How do I prevent dry scones? (2024)

The bakers of King Arthur are here to solve the kitchen conundrums you share with us, whether it’s on the phone, computer, or by the good old postal service. In Ask the Baker’s Hotline, Annabelle will pick the brains of the talented King Arthur Baker’s Hotline team to tackle some of your most-asked questions. Today’s query: how to make scones moist.

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When done right, scones are a delightful treat. But when they turn out dry, it feels like there isn’t enough butter, jam, or clotted cream in the world to right that wrong. Talk about a letdown. But fear not, because Bethany from our Baker’s Hotline is here to banish the dreaded dry scone with some expert tips and techniques.

How to make scones moist: the basics

Measure flour by weight: “Making moist scones begins with accurate flour measurement,” Bethany says. Flour measured by volume easily compacts, so you end up adding more than the recipe calls for. As a result, scones will be denser, drier, and crumblier than intended. For the most accurate results (and fewer dishes to wash), measure your flour by weight with a baking scale instead of measuring cups. “If you don’t have a scale, fluff the flour before sprinkling it into the measuring cup, then level it off without compacting it,” says Bethany. See more here: How (and why) to measure flour the right way.

Handle scone dough gently:“Overmixing leads to too much gluten development, which leads to tough, dense scones, instead of flaky, moist ones,” says Bethany. Once you’ve added the liquid in your recipe, mix the dough gently until just combined — and no more. “Aim for a slightly tacky dough that holds its shape when pressed,” Bethany advises. When it comes to shaping, avoid rolling, cutting, and rerolling the dough, which can overwork it. Instead, use a scone scoop or a scone pan, or press the dough into a circle with your fingers, then cut it into wedges with a bench knife.

How do I prevent dry scones? (2)

Mark Weinberg

Don’t overbake!If you bake scones too long, they’ll dry out, so keep an eye on them through the oven window. (Don’t open the oven to look — it’ll let out the heat.) “Bake your scones until they are just golden brown,” Bethany recommends. And for accurate baking, ensure your oven is running at the right temperature with an oven thermometer.

Use high-quality ingredients — and keep them cold: “Using fresh, high-quality butter and cream ensures a rich flavor and tender texture,” Bethany explains. Make sure your butter and liquid ingredients are cold, too. If the butter is soft when your scones enter the oven, it will leak out, taking your scone’s moisture with it. And don’t forget to use high-quality flour, which will give you consistent results, great flavor, and the structure needed for a good rise.

How to make the best scones: tips from the Baker’s Hotline

Once the basics are nailed down, there are even more ways to enhance the flavor, texture, and moisture level of your scones.

Add moisture-boosting mix-ins: “Adding fruit, Jammy Bits, or chocolate can introduce moisture and flavor to your scones,” Bethany says. “Don't be afraid to get creative. Experiment with different flavor combinations to customize your scones to your liking.” Whether you prefer classic flavors like blueberry-lemon or chocolate chip, or more unique combinations like Carrot Cake Scones or our bakery’s popular Bacon Cheddar Chive Scones, the possibilities are endless. (Note: Butter-based scones are sturdier and able to handle more mix-ins than cream-based scones.)

Freeze for more moisture and a better rise:Freeze your scones for about 30 minutes before baking to help them rise taller while maintaining moisture and flavor. “Since scones are one of those baked goods best enjoyed within a day or so of baking, freezing some of them, unbaked, for future enjoyment is a great way to bake moist scones at a moment’s notice,” Bethany recommends.

How do I prevent dry scones? (3)

Photography by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne

Add toppings: Once your scones are cooled, a quick glaze of confectioners’ sugar and milk (or tea!) will add a pretty coat of additional flavor and moisture. Take the decadent route and top your scones with frosting, like our Carrot Cake Scones with Cream Cheese Frosting. (Frosting makes everything better.) If you don’t want your topping to add sweetness, try brushing your scones with melted butter as soon as they come out of the oven. It will sink in through the crust and give them a moist, rich boost.

By focusing on precise flour measurements, gentle dough handling, great ingredients, and well-timed baking, you can create moist, tender scones every time. So go ahead, get baking! Choose cream-based scones for a super-tender, cakey scone (5/5 on the scone moisture scale), or make butter-based scones for a flakier, biscuit-like scone (4/5 on the scone moisture scale).

