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Common Scone Ingredients and Their Purpose

Common Scone Ingredients and Their Purpose

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Enjoying scones along with your afternoon tea might be a bit of a tradition for you. It’s common for people from the United Kingdom to eat them in this fashion. It’s also popular to eat them along with coffee.

No matter where you live, you might enjoy having scones for breakfast or lunch. They’re delicious treats that just seem to go so well with hot drinks.

If you’ve never made them yourself, you might be wondering what they’re made of. Below, you’ll learn about the most common scone ingredients. This will help you to understand what’s in them so that you can appreciate them even more.


Butter is perhaps the most important scone ingredient. You can make them without butter, but traditional scones are made using butter.

When making butter scones, it’s important to use the right amount of butter. The butter will help to flavor the scones.

It’s also going to have a leavening effect that will make the scones fluffier. When using butter as an ingredient, it helps them to turn out very tender.

You can replace butter with various things. Some people choose to replace it because they want to cut down on cholesterol or calories.

So you can use margarine instead of butter if you want to. It’s also possible to use all-vegetable shortening, but that won’t flavor the scones.

Many think that making scones without butter isn’t good at all. Others think that butter isn’t really necessary and that the substitutes will make for healthier scone options.


Most scone recipes call for some type of flour. Flour is used to provide structure.

Without flour, the scones wouldn’t have a strong structure. They would fall apart rather easily.

Flour contains proteins that will interact with liquid ingredients to form gluten. The gluten network forms and helps to create strong dough.

You can make gluten-free scones as well if you’d like to. This involves replacing flour with gluten-free flour options.

If you want to make scones that don’t contain gluten, it’s best to follow a specific recipe that is designed to eliminate gluten. This is a lot easier than substituting ingredients in an established recipe, but you can swap ingredients out and get good results if you know what you’re doing.


It’s common for scone recipes to call for milk, too. Milk is required for many different reasons.

Milk provides the necessary moisture to the dough. It can also flavor the scones a little bit.

Thankfully, milk isn’t something that’s absolutely required. If you’re lactose intolerant, there are options that you can look into to replace it.

Of course, you can use lactose-free types of milk. There are other non-dairy options that you can look into as well.


You don’t usually find normal scone recipes that don’t call for eggs. There are some special recipes that won’t use eggs, but they’re one of the “core four” ingredients in traditional recipes.

To make traditional scones, you’ll need to use eggs, butter, milk, and flour. These ingredients can be replaced to make different types, but they’re still considered the normal ingredients that people typically use.

Eggs are present because they help to bind all of the ingredients together. When you add eggs to the dough, it helps to hold everything in place.

It’s also good to have eggs in the mixture because it adds flavor to the dough. It’ll help the scones to turn out richer as well.

Baking Powder or Baking Soda

Having some type of leavening agent in the mixture is imperative. You’ll likely be using either baking powder or baking soda.

Adding baking powder or baking soda will allow the scone to puff up properly. These leavening agents react to the carbon dioxide to help make them nice and fluffy.

Without some type of leavening agent, the scones wouldn’t turn out right. So you can see why using baking soda or baking powder is so important.

Most recipes are going to call for one of these ingredients. Sometimes you might find a recipe that calls for a different leavening agent.


Salt is used in some recipes as well. You don’t typically add a lot of salt to scones, though.

When adding salt to the mix, it’s going to help to strengthen the gluten in the dough. It’ll also control yeast growth.

Having a bit of salt in the recipe is good when making butter scones. It makes it so that they don’t feel quite as oily in your mouth.

It can also add just a bit of flavor, so it’s easy to see why salt is an important ingredient.


Many recipes will call for the use of sugar. Sugar is used to sweeten the scones and make them taste a bit better.

Without sugar, the scones might be a little bit plain. You don’t always need to use sugar, though.

Sometimes other ingredients are added that will sweeten them. For example, if you’re making some type of fruit-based scone, it might not be necessary to use sugar.

The recipe might still call for sugar, but it’ll depend on various factors. There are so many recipes out there that you can look into.

Since there are many different ways to make scones, it makes sense that the recipes would differ so much. So you may or may not be using sugar to make them depending on what recipe you choose to follow.

Heavy Cream

Heavy cream is an ingredient that is used in certain types of scones. Not all scone recipes call for heavy cream.

Generally, there are two main types of scones that people like to make. Butter scones use the common ingredients described above.

These butter scones are going to turn out a bit dry. Heavy cream scones are significantly different.

