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Traditional British Cheese Scones In The Air Fryer

Tall British cheese scone on pink vintage plate, with mor eto the background, pink napkin and butter dish to the background.
Traditional British cheese scones in the air fryer - my much-requested recipe after the popularity of my original scones recipe & developing existing recipes that genuinely work in the air fryer.

Traditional British Cheese Scones In The Air Fryer

Baking On A Budget

  • Save Energy & Money Using An Air Fryer
  • • Make Smaller Batches
  • • No Hot Kitchen, So Still Bake In Summer

More Baking On A Budget recipes & tips on the Money Saving Page

Difference Between British & American Scones & Biscuits

People are often mistaking British scones for American biscuits. However, British scones are not exactly the same as US biscuits or US scones.

Once you have made and tasted 100% authentic and traditional British scones, you will realise the difference. Structurally scones & biscuits look the same, but only on the outside. Yes they are made from the same general ingredients. However, the proportion of ingredients is different & this results in a different inner structure & texture.

Why Use My Recipe?
  • Easy recipe for beginners & children
  • No fancy equipment needed
  • Thorough step-by-step instructions
  • Detailed process photos
  • Video Tutorial
  • Learn what NOT TO DO!
  • Works for gluten free & other diets
Overhead shot of hand whisk, pastry cutter and cookie cutter equipment for scones.

Scone Equipment

No need for a mixer or food processor for making these cheese scones. Basic and common equipment is used.

As seen in the photo a whisk is used, which can just as easily be substituted with a fork. The pastry cutter (pastry blender), is very inexpensive & makes light work of working the butter & flour (same as you would do when making pastry). Great for if your hands get sore easily, but you can also use 2 butter knives or your fingertips for this stage.

A cookie cutter is needed & I recommend a size between 5 – 6cm wide, or 2 – 2⅓″. My cutter is 5¾ cm or 2¼” in diameter. Best not to go bigger than the 6cm (2⅓“) as your scones might not rise as well.

Notes On Ingredients

Overhead photo of bowls of ingredients for cheese scones,labeled.

What ingredients do we need for British cheese scones?

  • Flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Salt & Mustard Powder
  • Garlic Powder & Smoked Paprika
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Milk

I use either UK self-raising flour, or Plain flour with additional baking powder for my scones. All Purpose flour has also been tested in the US & Canada during Facebook bake-alongs, with great success. **Just remember to add the 2 amounts of baking powder if using Plain or All Purpose flour.

My comparison shot of 3 types of sugar on black slate - icing/powdered, caster and granulated in the UK.

UK scones use Caster sugar & the equivalent is Extra/Super Fine Sugar, or Baker’s sugar. Only a small amount so you can easily process some granulated yourself. The sugar however, should not be reduced or omitted as it is there to aid structure & more. (See my comparison shot of UK sugar).


Unsalted butter should always be used in baking for better and more consistent results, as salted butter has a higher water content & can vary from brand to brand.

Goat’s butter has even been used for these scones & works well.


Most UK recipes use medium or large eggs & the approximate US equivalent is large or extra large. Be sure to use room temperature eggs.


These cheesy scones, are best with mature or even extra mature cheese (extra/sharp cheddar) & I particularly like using Scottish extra mature cheddar.

*Be sure to remember to have cheese cubes & a little grated/shredded cheese too.

Close shot of white marble tabletop with carton of cream to the background with butterin muslin cloth, and glass bottle of milk to the front with text 'buttermilk'.

You can use any kind of milk for these scones. Cow’s milk, skimmed, semi-skimmed or full fat. Buttermilk works great too (learn how to make our own buttermilk when making butter).

Lactose free milk, and even coconut milk, have all been tested by my group members & worked well. The only difference was a less deep golden colour to the scones.

Baking Powder

These scones need baking powder, and to get the correct rise, if using Plain or All Purpose flour, please remember to add the 2 amounts of baking powder listed in the Recipe Card below.