We haveeverything you need to make scrumptious scones, from pans to mixes to tools and more.

Cover photo (Roasted Strawberry and Pistachio Scones) and food styling by Liz Neily.

How do I prevent dry scones? (2024)


How do I prevent dry scones? ›

Don't overbake! If you bake scones too long, they'll dry out, so keep an eye on them through the oven window. (Don't open the oven to look — it'll let out the heat.) “Bake your scones until they are just golden brown,” Bethany recommends.

How to stop scones from being dry? ›

Once out from the oven cover with kitchen towel or so to help soften. Add 1 tsp of baking powder into the dry ingredients. Once baked,leave them to cool wrapped in a tea towel for soft scones.

How to moisten scones? ›

Put the scones in the microwave with a small glass of water, as the water will put moisture back into the scones without leaving them dry.

How to keep scones from getting soggy? ›

Once all of your scones are inside of the container, take a single paper towel and lay it lightly on top of your scones. The paper towels will absorb the moisture in the scones and keep them from getting mushy while they're drying out in the container. You can use a napkin if you don't have any paper towels.

Why are my fruit scones dry and crumbly? ›

Perhaps there wasn't enough liquid, or it could be that the dough was overworked and / or the scones were overbaked. If you're measuring the liquid in a jug, make sure you check the amount at eye level. The dough should be handled gently and feel moist. If there are any crumbs in the bowl it will need a spot more milk.

What is the secret of making good scones? ›

Baking tips for making the perfect scones
  • Use cold or frozen butter: For a better rise, preferably use cold butter or even frozen butter. ...
  • Use pastry flour: This will create a noticeably lighter scone. ...
  • Mix the butter into the flour: If you don't start by mixing the flour and butter, your scones can fail to form properly.
Nov 14, 2022

Should you chill scone dough before baking? ›

As previously mentioned, it's crucial to keep the dough cold so that the butter doesn't melt before the scones are baked. Using cold ingredients helps, but your hands can warm up the dough when you're working with it. For extra precaution, it helps to chill the dough again before it's baked.

What to avoid when making scones? ›

If you add too much liquid, it will come out wet and not hold its shape. Skimp out on the liquid, and you risk dry, crumbly scones that taste like biting into a ball of flour. One simple step that will help avoid tough scones is to incorporate the milk gradually rather than pour it all at once.

Are scones supposed to be dry or moist? ›

It can have layers of course, but they should err on the side of crumbly. A scone is slightly dryer than a biscuit and yet, when done well, not dry at all. Scones are intended to be consumed with a hot beverage of your choice after all. And clotted cream, or butter, or jam.

How do you keep scones from being crumbly? ›

You want to work the dough just enough to add some structure, until the dough is smooth and supple, which does two things. Firstly it develops the gluten allowing everything to hold together, preventing crumbly scones.

How do you rehydrate scones? ›

If you want to restore days-old scones to their fresh-baked glory, a quick reheat does the trick: To reheat scones, bake them for 5 to 10 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven.

What's the best way to keep scones fresh? ›

Home-made scones generally last 1-2 days stored in an airtight container and placed in a kitchen cupboard or larder. Any longer and they can become a bit dry. If storing scones in the fridge they will last for about a week.

What to do if scones are too wet? ›

If the mixture is too wet, sprinkle a little flour onto the surface so that the dough can be moved around more easily. Using your hands, pat the dough out into a rough square and then fold it over once on itself. This fold gives the traditional mark in the middle of the scone.

How do I stop my scones being dry? ›

Don't overbake! If you bake scones too long, they'll dry out, so keep an eye on them through the oven window. (Don't open the oven to look — it'll let out the heat.) “Bake your scones until they are just golden brown,” Bethany recommends.

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.

Why are my scones hard on the outside? ›

Scone mix is far wetter than a dough – it's somewhere between a batter and a dough. Only lightly flour your work surface to avoid incorporating extra flour into the dough. Just a reminder: Don't overwork the dough or the scones will turn out rubbery – or worse, bullety and hard.

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