These Cherry Scones are incredible - flaky on the inside, golden and crunchy on the outside, with a subtle almond flavour and packed with fresh, juicy cherries. They are perfect for breakfast, afternoon tea, a simple snack or for entertaining. Try stopping at one!
The English adore scones, from plain and traditional, to filled with fruit- they are a much-loved part of our afternoon tea set up. I have a Foolproof Scone Recipe Guide that shows you how to make the best, buttery, flakey scones. Using a great base recipe, you can make my delicious Chocolate Chunk Scones or add in fruit like we are doing here.
These scones are made in one bowl, and aside from the cherries, the list of ingredients required is pretty basic. Once baked, these Cherry Scones become soft and fluffy on the inside with flaky layers when torn apart, and the outside bakes to golden, crisp perfection. The cherries are juicy, flavoursome and cooked until soft and pair beautifully with the lightly fragranced almond dough and the crunchy flaked almonds on top.
I’ve chosen to use fresh cherries within these cherry almond scones, but I provide alternatives if fresh aren’t in season and available. I’ll also share how to make theses in the more British fashion, cut into rounds, just like you would receive at a high tea prepared by Mary Berry!
Why you'll love this recipe
- Comes together quickly. The scone dough is made in ten minutes or under and comes together so easily. They require refrigeration for 30 minutes, or freezing for 15 minutes- the perfect timing to heat up your oven! This gives them the best flakey texture!
- Scones are adaptable. Once you have a great base recipe, such as this one, you can create your own flavour adventure by adding in any type of fruit, nuts or chocolate.
- Make the perfect accompaniment with your morning or afternoon tea. There’s something so comforting about a plate full of scones that is best served with tea!!
The ingredients to make this Cherry Scone Recipe can be listed on two hands. They are all pretty basic, except for the almond extract, which is added to bring out the flavour of the almonds on top but isn’t essential, so don’t worry if you don’t have it. And if you decided to omit the almond extract and flaked almonds on top, then these will still taste wonderful. In-season cherries are best, but you can still make these if they aren’t available. I’ll explain how in a second.
- Self-raising flour - Part of the success of making scones lies in the height that they rise. Using self-raising flour will greatly improve your chances as it has a raising agent already mixed through. (Check out my FAQ's below if you can only get plain flour.)
- Caster sugar - Add sweetness, feel free to use granulated sugar if that is all you have.
- Salt & baking powder - Salt adds depth to the flavour and the extra baking powder helps create a little more lift.
- Double Cream (Heavy Cream) - I prefer double cream over single cream due to the higher fat content which adds more richness to the dough. Whole milk, sour cream or buttermilk can be used as a substitute. You might need a teaspoon or two less of the milk, as its consistency is thinner than the double cream.
- Large Egg - The egg helps bind the ingredients together but also increases the richness and flavour.
- Vanilla and Almond Extract - for additional flavour. Vanilla bean paste can be used too. The almond taste is subtle but if you aren't a fan then omit the almond extract altogether.
- Unsalted butter - Has to be cold in order to create flaky layers within the scone.
- Flaked Almonds and Demerara Sugar - Both get sprinkled to the top of the scone wedges, the sugar for crunch and the almonds are also for texture but also to complement the cherry taste. Both can be left off if you prefer or use one or the other.
- Dark Chocolate (optional) - Chocolate, cherries and almonds are an incredible flavour combination together. I drizzled some chocolate over the scones when they were warm and wow- it was magical together elevating fantastic scones into indulgent, delicious scones!. Saying that though, if you don’t have any on hand then not to worry - the scones still taste delicious as is.
What type of cherries to use
I’ve specified fresh cherries as they are available, ripe and juicy and perfect to be baked with. However, there are times in the year when cherries are out of season (or astronomically expensive!), but I don’t want that small factor to stop you from making these scones! No sir, no ma’am!
As you can see in the image below, cherries come in four different ways. Each can be used to make cherry scones and each of them has the ability to make your scones delicious! This mean that year round you have the ability to make these delicious Almond and Cherry Scones.