Scone recipes that utilize heavy cream will turn out much richer. The scones will also have a cake-like texture.

Heavy cream is present to flavor the scones and to provide them with the right texture. For certain types, heavy cream will be a very important ingredient.

A Typical Butter Scone Recipe

Above, you learned about common scone ingredients. You weren’t given measurements for how much of each ingredient you will need.

There’s a good reason for this. You see, there are many different recipes out there.

Different recipes call for different ingredients and measurements. Some recipes might be designed to make more scones than others, too.

Here is a traditional scone recipe that will make butter scones that are very tasty. There are many other recipes out there that you can try, but this is a very basic one that most will love.

  • 6 tablespoons of butter (cold)
  • 1 large egg (room temperature)
  • ½ cup of buttermilk
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • a pinch of salt

You’ll notice that this recipe contains all of the common ingredients for butter scones. It uses buttermilk instead of standard milk, though.

Typically, you would want to top the scones with something once they’re done baking. People often put more butter on these, but it’s also common to spread jam on them before serving them.

There are other recipes that you can look for if you wish to make heavy cream scones. Heavy cream scone recipes will differ slightly from butter scone recipes.

These scones are going to turn out differently than butter scones. A common heavy cream scone recipe would look like the one below.

  • 1 and ½ cups of heavy cream
  • 3 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

When looking at the recipe above, it’s easy to see that it’s much different than the butter scone recipe. It doesn’t utilize eggs or butter.

You could say that the heavy cream replaces the milk from a standard scone recipe, but these scones are just so different. Heavy cream scones are much more like normal pastries than traditional scones.

The heavy cream scone recipe given to you above is usually topped with more heavy cream once it’s done baking. It’s also common to add coarse sugar to the top to give it even more sweetness.

Of course, there are other recipes that take heavy cream scones in slightly different directions. This is just one way to make these types of scones, and the requested ingredients and amounts will differ from recipe to recipe.

How Are Scones Different From Biscuits?

In some ways, scones are a bit similar to biscuits. Biscuits are commonly served on the side with dinner or lunch.

They can also be flaky and tasty. However, they’re quite a bit different from scones.

To start, you should know that biscuits generally aren’t made using eggs. So this sets them apart from the butter scones that you’ve learned about already.

Biscuits are usually going to be flaky and soft. They’re often made using buttermilk, but they can be made using other ingredients as well.

Scones are much drier than biscuits overall. They’re made using eggs, flour, milk, and butter.

There are other types of scones that are even further from biscuits. Heavy cream scones are made to be very sweet and are more like a dessert dish.

All types of scones can be sweet, but heavy cream scones are particularly rich. Biscuits taste far different and aren’t meant to be sweet.

Now that you’ve seen the differences laid out, it should be obvious that scones are very different and can’t be directly compared to biscuits. They have some similarities, but they’re certainly distinct.

How Are Scones Different From Muffins?

Muffins are sort of like scones in some ways. They’re more like heavy cream scones than they are butter scones.

Even so, muffins are different from scones. Butter scones are drier than muffins, and they’re typically going to be closer to bread than muffins are.

Heavy cream scones do share the cake-like texture of muffins, though. Despite this, the two pastries are still different.

Muffins have a completely different shape than scones. Scones are flat and wide.

Many scones are shaped like triangles. Muffins are round and have dome-shaped tops.

The taste of the muffins will generally be a bit different than that of scones. Some muffins might taste similar to heavy cream scones, but they won’t be exactly the same.

Final Thoughts

Knowing more about scones should help you out. You now have a much greater understanding of what ingredients are used to make them.

There are many types that you can choose to make. This means that there are more ingredients that weren’t discussed here.

Above, you learned about the most common scone ingredients. You also looked at typical recipes that will allow you to make standard butter scones and basic heavy cream scones.

So you have an idea of what you need to do to make tasty scones. You know the purpose that the various ingredients serve as well.

Butter scones are going to be drier. They aren’t as rich or dessert-like as heavy cream scones.

People love eating butter scones when they’re drinking tea in the afternoon. It’s also common to enjoy these snacks with coffee.

The same can be said for heavy cream scones. Except these snacks are easier to enjoy as a pure dessert.

Both types can be topped with many different things. Some people like to eat them with fruit while others will smear jam on them.

You can even make decadent choices such as drizzling hot chocolate on them. No matter what, it’s easy to see why scones are appealing as special treats.

Remember to eat them in moderation. You don’t want to go overboard and add too many calories to your daily diet.

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