Buttermilk Scones

Buttermilk scones are delicious! They are slightly creamier than scones made with milk, but they're just as easy and quick to bake.

Unlike English tea scones, I don't usually put fruit, such as sultanas, in these scones. I think they are beautiful on their own.

They are perfect with butter and a good fruit jam. They have a slightly sour taste which really brings out the flavour of the jam.

I don't usually serve these scones with cream. The scones themselves are quite moist, and I don't think they need the extra creaminess.

As with all scones, they need to be made with a light hand. Dough that is overworked does not rise well, and the scones can be heavy. The best scones are light as a feather and break open easily without a knife.

Buttermilk is the liquid that separates away from cream when you shake it, or churn it, to make butter. It is thicker than milk, and more acidic in nature. Because of this, it can cause problems with rising if you use too much.

Buttermilk Scones

Level: Easy
Time: 30 minutes to serving
Makes: 6 large or 9 small scones

225g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
pinch salt

225g (1 1/2 cups) self-raising flour

55g (1/4 cup) butter
pinch of salt
25g (2 1/4 tablespoons) soft brown sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk
4 tablespoons full fat milk

  • Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7, 425F.

  • Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and set aside.

  • Sift the flour into a large bowl. Make sure you aerate the flour as much as possible by holding the sieve high as you work.

  • Rub the butter into the flour to resemble flakes (rather than crumbs). Use quick light motions to do this and handle as little as possible.

  • Stir in the sugar and salt.

  • Mix the buttermilk with the milk.

  • Add most of the buttermilk mixture and use a metal knife to stir in the buttermilk until the mixture is holding itself together in a soft dough. Add more of the liquid if necessary.

  • The dough should be soft, but not sticky.

  • Knead lightly 2 or 3 times - just enough to make it into a ball.

  • Press down with your hands on a lightly floured surface to a depth of 1 inch. Do not allow the dough to be any thinner, or your scones will not rise properly.

  • Dip a cutter (either 2 1/2 or 2 inches) into some flour and cut out scone shapes. Push down firmly to cut out, and do not twist the cutter.

  • Handle the remaining dough as little as possible as you gather it together to make the last of the scones. Remember not to press it down to less than 1 inch.

  • Place the scones on the baking sheet and dust lightly with flour.

  • Put on the middle shelf of the oven to bake for 12-15 minutes with large scones, or 10-12 for small scones. The scones should be lightly browned on the top when they are done.

    Remove from the oven and eat as soon as they are cool enough.

Serve with

Serve buttermilk scones on their own with just butter and jam and with a good strong black tea, like Earl Grey.

Beautiful homemade strawberry jam is my personal favourite, but any one of your favourites will go well.

Buttermilk scones are also great as part of an afternoon tea spread. Try them alongside carrot cake or chocolate cupcakes, soft gingerbread cookies and a selection of finger sandwiches.

I really prefer drinking black teas with scones when I have them on their own, but with a full spread like the one above, try rooibos or fresh peppermint tea if you wish to avoid caffeine.

I love this extremely pretty bone china tea cup and plate from Royal Albert available on Amazon for serving scones. Another item on my wish list....

If you loved Buttermilk Scones, perhaps you'd enjoy some of our other scone recipes....