Buttermilk Scones

Buttermilk Scones
Buttermilk Scones. Photo © Molly Watson
    30 mins

Think scones are thick, heavy doorstops? Sadly, many scones made and served are horrid things. But they don't need to be. These scones are flaky, tender, and absolutely delicious. One key to fabulous scones? Serve them the same day they are made. Like so many baked goods, scones don't age well. The buttermilk in these scones adds tenderness and flavor—without the fat of the cream used in traditional scones. I find them the perfect accompaniment to fresh, seasonal berries.

Out of buttermilk? No worries. See How to Make Buttermilk here. Or just use 3/4 cup plain yogurt and 1/4 cup milk instead. Use buttermilk to work magic in other breakfast treats, too, like Buttermilk Pancakes and Buttermilk Waffles.

What You'll Need

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling if you like
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 12 Tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks), well chilled
  • 1 cup buttermilk

How to Make It

  1. Preheat an oven to 425°F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and plop them into the flour mixture. I like to use my fingers to work the butter into the flour, but some people prefer to use a pastry cutter, a fork, or two knives. However you do it, you want the flour and butter to start to look more like cornmeal with a few larger pieces scattered here and there.
  1. Pour in the buttermilk and use a fork to stir the dough until it is mostly combined but still a bit shaggy looking. Dump the dough onto a clean work surface and knead it a few times to bring the mass into more of a real blob of dough.
  2. You can roll the dough out to about 1/2 inch thick and cut it into whatever shapes scones you like. I prefer to divide the dough in 2, pat both halves into 1/2-inch thick circles, and cut each circle into 6 triangles (cut across the circumference, as you would cut a pizza).
  3. No matter how you shape them, place the cut scones onto a large baking sheet, sprinkle with additional sugar if you like (if you happen to have coarse sugar, this is an excellent place to use it), and bake the scones until they're lightly golden on top and lightly browned on the bottom, 12 to 15 minutes.

These scones are amazing when served still warm, but most definitely serve them the day they are made. Like almost all quick baked goods, they don't age well.