Traditional Scottish Scones Recipe

Here's the traditional Scottish scones recipe that my Grannie Bell used, and it comes packed with love, history, and many a family tea-time story. Enjoy a sweet taste of Scotland that you can easily recreate in your own kitchen.

Grannie always served her scones warm and crumbly from the oven, smothered in her thick homemade orange marmalade. Scones and marmalade are so satisfyingly good, and I can still taste them after all these years. Now, you can enjoy them too.

Grannie Bell's Scottish Scones Recipe

Mom's Recipe Scrapbooks (1920s)

Scottish Scone Served With FruitEnjoy Your Scottish Scone With Fruit and Cream
(Source: ©jenbray/

Grannie's Traditional Scottish Scone Recipe

The Scotsman has a name for it. He wanted his "scone" to start the day right. The scone is as native to Scotland as white heather.

This traditional scones recipe makes an old fashioned scone (pronounce as in "gone") that could have come right out of a bake shop on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow.

Try it for breakfast and "sure, you'll be wantin' yer scone ev'r maunin'." That's for certain! You'll love the taste of your homemade Scottish scones for lunch and supper too, and here's THE authentic scone recipe to make them.

Old Fashioned Raisin SconeEnjoy a Traditional Raisin Scone With Poppy Seeds
(Source: ©mrsiraphol/

Grannie's Tip

Your scone dough may be portioned and baked as 6 individual scones as an option.

Sift together flour, cream of tartar, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Blend in poppy seeds. Cut in butter or margarine with 2 knives or pastry blender until it is the size of small peas. Add raisins and blend well. Add milk gradually, blending until dough is fairly soft.

Turn out on lightly floured board and pat into round cake about 9 inches in diameter. Place on greased cookie sheet and with back of knife, cut across in quarters, not cutting completely through the dough.

Traditional Scottish SconesThe Scottish Scone

Bake in moderate oven (375ºF) 1/2 hour. Split while hot, spread with butter and jam or jelly to suit your taste. Serve very hot. Yields 6 servings. May be reheated and served later. —Traditional Scottish dessert recipe from The Furrow

Scottish Soda Scones

1 quart flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, a little lard or butter, salt, and sugar to taste. Warm the flour. Mix dry ingredients. Add butter or lard to make consistent dough. Turn out on board and handle as little as possible.

Turn out round, and bake in a skillet, or on top of stove. When one side is done, turn over. Note: whole wheat flour can be used in the same way with this traditional Scottish dessert recipe.

Traditional Scottish Scones Recipes

The Glasgow Cookery Book (1924)

Scottish Soda Scones

Scottish Soda SconesScottish Soda Scones Cut and Ready to Bake
(Source: © Paul_Cpwan/


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 Salt
1 teaspoonful Cream of Tartar
1 teaspoonful Baking Soda
1/2 pint Buttermilk (or, if using Sweet Milk, add 2 teaspoonfuls Cream of Tartar)

Heat the girdle (griddle) slowly. Add salt to the flour, mix all the dry ingredients; add buttermilk, and mix to a light elastic dough.

Roll out thinly on a floured board. Divide into four or eight. Bake on a fairly hot girdle, allowing 3 to 4 minutes per side. Cool in a clean towel.

1 ounce lard may be used if liked, rubbed into flour after adding salt. Scones may be made smaller as desired by dividing before rolling out.

Sweet Milk Scones

Grandma's Tip

Sweet milk is what's now called regular whole milk.

1/2 pound Flour
1/2 ounce Sugar
1 ounce Butter or Margarine
1 teaspoonful Cream of Tartar
1/2 teaspoonful Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoonful Salt
1 gill (1/2 cup) Milk (Sweet Milk = Whole Milk)

Rub the butter or margarine into the flour, add the dry ingredients, mix well into a light dough with the milk. Turn out on to a floured board, work lightly, roll out and cut in eight pieces.

Lay on a greased baking-tin, and bake in a quick oven (425°F) for 10 minutes. To glaze the scones, brush over with a little egg or mUk before putting into the oven.

Traditional Brown Scones

As in previous Sweet Milk Scones recipe, bake, using half flour and half wheat flour or wheat meal.

Sweet Treacle Scones

1 pound Flour
2 ounces Lard or Butter
2 tablespoonfuls Treacle
1 teaspoonful Baking Soda
1 teaspoonful Ground Cinnamon
1-1/2 tablespoonfuls Sugar
1 teaspoonful Mixed Spice
Salt, pinch
Buttermilk to mix

Mix the dry ingredients, and treacle, then begin to mix with buttermilk until a stiff dough. Divide in four. Roll out, cut in four, brush over with beaten egg, and bake in a hot oven (425°F) 12 to 15 minutes.

N.B.—Half teaspoonful cream of tartar may be added if sweet milk is used instead of buttermilk.

N.B.—Molasses, Golden Syrup, Maple Syrup, Corn Syrup, or Honey can be substituted for Treacle.