- Fresh - as mentioned above, any variety will work well. (Please note thatI have never tried, let alone baked with sour cherries before. Make sour cherry scones at your own peril!! ).
- Frozen - A great way to use cherries year round. There’s no need to thaw the frozen cherries before adding them to the dough. You may need to add on a couple of extra minutes to the bake time as they release moisture as they thaw during the baking process. Use the same quantity as the fresh cherries.
- Dried - Dried cherries add a lovely texture when eating the scones. Soak them in 1 tablespoon of Amaretto or Kirsch for 15 minutes before adding to the dough. Dried cherry scones are my go too way of making scones when I don’t have fresh on hand. Use 90g (¾ cup) within this recipe.
- Glacé - The UK’s favourite way to add cherries into a scone recipe, is to use glacé cherries. As you can see below, there are two types of glacé cherries, the bright red variety or the deep read variety. Both taste similar, and either or both types can be used. They are very sweet though, so I would halve the sugar in the recipe and use 60g (4oz) glacé cherries.
American scones VS British scones!
Having been in this food space for a couple of years now, I’ve come to understand the differences between the British scones as opposed to scones made in the States.
- In Britain we cut the scones into rounds with a plain or fluted-edged cookie cutter. They are either left plain or filled with dried fruit as standard. The tops are brushed in egg wash, milk or cream to provide a golden finish and once baked they are served split in half, with clotted cream and jam or butter. The scone dough itself isn’t overly sweet due to the toppings added during serving.
- In the States I have noticed the popular scone shape is a triangular wedge shape. The dough is shaped into round discs and cut into segments. Often the scone dough itself is sweeter with more sugar added and they are filled with all sorts of fruit, nuts or chocolate. Once baked the scones are decorated with a drizzle or glaze over the top of each scone and eaten as is.
My Cherry Almond Scones are definitely geared to how the Americans enjoy their scones, they are cut in wedges, filled with fresh fruit and decorated with flaked almonds and an optional drizzle of dark chocolate.
BUT I didn’t want my British comrades to feel left out. So I made the British version as shown in the image below. The base scone recipe is the same. I just substituted the fresh cherries for chopped glacé cherries and stamped out rounds with a cookie cutter. Before baking I brushed the tops with cream and did not add the demerara sugar, flaked almonds or dark chocolate. The best way to serve these is slathered in butter! Just sayin’.
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
Let's jump right into how we make the very best Cherry Scone Recipe (IMO!) The main points to note are to keep your ingredients cold and to handle the dough as little as possible.
Make the scone dough
1. Sift together dry ingredients. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Into a large mixing bowl, sift in your dry ingredients; flour, baking powder and salt. Add in the sugar and stir together. (Image 1)
2. Whisk wet ingredients together. In a bowl, whisk together the cream, egg, vanilla and almond extract. Once whisked, set aside one tablespoon of the egg mixture- this will be your egg wash to be used later on. (Image 2)
TIP: Keep everything cold is imperative to successfully making scones.
If your kitchen is warm then measure out your ingredients and refrigerate them all for half an hour (mixing bowl included) before you crack on with the method. If you have warm hands, run them under cold water to reduce their temperature, then pat dry before handling the butter.
3. Add butter to flour. Add the chopped butter and using your fingertips, toss the pieces until they are separated and coated with flour. In the bowl, set roughly ¼ of the butter cubes to the side of the bowl (Image 3). Using your fingertips, rub the flour and bulk of the butter together until it looks like breadcrumbs. (Alternatively, use a pastry cutter)
Now rub the remaining cubes of butter into the flour but this time leave them larger until they are the size of peas. (Image 4)
4. Combine wet into the dry ingredients. Make a well in the dry mix and pour in the whisked egg and cream mixture into the centre. Use a fork to stir until the mixture just starts to come together to form a dough. It will still be very shaggy at this point and feel quite sticky. (Image 5) If necessary, use your floured hands to lightly bring it all together incorporating the dry flour left at the bottom of the bowl.
TIP: If there are dry crumbs at the bottom of the bowl or it looks too dry, then add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, and mix in with the fork or hands.
