Cheese Scones – best recipe ever!

Sometimes food can say a thousand words. Like saying sorry to your neighbour for getting the wrong tree cut down, or ‘oops – inside thought‘ to a friend, or ‘thank you’ to a colleague.  And when I need to do penance, or bribe or thank someone these scones are delicious foodie emissaries.

This is the best and easiest cheese scone recipe I know. It comes from a cafe in Wellington – Ministry of Food. It’s close to our Parliament buildings and I got addicted to these scones when I was working near by. Thanks to Cuisine for publishing it.

Though this is quick and easy there is a trick to a great scone. So here are here are my tips, collected from my mum and many friends over the years.

Tips for scones

1 Heat the oven – it must be hot
2. Preheat the tray – put it in when you turn the oven on.
3. Add all the milk at once – it should be a wet rather than a dry mixture
4. Mix quickly by making slicing actions with a knife, just enough to bind together. Don’t over mix.
5. Touch the mixture as little as possible and get it into the oven asap after mixing the milk in.

Oh and one last thing, use a strong tasty cheddar for a truly delicious scone.

Cheese Scones

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
2 cups grated tasty cheese
1 cup full-cream milk

Preheat oven to 220º C. Put the tray in to heat.
Sift flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and cayenne pepper into a bowl. Mix in cheese. Make a well in the centre.

Check you have a clear bench with flour on it, the oven is fully heated. You want the scones to go into the oven as soon as possible.

Add the milk, mix quickly with a knife. Turn out onto a floured bench and quickly shape into a 3 cm thick rectangle. Cut into 8 and put on to your floured, hot tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes. You’ll smell them as they get ready.

Delicious! If you don’t eat them all they freeze well. To reheat put them into an oven for about 5 minutes.

Use this recipe well, it has certainly helped me out of some scapes, and really will delight all who eat them.

127 thoughts on “Cheese Scones – best recipe ever!

  1. My husband and I love these! We try to eat less ‘breads’ but we can’t resist whipping these yummies up if we have hot soup or for lunch on a lazy Sunday. I’ve added homemade pesto and feta today…Thanks 🙂

    1. Why thank you. I must try adding other things to the recipe. I usually just slather with butter!

      1. Lovely easy recipe thank you! But I find NZ “tasty” cheese is still really mild, as they don’t let it mature long enough, so try getting some English Mature Cheddar from “On Trays” in Petone, that gives them a lovely kick! Also cannot understand why Kiwis add sugar to a savoury recipe? That’s how Sanitarium ruined English Marmite.

      2. Good tip about On trays. Did you make these without the sugar? It’s only a teaspoon so I am interested to hear if there was any difference.

      3. Wow I must try them with a real aged cheddar. I think the sugar is used more as a spice here rather than a sweetener. It certainly helps them brown up and caramelise. Maybe this is not needed with a more traditionally made cheese?

      4. Hi, I’ve used this recipe for years and it’s still my favourite BUT I never put sugar in, unless making sultana or date scones. I do put in a teaspoon of mustard powder and like ‘NOBLE CHEESE’, which has a good bite. Also I just use blue top milk with a good tablespoon of vinegar in. Let sit for 5 minutes….it will start to curdle. It doesn’t leave a taste, but the ‘buttermilk’ makes the scones flakey. Sprinkle some cheese on the tray before placing scones on the tray….work quickly, and a little on top of scones for a good ‘melty’ look.

      5. Wow, I must try curdling the milk. I have added vinegar to almond milk so must try this. I find the sugar helps caramelize the natural sugars in the cheese.

      6. Best recipe ever, before I discovered this my family wasn’t fussed on scones but now I have to make a double batch as they always disappear – I add chopped onions, fresh parsley and thinly sliced bacon and this goes down a treat. Must use a decent strong flavored cheese but never used another recipe since….thank you so much😊

      7. You’re welcome Penny. Great to hear you have converted your family to scones. Your additions sound delicious

    2. The best scones ever, they are so yummy. I did all as the recipe said and was just perfect. Definitely recommend this recipe to everyone. Thanks A million.
      Marina Topless 🎉👍

    3. These scones are SERIOUSLY good! I’ve never had much success with scones or things that have to rise before but these scones work. They’re real easy to make but be warned, they are addictive 🙂 The scone making tips were really useful too.. thanks!

      1. That’s brilliant Carol! Yes they are totally addictive. They freeze really well and I find if I get them in the freezer I am less likely to eat them all. 😉

      1. Whoops sorry I didn’t reply sooner! And yes they were amazing!! Was just coming back to your recipe to make more and saw you had replied 🙂

      2. i ended up with nine scones. Yes they were nice but I only cooked them ten minutes as on fan bake they were really colouring up fast. Next time I will lower the temp. They were messy in prep being so wet. I enjoyed them but next time I will probably one and a half times the recipe, make the scones bigger, and have the oven alittle cooler. Thanks!

