yield the intended result. The amount of leavening agent in self-raising flour may differ from the recipe, which can affect the final product. The key is to use an appropriate amount of leavening agent for a good rise, without altering the taste. It’s important to note that premade self-raising flours can vary in quality and potency based on brand and age, as leavening agents can lose their effectiveness over time.

For instance, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) forms carbon dioxide gas when heated, which helps baked goods rise. However, without an acid to neutralize it, baking soda can leave an unpleasant alkaline flavour (a soapy taste) and not yield the best results. Have you had scones from a bakery that tasted like this?

6. Why we use Baking Powder.

Baking powder was developed to enhance the leavening process in baked goods without relying on the presence of an external acidic ingredient. Essentially, baking powder is a combination of baking soda, added acid, a filling agent like tapioca flour, and often a little salt. This combination is sometimes referred to as “double action baking powder,” which helps create lift and neutralize the alkaline flavour without the need for additional acid.

Understanding the difference between baking powder and baking soda is crucial for successful baking. Many people mistakenly believe that they are interchangeable, but they serve distinct functions.

Baking soda reacts with acidic ingredients, creating lift when the acid is introduced. For example, when a cake recipe calls for baking soda, you’ll typically find an acidic ingredient, such as buttermilk or lemon, in the list. If you were to substitute regular milk, the cake might not rise as well, and the taste would also be altered. The acidity of buttermilk releases the raising power in the baking soda.

If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can easily create a substitute by adding approximately 10 to 20 ml of lemon juice or vinegar to each cup of milk. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, and you’ll have a homemade buttermilk substitute with similar properties.

7. To sift or not to sift flour (for scones), that is the question.

Decades ago, sifting flour was a common practice for our grandparents (or great-grandparents, depending on your age). There were several reasons for this, some of which may surprise you. Before flour bleaching, weevils were a common problem, so sifting helped remove them.

Additionally, unbleached flour tended to be heavier and clumped in sacks, making sifting necessary to break up these clumps. Today, our flour goes through more processing, which has its pros and cons.

When it comes to sifting, the decision ultimately depends on your personal preference and the type of baked goods you’re making. For scones, I usually don’t sift. If my flour is unbleached and slightly clumped, I’ll whisk the measured amount with a balloon whisk or break up the clumps with my hands. However, for lighter baked goods like sponge cakes, I always sift.

In conclusion, if a recipe calls for sifting, the choice is yours. If you’re aiming for ultra-light and airy baked goods, then sifting is the way to go.

Great pans for cooking scones.

I prefer using a pan with sides that are approximately the same height as my finished scones. At our cooking school and in my home, we use USA Pans. These pans are made of metal that features a silicone coating. It provides a nonstick surface for easy release of the baked goods. The textured design of the pans adds sturdiness without making them overly heavy. While they are not dishwasher-safe, cleaning them is still a breeze.

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By using a pan with sides, you can ensure that your scones are well-supported during the baking process. This helps them maintain their shape and height, resulting in beautifully baked scones every time.

USA Biscotti Pan – This is my favourite tin for home it is the perfect size for the recipe I share in the course, although if you want to double your batch see the next sizes. Scones do freeze well. 30.5x14x5cm (12×5.5×2″)

USA Rectangular Cake Pan – Also great for any traybake, brownies, or I even use it to roast veg in. 23x33x5cm (9x13x2″)

USA Square Cake Pan – As the name suggests, great for a square cake but good for a batch of scones too. This comes in two sizes. 20 and 25cm (8″ and 9″) square

Why not do our FREE Scone Mini-course?

We’ve made the FREE Scone mini-course because this scone recipe has been so popular. We’ve added a video with all the tips. Click on the link to give it a try.

Go to the FREE scone course

My recipe for Easy Scones.

Here you go; this is my go to scone recipe for whipping up a quick batch. Make this a couple of times, and you may not even need to weigh the ingredients. I tend to go by texture, and you can too with a little practice 🙂

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Easy Scones

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Quick and easy, light and fluffy. Yummy Scones Made with Soda Water, not Lemonade.

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Prep Time 5 minutes mins

Cook Time 20 minutes mins

Total Time 25 minutes mins

Difficulty Easy

Course Afternoon Tea, Morning Tea, Snack

Cuisine British

Servings 12

Method Conventional


  • 250 ml cream
  • 600 g Self-raising flour sifted
  • 1 pinch Of salt
  • 250 ml Soda water (or lemonade)
  • Optional Milk for brushing tops this will help brown and have them rise more
  • Optional Jam and whipped cream to serve


  • Preheat oven to 220°C fan. Place baking paper in your baking tray (unless you have a good quality non stick pan).

  • Place, flour and salt into a bowl and mix until combined. Gradually add the cream then sodawater and mix until the dough sticks together. It will look really dry at first but trust me it will come tgether. Turn out onto a floured board dust with a little flour. Not too much or you'll have dry scones.

  • Press the dough into 3 cm thick square. Using a round floured cookie cutter, cut out your scones then arrange them in a grid the baking tray.

