The ultimate Gluten Free Cheese Scones recipe… Very cheesy and with a perfect scone texture that stays soft for a couple of days… How amazing is that?!
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Introducing my BEST EVER Gluten Free Cheese Scones Recipe
I have been on a quest to create the ULTIMATE Gluten Free Cheese Scones recipe… One which is not only airy of crumb and definitively cheesy, but that lasts for more than a couple of hours before going stale.
It’s not as easy as you’d think. There are loads of gluten free cheese scone recipes out there. But having tried and tested a number over the years, few reach my exacting standards of ‘good enough’. Why? Because scones (even gluten free ones) should never come with a ‘warning’ that states ‘need to be eaten as soon as they come out of the oven’… Yet, sadly, so many are rock hard almost before they are cold. Is it right that gluten free food should always be ‘refreshed’ in the microwave or toasted to be edible? No. Coeliacs (and Celiacs) deserve better.
So… the mission was on… and 10 (yes… TEN) batches on… I’m finally happy enough to share. I’ve tried everything from using straight milk, commercial buttermilk and homemade buttermilk… To 1 egg, 2 eggs, 1 egg + yolk and 1 + white…. Whisked the egg and not whisked the egg… Different amounts of fat, raising agents and cheese… Different flour blends… Chilling and standing or not… Each and every result was entirely different!
But the final recipe shared for Gluten Free Cheese Scones is good! Cheesy morsels which are delicious eaten warm or cold. They are even still soft and tasty the next day and the day after… And if you still fancy them toasted, that works too! How rare is that?
What are Scones?
Scones are a very British thing… A tiny bit dense yet soft… Slightly flaky (but not crumbly)… A bake that falls somewhere between bread and pastry. With added baking powder to leaven, a good scone should rise enough to offer the appearance of slight layering and give lightness without ‘sponginess’.
Scones are either cut into portioned rounds using a shaped biscuit-cutter before being baked. Or, are rolled and shaped into a larger circular ‘mound’ and scored into portions, which after baking are cut into triangular servings.
Although scones are more commonly known as a sweet treat topped with cream and jam as a Cream Tea, they can also be savoury. The very popular Cheese Scone falls into the latter camp.
What happened to my old recipes for Gluten Free Cheese Scones?
I posted my very first gluten free cheese scones recipe back in 2013. Achieving anything that came near to a scone texture was something to celebrate… And I was happy…
Then… In 2016, I re-worked and improved the recipe, amongst other tweaks, adding buttermilk. It was a good recipe and I know many of my readers have used it regularly.
But time moves on… And at Gluten Free Alchemist, we are always striving to improve with new baking knowledge… And it’s time to re-jig and move forward yet again… So, I have made a decision to delete the original 2013 cheese scones recipe (it no longer cuts the mustard!).
The 2016 recipe has been left on the blog, but can be found at the very bottom of this post, as I know that it has been reliable for some. But I am convinced this one is better, so please let me know if you agree!
What’s the difference between British Cheese Scones and American Cheese Biscuits?
British Cheese Scones and American Cheese Biscuits look very similar. And to all intent and purpose, I think probably taste much the same. The list of ingredients and method used to make both are equal. If there is any difference (and I’m struggling to find one), I think the American biscuit may have a little more butter… And for the most part appears to be usually a savoury bake served as a side.
In addition, there does not seem to be an obvious standard sweet ‘biscuit’ equivalent as with the UK ‘cream tea’ scone.
Gluten Free Cheese Scones made with buttermilk
Like the Gluten Free Alchemist predecessor, this new recipe for Gluten Free Cheese Scones uses buttermilk… However, the buttermilk is not the type that is bought in the supermarket, but is homemade using full fat milk and lemon juice. Actually, it’s far closer to traditional buttermilk left as the residue from making butter.
Many scone recipes (both gluten free and wheat-based) use buttermilk in place of regular milk. With good reason… Buttermilk not only adds moisture and produces a more tender crumb, but also includes lactic acid which increases carbon dioxide when baking and therefore gives a better rise and more airy texture.
So, why make it with milk? Quite simply… it makes a lighter buttermilk which produces a lighter scone. But where possible, choose full fat milk to make it… The additional fat content supports a softer texture and shelf-life.