  2. Just made some they are delicious. I was a bit sceptical with no butter, eggs or oil – but no worries. I can see I will be making more. Judy

      1. Mines turns out a bit chewy. Do I have to use self rising flour to get crumbly biscuit?

      2. No I don’t use self-raising. Maybe the high amount of cheese probably makes them less crumbly than a butter-based scone?

      3. Great recipe! If I wanted to double it to make 16 scones, would I just double everything (eg, 2 x baking powder, 2 x salt etc)?

  3. These were great! I’ve never been much of a scone maker but really wanted to have a go – they were really really good. Thank you!

    1. Awesome news- these are the only scones I make cos I know they work. Glad to have helped Alice

    1. Mild cheese will be fine. They will still be cheesey, maybe with a little less tang, but I am sure they will still delicious. Let me know you go.

  4. These were so….good, and very easy to make. I did add a little dry mustard powder with the cayenne pepper. This will definitely be my go to scone recipe from now on.

  5. I just made these with spelt flour and they are delicious!!! A great after school treat for my hungry boys!!!

    1. Ooh that sounds great. I will have to try then using spelt flour. So glad they worked out for you.

  6. My boys have requested them again today for afternoon tea!! Warming up here in New Zealand but they still want hot snacks:)))

  7. Just made these for the first time – soooooo good! Won’t be the last time! Love that there is no added butter or oil. I used the cream off the top of my raw milk, delicious!

  8. Absolutely delicious. Never had much luck at making scones but these were just perfect. Next time I will add some dried chilli to give them a little kick.

  9. Hi Lucy,
    We visited NZ from Oz in March. At a stop at the Wellington Botanic Gardens our bus driver advised us that the Cheese scones served in the cafe were the best we would ever taste – so they were. Looking to duplicate the recipe I found your Cheese scone recipe and was delighted with the result. How wonderful not to have to rub the butter into the flour. How quick and easy it is to make these scones and how delicious they are. Have bookmarked this page for future cheese scone feasting.
    Thank you,
    Bev from Oz.

    1. Awesome! And I am glad the MOF cheese scone is colonising Oz! I hope you had a great holiday!

  10. First time making cheese scones today. Have a batch in the oven. Missed the salt as I was adding the ingredients bit hopefully the still come out tasting delish

      1. I haven’t but someone called DN posted that they had the other day. They made them using the Edmond’s gluten free flour and added in 60g of butter into the flour. I also used skim milk. Good luck! I’d love to hear how they went. I reckon if you use a good cheese and add the sugar and cayenne pepper as per the recipe I reckon they’ll be good.

  11. What differnce would it make if I used low fat milk ( light blue lid) instead of full cream milk?

  12. SO GOOD. I made them using the Edmond’s gluten free flour and added in 60g of butter into the flour. I also used skim milk. So delicious. Will make again – thank you!

    1. I’m not sure if plain scones would work as you would need to replace the cheese with butter. I have just posted a variation which I cooked on a barbeque grill. In this one you use buttermilk and an egg rather than butter. That might work. Good luck!

  13. I made it but too salty and dried. This is my first time for making cheese scorns. I didn’t see vegetable oil or butter in ingredients ( After finished baking I checked other recipe from other website).

    1. Oh I am sorry to hear too salty and dry. They usually work well. Maybe try using less salt if you are using a good cheddar. There is no butter or oil as the cheese has enough fats. Good luck!

  14. Hi Lucy, just found your recipe. Mine is very similar and for “Anonymous ” from November 16, I use 100ml of cream and 200ml of milk for plain or fruit scones in place of cheese etc. (No butter or sugar needed) . We hope to visit NZ later this year. We were over in 2008 but didn’t get to the North Island.
    Cheers, Lorraine from Perth, Oz.

    1. Thanks Lorraine. I’ll try you recipe, not having to rub butter in makes them really quick to make.

  15. Wow!! i absolutely love cheese scones & these would have to be the best scones ever!!!! The base actually went crispy on mine & the top beautiful & light… yum 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, I will definitely be making again 🙂

    1. Awesome Meg- I am so pleased they worked for you. I love the crispy base too

  16. Thanks for the super easy recipe!! I’ve just got them out of the oven, they look DELICIOUS!! Also, loved all your tips – this will now be my go-to scone recipe, thank you 😊

      1. Hi Just made some, added 1/8th tspn of curry; parmesan cheese and 1/2 an onion ( very finely diced ) delicious all the family loved them.

  17. I’m rubbish at making scones but these worked and taste amazing. Fussy toddler approved too. Will be my go to from now on, thank you!!

    1. Awesome to hear Tess. It is such a fail-safe recipe. I love it that the fussy toddler approves.

  18. Another convert! Lessons from the first batch last week don’t add more milk, don’t pat the dough too thin, brush the tops with milk. Second batch last night, perfection 🙂 It truly is the best recipe, thanks Lucy.

    1. Awesome Sarah. I agree- I’ve had success with both dry and quite wet mixtures. So pleased they worked out. I’m gonna brush the tops next time I make them.

