3 of the most highly rated scone recipes put to the test

3 of the most highly rated scone recipes put to the test

I have a love affair with scones. My definition of self-care is a warm scone with delicious curd and a cup of tea in a beautiful china tea cup. As a bonus I like to enjoy this with a good book, a cozy blanket, and a fire in the fireplace. But, I’ve never found a scone recipe I was truly in love with. Nothing could seem to match the scones I enjoyed at my favorite tea house. When I was no longer able to enjoy tea there due to Covid lockdowns, I decided to get serious and find a tried and true recipe. To help me decide which recipes to try, I googled “Best Scone Recipes”.  Among the highly rated scone recipes, Sally’s Baking Addiction and All Recipes came up, but I also knew I wanted to try the Barefoot Contessa. Ina Garten is my chef spirit animal, so her recipe had to be in the running! I also wanted to make them the same flavor to more fairly compare them. Orange Cranberry is a classic flavor profile, and delicious any time of year. So, for All Recipes and Sally’s Baking Addiction I added orange zest and dried cranberries. These three highly rated scone recipes were put to the test and I found my favorite. Read on to find out which one came out on top.

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Sally’s Baking Addiction – Master Scone Recipe
4.9 stars from 344 reviews

highly rated scone recipes
Scones brushed with heavy cream before baking
The finished product

These were tasty, and the ingredients were similar to that of the Barefoot Contessa scones. They both use heavy cream with is how I’ve traditionally made scones. I’m not sure it was necessary to freeze the butter and then grate it. It seemed like an extra step that wasn’t needed, and gave me another item to clean. So, I may not do that if I made these again. They were sticky just as the recipe said; I may have added a little more flour in hind sight. You would have to add flour if you were rolling them out to cut into triangles or another shape. I’m also unsure if putting them in the fridge for 15 minutes before baking made any difference. I don’t usually have a problem with scones spreading, but perhaps it was necessary since these scones were wetter in general. I did appreciate the idea of using heavy cream to brush on top instead of egg. I hate the hassle of whisking and using another egg and sometimes I skip it. But, using heavy cream had a similar effect and was way easier as well as preventing me from wasting some egg that went unused. So, I will certainly be using that in the future for my scones. All in all these were good scones.

All Recipes – World’s Best Scones from Scotland
640 5-Star reviews

A little crumbly but turned out yummy
Spongy and ready for eating

I was really interested to try this recipe. It had some significant differences from a traditional scone recipe. There were no eggs in the actual scone batter. Also it used milk and sour cream instead of heavy whipping cream. I used whole milk and low fat sour cream. I found the mixture a little difficult to mix and had trouble evenly distributing the wet ingredients resulting in some pockets of more sticky dough with some crumbly parts too. I wasn’t sure how this was going to work so I just dug in and mixed with my hands forming the scones by hand trying to incorporate the wet and crumbly together. Instead of using an egg wash for the top of the scone I used the method from Sally’s Baking Addiction of just using milk. I was pleasantly surprised by the scones. I think the high amount of baking powder made them extra spongy which wasn’t a bad thing, it was just a slightly different scone texture. I enjoyed them for something different and the convenience of not needing heavy whipping cream or eggs. If I don’t have heavy whipping cream and eggs on hand but am craving scones this is going to be my go to recipe.

Barefoot Contessa – Cranberry Orange Scones, WINNER
4.7 stars from 448 reviews

highly rated scone recipes
Ready for baking
highly rated scone recipes
Golden brown ready to eat

These were my favorite of the three highly rated scone recipes I tried. There were light and fluffy but had the perfect scone texture on the outside. They had just the right amount of sweetness. Scones are meant to balance moisture while being drier than other baked goods to be a good accompaniment to tea. But, as you know a dry scone is horrible and I’m glad to report these scones were just right. I did make these scones with a hand mixer instead of a stand mixer. I whisked the dry ingredients to start and then used my trusty pastry cutter to blend in the cold butter. As with any baked good it’s very important to not over mix or the result will be tough. I wasn’t sure about the extra large eggs, so see the note below. I usually create drop scones rather than rolling and cutting. For some reason when I’ve rolled out scone dough in the past it makes it too tough and loses its light and fluffy quality. Mine only needed about 18 minutes, so set you timer for 15 minutes and check your scones. They may then need 5 or so more minutes, but it’s important to make sure they don’t end up over done.

Note on the Extra Large Eggs from Good Food Stories: The short version is no, you shouldn’t worry about whether you buy large eggs vs. extra large eggs unless you’re a baking maniac or a rabid Ina Garten fan. Large eggs are the baking standard, measuring about 2 ounces by weight. Extra large eggs weigh in at 2 1/4 ounces by comparison. Barely anyone but the Barefoot Contessa (who apparently has a major jones for the XL size; I have cooked probably three of her recipes in my lifetime, so I trust you readers to back me up on this) specifically calls for extra large eggs in their recipes.


Pastry Cutter

Pastry Brush

Now that you have the perfect scone recipe get ready to bake for a Galentine’s Tea! This event is a sweet way to celebrate your gals pals. Check out all my budget friendly tips for a wonderful party along with FREE printables.


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