The secret to a great scone? Keep your hands off the dough

Raspberry, buttermilk and white chocolate might just be the best scone mixture ever

Raspberry, buttermilk and white chocolate scones. Photograph: Harry Weir Photography

A fluffy scone recipe is an essential one to have in your repertoire. Whether you like them plain or fruity, sweet scones are one of the first recipes many people learn how to bake, due to their ease and simplicity.

The perfect scone is buttery, soft and pillowy inside with a slight crunchy exterior, and the key to this is simple: do not overwork your dough. Overworked dough leads to flat, dense scones. They can be akin to the rock cakes I used to make in home economics in school – bottom line, they weren’t very pleasant. A shaggy looking scone dough is a successful scone dough.

Scones can be whipped up in a matter of minutes and you most likely already have all the ingredients in your cupboards. This week I’m celebrating the start of the warmer weather by using my favourite berry – raspberries. I love to add fresh berries to my scone dough, but as this recipe is a straightforward one, you can substitute others or omit them if you prefer.

The addition of buttermilk makes the scones wonderfully flaky and works so well with the raspberries. If you don’t have buttermilk, add two tablespoons of lemon juice to regular milk to curdle it. The white chocolate adds little pops of sweetness and is a wonderful balance to the tangy berries and buttermilk – a beautiful combination.


Following a few simple tips can help to avoid your scones ending up flat and dense. The first is to use cold ingredients. Freezing your butter and then grating it into the dough helps the scone rise and keeps it gorgeously fluffy. Another tip: check that your baking powder hasn’t expired. This may seem obvious, but it is one of those ingredients that tends to stay at the back of the cupboard for quite a while. This is the main leavening agent in your scones so it is essential to use one that’s in date.

Handling your scone dough as little as possible is also imperative for a perfect scone. Pat it together until it just about comes together. The addition of raspberries makes this step crucial, as overworking the dough will cause the raspberries to break, making the dough much wetter and more difficult to handle. You can freeze your fresh raspberries or use frozen to help avoid this.

A last tip: when cutting out your scones, try to avoid twisting the cutter when pressing down; this will prevent the scone from rising unevenly. If you don’t have cutters, a glass dipped in flour will work just as well.

The baked scones are best eaten fresh, but they freeze well too.

Recipe: Raspberry, buttermilk and white chocolate scones