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Cheddar Herb Scones are a cross between your traditional scones and cheddar biscuits. They make an excellent pairing to Jambalaya, Stews, and other hearty meals. Baked on a cast iron griddle, they have a crunchy bottom and a fluffy, tender interior filled with shredded cheddar cheese, herbs, and spices.
Scones – a Quick Bread
Much like herb and cheddar biscuits, scones are a quick bread made with baking powder or baking soda instead of yeast. The dough itself is more on the wet side and rather shaggy. The result is a beautifully rustic side dish to any dinner.
Scones are a staple of British cuisine and have been enjoyed for centuries. Traditionally, they are made with flour, butter, sugar, and milk, and can be sweet or savory. Cheddar and herb scones are a delicious variation of the classic recipe and are perfect for breakfast, brunch, or as a side dish with dinner.
The Origins of Scones
I’ll be honest, I used to really not care about the history of food. I just wanted it to taste good. I’m a big fan of new inventions, new fusions, and new combinations in the culinary world. But over the past year or so as I’ve been on this culinary journey in school, I’ve realized that I really want to understand the authentic variations of foods before I go messing with them.
I want to taste what the culture made each recipe to be and understanding the history of the culture in that time really helps to understand the chefs and home cooks of that time. Check out my Irish Soda Bread post for an example of interesting food history. It’s just making me a lot more appreciative of the food, and paired with the science behind it all…. I don’t know, it’s just making me a lot more grateful and ready to pay respect to the chefs that have come before.
The origins of scones are not entirely clear, but they are believed to have originated in Scotland in the early 1500s. The word scone comes from the Middle Dutch word schoonbrot, which means “beautiful bread.” Scones were originally made with oats and baked on a griddle, similar to a pancake. This is in part, much like Irish Soda Bread, because it was cooked over an open fire or some type of woodstove.
Over time, scones evolved and were made with flour, butter, and milk, and were often served with tea or coffee. Scones became popular in England in the 19th century and were often served with clotted cream and jam, a tradition that is still enjoyed today.
Self-Rising Flour, or All-Purpose Flour
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
How to Make Cheddar Herb Scones
Start by sifting all the dry ingredients together through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl.
Dice the cold butter into small cubes before adding it to the dry ingredients. Using a pastry cutter or gloved hands, work the butter chunks into the dry ingredients until it resembles a course sand with some butter chunks visible.
Add the cheese and milk to the bowl and mix well with hands until a shaggy, sticky dough is the result. More or less milk may be required based on your environmental factors.
Once the dough has begun to come together, scope out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into one or two large circles of dough through use of hands and a rolling pin until about 1/2 inch in thickness.
Use a sharp knife or biscuit cutter to cut either biscuits or scones. You can also form the scones freehand or using a scone mold. Once the scones are cut, possibly working in batches, place the scones on the griddle with about an inch of space between each as they will expand quite a bit during baking.
Use melted butter, milk, or egg wash on the tops of the scones before baking at 375F for 20-25 minutes depending on thickness. Start to check the scones at 15 minutes if splitting into two batches. For thick, large scones as pictured, you’ll wait more towards the 25 minute mark.
How to Make Scones Video
Tips and Tricks for Baking Scones
- Use cold butter: Cold butter is essential for creating the flaky texture of scones. It’s best to cut the butter into small cubes and only roughly work it into the dry ingredients with either gloved hands or a pastry cutter to prevent too much from melting.
- Don’t overwork the dough: Overworking the dough can result in tough, dense scones. Be gentle when kneading the dough and handle it as little as possible. Get everything mixed about 90% of the way in the bowl but then finish mixing while also shaping on the countertop.
- Use a sharp cutter: A sharp cutter is important for cutting the scones evenly and preventing them from sticking to the cutter. If you don’t have a sharp cutter, you can use a knife to cut the dough into wedges. Shaping the dough on a lightly floured surface or on parchment will help to keep the scone dough from sticking.
- Do not preheat your griddle: The griddle will get nice and hot during baking. Preheating the griddle could result in burned bottoms.
- Brush with egg wash or butter: Brushing the tops of the scones with beaten egg before baking will give them a shiny, golden brown finish. Brushing the tops of the scones with melted butter will give them a dull, tan color but have a buttery emphasis on taste!
