How to make light and fluffy cheese scones, plus tips how to make your scones rise and what to serve them with. Easy recipe using plain flour – and also on video.
Whatever time of day it is, there’s something incredibly comforting about serving warm, light and fluffy cheese scones with melted butter and a pot of tea.
Homemade Cheesy Scones
My teenage girls are both French and British. When they were little, we’d jump on our cheap shuttle flights from Beauvais to Prestwick, and on arrival, it was so exciting to see Granny and Grandpa waiting for us. This was always followed with our family tradition: we’d head straight to the nearest garden centre for a pot of tea and the most delicious cheesy scones served with lashings of butter. They were so good, it wasn’t for elevenses (in France, this doesn’t exist!) but at 11am we’d instead call it lunch.
The girls would always associate their trips to Scotland with cheese scones and so they’d ask to have them occasionally at home for a special treats (in between the macarons, the financiers, éclairs and tarts, les pauvres!). However, living in France, they’re not one of the treats you’ll find in Parisian bakeries.
As a result, I make cheese scones at home, as they are – surprisingly – so quick and easy to make.
How to Get Your Fluffy Cheese Scones to Rise
My idea of a perfect cheese scone is that it’s light, high and fluffy. I started off many years ago using the classic recipe in the Be-Ro Flour Cookbook. Now, over the years I have used this slightly adapted recipe which ensures that they have a lovely height. I also prefer using plain flour for the recipe, so I can control how much baking powder goes in.
There are THREE SECRETS to high rise fluffy scones:
- Don’t be shy on the baking powder. Even if using self-raising flour, add a teaspoon;
- Scone dough should be wet. It’s messy but I assure you, it works; and
- Don’t work the dough too much – including not rolling it out too flat. Keep it quite thick, cutting them with a scone or cookie cutter.
What Do You Eat Cheese Scones With?
How do you eat your cheese scones? We just split our cheese scones in half while warm and spread on a little butter, watching it melt. They’re perfect with a cup of tea for teatime or French goûter – or for lunch with a comforting bowl of soup (see soup ideas below, ideal with cheese scones).
Best Cheese to Use for Savoury Scones
Ideally use a good, strong, mature cheddar (orange will give it a lovely colour but it’s not necessary) as the flavour should shine through. Using half of grated aged parmesan or a mature hard orange vieille mimolette adds extra punch too. The stronger the better!
Personally, as we don’t have the easiest access to the best mature cheddar in France, I use a half and half mix of what orange cheddar I can find with best quality French Comté cheese (preference 12-18 months mature), thus making them a bit of a Scottish-French Auld Alliance.
Fluffy Cheese Scones – The Perfect Glazed Look
For a shiny royal scone look, the best way is to brush the tops of the scones with a milk and egg yolk glaze.
If you don’t have any extra eggs to hand, however, you can brush the tops of the scones with milk only (alas, for the pictures here, we ran out of eggs as they were rationing them at the market at the start of the pandemic!).
Before they go in the oven, top the scones with more grated cheese and/or poppy seeds and sesame seeds.
The result? The cheese scones have a lovely, finished shine that gives that slight crunch to the outside and split open warm, they’re soft, light and fluffy inside – ready to spread with quickly melting butter!
What’s more, we love making mini cheese scones for teatime. Just cut out smaller rounds and bake for a couple of minutes less.
Quick Soup Recipes from the Pantry
Cheese scones are also a real treat served for a light lunch with a comforting bowl of soup. Here are some ideas for homemade soup, using little from the pantry:
- Fresh Vegetable Soup – no stock needed, just the freshest of veggies in season and butter;
- Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup (Camilla of FabFood4All);
- Pastina Italian Soup (Christina’s Cucina)
- Crème du Barry Cauliflower Velouté (can be made without the yolks and replace cauliflower with any fresh or frozen vegetable you have at hand. I make it also with broccoli – it’s so rich & creamy);
- Pumpkin, Leek & Ginger Soup
- Sweetcorn and Red Pepper Chowder
How to Make Light & Fluffy Cheese Scones
Fluffy Cheese Scones
- 250 g (9oz) Plain (all-purpose) flour T55
- 1 tbsp Baking powder (use only 1 tsp if using self-raising flour)
- 1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
- pinch salt & pepper
- 50 g (2oz) Butter, unsalted (at room temperature)
- 100 g (3.5oz) Cheese, finely grated (Cheddar, French Comté, Mimolette)*
- 1 tbsp Rosemary, finely chopped (or fresh thyme, chives, dried Herbes de Provence)
- 1 egg (@60g)
- 100 ml (3.5fl oz) Milk (whole or semi-skimmed)
- 1 egg yolk (optional)
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp sesame or poppy seeds (optional)
- Heat oven to 220°C/425°F/200°C fan/Gas 7. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Mix together the flour, baking powder/soda, salt, pepper, and rosemary (or other herbs) in a large bowl. Either rub in the butter using your fingers but if you have a mixer, this is even better. Mix just until the butter looks like breadcrumbs in the flour then add the cheese. Add the egg and milk and mix until fully combined. The result should be a sticky dough. If you find it's too dry, add a little bit more milk.
- Roll out on a floured surface to about 2 cm thick (nearly an inch) and using a scone/cookie cutter (6cm/2.5"), cut out medium-sized rounds. Alternatively, to save time or if you don't have cutters, roll into a circle (use a plate as a guide) and cut into triangles with a sharp knife.
- Place on the baking tray and brush with a mixture of egg yolk and a little milk to glaze (yolk is optional but recommended for a shiny glaze).
- Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.