Australian/ Baking/ Recipes/ Snack

Grandma’s Scones – Easy Plain Scone Recipe

26/11/2020 (Last Updated: 04/12/2020)

Grandma’s Scones are crumbly on the outside, soft and flaky on the inside, perfect for slathering with jam and cream. Includes tips and ideas to amp up the basic scone recipe with toppings and additions of your own, for a delicious afternoon snack.

Several plates of scones with jam and cream.

Why We Love This

This is Laura’s Grandma’s easy plain scone recipe, perfected over years of baking for family gatherings. It always brings back memories of when all of the aunties, uncles and cousins would meet at Gran’s for a feast of epic proportions – scones, party pies, sausage rolls, and Grandma’s famous pea and ham soup bubbling away in the crock pot.

Her traditional, rustic method makes it so quick and easy to go from basic pantry staples to the best scones ever in no time!

There’s nothing better than hot scones straight out of the oven. Slather them in butter or fresh cream and jam, and they’re the best afternoon treat you could ever ask for.

Grandma’s homemade scone recipe will leave you with freshly baked morsels that are a little bit crispy crumbly on the outside and soft, light and fluffy on the inside.

Close up shot of a single scone sliced in half, filled with cream and jam.

What are Scones? 

Scones are a type of quick bread made with a leavener like baking powder instead of fresh yeast. This means you can make them and bake them much more quickly than waiting for traditional bread dough to rise. 

Plain scones are similar in appearance to Aussie damper bread, and both can be prepared with either savoury or sweet additions to the dough.

Scones vs Biscuits

American biscuits tend to be sweeter, lighter and fluffier, with visibly flaky layers, and sometimes include fruit or other additions. 

Scones, on the other hand, are a little more dense with a crisp and crumbly texture. They’re traditionally served with fresh butter, jam, and thickened cream (heavy cream) or clotted cream.

Where We Learned This

It’s safe to say that on Laura’s side of the family, Grandma is the undisputed Queen of Scones.

The best part is that she LOVES baking them, so every time we head over for a visit, there’s a very good chance the aroma of fresh scones will greet us at the door before she will.

According to Gran, all you need is a few scoops of flour, a big dollop of butter, and a splash of milk. Mix it all up, give it a knead, separate into portions and pop them into the oven.

After watching her in action, we’ve added the proper measurements and method in the recipe below, but I’m pretty sure Gran never needed them. By now it’s all completely done by instinct.

We decided to make this recipe even easier by placing the dough in one huge circle on the baking tray then slicing into even pieces, just like a pizza. This way each scone comes out even fluffier from being cooked close to the others.

Cooked scones on a baking tray.

What You’ll Need

  • Self Raising Flour – Grandma always uses self-raising flour as this is really common in Australia and avoids the need to add it in separately. It also results in a more even textured scone as the raising agent is more evenly mixed through the flour. If you prefer, you can make scones with plain flour and sift in 4 tsp baking powder. 
  • Butter & Milk – You can use salted or unsalted butter, it’s completely up to you. We recommend full cream milk or buttermilk which helps keep the scones nice and light and fluffy. Both ingredients should be nice and cold when you start working with them, so only take them out of the fridge right before you use them.
Scone dough in a mixing bowl.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Start Cold – Always use cold butter and milk when making scones. This creates steam when baking, resulting in lighter scones.
  • Don’t Over-Knead – There’s almost no kneading at all for these scones. Cutting the flour with the butter knife or dough scraper really is the key technique in this recipe. It helps ‘pull’ everything together, resulting in fluffy hot scones as a result.
  • Play With Shapes – While you might typically think of scones having a roughly rounded shape, there are no hard and fast rules. Make them squares, rectangles, triangles or any shape you desire. You can even use a scone cutter / cookie cutter to get the right shape. Lightly dust it in flour before each press to stop the dough sticking. Avoid twisting when pulling the cutter out as this can make them go lopsided while baking. 
  • For Extra Tall Scones – Pop them close together on the baking tray. This way they all support each other and rise nice and tall, and the steam released will help to keep the insides extra moist and fluffy as they’re baking.
  • Keep Them Moist – Wrap them in a towel after baking to trap in a little moisture but still allow them to breathe.

FAQs

What should I serve with scones?

Fresh hot scones are amazing with a simple slather of butter! For cooler scones, serve them with jam or marmalade and clotted cream (we normally have them with thickened cream / heavy cream because it’s easier). If you’re feeling particularly experimental, why not try it with a fresh batch of homemade kaya coconut jam? Serve with a hot cup of coffee or tea for an old fashioned afternoon snack.

Can I use a food processor?