How to make the ultimate Gluten Free Cheese Scones – tips for success
Making cheese scones is a relatively simple process that is well within the reach of anyone’s baking skills. But here are a few tips that will take your scones further… To ensure that you can make the ultimate Gluten Free Cheese Scones.
Use the gluten free flour blend as the recipe states
The flour blend shared below is unique to my Gluten Free Cheese Scones. For the best chance of success, it is important to follow this, unless you have to change any of the components for intolerance or allergy reasons.
The blend is balanced for the best scone texture, flakiness and structure. Although I have tested making them with everything from my own Blends A and B and ‘Doves’ Freee, the texture has not been as successful as with the blend stated. Sure… you will have a reasonable scone with an alternative blend, but don’t expect either an equal texture or shelf-life.
Rub chilled butter into the flour
Scones require butter or fat to be added to the flour by ‘rubbing in’. This means rubbing it into the flour between fingertips and thumbs until the mixture looks a little like coarse sand. With each ‘rub’, the mixture should be lifted in the finger tips and rubbed from a little height. This helps to keep the mixture cool and airy.
It is really important that the fat is cold and hard before adding to the flour. This helps it distribute as tiny ‘solid flecks’ rather than ‘melt and blend in’. These flecks in turn, create tiny pockets of fat throughout the dough, which when baked, heat and melt… The moisture adding rise and the remaining gaps providing flaky ‘layers’.
Chill the ‘rubbed-in’ scone mix
In testing my gluten free cheese scones recipe, I found that giving the butter an extra ‘chill’ after rubbing-in supported the rise and airiness. This extra chill helps to stop the butter melting and to maintain its ‘fleckiness’ when the liquid is added. And… ensures the dough remains cool throughout mixing and rolling.
Do not add the bicarbonate of soda until after chilling
To further support rise, my Gluten Free Cheese Scones use a little bicarbonate of soda in addition to baking powder. The bicarb is however added after the rubbed-in mixture has chilled to ensure that it remains as active as possible.
Do not over-mix
It is super-important when you add the egg and buttermilk not to over-mix the scone dough. What you are aiming for is a ‘shaggy dough’… So, although there needs to be an evenness of moisture, you are bringing the ingredients together, rather than ‘blending’ them.
Do not over-compress the dough for Gluten Free Cheese Scones
Having created a ‘shaggy dough’, it needs to be compressed together to roll and cut… but only slightly. Aim for something that can be rolled but still has ‘imperfections’ in texture. This supports the maintenance of air pockets to support rise and a light, fluffy texture.
Cut with a straight cut
When cutting the cheese scone dough into rounds, use a sharp-edged cookie-cutter and cut straight down. Try not to twist the cutter as this may result in ‘wonky’ scones that rise unevenly. I use these cutters because they have a taller cutting edge… Perfect for the height of the scones (which need to be cut with some depth).
Bake Gluten Free Cheese Scones on a hot tray
Again, to support the best rise, it helps to heat the baking tray before baking… The immediate contact with heat at the base of the cold scone dough helps push them upwards. Pop the tray in the oven while pre-heating. Then when hot and ready to bake, carefully and quickly transfer the cut, glazed rounds to the tray and return to the oven to bake.
How long do these Gluten Free Cheese Scones last?
Unlike many gluten free cheese scones, these ones stay soft for more than a day. Just be sure they are stored in an airtight container at room temperature and they should be good for at least 2 and up to 4 days. If you need to store them in the fridge, they will become firm… But they are absolutely divine toasted if either necessary or preferred.
Can I freeze Gluten Free Cheese Scones?
Absolutely yes. To freeze these Gluten Free Cheese Scones, simply freeze as soon as possible after baking in an airtight bag or container. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Ready to make Gluten Free Cheese Scones?
I hope you are ready to try my ultimate Gluten Free Cheese Scones recipe. They are the best gluten free cheese scones I’ve ever had… So, I really hope you enjoy them as much as we do. Please let me know what you think. Leave a comment at the bottom of the post… Rate the recipe (that way other people will find it too!)… And tag me on social media with your delicious scone pics…
I’ve been asked a lot recently whether I have a recipe book. Sadly, I don’t. I am simply not ‘big’ enough for publishers to be interested. However… I do have a massive Gluten Free Recipe ‘Book’ Index… with over 400 recipes to choose from. And all of them FREE to use.
