Home Irish Recipes How to make Irish scones: step by step recipe (no buttermilk version)

How to make Irish scones: step by step recipe (no buttermilk version)

by Mama Loves Ireland

Easy to make and delicious Irish scone recipe, the perfect treat for teatime!

Scones are, to me, the quintessential Irish treat.

Buttery, crumbly, perfect with tea: they welcome your house guests enveloping them into the unmistakable perfume of the home-baked goods first and then make the conversation smoother with their comforting taste.

They are a popular treat here both in their homemade variety and store-bought one: if you have been on an Ireland vacation, I am sure you have seen them in cafes, supermarkets and even roadside convenience stores – they are that common!

If you have tasted them and now want to replicate that experience at home, I have the recipe for you.

It comes from my mother-in-law, who is a whizz at baking, and it is super easy to make, even for people like me who simply do not have the magic baking touch.

As you can see from the title, this version of Irish scones doesn’t use buttermilk, which is used in most versions.

This comes from a practical consideration (I can never find buttermilk at my local supermarket!) but I was told by the same mother-in-law that using normal milk was ok too and indeed, the result is always brilliant.

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding and this pudding, Irish scones, is wonderful.

Irish scone recipe: the buttermilk vs buttermilk debate

I am loyal to my mother in law recipe however, I have often come across recipes that use buttermilk and the debate seems to be on, when it comes to state which version is the most traditional and best.

I love a good food debate (let’s not forget I am Italian, maybe the most annoyingly opinionated of all nations when it comes to food!) and I always enjoy seeing the passion of cooks defending their interpretation of a dish as the one and only, however it truly seems to me that both versions are acceptable.

The Irish Times says here that the purely traditional Irish scone wants buttermilk, however, it also proceeds to give a recipe with butter, which makes me feel totally legitimized in sharing this version and call it ‘Irish’: if it is Irish enough for the National newspaper, then it is Irish enough for me!

How do I get my scones to rise?

Scones are supposed to rise while baking in the over but they don’t always do. The main culprit of the failed scone is usually one of the following:

Your baking powder wasn’t fresh enough. I had this issue the first time I made them: I prefer yeast to baking powder and therefore didn’t realize baking powder wants to be fresh to work properly. Make sure yours hasn’t been open for weeks before use or opt for the one in individual sachets – much easier to keep.

You worked them too much. The moment you use your hands to make the dough come together is the trickiest one in this recipe as it is easy to overwork the mixture and knead it to its death, thinking the heavy dough needs it.

In reality, what works is the opposite: you need to only work the dough as much as needed for it to come together, then you should leave it alone!

using too much flour. The first time I made scones, I worried they would stick to my work surface and get ruined and I used an almighty amount of flour to prevent that from happening. Indeed, they didn’t stick but they didn’t rise either! The amount of flour in the recipe below is the amount you need: any more will ruin the result.

What should I serve with scones?

Sweets Irish scones like the ones in this recipe are perfect served with tea, clotted cream, jam and fresh berries such as strawberries

Can I make scones in advance? Can I freeze scones?

Irish scones are only really good on the day they are made however, they freeze well so yes, you can give yourself a headstart and make them in advance!

How to make the perfect Irish scone ohoto collage with 2 close up of scones with cream and jam

How to make the perfect Irish scone

Preheat the oven at 200C

In a large bowl, sieve together the dry ingredients, then use your fingers to rub the butter in, until the mixture takes the consistency of powdery breadcrumbs

Add the dried fruit and mix well.

In a different bowl, beat one egg and add 4 spoonfuls of milk. Then, pour the liquid in the center of your dry ingredients and start mixing. At the start, you might want to you a knife then, as the mixture comes together, use your fingers.

Need to know: you do not want to knead this dough as if it was bread. You want to use a light touch and only work it as much as needed for it to come together otherwise they come out too dense and hard.

Use more flout to lightly dust a clean kitchen counter and spread your dough so that it is about 2cm thick.

Then, use a scone cutter (or a glass!) to cut out your scones. Place them on a sheet of baking paper, each scone close to other (you want them to touch each other lightly) and place in the hot oven.

Let them cook for about 10 minutes at 200 degrees, then lower the temperature to 160C until fully risen and golden (about 10 extra minutes)

Take out of the oven and let cool. Serve cut in two with butter or your topping of choice.

In a different bowl, mix the egg yolk and the milk. Then, make a hole in the center of your dry ingredients and add about half of the egg and milk mixture, the dry fruit then mix well. Slowly, add the rest of the eff and milk and keep mixing: use a spatula to make sure no dought is left over on the sides f the bowl.

Move the dough onto a clean, floured kitchen counter and spread the dough until it is about 2 cm thick. Take a scone cutter (Or a large glass) and use it to shape out as many scones as your dough allows

Take a baking tray and cover it with baking paper and put the scones on it. Use a kitchen brush to brush their top with the egg white, to create a glaze look

Place in the middle rack of the oven put the temperature up to 220 degrees for about 8 minutes, then turn it down to 160 and let cook for 10 mins more.

Once ready, transfer onto a rack to cool. Enjoy alone or with delicious Irish butter or double cream and jam!

Yield: 8 large scones

Irish scone recipe (no buttermilk version)

Irish scone recipe (no buttermilk version)

Easy to make, delicious Irish scone recipe: get delicious, buttery scones following these step-by-step instructions to make one of the most traditional Irish treats, perfect with tea!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 225 gr of plain flour
  • 1tbs baking powder
  • 40 g caster sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 75 gr unsalted butter, diced
  • 50 hr dried fruit (we used a mix of sultanas and cranberries)
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 egg, beaten

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients first
  2. Then, using your fingers, rub the butter in, until the mixture takes the consistency of powdery breadcrumbs, then add the dried fruit and mix again
  3. In a different bowl, mix the egg and the milk.
  4. Make a hole in the center of your dry ingredients and add your egg and milk mixture: you want to use a knife at the start and then, once the dough starts coming together, your fingers
  5. Move the dough onto a clean, floured kitchen counter and spread the dough until it is about 2 cm thick.
  6. Use a cutter (or a large glass) and use it to shape out as many scones as your dough allows, about 8 with this recipe. Use the scraps of dough to make one or two more
  7. Put the scones on a baking sheet, close to each other so that their sides touch.
  8. Place in the hot oven and let cook at about 220C degrees for about 8 minutes. Then, lower the temperature to 160C and let cook again for 10 extra mins or until they have fully risen and golden.
  9. Take them out of the oven, let them cool on a rack and serve with your topping of choice!

You may also like

Skip to Recipe