Alison and her daughter both live gluten-free and have spent a lot of time perfecting some delicious GF versions of family favorites!
How to Make Gluten-Free Scones
Following a gluten-free diet has become more difficult recently with the coronavirus pandemic making it harder to find gluten-free bread in stores and online. If you have some flour in your store cupboard, making a batch of these scones is easy and provides a tasty alternative to bread or rolls. The recipe can be adapted to make sweet, fruit, or cheese scones or a sweet or savory cobbler topping for pies using the instructions I provide.
If you have to avoid gluten completely because you are celiac (coeliac) or if you have had to cut down or cut out wheat gluten because of an intolerance, baking has to be relearned to a certain extent. My recipe has been created after some trial and error. These are delicious, so you don't need to miss out on old favorites.
I hope you enjoy my gluten-free scones. My husband says they are nicer than 'ordinary' ones. Enjoy!
I have found that the proportions used in baking with wheat flour need to be adapted for baking with gluten-free flour in order to achieve the desired result.
Please follow either cups or ounces or grams, as the measurements are not interchangeable.
- 12 ounces (1.5 cups) (340 grams) gluten-free self-raising flour (in the UK, I use Doves Farm)
- 2 level teaspoons xanthan gum (see the video explanation of what this is and how it works in gluten-free baking and my top tip below), if you have it. This is not necessary if using the Doves Farm self-raising flour above as it already contains xanthan gum—check the packet ingredients if you are not using this brand.
- 1 level teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons caster sugar (I prefer to use the unrefined version)
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) (115 grams) unsalted butter (you can use margarine if you wish, but in this case, leave out or reduce the salt above)
- 2 eggs, preferably free range
- 4 to 6 fluid ounces milk (I prefer to use semi-skimmed and this is the only milk I have used). Please note that gluten-free flours vary and the last batch of scones I made only needed 3 fluid ounces of milk, so be prepared to adjust the quantity of liquid.
Note: If you cannot get GF self-raising flour, you will need to add baking powder, but you must make sure that this is also GF (follow the instructions on the baking powder for how much to add to the weight of flour required in this recipe).
- To make: mixing bowl, scales, rolling pin, cookie cutter
- To bake: non-stick baking tray lightly dusted with flour or an ordinary tray lined with a sheet of baking parchment
- Preheat the oven to 220°C (for fan ovens) or 230°C (for non-fan or gas oven)
- Sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.
- Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl, and when well whisked, gradually stir in 2 to 3 fluid ounces of the milk—leave to one side.
- Rub the butter into the dried ingredients, using your fingertips to incorporate as much air as possible.
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and gradually add the egg and milk, mixing to a soft dough with a spoon. Leave the very last tablespoon of the egg and milk mixture to brush onto the tops of your scones before baking. If you find you need more liquid, add some of your remaining milk until you are happy with the consistency.
- Leave the mixture to rest for 5 minutes. I have found that mixtures using gluten- free flour tend to be rather 'wet' to start with, and this standing time makes it easier to roll out.
- Dust your board and rolling pin with flour and cut out into rounds just under an inch thick with a cutter about 2 1/4 inches. This should yield about 10–12 scones. The size is not critical, though!
- If the mixture really is too wet to roll out, don’t despair. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop out mounds of the mixture and transfer these directly to your baking tray—the results will taste just as good.
- Brush the tops of the scones with the reserved egg and milk mixture.
- Bake towards the top of the oven for approximately 10 minutes in a fan oven or 12 minutes in an ordinary oven.
- When nicely browned on top, remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
- Serve split in half with butter and raspberry jam or some delicious Cornish clotted cream and strawberry jam! (Not for the calorie counters!)
My Top Tip for Xanthan Gum
If you buy xanthan gum, my top tip would be to transfer it to a completely airtight, sealed container once you have opened the packet. This stuff is absolutely ruined if it gets even a tiny bit damp!
Variations on the Basic Recipe
As I mentioned earlier, with shortages in the shops during the coronavirus pandemic, and also with many of us choosing not to go to the store if it can be avoided (my husband has COPD and so is in an 'at risk' group), these gluten-free scones can provide an easy-to-make alternative to bread.
- These scones keep well in an airtight container in the freezer for at least a month and can be defrosted quickly in the microwave if required.
- Luxury scones can be made by replacing half milk with the same amount of plain, natural yogurt (this makes the scones even lighter and more tender). In the UK, I have recently discovered yogurt made from sheep's milk which is particularly delicious in scones!
