Easy Cheddar Cheese Scones
Savory baked goods are hard to resist, especially when cheese is involved! Ready in just under an hour, homemade cheddar cheese scones are easy to make for your next breakfast or brunch. This English pastry is similar to buttermilk biscuits with its light and fluffy texture and delicious buttery flavor!
I love a good scone, especially one that is slightly crisp on the outside and buttery soft on the inside. This savory version achieves that perfect balance, which makes it so hard to resist. You will love the subtle garlic flavor and cheesy goodness in every bite (my cheddar biscuits have the same flavor combo!)
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Perfect for any time of day! The beauty of cheese scones is that the savory flavor lends itself well to any time of day.
- One bowl recipe and no electric mixer required. You only need one large mixing bowl to make the dough.
- Ready in under an hour. Quick and easy is the name of the game. You’ll be eating these scones in no time!
- Perfect for Easter or Mother’s Day brunch. This breakfast pastry is popular for holidays when you may be entertaining guests in the morning or early afternoon.
- Cheddar cheese: Use a good-quality, sharp cheddar (I prefer Cabot). Also, shred the cheese yourself (do not use the pre-shredded cheese in a bag).
- Butter: Make sure your butter is frozen before grating! By using grated butter, the tiny pieces are dispersed more evenly throughout the dough.
- Buttermilk: Use cold buttermilk to provide a tangy taste and light texture.
- Baking powder: Check that your baking powder is fresh and not expired. This helps the scones rise and achieve a fluffy texture.
- Garlic powder and ground cayenne: These spices provide plenty of flavor! If you want less spice, replace the cayenne with equal amount ground black pepper.
- Sugar: It might sound out of place, but just a tablespoon of sugar helps elevate the other flavors. Trust me on this one!
Refer to the recipe card for detailed information on ingredients and quantities.
Add herbs. Use 3 Tablespoons fresh herbs or 2 teaspoons dried herbs. Rosemary, dill, parsley and chives are good options. Mustard powder (1/2 teaspoon) would also complement these scones.
Try different cheeses. Any type of hard cheese works well in this recipe. I suggest Parmesan, Gouda, Asiago or Gruyére. You can also do a blend! Aim for a total of 1 cup shredded cheese.
Mix-in some meat or vegetables. Diced ham or bacon bits add a savory flavor to complement the cheddar cheese. You can also add diced onion, scallions, chopped spinach, sun-dried tomatoes or shredded zucchini (patted very dry). I suggest about 1/2 cup of whatever you choose to mix-in. For a spicy kick, add 1/3 cup finely chopped jalapeños.
Make them mini. Divide the dough in half and form each half into a 5-inch disc. Cut the discs into 6 small triangles to yield 12 mini cheese scones. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Try my mini chocolate chip scones recipe next!
How to Make Cheddar Cheese Scones
- Whisk dry ingredients: Flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, garlic powder and ground cayenne (if using).
- Add cold, grated butter. Cut it into the dry ingredients using two forks or a pastry cutter.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and buttermilk. Add to the butter and flour mixture. Mix just until combined. Dough should be sticky, but not wet.
- Stir in the shredded cheese until incorporated. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface or parchment paper.
- Shape the dough into an 8-inch round disc. Use a bench scraper or sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Brush the scones with milk (or cream) and place them in the refrigerator while the oven preheats to 400 F. Once preheated, bake scones for 20 to 22 minutes, or until golden.
Use cold ingredients. This is scones 101! The cold ingredients create a light and fluffy texture. For all my scone recipes, I keep everything in the refrigerator until I’m ready to bake.
Grate frozen butter. Small pieces of frozen butter will better disperse throughout the dough. As the cold butter melts in the oven, steam will escape creating pockets of air in the scones. Shred the cheese yourself. It makes all the difference in flavor and the cheese melts more evenly.
Don’t overwork the dough. Mix ingredients just until combined and use a light hand to form the dough into a disc. If the dough is compressed, the scones won’t rise properly.
Chill the scones while the oven preheats. This guarantees that the dough is cold. There’s always a chance it warmed up while you were shaping it, especially if you’re baking in a warm climate. This trick makes the recipe fool proof!
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
Make head: The dough may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. You can either keep it in a disc or cut into triangles. Cover in plastic wrap to keep the dough from drying out. Brush scones with milk just prior to baking.
Storage: Scones are best when eaten the day they are baked. However, they may be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Make sure they are completely cooled before storing.
Freezing: Cut the dough into triangles and flash freeze them for one hour. Transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag. For ultimate freshness, individually wrap them in plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 3 months. You can also freeze baked scones for up to 3 months.
Baking from frozen: Remove scones from the freezer and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Let them sit at room temperature while the oven preheats, about 15 minutes. The scones will defrost slightly, but baking time will be longer, about 22 to 24 minutes.
Use cold ingredients and avoid overworking the dough. Mixing the dough just until combined prevents gluten from forming and ultimately creates a light and fluffy texture (not dense and hard).
Serve warm with butter or a savory spread, such as tomato chutney, pesto or chilli sauce. They also pair well with a light salad, cured meats, pickles or apples.
The dough was too warm, which causes the butter to melt too quickly and dough to spread. It’s also possible the baking sheet was hot if you are baking in batches.
Yes, any hard cheese, such as Parmesan or Gouda, will work. Soft cheeses will not work in this recipe.
Yes. Place 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon milk in a measuring cup. Add 1 Tablespoon white distilled vinegar and stir. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes before using in the recipe. This recipe only requires 2/3 to 3/4 cup.
Check out these other savory recipes to love!
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Get the Recipe: Easy Cheddar Cheese Scones
- 2 cups (250 g) all purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne
- 4 Tablespoons (56 g) frozen unsalted butter
- ⅔ to ¾ cup (160 ml to 180 ml) cold buttermilk
- 1 large egg, cold
- 1 cup (120 g) shredded sharp white cheddar cheese, (not pre-shredded in the bag)
- Milk or cream to brush on top of scones
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, garlic powder and cayenne. Set aside.
- Use a box grater to shred butter into small pieces (it’s best if the butter is frozen). Alternatively, cut butter into small 1/4-inch pieces. Add butter to flour mixture and cut butter into the mixture by using a pastry cutter or your hands.
- In a separate bowl or measuring cup, whisk together buttermilk and egg. Pour the wet mixture into flour mixture. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to mix ingredients together until large dough crumbles form (avoid over mixing!) If the dough is too dry, add more buttermilk, one Tablespoon at a time. Dough should be slightly sticky, not wet.
- Stir in shredded cheese just until incorporated.
- Use your hands to form dough into a loose ball. If the dough is too dry and doesn’t come together, add another Tablespoon of buttermilk. If the dough is too wet (like cookie dough), add another Tablespoon of flour. Transfer dough ball to a floured work surface and press into an 8-inch round disc. Use a bench scraper or sharp knife to cut dough into 8 triangles.
- Place scones on prepared baking sheet and brush them with milk. Place baking sheet in the refrigerator to keep the scones cold while the oven preheats (about 15 minutes).
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Once the oven beeps, wait 5 more minutes to ensure it is at 400 and hot!
- Remove scones from the refrigerator and transfer them to the oven. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Let scones cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.