5 Ingredients or Fewer

Foolproof Cream Scones

January 20, 2019
20 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Makes 6 scones
Author Notes

Scones have a bad rap for being dry, but these ones are anything but. As with biscuits, the standard scone method involves cutting butter into dry ingredients—and hoping you don’t cut it too small or let it get too warm. This version skips the butter altogether and uses lots of cream instead. In turn, the recipe is nothing more than: dump ingredients in a bowl and stir. The white whole-wheat flour adds nutty flavor (though feel free to swap in an equal amount of all-purpose, or even half all-purpose and half standard whole-wheat). The raw sugar brings caramely vibes and an awesome crust. Serve with butter or, my favorites, clotted cream or crème fraîche. —Emma Laperruque

Test Kitchen Notes

This is one of our Big Little Recipes. Read more here: The Lightest, Fluffiest Scones Skip This Important Ingredient. —The Editors

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Foolproof Cream Scones
  • 2 cups (240 grams) white whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) demerara sugar, plus more to sprinkle on top
  • 3 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (353 grams) cold heavy cream, plus more to brush on top
  1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment or a silicone mat.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Stir with a spoon to combine. Add half the cream, stir a few times, then add the rest of the cream, and stir until a mostly-cohesive dough forms. Finish bringing together by hand—until there are no more noticeable dry spots, but don’t overwork!—then transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Use your hands to pat the dough into a circle that’s 6 inches wide and 1 inch high. Cut into 6 triangles. Brush the tops with plenty of cream, then sprinkle with lots of demerara sugar (they should be completely covered).
  3. Transfer the scones to the lined baking sheet, spacing them out evenly. Bake for about 20 minutes—rotating the tray halfway through—until well-risen, with browned bottoms and a golden-brown crust.
  4. These are best the day they're baked—especially when still warm—but no one will complain if you have leftovers tomorrow.
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Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

