How to Make Every Kind of Savory Scone with One Simple Recipe

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At a tea party, one expects to see white tableclothed tables teeming with goodies such as cucumber sandwiches on white bread with the crusts cut off, pots of steaming Earl Grey tea, jam, and clotted cream, and inevitably scones, the flaky doughy little bread cake. It’s a sweet treat, but not always, as the scone can be made savory just like its cousin, the biscuit, and you don’t need a tea party to enjoy it.

But why would you want to do that, you ask? Because soup, stews, and salads need a little companion, don’t they? And sometimes, you want an umami-filled snack but don’t feel like opening a bag of potato chips. Or maybe you don’t like tea.

Savory scones are easy peasy to make. Using heavy cream instead of butter speeds up the process, and this recipe is designed to scale up if you are feeding a crowd or down if it’s just a few hungry souls. Once you make the batter, you drop it on a sheet pan with a spoon, measuring cup, or a scoop, meaning the size of the scone is up to you. The dough can be made in advance and stored in the fridge so that you can scoop and bake it right before serving. The recipe does call for sugar, which helps with browning, but it is such a small amount that you won’t taste it in the finished product.

Basic scone batter:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (increase to ¼-⅓ cup if you want to convert to a sweet scone)
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 10-12 ounces of heavy whipping cream, plus more for brushing

Savory add-ins:

These are just some ideas. You can add one flavor, like olive or walnut, or combine these (bacon/Gruyère/chive or Parmesan/sundried tomato, for example). Don’t go overboard with the add-ins!: You want their flavor and texture, but too many additions will make the scones fall apart, and you’ll have a mish-mash mess. If using multiple add-ins, use smaller amounts.

  • ⅓-¾ cup grated cheese (use less for an intense cheese like Parmesan, more for a cheese like cheddar or Gruyère)
  • ¼-½ cup cooked bacon; cured meat like salami, prosciutto, or olives; caramelized onion; smoked fish; toasted chopped nuts; dried fruit; or sundried tomato
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs
  • 1 tablespoon dried herbs
  • 1 teaspoon spices

1. Heat the oven to 400° and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

2. Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in your chosen add-ins. Add about 1 cup of the cream and stir gently with a fork until it starts to combine, then add another ¼ cup once the mixture has some large curds but still some dry spots. If the dough seems too dry after the second addition, add more cream, about a tablespoon at a time, until you get a soft mixture that can be brought together without cracking or crumbling apart.

3. Using a scooper, spoon, or measuring cup, drop portions of your dough onto your sheet pan, leaving 1 ½ inches around on all sides. If you want to cut shapes, turn the dough out onto a floured surface, gently pat it into a round about 1 inch thick, and cut it with a floured knife or a floured cutter.

4. Once all the scones are on your pan, brush the tops lightly with more cream, and if you like, sprinkle the tops with something fun like flaky sea salt, sesame seeds, flaked almonds, or Everything Bagel Spice mix.

5. Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned, depending on your chosen size. Cool on a rack.

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