Treat yourself like royalty.
This official royal English scones recipe, enjoyed by the Queen of England herself, is (as you would expect) delicious. Here is the official Buckingham Palace scone recipe, adapted for home kitchens. Buttery, just sweet enough, and the perfect companion to your cup of tea.
The Queen’s Own English Scones Recipe
The only thing better than a good cup of tea is a good cup of tea paired with a perfect scone. And if you are going to bake scones, why not bake the very best? In case you are not invited to royal tea at the palace this week, you now have this very official, very royal English scones recipe.
English food does not exactly enjoy a positive reputation. But there is an exception to every rule, and Buckingham Palace’s English scones are it.
The Story of the Royal English Scones Recipe
In May 2020, perhaps because we all needed a bright spring boost to our Covid lockdowns, the Palace released the recipe for the official English scones enjoyed by the royal family and its guests. They even did an instagram video about it. According to the palace:
Every year at Garden Parties across The Royal Residences, over 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cakes are consumed! The Royal Pastry Chefs are happy to share their recipe for fruit scones, which traditionally would be served at Buckingham Palace every summer.
How to Make the Official Royal English Scones Recipe
The Buckingham Palace royal scones recipe is surprisingly basic.
The recipe makes simple buttermilk scone with butter and leavening, folded with sultanas. (“Sultanas” are British for golden raisins, FYI.)
The scones are just as good without raisins, in case fruit scones are not to your taste, or you would like to divide the recipe into both types.
Here are the main steps to making the Queen’s scones:
- Mix the flour, baking powder, butter and sugar together in a bowl. Work the butter into the dough a bit, as you would pie dough.
- Separately, whisk two eggs and the buttermilk together. Add the liquid to the crumb mixture. Add the raisins, if using, and mix until evenly distributed. Knead by hand until smooth.
- Flatten the dough to a 1” thickness and cover. Leave to rest for 30 to 45 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Cut to the desired shape using a round biscuit cutter.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cover and rest the scones for another 20 minutes in the fridge. Egg wash the top of the scones.
- Bake at 400°F for around 12 to 15 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool before serving with jam and clotted cream.
Baking Tips for Making the Queen’s English Scone Recipe
There are good scones, and there are great scones. A scone fit for royalty (and thus, us) should be:
- Tender, not tough or bready
- Moist, not dry or crumbly
- Not too sweet, and
- Hold together well and not fall apart when you spread jam and clotted cream on top
To check all these boxes, you need a good recipe (check!) and the right technique. Here’s what to do — and what not to do, technique-wise.
- DO NOT overmix the scone dough. Kneading the dough too much will make it tough and bready because it develops gluten. As soon as the scone dough looks smooth, stop.
- DO check your bake. The scone bottoms will look light golden brown and feel hollow when tapped. Because of their small size, scones overbake and become dry easily, so be sure to get it right.
- If using the golden raisins, soak them in warm water for at least 20 minutes, then drain before adding to the dough. This prevents them from absorbing moisture from the scone dough.
Notes on Adapting the Royal English Tea Scones Recipe
The original recipe, as written, was very vague on some small points, and definitely presumes a certain level of baking experience. So I have added a bit more detail, and converted the recipe to American-friendly volume measurements from metric. But other than adding a smidge more buttermilk because the original recipe seemed a little dry, the recipe and technique is exactly the same.
Additionally, I am fairly certain that the original recipe was written for a convection oven, which would be normal in a professional kitchen. The temperature, as written, was way too low for a standard oven for the amount of time listed. So I have adjusted the temperature and time for a conventional oven, not convection.
Most importantly, enjoy your royal English scones with, what else? A lovely hot cuppa English tea.
You will also love these lovely baked goods:
Buckingham Palace Royal English Scones
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (500g)
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons baking powder (28g)
- 7 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (94g)
- 1/2 cup sugar (86g)
- 3 eggs, divided
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, less 1 tablespoon (175ml)
- 2/3 cup sultanas or golden raisins, optional (100g)
- If using, soak the raisins in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain before adding to the recipe.PRO TIP: Why soak the raisins? Two reasons. One, it softens them, which tastes better in the finished recipe than a hard, tough little raisin. Secondly, it helps keep the scone dough moist. Raisins naturally want to rehydrate. By letting them soften I water, the hard raisins pull moisture from water, not the scone dough.
- Mix the flour, baking powder, butter and sugar together in a bowl until crumbly. Work the butter into the dough a bit, as you would pie dough.
- In a separate bowl, whisk two eggs and the buttermilk together. Add the liquid to the crumb mixture. Add the raisins, if using, and mix until evenly distributed. Continue to gently knead the dough by hand until smooth.
- Remove the dough from the bowl onto a clean countertop lightly dusted with flour. Lightly dust the top of the scones with flour. Flatten the dough to a 1” thickness and cover. Leave to rest for 30 to 45 minutes in the refrigerator. Resting the dough allows the gluten to relax. This helps achieve a tender, flaky scone. PRO TIP: You could simply use the palm of your hand to flatten the dough. But I suggest a rolling pin for a more even result. Roll from the center out, and rotate the dough as you go to prevent sticking.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut to the desired shape using a round biscuit cutter. (Note: I used 2" and 2 1/4" cutters. The original recipe did not specify, but this is standard. If you use a 2" cutter, I suggest making the height a little shorter.)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C). Cover and rest the scones for another 20 minutes in the fridge. Whisk the third egg and gently egg wash the top of the scones with a pastry brush.PRO TIP: If you do not have a pastry brush, just use your fingers.
- Bake on baking sheets for around 12 to 15 minutes, give or take depending on your cutter size, or until light golden brown. Leave at least 1 1/2" of space between each scone. Cool before serving with jam and clotted cream.PRO TIP: These will bake best if you bake them one sheet at a time, or at least rotate the baking sheets top to bottom, front to back halfway. If you have a convection setting on your oven, adjust the temperature to 375°F (190°C) and bake for about 10 to 12 minutes.