Best British Currant Scones

These light and fluffy scones are so easy to make – with or without currants! They’re the perfect vehicle for clotted cream, lemon curd, jam or even German plum butter.

Would you believe that I never liked scones until I visited the UK – when I promptly fell deeply in love with current scones, clotted cream, and jam? I almost never eat scones in the US but I’ll gladly eat one every single day when I’m in the UK or Ireland!

Scones with clotted cream are my go-to sweet treat in the UK, always with a big cup of tea. Now that I’ve learned how to make them at home, I can enjoy them anytime. And now you can, too!

Why make British scones (English scones, Irish scones, whichever you prefer) instead of US American scones? Because British and American scones differ in a couple vital ways.

First, British scones have less butter and sugar. Well, less butter and sugar in the scone, that is. The amount of butter and sugar consumed in and on the scone via clotted cream, jam and lemon curd is probably about the same!

Second, British scones often don’t include the mix-ins that are commonly found in American scones, like blueberries, nuts or chocolate chips. I’ve most commonly found plain scones and currant scones in the UK and Ireland (and maybe cheese scones?). You probably can find other types of scones, but whenever I’ve had my choice of scones it’s always been plain or currant. (I always choose currant scones.)

I originally thought that another difference is in how the scones are cut. The scones I’ve eaten in the UK and Ireland have all been round, while scones I see in the US are cut into triangles. However, I’ve since learned that you will find British scones in the triangle shape. I guess I just need to go back to the UK and Ireland and do more scone research. 🙂 

As I mentioned, I prefer British scones because I love the scone + cream + jam (or lemon curd) combo. It’s heaven. American scones are too sweet and dry for my tastes. The recipe I’m sharing with you today makes it easy to enjoy fresh British scones anywhere!

These scones are always a hit, with and without clotted cream. They’re perfect for all kinds of occasions, such as:

  • tea parties 
  • office parties 
  • holidays
  • neighborhood potlucks
  • showers
  • birthdays
  • simple afternoon tea with a friend (scones + tea)
  • brunch
  • dessert
  • pretty much anytime you’re craving scones 

These scones are light, fluffy, and tender. If you’ve got 30 minutes, you have enough time to bake a batch of fresh hot scones – with or without currents. If you don’t want to use currants, you can add it any mix-in you’d like…raisins, nuts, cheese, cranberries, etc. It may not be traditional but it will be delicious, so I say go for it and experiment! 

What to Put on Scones

My favorite toppings are: 

If you want clotted cream with your scones, I recommend making the cream 24 hours before you make the scones. Doing so will not only allow enough time to cook and chill the cream, but you can use any leftover liquid cream in the scones.

Same goes for making homemade cultured butter, lemon curd, plum butter or jam. Make each a few days in advance and then make the scones the day you want to serve them so they’re nice and fresh. 

These scones are best eaten the day they are made – they’re delicious right out of the oven – but I’ve found that they taste great the next day, too.  

How to Make the Best British Currant Scones

scones-steps
Best British Scones with Currents

Best British Scones with Currents

Yield: 12 scones

If you've got 30 minutes, you have more than enough time to whip up a batch of tender, flakey British style scones. Mmmmm!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups [360g] flour (see note below)
  • 1/3 cup [65g] sugar
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 Tbsp [115g] butter, (unsalted, cold)
  • 3/4 cup [100g] dried currants
  • 1/2 cup [125ml] whole milk or cream (see note below)
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 500F/260C. 
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. 
  3. Cut butter in several pieces and add to the dry ingredients. Use your fingers to work the butter into the flour mixture until it looks like small crumbs. 
  4. Add currants and mix until combined. 
  5. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Add to flour a little at a time (careful: you might not need the entire amount so don't dump it all in at once) and stir until just combined into a ball. 
  6. Knead dough 25-30 times on well-floured surface with well-floured hands until the surface of the dough is smooth and doesn't have any cracks. 
  7. Press dough to 1 inch [25mm] thickness. Cut out scones using a round biscuit or scone cutter or a small jam jar. Transfer scones to a lined baking sheet. Gather remaining dough into a ball, knead a few times, then roll it out to 1 inch [25mm] thickness. Cut out the rest of your scones and transfer them to your baking sheet. 
  8. Brush the top of the scones using what's left of the milk and egg mixture (or mix one additional egg with 1 tsp milk, cream or water in a small bowl and brush that on the tops of the scones).
  9. Turn oven down to 425 F/215C. Bake scones for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with butter, clotted cream, whipped cream, lemon curd or jam. Enjoy!

