Aussies share their secret scone tips for the perfect pillow-like rise (2024)

Scones. They may be one of the nation’s all-time favourite baked items, but for a barely-thrown-together handful of pantry staples they sure can cause a lot of controversy.

Should the butter be cold or warm? Should you add an egg? What about cream? Is it considered cheating to use lemonade? And all that’s before we’ve even begun to think about the jam-first or cream-first dilemma.

We tackle the great scone debate here… if you’re game enough to weigh in on it.

In a bid to get more insight into what truly makes a great scone, we threw the question out to the Facebookverse to see what came back, and we weren’t disappointed. We also raided our recipe review archives to unearth some gems of baking wisdom you probably haven’t come across before.

Did we reach consensus on the formula for the perfect scone? Not quite. But we did uncover some really smart hacks to take into your next scone baking session. Here are some of our favourite finds.

Best ingredients to add to scones: your suggestions

“Lemon juice in the milk.” – Carol

“Replace butter with cream… no rubbing required. Turns out perfectly every time.” – BM

“I made scones with half cream and half tonic water, turned out better than I thought.” – Doris

“Ginger beer puts a slight stance on what is a normal scone. Next raspberries and white choc bits. Raspberry jam and lashings of cream.” – Mitch

“Dates soaked in strong tea. Maybe a dash of yoghurt to make up liquid volume.” – Heather

“I have made this scone recipe many times. I always add baking soda and vinegar to add to the fluffy light feel.” – Gourmet bellybutton

“I use powdered milk, which works well when making them with soda water.” – Beck

“Sour cream keeps them soft and still good for the next day… if you have any left.” – Margaret

“3 cups of flour and one cup of icing sugar,” – Steve

“Leave the milk out to till it starts to go off, very light touch when mixing and a gentle roll hot oven then boom 💥 🎉” – Paula

“3 ingredient scones!! Lemonade, cream and flour 🍯 cannot flaw this method!” – Jess

Check out our best fluffy 3-ingredient scone recipe.

Best scone technique tips

“Once saw someone make them in three minutes from start to going in the hot oven, and they were amazing. Said needed a light hand and too much handling made the dough tough.” – Beryl

“Your butter should always be cold when making scones. Best tip my grandmother ever gave me.” – Terri

“Treat very gently when cutting and placing them very close together on the tray for cooking.” – Jane

“1.Preheat oven 2. Sift flour 3. Lemonade and cream. 4. Knead slightly. 5. Don’t twist cutter. 6. Place scones close together so they rise!” – Josephine

“Put your tray in the oven with a dusting of flour to heat whilst you make the scones.” – Rayleen

“I always use a metal knife to mix. I think it’s because it prevents it from getting over-mixed.” Julie

“Cream instead of butter…even if the cream is past its use-by date….always mix with a knife…cold hands…handle as little as them just touching on the tray…brush with milk.. and really hot oven.” – Kyles

“I’ve used your basic scone recipe for decades. Always get compliments. People don’t believe that such a simple recipe is so perfect.” – Sue

“Cooking them in an air fryer.” – Rachel

Should you cook your scones in an air fryer?

Absolutely! A hot air fryer is perfect for cooking fluffy scones. The food team tested the best techniques to come up with the ultimate air fryer scones recipe you have to try.

What’s the secret to making good scones?

While everyone has their own trusted formula for making scones just how they like them, we wanted to give the last word to Digital Food Director Amira Georgy. Here are her tips:

Should you add sugar to scone dough?
If you’re making traditional scones then you’re most likely going to serve them with jam which means you won’t need to add sugar. However, if you like your scones on the sweeter side, you can add 1-2 tbs of caster sugar once you’ve rubbed the butter into the flour. Adding sugar will make your scones brown quicker, so make sure you keep an eye on them in the oven.

Should you add baking powder to scones?
If you’re using self-raising flour in your recipe, then you generally won’t need to add any baking powder as the self-raising flour already contains baking powder. However, if you are using plain flour, you will need to add baking powder in order to help the scones rise.

Should you ever add egg?
Egg helps bind the ingredients, so it’s not uncommon to add egg to a scone recipe. But it’s definitely not essential (and most of our scone recipes are egg-less).

