Easy Buttermilk Whole Wheat Scones with Honey

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These flaky whole wheat scones are such a lovely side to serve any time of day. They’re just as good with scrambled eggs or gravy as they are next to a roast or salad. Think of them as an easy alternative to dinner rolls!

vintage crate with homemade whole wheat scones stacked high.

I’m a scone fiend. There’s no reason to deny it. I have a bunch of scone recipes on the blog with many more in the works! These simple whole grain scones are a nice way to switch over to whole wheat flour while still enjoying a tender, flaky scone with your meals. They’re also naturally sweetened with honey, so there’s no refined sugar at all!

What are whole wheat scones?

American scones are very similar to biscuits, especially this version. They’re made to be very flaky, perfect for peeling apart and serving with honey. This whole wheat scone recipe uses 100% whole wheat flour for extra fiber and a mild nutty flavor. It’s a delicious side to serve instead of rolls or biscuits with breakfast, lunch, or dinner. We like to serve them with a drizzle of whipped honey and some tea for an afternoon snack!

Why you’ll love this whole wheat scone recipe


  • SO EASY – I swear by the food processor when it comes to making scones! It’s the easiest way to break up the butter pieces quickly without overworking or warming the dough. You’ll be ready to bake in just a few minutes!
  • INCREDIBLY FLAKY – The tiny little pieces of butter explode in the hot oven! This will give you the best rise and flaky scones you’ll be thinking about all day.
  • GREAT ALTERNATIVE TO BISCUITS – ​These scones are very similar to very flaky biscuits and can be used like biscuits or rolls at any time of day. 

Equipment

To make these delicious scones, you’ll need:

  • A food processor
  • Half sheet pan
  • Parchment paper (I don’t recommend cutting the scones on a silicone baking mat, but you can easily cut them on a cutting board then transfer them to the silicone mat.)
  • Sharp knife

Ingredients for Whole Wheat Scones

  • Regular whole wheat flour – Feel free to use your favorite type of whole wheat flour. White whole wheat flour is a great option, although I’m partial to whole wheat pastry flour for the flakiest scones.
  • Baking powder – This is essential to give the scones a nice rise.
  • Kosher salt – If you substitute regular table salt or a fine salt, be sure to use a little less than a teaspoon.
  • Butter – The secret to great scones is very cold butter! I prefer to use unsalted.
  • Honey – Use either raw honey or creamed honey. This highlights the natural sweetness in whole wheat without making them too sweet.
  • Egg – This will help bind the scone dough together and give it a little extra rise.
  • Buttermilk – Use very cold buttermilk. Heavy cream is a good alternative. Feel free to add up to 2 tablespoons more liquid if you prefer softer scones that aren’t as flaky.

How to Make Whole Wheat Scones

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 2-3 times to mix everything together.
  3. Chop the cold butter into cubes. Add to the food processor and blend for 5-8 seconds until the butter pieces become like very small peas.
  4. Add the egg, honey, and buttermilk. Pulse for 5-7 seconds or until the dough turns into large crumbles.
  5. Pour the crumbles onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Knead it into a ball, then press it into a round approximately 3/4 inch thick.
  6. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough round into 6-8 even slices. Separate the scone pieces to give them room to rise. Chill the scones in the fridge for 10-15 minutes (optional, but recommended).
  7. Bake the scones in the middle rack for approximately 15-18 minutes. Be careful not to overbake.
  8. Remove from the oven and let the scones cool for 5-10 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy!

Storing

​It’s important to let the scones cool to room temperature before you wrap them up. When you’re ready, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. You can also freeze the extras for later, but we never have extras!

How to Serve Whole Grain Scones

Think of these whole grain scones like any biscuit or roll. You can eat them as they are, drizzle them with a little raw honey, or pair them with a meal. I like to serve them at breakfast with scrambled eggs and gravy or peel them open and add a spoonful of whipped maple cream cheese. They’re also lovely with a nice salad or soup for dinner, like this delicious mushroom soup or my roasted cherry tomato soup.

side view of whole wheat scone in front of butter dish.

