Scottish Drop Scones Recipe

Queen Elizabeth II used this traditional drop scones recipe to make tasty Scottish pancakes for President Dwight D. Eisenhower during his August 1959 visit to Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

Her Majesty later enclosed a copy of the Scottish pancake recipe with a handwritten letter to Eisenhower, in January 1960. Now, you can enjoy making them too.

The Queen's Drop Scones Recipe

(U.S. National Archives and Records Admin.)

Traditional Scottish Drop Scones With Berries
(Source: ©IMelnyk/

Scottish Drop Scones

The Scottish drop scone is similar to the North American pancake, but as my Grannie Bell would say, they are usually made a wee bit thicker, a wee bit smaller, and a just wee bit sweeter.

Queen Elizabeth II's Drop Scone RecipeHer Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Drop Scone Recipe
(Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Admin.)

Castor Sugar

In the USA substitute Super Fine sugar, a.k.a. Bar Sugar. In Canada use Super Fine or Berry Sugar. These sugars are finely ground yet not powdered like icing sugars.


4 teacups flour
4 tablespoons castor sugar
2 teacups milk
2 whole eggs
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
3 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons melted butter

Beat eggs, sugar, and about half the milk together, add flour, and mix well together adding remainder of milk as required, also bicarbonate and cream of tartar, fold in the melted butter. Enough for 16 people.

Her Majesty added the following handwritten instruction in her letter:

"Though the quantities are for 16 people, when there are fewer, I generally put in less flour and milk, but use the other ingredients as stated."

I have also tried using golden syrup or treacle instead of only sugar, and that can be very good too. I think the mixture needs a great deal of beating while making, and shouldn't stand about too long before cooking."

Reduced Ingredients for 4 Servings

1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/4 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 tablespoon melted butter

The Queen's Letter to Eisenhower

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration has the Queen's original handwritten letter to President Eisenhower in its collection.

Queen Elizabeth's 1960 Letter to President Ike EisenhowerHer Majesty's 1960 Letter to President Eisenhower
(Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Admin.)

The following YouTube video from British Pathe shows highlights of Eisenhower's 1959 visit to Britain including scenes filmed at Balmoral Castle where he enjoyed Scottish drop scones with the Queen and the Royal Family.

Enjoy Her Majesty's favorite Scottish drop scones recipe. Make a huge pile of delicious golden pancakes for yourself and your family tonight!

Scottish Drop Scones Recipe

The Glasgow Cookery Book (1924)

Glasgow Drop Scones


A Scottish "girdle" (griddle) is frying pan or flat-top cooking surface used to cook pancakes, French toast, and eggs.

1 pound Flour
1 teaspoonful Baking Soda
1 teaspoonful Cream of Tartar
2 tablespoonfuls Sugar or 1 tablespoonful Golden Syrup
1 Egg
1/2 teaspoonful Salt
3/4 pint Buttermilk

Mix all dry ingredients, beat the egg well and add milk to it; mix to fairly soft batter. Grease a hot
girdle with suet.

Drop the mixture on to the girdle with an iron spoon. When brown on one side, turn and brown on the other. Wrap in a clean towel to cool.

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