Monday, 29 August 2016

Best Buttermilk Cheese Scones - gluten free

Who doesn't love a good cheese scone? I adore them, but they need to be light, with a soft and airy crumb and very cheesy to tick all my boxes.

Since going gluten free, I have experimented with a whole bunch of scone recipes, both home-developed and using commercial mixes..... some have been better than others for sure.

Way back in 2013, I created my first decent cheese scone and was ecstatic. Believe me..... when you have not been able to eat them for a while, you miss them terribly, so it was a bit of a priority to achieve an alternative gluten free version to enjoy. My recipe development and understanding of gluten free baking has come a long way since then however, and it seemed high time that I re-worked things a little to see if I could improve on my previous achievement.

More recently, I developed a buttermilk version for my Lemon & Blueberry Buttermilk scones and having realised the benefits of using buttermilk, decided that it was worth having a go with a savoury cheese recipe. Buttermilk seems to lighten the mix slightly, enriches and moistens the dough and makes for a soft, airy scone which has a far longer shelf-life. When you are gluten free, bakes which have a long shelf-life are rare in commercial products (I seem to be forever throwing away wraps and bread-products that have gone green way ahead of their sell-by date, particularly in the summer heat, or that have gone dry and hard), so it is really important to me that I develop recipes that 'last'.

In this scone, I have also re-worked and balanced my flour mix towards a healthier, more nutritional blend..... A minimal ratio of rice to other flours and good use of ground almonds, oats, sorghum and buckwheat for their higher nutritional qualities and texture. Ground almonds also help to improve the moisture content and structure of the scones so that they remain fresher for longer and don't become dry and crumbly.

I also used extra mature cheddar cheese in the mix..... I figure if you are going to make a cheese scone, then it should be properly cheesy! You can of course use a less-strong version (or less cheese) if you prefer a milder flavour.

I made these scones for a 21st birthday party we recently attended..... When I got there I felt quite apologetic, because the bulk of the food was barbecue-related, and my large box of mini cheese scones seemed a little out of place on the table of burgers, sausages and salads. I needn't have worried...... they went down a storm! Lots of people told me how good they were and they seemed really surprised when I told them they were gluten free......

I always think that if gluten-eaters comment on how good the bakes are or don't recognise the absence of gluten, then I have done a really good job..... On the other hand, I set my bar very high when I develop a recipe and won't settle for less than the best I had when eating gluten, so maybe the surprise should remain with the unsuspecting eater!

I think with these scones I have definitely out-done my earlier version and will be enjoying this 'new and improved' bake from now on.... very frequently! They are perfect 'neat' for parties and snacks (in bite-size form) and can be buttered or loaded with fillings for a healthy, sustaining lunch.

I am sharing my cheese scones with the following linkies :

Free From Fridays with the Free From Farmhouse

Sunday Fitness & Food with Ilka's Blog (and Marathons & Motivation)

Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma

Cook Blog Share with Sneaky Veg

Meat Free Mondays with Tinned Tomatoes

Best Buttermilk Cheese Scones (makes approx 40 mini scones or 18 to 20 larger scones)


90g tapioca flour
80g white rice flour
60g oat flour (easy to make as in this post)
40g buckwheat flour 
30g sorghum flour
25g cornflour 
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
50g ground almonds
1 tablespoon GF baking powder
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
80g unsalted butter - cold and cubed
1 large egg - beaten
1 pot (284 ml) buttermilk
120g extra mature cheddar cheese (grated) + extra for sprinkling on top
beaten egg or milk to glaze