An Introduction to Scottish Scones

Scottish scones are steeped in tradition and synonymous with comfort and belonging. They are far more than simple baked goods. They symbolize the homely warmth and Old World charm of Grandma's kitchen.

What's the difference between Scottish scones and North American tea biscuits? Generally, scones tend to be made "shorter" with more butter, less sweet, denser, and they tend not to "flake" like a tea biscuit when split open.

Scottish scones were never meant to be fancy. They are typically a plain, round, and tender quick-bread that's perfect for an array of delightful toppings. From butter so golden it simply melts into the scone, to traditional clotted cream, and vibrant homemade jams, jellies, and preserves.

These scones aren't simply a taste treat; they're a cherished family tradition that you can enjoy anytime to experience a sense of comfort, and a warm feeling of hearth and home. Grandma's Scottish Scones Recipe invites you into this world of tradition and taste. I invite you to become a part of Grandma's delicious legacy.

Scottish Scones Baking Tips and Tricks

Mastering the art of baking Scottish scones brings a wonderful feeling of accomplishment, and Grandma's shared baking tips and tricks will help you create scones that are truly exceptional in taste and appearance.

First, it's essential to use cold ingredients, especially chilled butter, as this ensures your scones will have a somewhat crumbly and tender texture. Additionally, handle the dough with a gentle touch to avoid over mixing, which can lead to scones without that softness. Remember, the key to light and fluffy scones lies in preserving the delicate structure of the dough.

Another valuable tip is to shape your scones before baking. Gently pat the dough out to a thickness of about 1 inch and use a round cutter to create uniform shapes. Dipping the cutter in flour between each cut helps prevent sticking and ensures clean edges. This attention to detail ensures that your scones will bake evenly and rise beautifully in the hot oven.

Finally, a crucial secret that Grandma shared is to bake the scones in a preheated oven. This step will guarantee that they will begin to rise and develop that beautiful golden exterior from the moment they enter the oven. Keep a watchful eye on the baking time, though, as scones can quickly become overcooked and lose their soft interior.

With these tips and tricks, you are well on your way to creating delectable homemade treats that would make Grandma proud.

Variations and Toppings for Scones

Scottish Scones With JamFreshly Made Scones Topped With Butter and Jam
(Source: © TanaCh/

Clotted Cream Substitute

Beat 4 ounces cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Add 1/4 cup soft butter and beat, then add 1/4 cup sour cream and beat until smooth. Let sit 30 minutes at room temperature before serving on scones.

Experimenting with scones can be an exciting and rewarding baking experience. Once you've mastered the basic Scottish scones recipe, there are countless variations and toppings to explore.

Add your personal touch to Grandma's recipes, and serve up fresh crumbly scones that strike the perfect balance between traditional and modern.

Fruit additions, such as currants, raisins, raspberries, or dried blueberries, can enhance the flavor of your scones, lending a burst of sweetness with every bite.

Similarly, a savory twist could incorporate ingredients like grated cheese, dried herbs, or sun-dried tomatoes. Modifying Grandma's old fashioned recipe doesn't mean compromising it, but rather enhancing it with creative touches that please your taste and offer a variety of delicious flavors.

As for toppings, the list is as vast as your imagination. Enjoy a traditional taste with dairy butter, clotted cream, lemon curd, cream cheese, whipped cream, or homemade strawberry jam.

However, If you're keen on trying something fancier, consider topping with drizzles of chocolate, a sweet citrus glaze, or a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

Remember, the art of scone making now lies in your hands, and Grandma's Scottish scones recipe just gives you the open door to yet-to-be-imagined flavors that will delight your guests.

Serving and Storing Scones

Serving freshly baked Scottish scones is an art form in itself, elevating them from simply a baked good to a lavish treat.

Traditionally, Scottish scones are served split open while still warm, revealing the soft, fluffy interior ready to soak up the melted butter or your favorite preserve topping. That's the way Grannie always served them!

The experience of biting into a scone complete with such toppings provides a burst of contrasting flavors — the simplicity of the buttery scone perfectly complementing the richness of its toppings.

Storing your scones is equally essential to maintain their delightful taste and texture. To keep them fresh, allow them to cool completely, then store them in an airtight container at room temperature. They'll maintain their freshness for about 3 days,

However, if you need longer storage, you can freeze them — simply wrap each scone individually in cling film and place them in a sealable freezer bag. They should keep for up to 3 months, ready to warm and serve when the craving hits.

Finally, a special note from grandma's kitchen wisdom: If you're planning to serve scones at a gathering or event, consider baking them fresh on the day. Nothing quite matches the temptation of a freshly baked Scottish scone, warm and aromatic straight out of the oven.

Pair it with a brew of your favorite tea, or a strong coffee, and you've got yourself an indulgement that spells comfort, taste, and heartwarming nostalgia.

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