What’s your ultimate scone tip for the perfect rise?
Always use well-chilled butter! Also, make sure you use the correct amount of baking powder or bicarbonate of soda in the recipe. These leavening agents release carbon dioxide which escapes in the form of bubbles when heat is added – these help the scones rise properly and give them a light and fluffy texture. Plus, I find that using a round pastry cutter to cut the scones from the dough, rather than shaping them into balls, is best as it means you’re handling the dough less. I try to push the cutter down in one swift movement instead of twisting and turning the cutter as you push it down.

Some bakers suggest lemon, vinegar and even ‘on the turn’ milk for perfect scones. Would you recommend any of these?
Lemon, vinegar and ‘on the turn’ or ‘sour’ milk all have acidity in them which means they can effectively react with bicarbonate of soda and help scone dough rise. You only need to use these acidic additions if you’re using bicarbonate of soda as your leavening agent, however if you’re using baking powder, then the acid will not react to it.

What’s your top tip for mixing scones?
The less you handle the scone dough, the better your scones will be. So when mixing in any other ingredients, always use a butter knife to combine them (leaving a few lumps is ok). When kneading the dough, be very brief, knead just until the dough comes together.

Top 5 scone recipes to try:

  • 3-ingredient scones
  • Traditional buttermilk scones
  • Soda water scones
  • Easy lemonade scones
  • Lemon meringue scones

Watch Matt Preston make lemonade scones in an air fryer:

Aussies share their secret scone tips for the perfect pillow-like rise (2024)


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 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.

Does baking soda help scones rise? ›

Also, make sure you use the correct amount of baking powder or bicarbonate of soda in the recipe. These leavening agents release carbon dioxide which escapes in the form of bubbles when heat is added – these help the scones rise properly and give them a light and fluffy texture.

How do you ensure evenly risen scones? ›

To help scones rise evenly, always cut the scones straight down and up, without twisting the cutter. It helps to rub the cutter in flour first and remove any sticky bits of dough that become attached when cutting.

Why don't my scones rise very much? ›

If the dough is too dry, the scones won't rise and will be crumbly. On the other hand, if the scones are too wet, they won't rise either, and will be too tough and chewy once baked. Don't hesitate to tweak the amounts and proportions to get the right texture.

Why does cold butter give a better risen scone? ›

Butter must be COLD from the very start to when the dough enters the oven. The cold butter melts upon entering the oven and the water content in butter evaporates in steam. As the steam escapes, it bursts up and creates that beautiful tall, flaky, fluffy texture.

What not to do when making scones? ›

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.

What type of flour is best for scones? ›

Use all-purpose flour for a higher rising scone that holds its shape nicely, both in and out of the oven. To make more delicate, lower-rising, cake-like scones, substitute cake flour for all-purpose flour.

What is the best raising agent for scones and why? ›

As well as the raising agent in the flour, baking powder adds a bit of lift to scones. Baking powder is a convenient choice as it is a ready-mixed leavening agent, generally made of bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar (usually some cornflour too).

Should you let scone dough rest? ›

The explanation is simple: As with other doughs, including pizza dough, resting lets scone dough's gluten relax completely, so that it doesn't snap back during shaping or baking.

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.

What happens if you put too much baking soda in scones? ›

Too much baking soda will result in a soapy taste with a coarse, open crumb.

How to get a good rise on scones? ›

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.

Should you add eggs to 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.

Should scones be baked at a high temperature? ›

Scones and biscuits both need a hot, quick bake. The high, quick heat is needed to turn that butter into nice steamy air pockets without leaving pools of butter on the cookie sheet.

Which leavening ingredient was used to make your scones rise? ›

Leavening: The leavening in scones is typically double acting baking powder and steam, but scones may also use some baking soda to offset acidic ingredients, such as buttermilk, lemon, yogurt, and sour cream. Sometimes cream of tartar and baking soda will be used.

What is the main cause of rising in scones made with baking powder? ›

The carbon dioxide bubbles that are produced allow the dough to rise. Baking powder is a pre-made mixture of bicarbonate of soda (alkali) and cream of tartar (acid). The alkali and acid react with each other (in the presence of water) to produce carbon dioxide.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Reed Wilderman

Last Updated:

Views: 6052

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (52 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Reed Wilderman

Birthday: 1992-06-14

Address: 998 Estell Village, Lake Oscarberg, SD 48713-6877

Phone: +21813267449721

Job: Technology Engineer

Hobby: Swimming, Do it yourself, Beekeeping, Lapidary, Cosplaying, Hiking, Graffiti

Introduction: My name is Reed Wilderman, I am a faithful, bright, lucky, adventurous, lively, rich, vast person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.