- For fruit scones add 4 ounces (1/2 cup) sultanas to the dry ingredients before adding the liquid.
- For cheese scones add 4 ounces (1/2 cup) grated cheddar cheese to the dry ingredients, reserving a small amount to sprinkle on the top of the scones before they go into the oven. If you do not want your cheese scones to be sweet, omit the sugar altogether, or cut down on the amount used according to taste. (These are delicious instead of a bread roll with what we call here in the UK, a 'Ploughman’s lunch' which normally comprises, rolls, cheese, chutney, a side salad and an apple or pear).
- Why not roll out the cheese scone mixture to half thickness and use as a 'cobbler' topping for savory mince dishes (instead of mashed potato on cottage pie or instead of pastry on a meat pie) or do the same thing with sweet scones on a fruit mixture? It is really delicious: Partly cook your filling first and add the cobbler topping to the hot mixture. For the savory dishes, sprinkle a little more cheese and bake for a further 20 to 30 minutes. For sweet dishes, brush with a little egg and milk and sprinkle some cinnamon and caster sugar mixed together—delicious!
I will be adding more gluten-free recipes of my own in future articles.
My Top Tip for Anyone New to Gluten-Free Living
Before I had to keep to a GF diet, I used to rely on wholemeal bread for my daily fiber intake and to keep me 'regular.' When I could no longer do this, the consequences were unpleasant and uncomfortable for a while—until I discovered a new way of eating and added delicious smoothies to my diet.
Smoothies enable anyone to take in the whole fruit goodness, including both soluble and insoluble fiber, and you can add other supplements and probiotic yogurt to help keep everything inside working like clockwork!
Looking for Gluten-Free Inspiration?
There is always a way to convert 'normal' recipes to gluten-free ones, but I love browsing GF cookbooks, as they always give me inspiration for adapting them and adding that little something extra that makes the recipe 'mine.' I love to browse Amazon's huge selection of such cookbooks!
I'm often contacted by readers of my articles with questions or comments
The following comment was emailed to me on May 1st, 2020, by Dorothy, a UK reader:
So, so delicious. I have been a coeliac for over a decade and gave up making scones because they were so hard. My husband has been diagnosed this year and fancied some scones so, I searched the Internet and chose your recipe. Well, they all say how tasty their recipe is but, yours is truly amazingly tasty.
The following comment was emailed to me on April 3rd, 2020, by Marjorie, another UK reader who was delighted with the results of her first batch of my gluten-free scones:
They are just delicious, better than the ones on offer at The Grand Hotel and Glyndebourne where I couldn’t eat them as they fell to pieces! Excellent recipe, Thank you so much.
This is what Tracey, another UK reader, said when she contacted me in December 2018:
I have never written to anyone about recipes before but your gluten free scone recipe is brilliant. Thank you very much for taking the time to share it. I have been gluten-free for 7 years and tried to make scones before but without success, they ended up more like rock cakes. After trying a Jamie recipe which wasn't very good I came across yours. Your recipe is now a firm favourite with our household and much better than the ones on sale at M&S and at a fraction of the cost.
In a subsequent message, Tracey added, 'I tried your recipe about a month ago and since then have made the scones every week, and I make twice as much.'
So, why not try this gluten-free scone recipe for yourself?
Questions & Answers
Question: My scones are a bit short, (crumbly), do you have any tips?
Answer: Thank you for your question. Here is what I suggest. 1) Add slightly more Xanthan gum or if using flour that does not contain it. If using flour that has it already included, add a little extra, separately. 2) When serving scones, if they have already become cold or you are using them the next day, warm for a few seconds on a low setting in your microwave before serving. Both these tips will help to make your scones less crumbly.
Question: I live in the U.S. and my favorite gluten-free flour is Pamela's. I just bought some Pamela's baking and pancake mix. I haven't used it yet, so I wonder if when using a mix like this, one should leave out the xanthan gum?
Answer: In the U.K., I use Doves Farm, the self-raising also has Xanthan gum in it. I add Xanthan gum to my scones as I prefer the texture it gives.
Question: I cannot eat Xanthan Gum. Is there an alternative?
Answer: Hi, I have not tested any of the alternatives to Xanthan gum suggested elsewhere online. However, there are suggestions to use Guar gum (although this can have laxative properties in some people), or corn starch (although I am not sure how this would work). The only way is by trial and error.
Question: Approximately how many scones does this recipe make?
Answer: This recipe will make 12 - 15 scones.
© 2010 Alison Graham