Fragrant Orange English Scones

When I started my tea blog last year, it seemed obvious that scones should be at the top of my tea recipes list.  After all, there isn’t any treat around as quintessentially tea-time related as the classic English Scone.

There are so many wonderful scone recipes that I have in my files, but today I’m sharing the Kensington Palace Scones recipe that comes from Bruce Richardson’s book, The Great Tea Rooms of Britain.  In it, the Tea Maestro himself travels all around the UK sharing with us the country’s most special tea venues, both humble and elaborate.

The one item undeniably found at every tea room in Britain are hot, fresh scones.  When making these scones, you finish kneading the dough with a final fold-over.  This technique gives these beauties a natural horizontal split.  Just gently break the scone in half with your hands and there it is, a perfect canvas for globs of cream and jam!  Proper etiquette would dictate that you carefully slice the scone in half with a knife, but I must say, I am partial hands-on method, especially when I’m at home and the golden mounds have just come out of the oven.

And speaking of scone etiquette, I suppose I should share with you the proper way of eating a scone.  This way, when you end up visiting one of those fancy tea rooms in Britain, you’ll know exactly how it should be done!

How to “Properly” Eat a Scone

1.  With a knife, slice the scone in half horizontally.

2.  Using the serving spoons, spoon small spoonfuls of jam and cream onto your plate (just enough for your one scone).

3.  Use the tip of your knife to spread a small amount of jam on the edge of the scone, then cream on top.  When not being used, place the knife in the upper right side of the plate, with the cutting side facing in towards the center of the plate.   Take a bite, and when you’re ready for the next…repeat!

Other “Proper” Ways to Eat a Scone:

You can also break off bite-size pieces of scone after cutting it in half.  Then use the knife to dab the small piece with jam and cream, then repeat!

Another way to eat a scone properly is to slather the bottom half entirely with jam, then cream, and then take bites as politely as possible.  You can repeat process with the top half.

Other interesting facts about scone-eating etiquette:

Never spoon the jam from the serving dish directly onto the scone!

If you are served butter instead of cream, spread butter first before the jam.

Did you know that eating a scone American style, means that you can eat it with a knife and fork?

And here’s my favorite…never eat a scone like you would eat a sandwich or burger!

If you’re wondering where I come up with these ideas, I don’t!  They came from another of Bruce Richardson’s tea books, Tea & Etiquette.  For this project, he paired up with etiquette expert Dorothea Johnson to give us these interesting tips on tea manners.  Tea & Etiquette is a really useful read if you are trying to brush up on your afternoon tea skills…scones, tea, and the like!  Consider it the Emily Post of afternoon tea.

Bake off some of these Fragrant Orange English Scones to test out your scone eating etiquette! If you are like me, it might take a few scones before you get a graceful groove going for you.  Hey, practice makes perfect, right?  Undoubtedly, the next time you take tea at The Ritz or The Four Seasons you’ll be dining confidently with class and ease!

Fragrant Orange English Scones

Makes 10- 2.5″ scones.

Note:  Kensington Palace Scones are originally made without any orange zest or glaze.  If you aren’t into orange flavor, make them plain and they are just as delicious (and most authentic) this way!


{Orange Scones}

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp baking powder

2 tsp grated orange rind

1/3 cup non-hydrogenated shortening (I used Spectrum brand)

1/3 cup unsalted butter

1/3 cup whole milk

1 egg, beaten

bench flour

{Light Orange Glaze}

2 tsp grated orange rind

1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar

1 Tbsp orange juice


fine grater/zester

food processor

large mixing bowl

liquid measuring cup


work surface

2.5″ round cookie cutter

rolling pin

half baking sheet

parchment paper

cooling rack with baking sheet underneath


1.)  Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.  Measure out the butter and shortening.  Cut butter into 1/4″ cubes and place on a plate.  Spoon shortening into 1 tsp chunks and place on same plate.  Place plate with butter and shortening in the freezer to chill for a few minutes.

2.)  Place all dry ingredients into the food processor and pulse a few times to combine ingredients.  Add 2 tsp of orange rind, and pulse one more time.  In measuring cup, measure out milk, then add egg and beat until the mixture is thoroughly mixed.

3.)  Remove butter/shortening from the freezer and add it into the food processor with flour.  Pulse the fats with the dry ingredients several times until you get pea sized pieces of the fat covered in flour.  Dump this mixture into a large bowl, then gradually add in liquid mixture with a fork until you get barely mixed shaggy dough.

4.)  Dump the shaggy dough onto a work surface scattered with bench flour.  Knead the dough ball 8-10 times.  For the final kneading, fold the dough entirely onto itself.

5.)  Roll dough out to a thickness of 1″.  Use round cookie cutter to punch out rounds.  Use bench flour on rolling pin and cookie cutter as necessary, to stop dough from sticking.  Place dough rounds on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, at least 1″ apart.  Bake scones for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

6.)  Make Light Orange Glaze.  Mix powdered sugar, 2 tsp of orange zest, and orange juice together in a small bowl.  Set aside.

7.)  After removing scones from oven, place on a cooling rack with baking sheet underneath.  Spoon glaze over scones.  This glaze is for flavor and not looks.  It will seep into the exterior of the scone, giving the scones an extra boost of orange freshness.   Serve scones warm, with generous amounts of jam and cream.

Adapted from Kensington Palace Scones recipe in Bruce Richardson’s The Great Tea Rooms of Britain.