Notes

1. FLOUR: The 3 cups flour measurement is based on spooning flour into your measuring cup rather than scooping it. If you scoop the flour you'll like end up with more flour and may need more liquid than indicated in the recipe.

2. MILK: Depending on the size of your eggs and how you measure the flour (e.g., if you scoop it you'll likely use more flour than if you spoon or weigh it) you might need more or less of the liquid. I recommend pouring the liquid into the flour a little at a time. The dough will probably be a bit sticky when you turn it out to start kneading. If that's the case, add flour a sprinkle at a time as you knead it.

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About Author

I love baking, traveling, and sharing delicious recipes for European Christmas Cookies! I used to live in Germany, have worked on 4 continents, and now enjoy baking and blogging from my adopted home in North Carolina, USA.

20 Comments

  • Alexis
    December 2, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    Those look SO good! I love the feeling of travel I get when I read your recipes….

    Reply
  • Cate
    December 4, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    Thanks, Alexis! 🙂 These scones are amazing. I want to make them every morning…

    Reply
  • Jean | DelightfulRepast.com
    January 3, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Cate, lovely scones! But I make wedge-shaped scones just as my mother, grandmother, great grandmothers (generations of English women) made them in England. I think when people here get there scones at a place like Starbucks, it’s no wonder they don’t like them as they’re made way ahead. As you rightly mention, they are best the day they are made.

    Reply
  • Cate
    January 4, 2017 at 1:14 am

    That’s so interesting, Jean! I’ve never seen them wedge-shaped in the UK, and I’ve never seen round ones in the US. Is the wedge shape more traditional? It’s sure a lot easier!

    Reply
  • Devony
    August 6, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    Are they really supposed to bake at 500°F?

    Reply
    • Devony
      August 6, 2019 at 4:07 pm

      Goodness, I didn’t read all the way through. Sorry! I’m excited to try these! I don’t like American scones either but love British ones.

      Reply
      • Cate
        August 7, 2019 at 8:52 pm

        They’re so good! I hope you love them, too! 🙂

        Reply
  • Jo
    February 17, 2020 at 12:23 am

    TheseAre the best scones I have ever made so soft and light the only this different was cut in to triangle shape which I guess is a American thing lol

    Reply
  • Stacy
    February 23, 2020 at 10:32 pm

    Do you think you could make them, cover well and put in the fridge overnight to bake in the morning? Thanks!

    Reply
  • Suzanne
    March 9, 2020 at 6:58 pm

    These look so delicious! What a fun treat to keep around to share with family and friends or to serve at brunch!

    Reply
  • Vanessa
    March 9, 2020 at 6:59 pm

    Thanks for sharing! Do the scones keep long?

    Reply
  • Michelle
    May 6, 2020 at 7:58 pm

    Love this one. I substituted oat milk, monkfruit sweetener, and chopped dates – texture and flavor came out great! Definitely a new go to recipe.

    Reply
  • Alexander Paterson Kelly
    June 23, 2020 at 7:56 pm

    I wish to learn how to bake and surprise my family

    Reply
  • Scott
    September 17, 2020 at 9:48 pm

    Great recipe!
    Best part…getting hands into the flour and butter, my 2min therapy session!
    I think its my oven or our humidity, a standard egg wash produces the golden finish I’m looking for – just one more egg.
    This is now a snap and easy to make for bruch (easy to make with a mimosa!), or swapping for a savory variation when we go wine tasting into Sonoma or Napa.

    Reply
    • Cate, International Desserts Blog
      September 18, 2020 at 11:56 am

      Baking is definitely therapeutic! Good point about using a standard egg wash. Now I want to make a batch in my new oven and see how they turn out with a standard egg wash vs. the leftover milk/egg…hmmm…I think I might do some baking today. 🙂 I’m glad you liked the scones!

      Reply

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