Yes you can add the flour, sugar and salt to a food processor, then add the butter on top. Give it all a super quick blitz until the ingredients look like breadcrumbs.

How long will they last?

Scones are at their best on the day of baking, but will last for 2-3 days in an airtight container. Give them a zap in the microwave on high for 10-20 seconds to warm them before eating so they’re nice and fluffy.

Can I freeze scones?

You bet! For best results, wrap each one individually in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to three months. To reheat, you can allow them to defrost naturally and then pop them in the microwave on high for 10-20 seconds. Or warm them in the oven (preheated to 150˚C/300˚F) for 5 to 10 minutes.

My scones didn’t rise, what happened?

There are a few things that may have stopped your scones from rising.
– Your oven may not have been warm enough – make sure your oven is fully pre-heated before baking, as a cold oven can affect the rising agent. 
– Your raising agent was too old – Try again with fresh self-raising flour or baking powder (if using plain flour).
– You over-kneaded the dough – Once you add the milk, it’s important that you don’t overmix the dough. This can lead to the flour developing too much gluten, leading to scones that are flat, dense or chewy.
– You added too much flour – When you turn out the dough onto the flat work surface, just dust it very lightly so the dough doesn’t stick.

Why are my scones chewy?

Again, it’s probably from working the dough too much. Use a knife or dough scraper to ‘cut’ through the mixture until it’s just combined before pressing it lightly into a ball – so there’s almost no kneading at all. You can also try cooking them a little bit longer to see if that dries them out a bit more.

Variations

  • Add Fruit – Once you’ve incorporated the butter but before you add the milk, you can add a handful of currants, raisins, chopped dates or even frozen berries and mix them into the dough. 
  • Spice it Up – Add a sprinkling of cinnamon or pumpkin spice (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg & cloves) in with the dry ingredients. Not only do the spices taste great, they smell amazing while baking in the oven. 
  • Make it Savoury – Omit the sugar and add fresh herbs such as rosemary, oregano or dill. 
  • For Chocolate Lovers – Add a handful of dark, milk or white chocolate chips.
  • Add Texture – Stir though toasted coconut, chopped almonds, walnuts or pecans.
Four plates of scones sliced and served with cream and jam.

For more baking fun, try these next:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment & star rating below!

A fresh scone on a plate, filled with jam and cream.

Grandma’s Scones – Easy Plain Scone Recipe

Grandma's Scones are crumbly on the outside, soft and flaky on the inside, perfect for slathering with jam and cream. Includes tips and ideas to amp up the basic scone recipe with toppings and additions of your own, for a delicious afternoon snack.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Australian
Servings: 8 scones
Calories: 293kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $5

Ingredients

  • 450 g flour self raising
  • 100 g butter salted or unsalted, cold
  • 375 ml milk full cream, cold
  • 2 tsp raw sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Optional Toppings:

  • Jam
  • Cream Whipped, thickened, heavy or clotted
  • Butter

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 230˚C / 450˚F and line a tray with baking paper.
  • Add the flour, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  • Roughly chop the butter, then drop it into the bowl with the flour and dig in with your hands. Mix the butter and flour together with your fingers until you get a crumbly texture with no lumps.
  • Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk. Use a butter knife or dough scraper to 'cut' the flour in all directions until the dough just starts to come together into a sticky dough ball.
  • Next, lightly dust a flat work surface and turn out the dough. Gently press and very lightly knead the dough into a flat 2 cm / 1 in thick circle.
  • Grab your tray, line with baking paper and throw the scone frisbee onto the tray.
  • Transfer the dough onto the baking tray and cut into 8 equal pieces just like a pizza. OR use a scone or cookie cutter to cut into shapes. Dust the cutter each time before pressing, and don’t twist when pulling it out. Transfer to the baking tray.
  • Brush the top of each scone with a teensy bit of milk to glaze then pop into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Recipe Notes

