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Raisin Scones – English Scones

I can guarantee you that this is an authentic English Scone recipe. I used this recipe for 7 years when I worked in a British tea shop and I got the personal approval of the owner’s British mom for my Raisin Scones.

If you’re looking for a recipe for plain scones, you can follow this recipe and just leave out the raisins.

a raisin scone, slit open, on a white plate

I see lots of bad scones in coffee shops and bake shops. Most of the time they’re so light and sweet they’re closer to a muffin than a scone.

A good English scone should neither be too biscuit-like nor too muffin-like, but should fall somewhere between the two.

These are authentic English Scones

As I mentioned in my post for Gingerbread Scones, my Raisin Scones are adapted from a recipe given to me by the shop owner’s British mum. 

I made adjustments to the original recipe so it could work in a US kitchen with US ingredients and measurements. I can tell you I get great feedback from everyone who tastes these scones.

How to make a great raisin scone

  • Use fresh buttermilk for this recipe. The tangy flavor and tenderizing  acidity of the buttermilk make these the best scones ever.
  • I like to mix scones by hand. Mixing by hand ensures that you won’t over mix the dough and form too much gluten.
  • Pat the dough out by hand instead of using a rolling pin. This also ensures that the dough won’t be over worked.
  • As soon as  you add the buttermilk to the dry ingredients, the baking powder is activated.
  • To work ahead, mix the recipe until the point where you add the buttermilk. Later you can mix the dough, roll, cut and bake.
  • Scones are best the day they are baked. Leftovers can be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost and then warm in the oven to get the best texture.

Scroll through the step by step photos to see how to make English Scones:

A mixer bowl with partially mixed dough being poured onto a table.

Finish mixing the dough by hand.

a tray of raisin scones ready for the oven. A hand is sprinkling sugar on top.

For a golden brown finish, brush the scones with buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar.

raisin scones cooling on a rack

The scones are best the day they are baked, but they also freeze beautifully.

How to set up a full Afternoon Tea Party

To serve scones as part of a full afternoon tea here’s what you’ll need to do: For the first course serve dainty tea sandwiches, next serve the scones with clotted cream and lemon curd and raspberry preserves.

Finish with some small fancy pastries and cookies. My Rose Shortbread cookies and Petite Fours are the perfect dainty pastries for an Afternoon Tea table.

The classic Bakewell Tart is also perfect for afternoon tea.

Afternoon Tea is a great theme for a bridal or baby shower, or for a weekend brunch party.

raisin scones 7a

raisin scones 10a

But don’t wait until you plan a tea party to make scones. They are quick enough to make for weekend breakfast. Top them with butter or a little jam for a perfect breakfast or snack.

If you love this recipe please consider giving it five stars.

Raisin Scones - English Scones

Raisin Scones - English Scones

Yield: 18-24 scones
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This classic buttermilk raisin scone is British mom approved!

Ingredients

  • 5 cups (25oz, 700g) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 112g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 sticks (6oz, 168g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1" chunks
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups (14oz, 420ml) buttermilk, plus more for brushing
  • 3/4 cup (4 oz, 112g) raisins
  • Demerarra Sugar for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two 1/2 sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt and. Toss in butter chunks. Mix in the butter until the bits are the size of a pea.
  3. Whisk together the buttermilk and eggs. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients all at once and mix until just barely combined. Some loose flour may remain at the bottom of the bowl. DON'T OVER MIX.
  4. Dump the dough onto a floured surface, sprinkle the raisins over the dough and finish kneading by hand just until all the loose flour is absorbed. Use your hands to pat the dough until it is 3/4"-1" thick. Use a 2.5" biscuit cutter to cut scones. Re-roll the scraps and continue cutting until all the dough is used.
  5. Line the scones onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving 1" space between. Brush the tops of the scones with buttermilk and sprinkle with Demerarra or granulated sugar.
  6. Bake on the middle racks of the oven, flipping the trays after 10 minutes (see note).
  7. The scones are ready when they are golden brown and sound hollow when the bottom is tapped. Total baking time 15-20 minutes.

Notes

If the bottoms of the scones are browning very fast you can slide another sheet pan under the pan half way through baking.

To make ahead you can bake and freeze the scones. Defrost and warm in the oven to serve.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

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Dawn

Sunday 3rd of January 2021

Love these - I cut recipe in half to make less - brought back the memory of my grandmothers raisin biscuits!

PR

Wednesday 13th of May 2020

Hi, thanks for sharing this recipe. How many scones do you typically make using the ingredient-proportions mentioned in the recipe? I haven't baked scones before so wanted to make a smaller batch to begin with. What proportions do you recommend for a batch of 12 scones in one go? Would much appreciate your response. thank you!

Eileen Gray

Wednesday 13th of May 2020

As indicated in the recipe, you'll get 18-24 scones depending on the size cutter you use and exactly how thick you roll the dough. I use a 2.5" cutter and generally get 24 scones. If you use a smaller cutter you'll get more scones and if you use a bigger cutter you'll get fewer.

Judith

Sunday 10th of May 2020

How can i make my own Buttermilk?

Eileen Gray

Sunday 10th of May 2020

You can either buy buttermilk powder or you can add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of milk to make a buttermilk substitute.

maria

Friday 10th of May 2019

I'm going to make this recipe soon. Are the scones very crumbly ike so many other recipes I've tried?

Eileen Gray

Friday 10th of May 2019

Nope, I don't post recipes until I'm very happy with the results. The texture is somewhere between a biscuit and a muffin, soft but not cakey.

Mirta

Monday 18th of March 2019

Dear Eileen, the scones look perfect! I was wondering one thing though - I found many scone recipes being made without eggs (that's actually how I make them - using only flour, butter and milk or buttermilk with extras and flavourings) and, on the other hand, many using eggs. Would you say the addition of eggs makes them richer tasting or does it affect their crumb? Is there "a rule" to making THE scone? Because I find my recipe gives me a delicious scone, but I am open-minded to try a variation. Thank you!

Eileen

Monday 18th of March 2019

Hi Mirta. I adapted this recipe from one given to me by a British grandma, so I'm guessing it's fairly authentic. But beyond that, the eggs do change the texture. Without the egg I think scones have more of a biscuit texture, kind of flakey and bready. With eggs then have a slightly more cakey and open crumb, but not as cakey as a muffin. As I say in the post, I like scones that are somewhere between a biscuit and a muffin. I think the egg helps get that texture.