  19. Lucy, I did exactly as you instructed but added 2 good pinches of cayenne pepper and sustituted half a cup of cream for half of the milk as the cream needed using! Oh and I sprinkled the tops with a little of the grated cheese.
    The scones came out perfect, best I’ve ever made, even though I was worried about the mixture being a tad dry. They were not too spicy, just enough to leave a warm afterglow in the mouth.

    1. Yay, so glad you had a delicious cheeses success Maggie! It’s funny how sometimes the mixture ends up dry, other times a bit wet. Either way seems to work! I like a large pinch of cayenne. Ooh and cream is always good.

  20. This recipe is fab. Add some dried crispy onion bits and it’s delicious and they really do freeze well, if they get into the freezer!

    1. I agree about freezing and I just put them straight in a hot oven, they only take a few minutes to heat through. Mmmm with melting butter.

  21. Top marks Lucy. First decent scones our new oven has produced yet.
    Added some spring onion and red pepper and 1/2 cream/1/2 low fat milk. Don’t think we will get a chance to try freezing them.

  22. Yum these were amazing. The only changes I made was that i used Edmonds GF flour, 60g of butter, 3/4 cup of milk mixed with 1/4 cup of natural unsweetened yogurt. They were delish.

  23. I made these on the weekend and while they were really yummy, I must have gone a bit wrong somewhere. The dough was dry and I should have added a bit more milk I think and I should have baked them a few mins less than 15, they were a bit dry. I’m going to give it a go again this weekend and add more milk I think so it’s a wetter dough.

    1. Good thinking Alyssa. Sometimes the dough can be a bit dry or a bit wet. I think it must be humidity or variations in the flour. Be bold when you add the milk. Add it all at once to make sure that you don’t over work them! A bit wet is not harm I’ve found, especially as they go so quickly into the oven on a hot tray. Good luck!

  24. Perfect every time I make these and have made over 20 times! Have forwarded onto others as well. Made a batch today at 1 and a half times the recipe and did 1 cup milk and half a cup water, came out just the same. Also, any cheese works – I have done with Tasty, Colby and mild. Thanks so much for the excellent recipe.

  25. Kia ora Lucy, bit late to the party but thought I’d add my voice to the throngs celebrating this fabulously simple yet most delicious recipe! I shall no longer google search every time I want to make cheese scones, this is embedded as the go to now. I had no white flour or tasty cheese so made my batch with wholemeal flour and parmesan (the cheap variety haha…) and they were perfection. Also used up around half a cup of cream to make up one cup of milk. So lots of variations on the original recipe but following the process to a tee ensured a perfect result. Ngā mihi, many thanks.

    1. Kia ora and thank you for your kind words. Yes I find it an amazingly versatile and forgiving recipe. I have even made it with vegan cheese and almond milk! They were light, fluffy and as tasty as vegan cheese can be!

    2. Kia ora you. So glad you found this recipe worked. I find it super flexible. I’ve even made it vegan using vegan cheese and almond milk. I added a teaspoon of white vinegar to the almond milk and my vegan and halal mates thought they were great. Thanks for getting in contact

  26. Thanks for sharing. Definitely time I tried these scones with wholemeal flour. Did they still brown ok?

    I always think the sugar is there as a spice to oomph up the caramelisation of the natural lactose sugars. Maybe the don’t need extra?

  27. I wish I never found this recipe. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve made these scones! My Husband ABSOLUTELY LOVES them and asks at least twice a week if I can make them for him. And he doesn’t like to share 😦

    1. Ha I love it Ori! It got like that with a team I worked with. Glad they work well for you! They are my go to.

  28. I have been making these for years now. Wouldnt use any other recipe. I’ve taken these to work and the guys have said they are the best scones ever.

    1. Great to hear Anne, I find it a really consistently performing recipe. Glad to hear you do too

  29. These could be the scones to take out our school staff mission to match some famous cheese scones from a shop down the road. Thanks.

  30. Best cheese scone recipe ever! I’m stuck here in COVID19 lockdown and decided to make up a batch. This recipe appealed because I didn’t need to mess around rubbing butter and flour together. I was a bit sceptical because the dough was so dry, but they turned out perfect. There aren’t going to be any left to freeze!

  31. I am a cheese scone fanatic, but I must say theses are the best ever. Had a 20/10 from my husband, so they must be good.

  32. Made these scones today for first time. Love that they don’t have butter in them. Mixture was drier than I was expecting but they turned out fine. I’m thinking to try buttermilk instead of milk next time & making double recipe. Is the temperature stated in the recipe on fanbake or normal bake??

  33. I love these scones. Found the recipe ages ago and it’s my go to. Have got to the point now I just dump what looks right in and it works every time. Also use fresh oregano or thyme out of my garden instead of the cayenne pepper sometimes

  34. This is the first successful scone I have ever made. I am in debt to you – I am onto my second hot scone slathered in melting butter.

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