5. Coat the cherries in flour. Into the bowl your chopped cherries are in, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour and toss to coast the cherries. If your cherries are ripe, they are going to be juicy! And with that juiciness comes moisture that will seep into the dough staining it. I mean, the cherries will still colour the dough a bit because they have to mixed in together, but this minimises you having a totally pink scone!!!
6. Add the cherries to the dough. Tip the floured cherries into the dough and very gently mix them in with your finger tips. (Image 8) Then start to bring the dough together into a lump and tip out onto a floured surface (Image 9 below).
Shape your scone dough
7. Bring the dough together. Bring the dough together with floured hands by pressing it together. Fold it in half and then press flat. Do this again if needed to make the dough smoother. This incorporates air into the dough and makes it smoother without having to knead the dough with the risk of over working it. Gently flatten it out into a disc. (I don’t use a rolling pin as i find using my hands works just fine.) (Image 10)
8. Cut the dough in half and shape into two discs. Using a bench scraper or a sharp knife, cut the dough in two. (Image 11 & 12)
Shape each half into a round disc, flour your hands if you need to help shape it. Flatten the disc until its 2 cm (1-inch) thick. (Image 13 & 14)
Prepare the cherry scones for baking
9. Prepare scone rounds and refrigerate. Add the two discs onto the prepared baking tray and brush each disc with the the remaining cream (Image 15). You can choose how you want to finish off your disc. Either sprinkle the top with Demerara sugar for extra sweetness and crunch (Image 16), or sprinkle flaked almonds over the top (Image 17). Or you can do both on each disc if you like! Now the discs need to be cut into wedges. Use a sharp knife to cut each disc into six or 6 wedges. (Image 18)
Refrigerate. The scones need a chance to rest for the flour to hydrate and butter to firm up again. This is a sure fire way for you to get those flaky layers. You can refrigerate the scones for 30 minutes minimum, or pop them in the freezer for 15 minutes.
10. Bake. I bake the Cherry Scone wedges left in the discs with the edges touching. Why? All the edges within the disc will stay soft and fluffy whilst the out rim and top will go golden and crisp. I love tearing the wedge off the disc once it’s baked. You need to bake them until golden brown on top. (Image 19 below)
I do know that many like to separate the wedges and place them on the baking tray with a couple of inches space between them and bake like this. The whole surround goes golden and crunchy. There is no right or wrong way - just which ever way floats your boat I guess! You will have to reduce the bake time if doing it this way.
An indulgent treat is to drizzle dark chocolate over the top of these scones just before serving. I guarantee that your Chocolate Cherry Scones will be a crowd
- Chocolate: Add in chopped chocolate, white, milk, or dark, into the scone mix so that you get little pockets of melted chocolate within each scone. My kids love this variation!
- Dried Fruit: Swap out the cherries for dried cranberries soaked in orange juice. Add in the zest of an orange for added citrus flavour. These festive flavours shine through.
- Glaze: Mix up a glaze of powdered icing sugar with some milk and drizzle over the tops of the scones for added sweetness, just like I did with my Chocolate Chip Scones.
- Use cold ingredients and cold hands. The aim is to keep the butter as cold as possible when making the dough so that it melts when it hits the high heat, not before, and creates that uber flakey interior we're after.
- Don't overwork the dough. By pressing the dough together with your hands rather than over kneading will prevent the activation of gluten and in turn prevent tough scones when baked. It will help with our end goal of flaky layers!
- Refrigerate the dough before baking. This allows the flour to hydrate, the gluten to relax, butter to re-chill and harden and baking powder to get to work. All this helps in creating soft, flaky scones.
Frequently asked questions
A couple of possibilities here. Your baking powder might be out-of-date. Just have a quick look. If you don’t use it often it's easy to keep out-of-date powder and this will definitely affect the rise. Also, you may have overworked the dough which in turn inhibits the rise. Keep the handling to a minimum.
Aaaah yes, I’ve been asked this before. Mary Berry recommends wrapping your scones in a clean tea towel once they come out of the oven. The steam will then keep the scones moist. You can definitely do this if you aren’t serving this immediately.