  • Brush with milk (If you like) and bake in very hot oven 10-15mins (tops will brown just a little). Serve warm with jam, cream and tea.


If you chose to use Soda Water, your scones will be less sweet and won’t brown as much so be careful not to overbake and make them dry out too much.
You can tell when they’re cooked by gently prising the top off one in the centre of the tin if you are unsure.
We’ve tested using soda water and cordial rather than lemonade. We always have elderflower cordial at the school for a refreshing drink during classes. So that got a taste test as well as rhubarb cordial. I think I liked the rhubarb the best. It gave a nice tang without being too sweet.
If you choose to use soda water and no extra sugar; your scones can be served as a quick bread to serve with soup and the like.

Want to know more?

Maybe you’d like to join us for Bake Club Online?

7 Scone Tips that will make you an expert – Bec's Table (2024)


What is the trick in making good scones? ›

Rather than mixing the ingredients together, use a technique called “cutting”. Use a flat-bladed knife or a palette knife and cut it (or pull it) through your ingredients when you add the wet ingredients so they are just barely incorporated. Don't overwork the dough.

What is the secret to making scones rise? ›

Once you've cut out your scone shapes, flip them over and place upside down on the baking tray. This will help them rise evenly and counteract any 'squashing' that happened when you cut out the dough. Perfect scones should rise to about 2 inches high.

What are the qualities of a perfect scone? ›

Among the myriad baked goods in the breakfast pastry canon, scones are uniquely delicious in their humble simplicity. The best scones have a crisp, slightly caramelized exterior and a tender, buttery, just-sweet interior. They can be dressed up with a glaze, studded with fruit or nuts, or gently spiced.

What to avoid when making scones? ›

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Baking Scones
  1. Using anything but cold ingredients. The secret to the flakiest scones is to start with cold ingredients — cold butter, cold eggs, and cold cream. ...
  2. Only using all-purpose flour. ...
  3. Overmixing the dough. ...
  4. Not chilling the dough before baking. ...
  5. Baking them ahead of time.
May 1, 2019

How long should you rest scones before baking? ›

Recipes for scones sometimes provide a make-ahead option that involves refrigerating the dough overnight so it can simply be shaped and then popped into the oven the next day. But now we've found that resting the dough overnight has another benefit: It makes for more symmetrical and attractive pastries.

What is the best temperature for baking scones? ›

Bake scones in a 425°F oven for 18 to 23 minutes, until they're a very light golden brown. Don't over-bake; dark scones will be dry. Break one open to check for doneness: the interior shouldn't appear doughy or wet, but should feel nicely moist.

Why do my scones spread out and not rise? ›

First, make sure you're using fresh baking powder, one that has been opened less than 6 months ago. Also, if you knead the dough too much, the scones won't rise as tall. Knead gently, and just enough to bring the dough together. Adding more flour also prevents the dough from rising as high, so only dust lightly.

Why are my scones heavy and dense? ›

Over-kneading your dough will result in scones and biscuits that are tough, dense, or rubbery. The longer you knead the dough, the stronger the gluten network will be. We want just enough gluten for the scones to hold their shape, but not so much that we sacrifice the light and flaky texture.

How do you keep scones crispy? ›

First, make sure your scones are completely cool. Wrapping them while warm can trap steam, causing the exterior to soften unpleasantly. Once cool, wrap them tightly and store at room temperature for up to several days.

What is unique about scones? ›

A scone is closer to a pastry than it is to bread mainly because it doesn't include any yeast and has almost identical ingredients to a shortcrust with different fat to flour ratios.

What type of flour is best for scones? ›

We recommend using all-purpose flour. There is some debate as to what flour one should use to go around achieving the perfect scone. This is because within different flours comes different levels of protein.

Are scones better warm or cold? ›

According to him, there is a CORRECT way of scoffing your scones to ensure you have the ultimate eating experience. 'Firstly they should always be nice and toasty,' he said. 'To have your scones at their best, eat them while they are still warm. This ensures that they are still light and fluffy.

What is the secret to making scones? ›

Keeping scone dough as cold as possible prevents over-spreading. When scones over-spread in the oven, they lose the flaky, moist, and deliciously crumbly texture. In other words, they're ruined. But the easiest way to avoid disaster is to use cold ingredients like cold heavy cream, egg, and butter.

What helps scones rise? ›

Many quick scone recipes recommend self-raising flour, which contains a leavening agent that helps achieve the desired rise.

Why do you put eggs in scones? ›

Scones can be made either with self-raising flour or with plain flour and baking powder. Sweet scones and cheese scones have an egg added to enrich them. Both will rise but whatever scone you make its important that they are handled lightly and not rolled too thinly.

Why aren t my scones light and fluffy? ›

Overworking the dough: when you overwork your dough, your scones can come out tough and chewy, rather than that desired light, crumbly texture. The trick is to use light pressure and only the work the dough until it just comes together.

Should scones be baked touching? ›

Scones like to cosy up to one another in the baking tray. This helps them to rise evenly in the cooking process. When placing the scones in the baking tray they need to be touching.

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