Who doesn’t want a blueberry-filled muffin as a delicious snack or a tasty scone to satisfy their cravings? Even though these two pastries are equally mouthwatering, you’ll find out that they have more differences than things in common.
Today, we’ll offer you a complete guide on scone vs. muffin, pointing out how they compare in texture, taste, ingredients, and more. We’ll also tackle which one is healthier for you!
So, are you ready to dive right in?
It’s pretty easy to tell scones from muffins at first glance. While muffins are basically mini cakes that may or may not be filled with chocolate chips, blueberries, or other, scones are more like a crossbreed between bread and cookies.
With this in mind, let’s dive deeper into the differences in origin, texture, taste, and other factors between the two yummy baked goods.
We all know that scones are popular in the UK now, but when and where did their story begin?
Well, it’s widely agreed that scones were first introduced in Scotland around the early 16th century. Back then, they were made with oats and were labeled as a form of quick bread.
Throughout the years, and after people experimented with different ingredients and recipes, scones ended up the way that they are today. Now, they’re made with flour instead of oats, and they’re baked in the oven, not on a griddle, which was the case in the past.
As for muffins, those were created in the United States in the mid-1800s after pearlash was discovered. Those delicious mini cakes often contained nuts, spices, or fruits, and they still do to this day!
Scones and muffins couldn’t be more different, especially when it comes to their texture.
While scones are considered a form of quick bread, their texture is light and crumbly enough to resemble that of an English biscuit. Most times, those tasty treats are sweet, but some scone recipes are savory.
Also, scones can contain nuts or fruits, and some people like to add jam as a filling to enhance their flavor and make for a nice snack with tea.
On the other hand, muffins are pretty much like cakes, but not to be mistaken for cupcakes. See, cupcakes are generally sweeter, and they always have frosting on top, unlike muffins.
You should also know that muffins are pretty moist, but we can’t say the same for scones.
Muffins could be made with chocolate chips, nuts, or fruit, just like scones. However, most people prefer them plain, making this variety of muffins the most popular worldwide.
Sure, both delicacies lean toward the sweeter end, but muffins have an arguably more sugary taste.
In the case of scones, you’ll note a more buttery flavor, which will be definitely less pronounced in muffins, even if you have a plain one.
Of course, it only makes sense that both baked goods will have several ingredients in common, as is the case with many pastries and desserts. Yet, even the slightest change in an ingredient or two can cause all the huge differences we’ve already discussed between the two treats.
With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at the ingredients that make up those tasty creations!
Scones are primarily made with flour, baking powder, sugar, butter, eggs, and milk. These are the basic things you’ll need to make a classic scone, but you can use countless other ingredients to take your scones to the next level of deliciousness.
For example, some people like to add cinnamon for a yummy taste. Others grace their scones with cranberries, orange juice, or even pumpkin to celebrate the arrival of fall!
Better still, you can take the sugar out of the equation to end up with savory scones, which can be the ultimate appetizer. Besides removing sugar, consider adding your favorite type of cheese, like cheddar or parmesan, and herbs for a mouthwatering scone variety.
Now, when it comes to muffins, you’ll mostly need flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs, milk, vegetable oil, and a dash of salt. Funny how the ingredients are similar, but the two treats are completely different, right?
Well, it all boils down to the way that you mix and cook everything together, which we’ll discuss later on.
Besides these ingredients, you can also add blueberries, nuts, or chocolate chips into the mix. People also like to flavor their muffins with shredded coconut, mashed bananas, cinnamon, vanilla, and the list just goes on!
Even the way that you bake both treats takes different forms.
See, scones are baked on a flat baking sheet on a tray that goes into the oven, which is a revolutionized method of making scones on a griddle.
On the contrary, you can only make muffins by pouring their batter into a cupped tray. Otherwise, they won’t end up in the rounded form that we easily identify them by.
The last point of comparison between scones vs. muffins is the shape.
Scones can be either round or triangular, and they appear flat as if you’ve pressed down on them. Muffins are always round and fluffy, molded after the cups in the tray that you bake them in.
Now that we’ve covered the main differences and similarities between scones and muffins, let’s help you see those distinctions yourself by offering you a recipe for both.
Thankfully, it’s pretty simple to bake those two pastries, as you’ll see right below.
Here are your ingredients to make eight servings:
- Three cups of all-purpose flour
- Five teaspoons of baking powder
- Half a teaspoon of salt
- Half a cup of white sugar
- One egg
- One cup of milk
- ¾ cup of butter
And now, this is how to prepare your scones:
- Lightly grease a baking sheet with butter
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (or 200 degrees Celsius)
- Grab a bowl and add all the dry ingredients into it: sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt, then mix them together with the butter
- In another bowl, combine the egg with the milk, beat them until consistent, and add them to the previous mixture
- Mix everything to perfection
- Sprinkle some flour on your countertop, then drop the mixture onto it and knead it
- Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a circle with a thickness of half an inch
- Divide the circle into eight wedges with a knife, then place them all on the baking sheet that you’ve already greased
- Put the tray in the oven and bake the scones for 15 minutes (take them out when they turn golden)
How to Bake Muffins From Scratch
To make the most delicious muffins, these are the ingredients you should have on hand (for 12 servings):
- Two cups of all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup of white sugar
- Three teaspoons of baking powder
- Half a teaspoon of salt
- One cup of milk
- One egg
- ¼ cup of vegetable oil
Now, let the fun begin!
- Just like you’d do with scones, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
- Line a muffin tray with paper cups
- Again, mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, but this time, create a pit in the center
- In a smaller bowl, beat the eggs with the milk and oil, then pour them all into the well you’ve made in the flour mix
- Mix all the ingredients with a fork quickly until you end up with a moist, consistent batter (make sure not to beat the ingredients to allow some air into the batter)
- Pour the batter into the paper cups in the muffin tray, then put the tray in the oven
- Bake the muffins for 25 minutes
Note: You can always add one cup of chopped raisins, dates, or blueberries to the mixture. Do this when the batter is ready to go into the oven, and make sure you fold those fruits carefully into the mixture.
Both delicacies have a significant amount of sugar and white flour, so they aren’t exactly the healthiest snacks out there.
But again, this is the case when you compare plain scones to plain muffins. If you’ll be adding chocolate or nuts to your muffins, you can only expect them to have more calories than plain scones, right?
After going through our article, it turned out that the scone vs. muffin debate has a lot more than meets the eye.
Where scones are dry and crumbly, muffins are fluffy and moist. Another distinction between the two is that scones can be sweet or savory, while muffins are more popular as sweet treats.
There are a few things that scones and muffins have in common, though. They basically have the same ingredients, except for the butter in scones and the oil in muffins. Both can also contain nuts, fruits, and spices.
All in all, scones and muffins are two delicious baked goods that you must try, and, thankfully, making them from scratch is a piece of cake!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.