Scones may have originated in Scotland, but it’s one of the most popular tea-time treats in South Africa.

scone recipe

After lots of testing and tasting, I have eventually found the perfect recipe for light and buttery scones. These scones are slightly sweetened and glazed with egg wash. The buttery scones have a hint of vanilla, and the addition of buttermilk makes them ultra-light and fluffy. Served with a delicious fruity berry jam and whipped cream it makes an absolutely delectable tea time treat.


Flour – I use plain flour 

Leavening Agent –Just baking powder to give the scones the rise.

Sugar – I use icing sugar

Salt – So important for guaranteeing a great flavour!

Butter – The butter must be cold straight from the fridge for the best results. This recipe uses unsalted butter, if you use salted then halve the salt

Eggs – Adds a lovely texture and colour to the scones

Vanilla Extract – This is optional, but it adds a wonderful flavour

Buttermilk – We want cold buttermilk for this recipe, be sure to shake it well before using.

scone recipe

5 from 1 reviews
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: South African
  • 3 Cups Flour
  • 4 Tsps Baking Powder
  • 3 Tbles Icing Sugar
  • Salt to Taste
  • 200Gr Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tsps Vanilla Extract (Optional)
  • ¾ Cup Buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C
  2. In a large bowl add the flour, baking powder, icing sugar and salt and mix it all.
  3. Add the butter in small cubes or chunks (or you can grate it in) and rub the mixture together with your fingertips, or pulse in a food processor, until the butter is fully combined and the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
  4. In a medium jug, beat the eggs, vanilla extract and buttermilk. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of mixture for the tops.
  5. Add egg mixture to the flour and mix until just combined. The dough will be fairly sticky.
  6. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and pat it together as briefly as possible by hand to about 2.5cm thick. Be careful not to overwork it or knead it.
  7. Using a 5cm round cookie cutter, cut out as many scones as you can. Make sure to push straight down and to not twist the cutter at all.
  8. Gather the remaining dough and repeat until all the dough is used.
  9. Arrange the scones close to each other on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with the reserved egg mixture and bake for10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.
  10. Cool on a rack and then slice or break in half and serve warm with jam and whipped cream, or any other topping of your choice.
  11. Best served on the day they are made but can be eaten within 2-3 days. Can also be frozen
Secret to Flop Proof Scones

The secret of good scones is not to handle them too much before baking and to make the mixture on the wet, sticky side. If there are dry crumbs at the bottom of the bowl or it looks too dry, then add more buttermilk, 1 teaspoon at a time, and mix in with the fork or hands.

Either eat scones on the day of making or freeze once they have completely cooled. If time allows, thaw them at room temperature for a couple of hours and then refresh in a moderate oven for about 10 minutes.

The secret to making deliciously soft and crumbly scones is to make sure that the ingredients are completely cold when putting this dough together, and keeping it cool throughout the steps until it’s ready to be cut into individual scones for baking.

The butter should also be as cold as possible before it goes into a hot preheated oven – this way, instead of the butter melting into the flour, it instantly makes steam, which results in a light, puffy, flaky scone. Remember, a hot, hot oven is key, as we want that water-to-steam conversion right away!

Flour the work surface. Gather the cold dough into a ball and onto the floured surface. Liberally flour the top of the dough. Using your fingers, pat down lightly on the dough until it is about the same height as your scone (or cookie) cutter.

Dip the cutter generously in flour and cut a round from the dough.

Make sure to push straight down and not twist the cutter at all to prevent getting lopsided scones once baked.

Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Flour the cutter generously each time before cutting out the next round. Gather up the off-cuts, gently re-ball and press out to cut out more. Repeat until the dough is used up. Using a pastry brush, brush some of the buttermilk and egg mix on the tops of the scones, leaving the sides free.

Can the Baked Scones be Frozen

Best served on the day they are made, but can be eaten within 2-3 days. They can definitely be frozen for at least 2-3 months. Let them cool before freezing, then place in a re-sealable bag or airtight container. Leave to defrost at room temperature for 1- 2 hours before serving.