Tips & Variations

  • Make ’em sweeter. If you prefer your scones on the sweeter side, add an extra tablespoon of honey or feel free to replace it with brown sugar or regular white sugar.
  • Add zest. Citrus zest makes everything better! Add some lemon zest or orange zest to complement the whole-grain flour.
  • Try pastry flour. You certainly do not have to do this, but I find pastry flour makes absolutely perfect scones. There’s even whole whole pastry flour that’s made for recipes just like this! Just be sure not to use bread flour. That won’t work quite the same.
  • Chill the dough. If you use a food processor, you’ll most likely make these scones so quickly that you don’t need to chill them. However, it’s never a bad idea to chill the scones! This lets the flour rest and makes sure the butter is nice and cold, which is key to a flaky scone.
  • Make them by hand. Prefer to make these scones by hand? You basically need to follow the same steps but in a bowl with a pastry cutter. I recommend grating the butter and adding more buttermilk one tablespoon at a time if needed (handmade scones almost always need more liquid to come together). Be sure to chill the scones before baking.
  • Throw in some nuts, herbs, or fruit. Think of this as a great basic scone recipe. You can easily eat them just like this, or you can add your favorite spices, nuts, herbs, fruits, and more. Try add a teaspoon of cinnamon or poppy seed. Add up to 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts or chocolate chips. Have fun with them!
  • Sprinkle with sugar. Just like these date scones, you can easily sprinkle the top of the dough with a little turbinado sugar or regular white sugar for extra sweetness. Flaky salt would be great, too!
  • Use all purpose flour. These are called whole wheat scones for a reason, but you can replace the whole wheat with all purpose if you prefer. I use that as the base for most of my scone recipes.
  • Adjust the liquid. I prefer to use buttermilk or cream for scones every time, but you can certainly use sour cream or Greek yogurt instead. You may need to add an extra splash or two of water to compensate for the change.
fluffy whole wheat scone on a white plate.

FAQs

Do you need to chill whole wheat scones before baking?

It’s always a good idea to chill your scone dough. This gives the gluten in the flour a chance to relax after preparing the dough, and it keeps the butter really cold! Cold butter and a hot oven will give you the flakiest, tallest scones. It pays to be patient.

Is it better to make scones with a food processor or by hand?

Many people say it’s better to make scones by hand, but I have to say that I prefer the food processor. It’s incredibly fast and precise, which makes it easy to break the butter into small pieces without overmixing the dough. Since you aren’t touching the dough with your warm hands, you’re also less likely to melt or soften the butter. This means you can often bake your scones without chilling them first (although it’s always a good practice). I can make scone dough in under a minute using the food processor and they’re perfect every time!

What type of flour is best for whole wheat scones?

This recipe is a great way to experiment with whole wheat flour! I don’t recommend using rye, spelt, or other whole grains that absorb liquids differently. Instead, I’d look for white whole wheat or any of the winter or spring wheats (hard red winter, hard white spring, etc). I haven’t experimented with freshly milled grains, and they may require more moisture than normal.

Related Recipes

vintage wooden box with homemade whole wheat scones next to a butter dish and jar of honey.
white plate with fluffy whole wheat scones next to a jar of honey.

Easy Whole Wheat Scones

These homemade whole wheat scones with buttermilk and honey are tall, flaky, and full of flavor. Drizzle them with a little honey or use them to sop up your favorite soups or salad dressings. They're wonderful any time of day! Even better? They're ready with just a few minutes of effort, so you can throw them together in no time at all.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine American, british
Servings 8
Calories 241 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour, or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 oz unsalted butter , very cold
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 2-3 times to mix everything together.
  • Chop the cold butter into cubes. Add to the food processor and blend for 5-8 seconds until the butter pieces become like very small peas.
  • Add the egg, honey, and buttermilk. Pulse for 5-7 seconds or until the dough turns into large crumbles.
  • Pour the crumbles onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Knead it into a ball, then press it into a round approximately 3/4 inch thick.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the dough round into 6-8 even slices. Separate the scone pieces to give them room to rise. Place the entire tray in the fridge to chill for 15-20 minutes (optional, but recommended).
  • Bake the scones in the middle rack for approximately 15-18 minutes. Be careful not to overbake.
  • Remove from the oven and let the scones cool for 5-10 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy!

Notes

Let the scones cool to room temperature before placing them in an airtight container. Eat within 1-2 days for best results. 
The nutritional facts are based on cutting the dough into 8 equal portions (the scones in the photos are divided into sixths).

Nutrition

Calories: 241kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 5gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 512mgPotassium: 66mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 409IUVitamin C: 0.01mgCalcium: 88mgIron: 2mg
Keyword black pepper honey, buttermilk, whole grain scones, whole wheat scones
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