  • Self Raising Flour – Grandma always uses self-raising flour as this is really common in Australia and avoids the need to add it in separately. It also results in a more even textured scone as the raising agent is more evenly mixed through the flour. If you prefer, you can make scones with plain flour and sift in 4 tsp baking powder.
  • Butter & Milk – You can use salted or unsalted butter, it’s completely up to you. We recommend full cream milk or buttermilk which helps keep the scones nice and light and fluffy. Both ingredients should be nice and cold when you start working with them, so only take them out of the fridge right before you use them. 
  • Start Cold – Always use cold butter and milk when making scones. This creates steam when baking, resulting in lighter scones.
  • Don’t Over-Knead – There’s almost no kneading at all for these scones. Cutting the flour with the butter knife really is the key technique in this recipe. It helps ‘pull’ everything together, resulting in fluffy hot scones as a result.
  • Play With Shapes – While you might typically think of scones having a roughly rounded shape, there are no hard and fast rules. Make them squares, rectangles, triangles or any shape you desire. You can even use cookie-cutters to get the right shape. Lightly dust it in flour before each press to stop the dough sticking. Avoid twisting when pulling the cutter out as this can make them go lopsided while baking. 
  • For Extra Tall Scones – Pop them close together on the baking tray. This way they all support each other and rise nice and tall, and the steam released will help to keep the insides extra moist and fluffy as they’re baking.
  • Keep Them Moist – Wrap them in a towel after baking to trap in a little moisture but still allow them to breathe.
  • Variations:
    • Add Fruit – Once you’ve incorporated the butter but before you add the milk, you can add a handful of currants, raisins, chopped dates or even frozen berries and mix them into the dough. 
    • Spice it Up – Add a sprinkling of cinnamon or pumpkin spice (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg & cloves) in with the dry ingredients. Not only do the spices taste great, they smell amazing while baking in the oven. 
    • Make it Savoury – Omit the sugar and add fresh herbs such as rosemary, oregano or dill. 
    • For Chocolate Lovers – Add a handful of dark, milk or white chocolate chips.
    • Add Texture – Stir though toasted coconut, chopped almonds, walnuts or pecans.

Nutrition

Calories: 293kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 255mg | Potassium: 111mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 386IU | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 2mg
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Grandma’s Scones - Easy Plain Scone Recipe

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12 Comments

  • Reply
    plasterer bristol
    11/07/2016 at 3:19 pm

    Wow these look irrestistible, will be giving these a go for sure. Simon

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      14/07/2016 at 4:11 pm

      Awesome to hear Simon – would love to know how you go! Enjoy, and don’t eat them too quick haha 🙂

  • Reply
    Victoria
    18/05/2016 at 2:04 am

    5 stars
    I love this recipe! I just finished making them, and they turned out awesome, if a little chewy (i probably kneaded them too much)

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      18/05/2016 at 9:53 pm

      Yay! That’s great Victoria, so glad you enjoyed them. In regard to the chewyness, it may indeed be from kneading it. We just used the knife to ‘cut’ through the mixture until it was combined before pressing it lightly into a ball, so it was almost not kneaded at all. Also, depending on your oven, try cooking them a liiiittle bit longer to see if that dries them out a bit more. Hope that helps for your next batch!

  • Reply
    Kristy @ Southern In Law
    29/04/2016 at 6:18 pm

    I feel like everyone needs a great homemade scone recipe – and these look PERFECT!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      29/04/2016 at 6:38 pm

      Thanks Kristy! 100% agree too haha 🙂

  • Reply
    Christina @ Banner Printing
    29/04/2016 at 5:06 pm

    5 stars
    The dish is just filled with your grandma’s affection & blessings rather than the basic ingredients of which it has been made… Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe!!!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      29/04/2016 at 5:10 pm

      Thanks Christina! You’ve made our day with such a lovely comment – it’s definitely the love that makes it taste that much better. 🙂

  • Reply
    Martin @ The Why Chef
    28/04/2016 at 10:54 pm

    5 stars
    Emma and I love scones! We made hundreds of them for our guests at our wedding as a canapé when everyone arrived (although I hated them a little after making 200 of them…)! We also made homemade jam to slather on top!

    But we have a HUGE bone of contention between the two of us – does it go jam then clotted cream, or clotted cream then jam?!? Emma doesn’t even butter the scone, which is quite clearly wrong.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      29/04/2016 at 8:01 am

      Wow that’s a lot of scones, what a delicious idea for a wedding. 😀 Also homemade jam is so much better too – what flavour did you make?

      P.S. Sorry Emma, I think we’ll have to side with Martin on this one, at least when it come to the butter. In terms of order of deliciousness though? Can you believe we’ve only ever tried it jam first, then cream? Had never even imagined it going the other way!

      • Reply
        Martin @ The Why Chef
        29/04/2016 at 7:11 pm

        We went fruit picking and made a whole bunch – strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, blackcurrant, and a bodge of all of them as mixed berry!

        Haha I’m the cream first but I think that’s because you can get twice as much on the scone if it goes on first…. High five on the buttering! 😛

        • Reply
          Wandercooks
          02/05/2016 at 9:03 am

          Wow that sounds like so much fun! Can’t get much fresher flavour than that can you!

          Well now we really must try the cream first shenanigans. Always keen if that means we can pack on extra hahah.

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