- Use a scone mold: Using a scone mold can help give your scones a more uniform shape and size. If you don’t have a scone mold, you can still shape the dough into a disk and cut it into wedges. This recipe creates very large scones. You can split the dough in half, shape, and cut to double your amount of scones for still good sized scones. You can also cut these into biscuits and bake in a skillet.
Cheese Options for Scones
While cheddar cheese is a classic choice for scones, there are many other types of cheese that can be used to add flavor and texture to your scones. Here are a few ideas:
- Parmesan: Parmesan cheese has a strong, salty flavor that pairs well with herbs and can add a nice crunchy texture to scones.
- Gouda: Gouda cheese has a nutty, buttery flavor that can add richness to scones. It also melts well, making it a good choice for cheesy scones.
- Blue cheese: Blue cheese has a bold, tangy flavor that can add a unique twist to savory scones. It pairs well with herbs like thyme or rosemary.
- Feta: Feta cheese has a salty, tangy flavor that can add a Mediterranean flair to scones. It also pairs well with ingredients like olives or sun-dried tomatoes.
FAQs about Scones
Use all cold ingredients: butter, milk, and any other additives. A cold dough will hold it’s shape better and keep the butter from melting prior to baking.
The texture of scone dough should be a wet, sticky dough – but not so much that it cannot hold it’s shape. While mixing the dough, start with 1 cup of milk, followed by about 1/2 cup at a time until you get the wet shagginess you’re looking for. The dough should be 90% to 95% hydrated.
If you have the time, allow the shaped scones to rest for 10 minutes on the cold griddle before baking. You can even refrigerate the dough for scones overnight when pre-shaped into a disc or fully shaped into a scone. Resting the dough relaxes the gluten. Refrigerating the dough will solidify any butter that began to melt during the mixing process. Solid chunks of butter when baked will create luscious pockets in your scones.
How to Store Leftover Scones
Store leftover scones in an airtight container or bag for 1-2 days at room temperature. After that, the scones will start to dry out. You can reheat them in a microwave wrapped in a damp paper towel for 30 seconds to slightly rehydrate. But do not throw them away if they are on the drier side, simply serve with a hearty chili or soup and they will soak up excess liquid, becoming tender again. You can also store these wrapped and in the refrigerator for about a week.
Leftover scones can be frozen for later use. To freeze scones, allow them to cool completely and then wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Place the wrapped scones in a freezer-safe container or bag and store them in the freezer for up to three months.
To thaw frozen scones, remove them from the freezer and let them come to room temperature for about an hour. You can also reheat frozen scones in the oven by preheating the oven to 350°F (175°C), placing the scones on a baking sheet, and baking them for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.
Keep in mind that frozen scones may not be quite as tender and flaky as freshly baked scones, but they are still a great option for a quick and easy breakfast or snack.
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Cheddar Herb Scones Recipe
- Cast Iron Griddle or Sheet Pan scone press or 12" skillet
- fine mesh strainer
- large mixing bowl
- Measuring Cups
- measuring spoons
- pastry cutter or gloves
- Cutting board
- Rolling Pin
- Kitchen Scale
- 4 cups Self-Rising Flour or if using All-Purpose add 2 additional teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 12 Tablespoons butter, cold cubed
- 4 ounces cheddar cheese grated
- 2 cups milk, cold
- 2 Tablespoons butter, melted for topping
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Sift the dry ingredients (flour, salt, sugar, baking powder) through a fine mesh strainer into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the dried parsley and garlic powder.
- Work the cubed butter into the dried ingredients using a pastry cutter or gloved hands until the mix resembles coarse bread crumbs.
- Add the cheese and 75% of the milk. Work with gloved hands to mix the dough together. Add more milk a little as needed until the dough is 95% saturated.
- Transfer to a lightly floured surface, lightly knead or fold so the dough is completely saturated, shaggy, and sticky.
- Halve the dough and shape into two large rounds about 1/2 inch in thickness using your hands or a rolling pin. Use a sharp knife to portion 8 scones from each round.
- Working in batches, add the scones to the flat side of a griddle with about 1 inch of spacing between each scone. Brush with melted butter on the tops. Bake for 15-20 minutes for smaller scones or if making only 8 scones bake for 25 minutes.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes for smaller scones or if making only 8 scones bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Allow the cast iron to cool between batches.