Happy baking. And thanks as always, for visiting Gluten Free Alchemist
Other Gluten Free Scones at Gluten Free Alchemist
The Ultimate Gluten Free Cheese Scones
- measuring jug
- flat-bladed knife
- 95 g tapioca starch
- 80 g white rice flour
- 70 g oat flour (gluten free) grind oats to fine flour in blender if no oat flour available
- 40 g buckwheat flour
- 40 g sorghum flour
- 25 g corn starch (in UK = 'corn flour')
- 2 tsp xanthan gum
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 4 tsp GF baking powder
- 100 g unsalted butter cold and cubed
- 230 ml/g full fat milk
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 140 g mature Cheddar cheese grated
- 1 large egg UK large (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’)
Egg wash and cheese topping
- 1 egg lightly beaten with a fork
- 30 g mature cheddar cheese grated – to sprinkle on top
- In a large mixing bowl, weigh and mix together the flours, xanthan gum, salt and baking powder, until all lumps are broken down and well-blended.
- With finger tips, rub the butter into the flour mix until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. (for hot hands see NOTES)
- Chill the rubbed-in mixture in the fridge for at least 2 hours (and if possible over night).
- When ready to finish making the scone dough, mix the full fat milk with the lemon juice. Stir and leave to stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes to make homemade buttermilk (It should become grainy/lumpy).
- Base-line a large baking sheet with baking paper and place in the oven to heat.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6.
- Take the chilled flour-butter mix from the fridge and add the bicarbonate of soda and 140g portion of grated cheddar cheese.
- Beat the egg with a fork until blended and add to the mixture along with the homemade buttermilk.
- Gently stir the mixture using a flat-bladed table knife until it has become damp and clumpy.
- With lightly-floured hands, gently bring the dough into a ball and press lightly together (do not over-work or over-condense).
- Tip the dough onto a lightly-floured surface (I use straight GF flour blend).
- Gently press the dough down to form a flattened surface and very lightly sprinkle with flour to prevent sticking.
- Roll the dough out using a rolling pin to a thickness of about 4 to 5 cm.
- Using a round pastry cutter to the size of scones you require, cut the dough into rounds, by pressing straight down.
- As each scone is cut, set them to one side until ready to bake.
- Bring any remaining dough together and repeat the rolling and cutting process until all the dough has been used, trying hard not to 'work' the dough too much as you go.
- Using a pastry brush, glaze the top of each scone with beaten egg and add a sprinkle of the remaining cheese.
- When ready to cook, carefully take the pre-heated baking tray from the oven and (either by hand or with a spatula) quickly transfer the dough-scones to the tray, ensuring 2 to 3 centimetres space round each one for an even bake.
- Using oven gloves, put the tray back in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes for medium-sized scones (or 16 to 17 minutes for large scones) until well-risen and golden.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
© 2019-2022 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist
Gluten Free Cheese Scones shared with
- Cook Blog Share weeks 29 & 30 2021 with Sew White
- Unlimited Link Party #29 with Grammy’s Grid
- Fiesta Friday #389 with Angie and The Not So Creative Cook
- Blogger’s Pit Stop #279
- Full Plate Thursday #545 with Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
- What’s for Dinner #325 with The Lazy Gastronome
- Sundays on Silverado #48 with The House on Silverado
OLD 2016 RECIPE placed here for those who still use it (replaced with above improved recipe) :
Best Buttermilk Cheese 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
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6.
- 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).
- Rub the butter into the flour mix until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the beaten egg and buttermilk to the dry ingredients and stir through to ‘clump’ stage before adding the cheese.
- 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.
- Using floured hands, bring the dough into a ball and press lightly together (do not overwork).
- Tip the dough onto a well-floured surface (I use straight GF flour blend or a mix of corn, sorghum and white rice flours).
- Press the dough down to form a flattened surface and sprinkle with flour to prevent sticking.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bring any remaining dough together and repeat the rolling and cutting process until all the dough has been used.
- Using a pastry brush, glaze the scone tops with milk or beaten egg and add a sprinkle of cheese.
- Allow the uncooked scones to rest for 15 minutes, before baking for 10 to 15 minutes until well-risen and golden.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.