3 photo collage of pink plate with small amounts of seasoning on it, close photo of yellow coloured small tin with writing' Coleman's Mustard Powder', and herb jar with text 'Garlic Seasoning Mix' from Aldi.

The cheese makes these scones, but some seasonings are essential. Salt & garlic powder/granules provide flavour. In the photo, I used Aldi’s Garlic & Herb Seasoning, which gave a good garlic flavour & subtle rosemary hit. Hope it is not a limited edition as really really good!

The mustard powder works as a complementary spice to the mature/sharp cheddar (works great in macaroni cheese sauce too). You will find this in a small tin in the condiments aisle of bigger supermarkets.

Smoked paprika, the non-spicy kind, (not pictured), is also there for a subtle smoky flavour but also to add colour to the scones. **If you can’t find mustard powder, increase the smoked paprika amount.

Photo of 5 cheese scones, on wooden board with writing 'spelt flour, goots cheese & butter & thyme', with a winning note and title 'Maureen W'.

Gluten Free Flour, Alternative Milks & Butter

Many scones in my Facebook group bake-along were made using my recipe with Gluten free flour, coconut milk and even goat’s butter, all for health reasons.  

All scones turned out great and the only difference was a slightly less golden colour to the scones when not using cow’s milk & if the eggs were not as deep an orange colour.

In the photo is the cheese scones, made by my Facebook group friend Maureen. They were made using Spelt flour, Goat’s cheese, Goat’s milk & some thyme. These not only look great, but are award winning too!

Essential Scone Tips – WHAT NOT TO DO!

Tips For A Great Rise To Your British Scones

1. Don't use a recipe with too much baking powder, as it can cause a premature rise & sink.
2. Don't use a food processor or mixer for making scones.
3. A slightly sticky dough is good.
4. Don't roll out the dough, pat out with your hands instead.
5.  Don't flatten too thin (1"/2.5cm minimum depth).
6. Don't twist the cookie cutter.
7.  Don't touch the sides of the cut-out scone.
8. Don't let the egg/milk mixture run down the sides of the scones.
9. Minimal and gentle handling as possible.
Caroline's Easy Baking Lessons

Step-By-Step Instructions

**All ingredient amounts & equipment list are in the Recipe Card at the bottom of the page.**

1. Begin by weighing and cubing your butter into a small pieces, about ½″ or 1¼cm.   Quite small pieces since we are not using a big amount of butter in proportion to the amount of flour.  Leave out a little to soften slightly – does not need to be as soft as when making cakes or cookies but not too cold or it will take longer to work into the flour.

2 photo collage showinf cookie cutter size on air fryer rack and 2 pieces of parchment on the rack - photo 1.

2. Before beginning, plan out how many scones your own air fryer will take in one bake. For basket air fryers, do not bake on 2 levels. Use our cookie cutter to see how many will fit with a gap of about 1″ (2½cm) in-between them. Then cut out baking/parchment paper big enough to hold the particular number of scones, but not too big that it touches the sides of the air fryer basket. (See Photo 2). For non-basket air fryers, just paper line a baking tray/baking sheet as you would normally.

3.  Add the flour, baking powder, salt, garlic powder/granules, mustard powder & smoked paprika to a large mixing bowl & whisk together. 

(**If using Plain or All Purpose flour, please remember to add the 2 amounts of baking powder.) Then add in the softened butter.

2 photo collage of butter and flour like large breadcrumbs and about to adding sugar with text 'photo 3'.

4. Mix together lightly before ‘cutting in’ the butter.  Use a pastry blender/cutter to push down on the mixture, (rotating left & right), till it resembles large breadcrumbs.  Alternatively use 2 butter knives, or rub the mixture between your fingertips (see Photo 3 & the video for this). 

5. Mix in the small amount of sugar, before making a small well in the centre.

4 photo collage of whisked eggs in jug, adding milk to 300ml level and reserving 2 tbsps with text 'phoro 4'.

6. Break the 2 eggs into a marked jug and whisk together before adding enough milk to the 300ml (10 fl oz) mark.  Remove 2 tbsps worth of the  liquid into a small dish for later. See Photo 4 above.

