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Gluten-Free British Scones – an afternoon tea essential!

Like most of you, when I switched to a gluten-free diet, I had to accept that afternoon teas were in the past! Not for long though, once I found how to tweak my gluten scone recipes into a worthy gluten-free British scone.

These scones turn out fluffy in the centre and taste perfect with the usual toppings of butter, cream and/or jam, or all three!

American Scones versus British Scones

As scones have two different interpretations in the US and UK, this recipe is referring to the classic British afternoon tea scone that so many of us are familiar with. The US have a savoury twist to their scones (aka biscuits), usually served with casserole dishes – a future recipe I look forward to sharing.


Tips for making successful scones:

1. Measure the ingredients precisely.

2. Test your baking powder for freshness by adding a small amount of boiling water to it. If it bubbles strongly, it is fresh.

3. Make sure your oven is preheated at the correct temperature of 200°C/400°F.

4. Chill the flour and butter in the freezer for 15 minutes before rubbing them together, especially if you live in a warm country or it is a hot summer day.

5. Don’t over-rub the flour and butter together as this will heat up the butter too much and make the scones dense.

6. Chill your scones in the fridge on a baking tray for at least 30 minutes before baking. This gives it a nice boost to rise successfully in the oven.

7. Don’t be tempted to open the oven door often to peek at your scones baking. You’ll lose that valuable heat. 15 minutes is the perfect time for 5.5cm scones.

8. Gluten scones are normally baked close together to encourage more height. Don’t try this with gluten-free scones. They need air circulating around them to rise independently. This is what happens if they are baked close together. Although they were perfectly edible, they looked a bit strange!

9. Once baked, cover your scones with a tea towel to keep them warm until serving time.

10. These scones are best eaten on the day of baking.

An adobe photo of gluten-free British scones
Several gluten-free scones piled on a plate with cream, jam and a red tea pot next to it

Gluten-Free British Scones

by Sandra, Fun Without Gluten
These sweet scones are perfect to enjoy warm as an afternoon tea treat with fresh cream and strawberry jam.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chilling the scone cut-outs before baking 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course baking, Kids' Snacks, Picnic, Snack
Cuisine British
Servings 8 5.5-cm scones


  • 5.5-cm cookie or scone cutter



  • 350 g store-bought or homemade gluten-free plain flour
  • 4 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum, or
  • 2 tsp psyllium husk
  • 100 g butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 200 ml milk, chilled
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Tapioca flour, for rolling out


  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp water
  • tsp sugar


  • 120 ml freshly whipped cream or clotted cream
  • 60 ml strawberry jam
  • 50 g butter, at room temperature
  • some fresh strawberries (optional)



    Preparing the scone dough

    • In a jug, mix the milk and lemon juice together and set aside to chill.
    • In a medium bowl, add the plain flour, salt, xanthan gum or p.husk and chilled cubed butter.
    • Place the bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill further.
    • Remove the bowl for the freezer and rub the butter into the flour, using your fingertips until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
    • Next, rub the sugar briefly into the flour & butter mixture.
    • Using a wooden spoon, add the milk and lemon mixture to the flour mixture, stirring well until the dough comes together.


    • In a small bowl, mix the egg yolk, water and sugar together. Set aside.

    Rolling out the scone dough

    • As soon as the dough comes together, stop mixing and remove the dough to a lightly floured countertop and form a disc no thinner than 3.5 cm. Do not use a rolling pin, simply press down gently and follow this method with the remaining dough scraps.
    • Using a fluted round cutter measuring 5.5 cm, press down into the dough and push the dough out gently onto a lined baking tray, placing them 5 cm apart.
    • Brush the tops of each scone with the egg wash.
    • Place the tray in the fridge for 30 mins.


    • Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
    • Bake on the middle shelf for 15 minutes. The tops should be nicely golden, and the scone should sound hollow when tapped at the bottom of the scone.


    • Allow them to cool down for a few minutes before cutting them in half and filling them with either butter, jam or cream, or all three!


    • Best eaten on the same day as baking
    • If not serving the scones straight away, cover the scones in a tea towel to retain their heat
    • Not suitable to freeze
    If you like your scones smaller, use a 3.5cm cutter.
    Tip for UK Readers
    The only store-bought flour that I have tried is the UK brand, Doves Farm Freee Self-Raising, which worked perfectly in this recipe. If using this flour, leave out the baking powder in the recipe.
    Keyword gluten-free afternoon tea, gluten-free baking, gluten-free scones
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    Please mention @fun_without_gluten or tag #funwithoutgluten!
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