Classic vanilla bean scones are light and buttery, with a soft and flaky texture and the best vanilla flavor. Plus, they’re easy to make in about 30 minutes with basic ingredients you likely already have.

vanilla bean scones with frosting on a wire rack

Sometimes simple really is the best, and that’s definitely the case with these vanilla scones. They’re uncomplicated, classy, and so delicious. This scone recipe is perfect for breakfast or brunch, or as a snack or sweet treat any time of day!

Table of Contents

Why you should bake these vanilla scones

In my opinion, scones are seriously underrated. Here’s a few reasons why you should bake a batch of these easy vanilla scones asap:

  • Delicious buttery texture and flavor.
  • Tons of vanilla in the scones and icing. If you love vanilla, you’ll love these scones!
  • They’re quick and easy to make, and ready to eat in just about 30 minutes total time.
  • They can easily be prepped and even made ahead of time if needed.
vanilla bean scones with frosting all on a baking sheet pan

What are scones?

Simply put, American scones are biscuits’ richer and sweeter sibling. They’re made the same way, by cutting cold butter into dry ingredients to create rise and flakiness, and leavened further with baking powder and/or baking soda. But the addition of more sugar, a richer liquid like heavy cream or half-and-half, and/or eggs sets them apart from biscuits.

Ingredients you’ll need

vanilla bean scones ingredients

Vanilla bean paste vs. vanilla beans and vanilla extract

I used vanilla bean paste in these scones to elevate them a bit without needing to fuss with a full vanilla bean pod. Vanilla extract will work also, though, and you can use whatever vanilla flavoring you prefer, or have on-hand:

How to make these scones

  1. Cut butter into dry ingredients. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Add cold butter and use a pastry cutter or blender to cut the butter into the dry ingredients. cutting butter into dry ingredients and adding liquid ingredients
  2. Add liquid ingredients. Stir together half-and-half, egg, and vanilla bean paste, and pour over flour mixture. 
  3. Make a uniform dough. Use a spatula to incorporate the two, then turn it out onto a clean surface and keep working to bring the dough together with your hands. It will be very shaggy at first, but will come together. putting scone dough together and cutting into squares
  4. Make flaky layers with “fold and flatten method”. Flatten the dough with your hands or a floured rolling pin, then fold half the dough over on top of the other half, similar to how you would close a book. Flatten and fold 2 more times. (This creates pockets of cold butter which will create rise and flakiness, don’t skip this step!)
  5. Slice into triangles. Form dough into a rough 6-inch square about 1-inch tall. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 4 equal smaller squares, and then cut each square into 2 triangles, creating 8 triangles total.vanilla bean scones before and after baking
  6. Bake. Place scone triangles on a baking sheet pan lined with parchment paper, brush tops with half and half and sprinkle with coarse sugar (optional). Bake in a 400° oven for 17-20 minutes until the tops and bottoms are golden brown. Let scones cool mostly.
  7. Glaze with vanilla icing. Make a quick icing with powdered sugar, half-and-half and vanilla bean paste, whisk until smooth. Drizzle over cooled scones and let them set up for at least 10 minutes.
  8. Enjoy! These scones are best the day they are baked but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-3 days.
closeup of vanilla bean scones on a sheet pan

baking tip:Why biscuit and scone ingredients need to stay cold

A key factor in the rise of biscuits and scones, and an even bigger part of their texture, is the little bits of cold butter that melt and make steam as they bake. If the butter is too warm it will incorporate into the dry ingredients and those little pockets of butter and steam will be gone.

For tall, soft, and flaky biscuits and scones, make sure you start with cold butter and milk/buttermilk, and work the dough quickly so the butter doesn’t have a chance to warm up.

Recipe FAQs

What if I don’t have vanilla bean paste?

You can use 1 vanilla bean, or pure vanilla extract in place of the vanilla bean paste.

Why are my scones flat?

There could be a couple of issues here. If the butter got too warm while you were working the dough, it may have absorbed into the dry ingredients, ruining the flaky layers you worked hard to create. Keep butter and liquids cold, and work quickly. And do not overwork the dough! Finally, have you checked that your baking powder isn’t expired?

How can I make scones in advance?

Both unbaked and baked scones freeze very well! To freeze unbaked scones, place on lined sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze as-is for several days. Bake as directed, adding a few minutes to bake time if needed. To freeze baked scones, freeze in a single layer in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Thaw at room temperature for a few hours, then glaze and serve.

Scone variations

This vanilla scone recipe is very easily adaptable! Here’s a few fun and delicious ways to customize it:

  • Add 1 cup fresh or frozen berries or fruit (sliced in 1/-inch pieces) to the dough after adding liquid ingredients. Berries like raspberries and blackberries burst easily, so handle carefully.
  • Add 1 cup chocolate chips, chopped chocolate, nuts or coconut. You can also add a combination, but amount should be no more than 1 cup total. 
  • Add 1 tablespoon lemon, lime or orange zest along with the dry ingredients. Replace freshly squeezed citrus juice for half and half in glaze.
  • Add up to 1 teaspoon of spices such as cinnamon, cardamom or pumpkin pie spice.

More scone recipes

Get this Vanilla Bean Scones recipe

vanilla bean scones with frosting all on a baking sheet pan

Vanilla Bean Scones

Servings: 8 scones
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Classic vanilla bean scones are light and buttery, with a soft and flaky texture and the best vanilla flavor. Plus, they’re easy to make with basic ingredients you likely already have.


Vanilla Scones:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (260 grams)
  • ¼ cup  granulated sugar (50 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (85 grams), cubed
  • ½ cup cold half and half (114 grams))
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or ½ vanilla bean, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 1 large egg
  • Additional half and half , for brushing
  • Coarse sugar , for sprinkling (optional)

Vanilla Icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar (114 grams)
  • 1-3 tablespoons half and half
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or ½ vanilla bean, or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract)


Make the scones:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F and line half or quarter-sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the cubed butter and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or cutter until the butter is the size of small peas.
  • Whisk together half and half, egg and vanilla bean paste. Add to the flour mixture and mix until the dough starts to come together. Turn the mixture out onto the counter and use your hands to finish forming a uniform dough.
  • Pat dough to about 1-2 inches thick. Fold one half of the dough over onto the other half. Flatten again to 1-2 inches thick and repeat fold and flattening 2 more times (3-4 times total).
  • Form dough into an approximate 6-inch square 1-inch tall. Cut into 4 smaller squares, and then cut each small square into 2 triangles.
  • Arrange triangles on prepared sheet pan and brush with more half and half. If desired, sprinkle with coarse salt.
  • Bake until the tops and bottoms of the scones are browned, 17-20 minutes. Let cool while you make the icing.

Make the icing:

  • Whisk the powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon half and half, and vanilla bean paste together. Add more half and half as needed to make a thick but pourable icing.
  • Drizzle over cooled scones and let set for a few minutes before serving.
  • Scones are best served the day they are baked.
Calories: 312kcal, Carbohydrates: 48g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 52mg, Sodium: 202mg, Potassium: 169mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 23g, Vitamin A: 356IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 73mg, Iron: 2mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Breakfast
Author: Annalise Sandberg
Have you tried this recipe?I’d love to hear about it! Leave a rating and review below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram @completelydelicious with #completelydelicious.