23 Reviews

Lisa S. July 2, 2023
I made this recipe by weight using my scale and it was soup! I had to add way more flour. 1.5 cups of liquid to 2 cups of flour is pretty much a one to one ratio! I would skip this recipe. Maybe the weights are wrong? So weird.
beatty9 October 4, 2020
I have no idea what I’m doing, but I just used basic all purpose flour added some dried cranberries and orange zest and a squeeze of juice and they turned out amazing! simple and easy. I will use this as my base every time and just add different flavours.
Heather S. May 2, 2020
I can't speak to the taste yet but I had to add 50% more flour before I could achieve a nonpourable consistency. I weighted the ingredients and was very careful to not add the cream all at once.
staceyrae11 March 22, 2020
Hello Emma, so I attempted to alter this recipe a bit and I think it was try much a disaster 😂😂. I used spelt and brown rice flour with cashew cream made to be the same consistency at the cream itself. I also added huckleberries to the mix. When I went to mix it, it was severely wet still, I added a bit more flour and was able to turn it out on the lightly floured surface, yet I was completely and utterly unable to form it well or cut it, the dough was still too wet, 😬. Nonetheless, I sprinkled some coconut sugar on top and popped it into the 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, turning the baking pan half way. Unfortunately, the Huckleberries turn the dough purple, so I was unable to determine if it was browning nicely, I had to wing it. In the end, I think it baked for a total of 28 minutes before I removed it from the oven.
I would love your input on my attempts to use alternative ingredients and whether or not you might possibly be able to shed some light on where my baking experience began to go a rye. I’m an green baker 👩🏼‍🍳, yet I do love to experiment with alternative ingredients when I can, it’s fun for me. Thank you 🙏🏻 ~ Stacey ☺️
Emma L. March 23, 2020
Hi Stacey! I love experimenting with substitutions, too—but with baking, it can be tricky and unpredictable, since recipes are very ingredient- and quantity-sensitive. My best advice is to make one small change at a time and go from there (this way, if it doesn't work, you can pinpoint the issue). Here's a helpful article on reliable ingredient swaps you can make with baked goods: https://food52.com/blog/18861-10-baking-ingredient-swaps-that-won-t-fail-you-or-your-cake. Hope that helps and happy baking!
debplusthree March 21, 2020
What an outstanding recipe! They are a little bit crumbly, but just as moist as promised. If only everything were as easy as these scones. As soon as I can get my hands on heavy cream, I will bake these again! Slathered in clotted cream and jam, they were just what we needed. Excellent recipe!
Mkw February 23, 2019
The dough was very sticky, so it was a bit difficult to cut. They browned up nicely, and tasted good, but they were very crumbly, and fell apart when I tried to spread the butter on. I don't know if I should have worked the dough more? I used the king Arthur white whole wheat flour, and weighed it out to 240 g.
Emma L. February 24, 2019
Hi—sorry to hear they turned out crumbly! Do you remember how long you baked them?
Mkw February 24, 2019
I baked them for 20 minutes, rotated the sheet once. They were a lovely dark brown on top and almost, but not quite too brown on the bottom. I checked the oven with my thermometer and it was right on 400. The dough was very wet and sticky and difficult to cut. They tasted good, just needed a bit more structure.
Emma L. February 25, 2019
Thanks for these notes! I didn't run into similar issues during my own tests—but curious if others do, too.
Shelley T. March 16, 2019
This happened to me when I added all the cream at once. If you add it slowly that may not happen next time. Happy baking!
Annette February 7, 2019
This is definitely was is called a 'cream scone'. I made a half batch this morning as I live and work alone in a home office--it still made 6 fairly large scones. Dough was quite sticky and not easy to 'pat out'. I measured the flour correctly--per King Arthur, not digging in and scooping rather, fluff up the flour and gently spoon and level=4.4 oz for a cup. I would definitely sift my baking powder along with the flour as it left little lumps in the end. I used regular AP flour as that is all I had. Did use turbinado sugar though. I ate one without any cream or jam. It was good..a bit heavy but I think it was the flour. For those suggestion egg white--a traditional scone has no egg at all in it, so it would no longer be a scone.
samandscout February 1, 2019
These were perfect! Crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Deliciousness! Thank you for sharing! I have to say it is so easy using the cream.
Emma L. February 1, 2019
Thank you!
Kathy C. January 27, 2019
I had some extra cream on hand when I ran across this recipe. So tried it this morning but used King Arthur white flour, organic brown sugar and white sanding sugar for the tops, just all things I had on hand. The scones came out delicious. Definitely a little more biscuit-y, but I didn’t mind that. And I loved how ridiculously quick it took to assemble and get in the oven. Will definitely try these again with some currants or fruit added.
Emma L. February 1, 2019
Yay, thanks! Mmmm to currants.
Shelley T. January 27, 2019
I made these today and they were PERFECT! I used King Arthur white flour, and added about 1/3 cup frozen raspberries to the dough. I baked the 23 minutes. This recipe was fast and easy. I’ll be adding this to my regular rotation with various types of fruits.
Emma L. January 27, 2019
Thanks, Shelley! I always have mixed berries in my freezer—will have to try that soon!
Loren C. January 25, 2019
Meh. I much prefer scones with butter. These were pretty tasteless and moist instead of crumbly.
Here's my favorite scone recipe
Darian January 24, 2019
I made these last night as part of our "we're going to London in 2019!" celebration. We had them for breakfast this morning with butter and homemade blackberry jam. The scones were delicious! Great texture and crumb, just the right hint of sweetness and nice touch of crunch with the sugar on top. I usually make biscuits and scones with butter so I was leery of this recipe but am very glad I tried it out - I can see using it as a base recipe for many variations too. Thank you for a great recipe!
Emma L. January 25, 2019
Thanks, Darian! So glad to hear you enjoyed the scones—and have fun in London! Here are a few articles to help with planning:
Darian January 25, 2019
Thanks! I've actually already pored through these posts :-) There are several places in there that will definitely be on our itinerary!
Deb January 24, 2019
That's an awful lot of baking powder--*plus* added salt--for only 2 cups of flour and only 6 scones. More than half a teaspoon of baking powder per person--pretty gagging. This style of scone and biscuit recipes looks like some of the ones from the '20s and '30s, when chemical leavening was cheaper or more available than eggs and they hadn't thought about the health effects. Today there's just not that much excuse but people are still doing it--according to the NY Department of Health, baking powder biscuits from chain restaurants are just behind olives and pickles for sodium concentration. Really not what you'd expect for any kind of bread other than pretzels. If you just blend in an egg, or egg whites, or vegan egg substitute (a spoonful of ground flaxmeal mixed with a spoonful of water and let sit a minute until viscous is one decent option), you can cut back to one teaspoon of baking powder or baking soda for 2 cups (~240 g) of flour and it'll be fine, just use a little less cream to compensate for the extra liquid. And cut down or just skip the teaspoon of salt, too--you won't need it to cover the baking powder taste.