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It’s fate Patty! Hope you do get to try them…I love how sky-high they always turn out! Really delish with blueberry or blackberry jam. =)


Your scones rise so beautifully! Bryan and I are really into citrus flavored baked goods. I will have to try these. These will be so good with a cup of tea. And I didn’t know you are supposed to do both jam and cream on a scone. I thought it was a choice to do either one. Good to know. Got to eat it the right way. 🙂


Yes, I hope you can try them sometime! Pretty easy to make. You technically could eat scones anyway you please, but for the fancier occasions it’s nice to know the “appropriate’ way…haha…thanks for stopping by! =)


Thank you for the Guidelines, now I won’t make a fool out of myself in London by eating my scone the wrong way 😀 oh and lovely pictures, they make me want to dig into them!

Fig & Quince

Did you really make these? I mean: they look utterly gorgeous and perfectly fluffy! I love the look of the oranges, they are so cute and dainty. Remind me of the clementines I used the other day for food props. I have some tea right now, and only lack a knife, some butter, and one of your beautiful scones!


I did, my dear! 😉 They are clementines in fact…my favorite type of orange because of their thinner skin and bright, beautiful color! Like you said, I think they photograph better too! Hope you can make the scones sometime, but I don’t think you can now since you should be on your vacation in Iran, right!!?? So exciting, can’t wait to read about it! =)


Beautiful scones – so tall and such a wonderful crumb. Love that you include a ‘how to eat’! Did you know that in Britain the view on how the perfect scone should be eaten is divided: there is one side that argues that you should first spread the cream and then top with jam, but there is the other side that believes you start with the jam and then add a dollop of cream. Whichever way it is eaten I agree with you that scones with jam and clotted cream are heavenly!


I think I would vote in the middle…eat them whichever way makes you the most happy! Thanks for the lovely comment! 😉


My sister and I found a delightful little tea room in the Cotswolds while travelling with a ladies
tour a year ago. They served the best scones I have ever eaten! Your orange zest scones look so delicious I am inspired to try making my own. I found where I can buy clotted cream.
Thank you for sharing!


truly British indeed! love those scones…and jam..and clotted cream!

Catherine Vidinha

These look beautiful! I can’t wait to try them out. One of my favorite scone flavors is orange-cranberry, second only to strawberry-chocolate chip, but then, those were American scones in both cases, which are really an entirely different beast to English scones—though both really are delicious in their own ways.

Bonnie Eng

In my opinion English Scones are ideal eaten plain or minimally flavored, like these are. American scones are fabulous when you start throwing yummy bits of ingredients in…that being said, orange and cranberry scones are divine! I totally agree with you that they are both delicious in their own way! Thanks for stopping by Catherine! 🙂

Bonnie Eng

Hi Li! Sure you can replace the shortening with butter. Shortening lends a bit of extra tenderness to the dough, but if you don’t over handle it everything should be fine! Hope this helps! 🙂

felicia | Dish by Dish

Hi Bonnie! So glad I stumbled across your blog! these scones look so good…and I love your lesson on how to properly eat a scone!

I’d love to include your orange english scone recipe in a scone roundup I’m doing for Parade Magazine.

If you’re fine with it, could I use one of your photos with a link back to this original post? Thanks!!

kerri jones

Thank you for this great entry on scones and especially for the recipe. I am a scone lover from way back and orange scones are one of my favorite flavor… can’t wait to try it. 🙂

Chris Mullins

They look lovely. I’ll definitely give the recipe a try soon!


I made these beautiful scones for an afternoon tea, but replaced the grated orange rind with dried ground orange zest and my guests all thought they were bought professional scones.

Bonnie Eng

I’m so pleased to hear this Josephine! Thank you so much for the update…I love this recipe too! 😉


My goodness Bonnie! What a wonderfully beautiful site. I am salivating over all of these delicious recipes and anxious to try out some of the lovely crafts. I believe, however, that I will first try this delicious scone recipe so that my family and I can enjoy them with a favorite cup of tea. I can’t wait and I will definitely be back 🙂 Thanks.


Do I need to use shortening? Can I just use more butter. I avoid trans fats like the plague! Looks delish!

Bonnie Eng

Certainly you can, Ruth! I also avoid trans fats at all costs. Spectrum brand makes it without transfat (the brand I used). But yes, you can also just use all butter. Thank you!! 😉

Paula Nurmikivi

Thank you for your perfect scone recipe…I am going to make them for my daughter-in-laws bridal tea party and serve them with Krema Olympia yogurt with the orange zest and a drop of orange extract mixed in. I have a feeling they will disappear too quickly for any attempt at etiquette!


I wanted to print the recipe….but…it wants to print every single word and every single photo. That’s a bit much 🙂
Recipe looks yummy, though!


It might sound silly, but I have three questions:
1- the scones have to be round?
2- what is bench flour??
3- what can use instead of shortening?


Illyasah Munajj

Can’t wait to try this recipe out. I really love scones and tea. I thought this page was perfect for me to be one. My friends now want me to invite them over for a tea and scone party.


I have the book but I don’t see the recipe anywhere and the one scone recipe that I can find certainly doesn’t match your ingredient quantities. Can you help me out here? What page?


absolutely delicious! Light and Fluffy too. I added chopped apricots to the recipe and omitted the orange glaze topping and replaced it with an egg white bath and a sprinkle of sugar. I did use 1/2 &1/2 instead of whole milk. Thank you for this delicious recipe.


Hi Bonnie. Thanks for sharing the recipe. By the way, appreciate if you can share the recipe of basic or plain scones…