The tops of the scones should be golden brown and when you pick it up and tap the bottom, it should sound hollow. When you break one open the interior should be soft and fluffy and not wet and doughy.
If you don't have self-raising flour, then substitute with plain flour and extra baking powder. For this standard size recipe I’ve provided today, add 3 teaspoons of baking powder to 375g (3 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour and stir together. Continue as per the recipe instructions and the other ingredients, including adding the stated baking powder.
How to store and freeze
To store: Scones are best served fresh and slightly warm. To store them, wrap them in plastic wrap or place them in a ziplock bag to prevent them from drying out and retain their moisture. Leave at room temperature. They should last 1 to 2 days.
To freeze: Once baked scones are cooled, wrap immediately in plastic wrap or place in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature and reheat in the oven or microwave.
More recipes using cherries that you may like.
If you tried this Cherry Scone Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how you go in the comments below. I love hearing from you. Also, please leave a star rating whilst you're there!
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Cherry Scones Recipe
- Baking Tray
- 375 g self raising flour, plus 1 tablespoon extra to toss with cherries
- 12 g caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 210 g double cream (heavy cream)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 90 g unsalted butter
- 230 g fresh cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped
- 15 g demerara sugar
- 1 tablespoon flaked almonds
- 50 g dark chocolate (optional), melted
- Sift dry ingredients together. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Into a large mixing bowl, sift in your dry ingredients; flour, baking powder and salt. Add in the sugar and stir together.
- Whisk wet ingredients together. In a bowl, whisk together the cream, egg, and vanilla extract. Once whisked, set aside one tablespoon of the egg mixture- this will be your egg wash to be used later.
- Add butter to flour. Add the chopped butter and using your fingertips, toss the pieces until they are separated and coated with flour. In the bowl, set roughly ¼ of the butter cubes to the side of the bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the flour and remaining butter together until it looks like breadcrumbs. (Alternatively, use a pastry cutter) Now rub the remaining cubes of butter into the flour but this time leave them larger until they are the size of peas.
- Combine wet into the dry ingredients. Make a well in the dry mix and pour in the whisked egg and milk mixture into the centre. Use a fork to stir until the mixture just starts to come together to form a dough. It will still be very shaggy at this point and feel quite sticky. If necessary, use your hands to lightly bring it all together incorporating the dry flour left at the bottom of the bowl.
- Coat the cherries in flour. Into the bowl your chopped cherries are in, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour and toss to coat the cherries. This will soak up a little of the juices and stop them from staining the dough quite so much!
- Add the cherries to the dough. Tip the floured cherries into the dough and very gently mix them in with your fingertips. Then start to bring the dough together into a lump by pressing the dough together. Tip out onto a lightly floured work surface.
- Bring the dough together. Once on the work surface, continue to bring the dough together with floured hands by pressing it together. Fold it in half and then press flat. Do this again if needed to make the dough smoother. This incorporates air into the dough and makes it smoother without having to knead the dough with the risk of over working it. Gently flatten it out with your hands into a disc.
- Cut the dough in half and shape into two discs. Using a bench scraper or a sharp knife, cut the dough in two.Shape each half into a round disc, flour your hands if you need to help shape it. Flatten the disc until its 2 cm (1-inch) thick.
- Prepare scone rounds and refrigerate. Add the two discs onto the prepared baking tray and brush each disc with the remaining cream. Either sprinkle the top with Demerara sugar or sprinkle flaked almonds over the top. You can do both on each disc if you like! Now the discs need to be cut into 6 wedges using a sharp knife. Refrigerate tray for 30 minutes or freeze for 15 minutes. Whilst the scones are chilling, pre-heat the oven to 180°C (350°F)
- Bake. Bake for 25-35 minutes until the scones are risen and the tops are golden brown. (The time will depend on the thickness of your scone rounds. The thicker they are, the longer they will need to bake. Check at the 25-minute mark and add on more time if necessary.)Once baked, remove from the oven and drizzle melted dark chocolate over the top. Serve immediately. Best eaten the day they are made.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.