Mrs Beeton’s Plain Scones

A few months ago, after yet another session of making jam (with cherries from the Brogdale National Fruit Collection) that added fifteen more jars to the already-full-to-groaning jam cupboard, Pete decided some simple and tasty scones were just the ticket to make an inroad into the jam lake I cooked into existence.

This recipe is by Isabella Beeton, a popular 19th century author of articles and books on cooking and household management. Mrs Beeton was one of the first cookery book writers in the UK, but died just short of her 29th birthday, just a few years after her collection of articles written for her publisher husband’s magazines were collated into a book called “Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management. The book was a complete guide to running a Victorian household, and included chapters on clothing, child care, managing servants, animal husbandry and much more. But the core subject of the book was about cooking, and hence it was often also referred to as Mrs Beeton’s Cookbook.

We have a modern edition focusing on Mrs Beeton’s Cakes and Baking, from which Pete chose this simple scone recipe.


Mrs Beeton’s Plain Scones
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5 from 1 vote

Mrs Beeton’s Plain Scones

Author Mrs Beeton


  • Fat for greasing
  • 225 grams / 8 oz self-raising flour
  • 2.5 ml / 0.5 teaspoon salt
  • 25-50 grams / 1-2 oz butter
  • 125-150 ml / 4-5 fluid oz milk
  • Flour for kneading
  • Milk or beaten egg for glazing (optional)


  • Grease a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 200 C (fan).
  • Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Rub in the butter, then mix to a soft dough with the milk. Knead very lightly on a floured surface until smooth.
  • Roll or pat the dough out to about 1 cm thick and cut into rounds using a 6 cm cutter. Re-roll trimmings and cut, until all dough is used.
  • Place the scones onto the prepared baking sheet and brush the tops with milk or beaten egg, if using.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  • Cool on a wire rack.
  • Serve warm or cold.

MrsBeetonScones-144831 MrsBeetonScones-152021

We love ours with clotted cream and jam, though whipped double cream will do when clotted cream is unavailable. Or butter, in a pinch!

What recipe(s) do you use and how do you eat yours? And what’s your stance on the jam or cream first debate?

This recipe is from Mrs Beeton’s Cakes and Baking published by Orion Books.

Please leave a comment - I love hearing from you!
12 Comments to "Mrs Beeton’s Plain Scones"

  1. Heavenly

    These look so good. My favorite scone recipe is from a book called Breakfast, Lunch, and Tea. I like clotted cream on the bottom and jam on top. I’d never do it any other way


    I put so much cream on that the jam has to go first, otherwise applying it over the cream would cause the cream to sploosh off the scone!!!

  2. Karen

    Having moved house, I’ve still got more Beeton in a box somewhere! Googled her recipe n your blog popped up. Just off to make my own now. Just hope they look as delicious as yours! ? Thanks for posting xx

  3. Susan

    My Mrs Beetons cook book, which I have had for at least 50 years only has the recipe with Plain flour….. with either sour milk or fresh milk and varying amounts of either baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar, depending upon which type of milk is being used. I used to use the sour milk recipe but did in an occasion use fresh milk and strong flour, which was the only flour to hand and the resulting scones were terrific, even better than normal. However I can never remember the amounts of the additives (baking, bicarbonate,
    cream of tartar so it was this recipe that I was looking for.


    Happy to help Susan and great to hear that the version you made with sour milk and strong flour were so good!

  4. Olive Goodge

    I had a 1904 edition of Mrs Beeton’s cookery book which I often used for simple but effective recipes. It gave costs for each recipe, and as far as I can remember, scones like this would have cost about 2p (old money) to make. This recipe isn’t quite as I remember, but hopefully results will be as good. If anyone is interested, the book had belonged to a cousin of my Grandmother who was working as a cook in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It found it’s way prematurely via my husband without my knowledge into my cookery mad daughter-in-law’s kitchen. I think if I hadn’t intended she should have it sooner or later anyway, he would have suffered for his action but we are still together after 60 years of marriage.


    Ha I love your comment, made me giggle! My mum gave my favourite baking book to her sister when I was away at uni and I was so upset. Even though I adore my aunt!🤣
    Hope you enjoy the recipe, in any case! 🥰

  5. Deb

    At last a plain scone recipe that doesn’t have sugar added….. every modern recipe has sugar (not a plain scone) I use a 1960s Mrs Beetons, so it does hVe the self-raising flour version.
    This recipe is a great base for Garlic and Fennel Scones 3-4 crushed cloves of garlic and a generous handful or chopped fennel leaves (bronze Fennel is a really good back border garden plant).


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