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6.
  2. Weigh and mix together the flours, xanthan gum, salt, almonds, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda until all lumps are broken down and well-blended (I weigh all into an airtight container, seal the lid and then shake vigorously).
  3. Rub the butter into the flour mix until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  4. Add the beaten egg and buttermilk to the dry ingredients and stir through to 'clump' stage before adding the cheese. 
  5. Using a palette or table knife, blend the ingredients, pulling them together with the blade of the knife until the mixture comes together as a sticky, even dough.
  6. Using floured hands, bring the dough into a ball and press lightly together (do not overwork).
  7. Tip the dough onto a well-floured surface (I use straight GF flour blend or a mix of corn, sorghum and white rice flours).
  8. Press the dough down to form a flattened surface and sprinkle with flour to prevent sticking.
  9. Roll the dough out using a rolling pin to a thickness of about 2 cm (for mini scones) or 3 to 4 cm for larger scones.
  10. Using a round pastry cutter (approx 4 to 5 cm in diameter for mini scones or larger for bigger ones), cut the dough into rounds and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  11. Bring any remaining dough together and repeat the rolling and cutting process until all the dough has been used.
  12. Using a pastry brush, glaze the scone tops with milk or beaten egg and add a sprinkle of cheese.
  13. Allow the uncooked scones to rest for 15 minutes, before baking for 10 to 15 minutes until well-risen and golden.
  14. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-16 unless otherwise indicated


  1. They really do look fantastic, I've been hankering for some savoury scones but haven't got round to making any yet

    1. Thanks Shaheen. Savoury scones are great aren't they? And perfect for packed lunches too!

  2. I love cheese scones and yours look really delicious. I like how you've mixed up the different types of flour too. I often do that so my kids get some different grains in their tummies. Thanks for linking up with #CookBlogShare

    1. Thanks Mandy. The trouble with gluten free baking is that there is no one flour that does it all, so it is always a case (for me at least) of carefully blending and reworking to get the desired end-crumb! I'm a bit of a stickler when it comes to texture!! x

  3. They look lovely. Not had a cheese scone in about 6 years! Where do you buy your sorghum from? I've found some in ethnic supermarkets but it always comes with a may contain gluten warning so have yet to try any

    1. Thank you Katie. None in 6 years? You need to rectify that!
      I get my Sorghum from the health food shop. But I know that Bobs Red Mill does it (certified GF) and I am almost certain I have seen it in Holland & Barrett!

  4. Your scones look delicious Kate, and it's great to know that they are on the healthier side. I also whole heartedly agree that strong mature cheddar is the way forward as it has so much more flavour!

    1. Thanks Kat. I am a big Cheddar fan (as is Miss GF) and the stronger the better!!

  5. I love your original recipe, now to try this one. Must search around for buttermilk (live in a very small town!).

    1. Thanks Alison. That's good to hear. I hope you do get to try this one as well. I would be interested to know whether you also think it is lighter, softer and better!
      You can often find buttermilk even in the smaller supermarkets (usually lurking amongst the cream, sour cream, etc). Quite a lot of the corner stores do it down our way, so hopefully it won't be too hard to source. Let me know how you get on xx

  6. Cheese scones are a favourite of mine - haven't made them for a while and now I really want a batch - well done in making them even better and I love reading your reflections on gf baking and hearing about how your expertise develops

    1. Mine too! There is something really quite addictive about them once you have a batch in sight....
      Thanks for your kind comments about my baking journey. I still feel even after 5 years that I am a complete novice. But it is a fascinating and compelling adventure, and being a bit of a perfectionist, I keep hankering for 'better'!

  7. These sound Amazing!! I am looking forward to trying them...Pinned :-)

  8. I have actually never tried them. They seem delicious though and indeed as they have cheese in them they must be so addictive!

    1. Oh no Alida! You must have some..... these are indeed, very very moreish. Just make sure they have a good strong cheese in them. x

  9. These gluten-free scones are so delicious! My feature for this week's Sunday Fitness & Food! Congrats!

    1. Thank you so much Ilka for the feature. I'm chuffed! x

  10. Hi. These look delish. I have everything except buckwheat flour. What can I use instead? TIA

    1. They should be fine if you sub for extra sorghum flour! Good luck x


I always LOVE to hear from you, so please leave a comment, share your thoughts and stay in touch.

By leaving a comment, you consent to any personal information you choose to share being collected by Gluten Free Alchemist for statistical and monitoring purposes and you enter into a public conversation linked to the post. You may choose to make your comment anonymous by ticking the relevant check-box. For full details of the GFA Privacy Policy, please click on the signposted label at the top of the page.