4 photo collage of adding mik egg mixture to flour mixture, working in & adding some cheese cubes with text 'photo 5'.

7. Add about ⅓ of this egg/milk mixture to the centre of the dry ingredients and mix together. Use your spoon or spatula to push down on the dry mixture to take on as much liquid as possible, before adding any more liquid. Do so very gradually, noting that you might not need all of the liquid*. 

Be sure to work on the bottom of the bowl and any dry patches. 

After a certain point I use my hands to feel if the dough has had enough liquid and to bring it together.  You want a dough that is just a little bit sticky to touch.  (See video & Photo 5).

3 photo collage of prepared cheese scone dough in mixing bowl, shaped and left over milky egg mixture in jug, with text 'photo 6'.

8.  Now bring the dough together into a rough rectangular block and place in the bowl if big enough, and use your knuckles to push down on the dough and open out slightly, before adding about ½ of the cheese pieces on top. (See Photo 5 above).

9. Knead very lightly and quickly into the dough, before repeating with the remaining cheese pieces. See Photo 6.

**Please note that you might not need all of the milk/egg mixture and some days you might need more or less than previously. (See Photo 6).

4 photo collage of patted out cheese scone dough in a round shape, showing thickness and against a double edged cookie cutter and thumb of a hand with pink latex glove, with text 'photo 7'.

10. Lightly flour some baking/parchment paper or worktop/counter and spread out the dough by hand, into a disc or square shape. 

Use your hands to pat down on the dough till it is an even height of at least 1” (2.5cm). **DO NOT USE A ROLLING PIN**

The end of my thumb is about this length and you will see me measure the depth against that in the video & Photo 7.  Don’t be tempted to make the dough any shallower as this is one if the mistakes people make (on the WHAT NOT TO DO list). See Photo 7.

4 photo collage of cutting out British round cheese scones and showing how deep they are with text 'photo 8'.

11. Dip the straight edge of a cutter in some flour before cutting out any scones.  You want to get as many scones from the first go as possible, because with every time of rolling up the scraps of dough, the rise is not as good.  So plan out where to make your cuts.  You should aim for about 6 or 7 scones for the first cut out.

12. Push down on the cutter and DO NOT TWIST.  If the scones does not lift up that is fine, leave it there.  Proceed with cutting out more and those that do lift up, carefully shake the cutter and let the scones release onto the prepared paper.  See Photo 8.

4 photo collage of deep round British cheese scones before baking, on an air fryer small rack, in the air fryer basket, egg washing the top and baking firs tofr 7 minutes with text 'photo 9'.

13. Once you have the most scones you can bake at one time in your own air fryer (remember only one level at a time for basket air fryers – I have 4 at a time on my small air fryer as seen in photo 9), use the reserved milk/egg mixture as an egg wash.

Very carefully dip a brush in the liquid, tap & shake off the excess and brush on the top of the scones,  Try not to let any drip down the sides as it can impair the rise.  So best to start brushing from the centre (with not too much liquid) and then working our way outwards. 

4 photo collage of baking 4 British  cheese scones in air fryer, adding cheese on top, and egg wwashing bottoms, with text 'photo 10'.

 14.  Bake in the air fryer for 7 minutes initially & at this point add about 1 tsp worth of the grated/shredded cheese to the tops of the scones. (See Photo 10).

15. Continue baking for another 2 minutes.  For basket air fryers, turn the scones over now after the 2 minutes, as the bottoms will be pale and not fully cooked.  Brush on more egg-wash & bake for another 3 – 4 minutes, till golden & cooked through. Total baking time should be 12 – 14 minutes.

So if you have a bigger air fryer like a mini oven, you only need to stop to add the cheese after 7 minutes, then cook till fully baked with no need to turn them over.

Close shot of an unbaked deep, round British cheese scone with small cheese cubes visible and more scones to the background with text 'photo 11'.

15. Meanwhile, once all scones are cut from the first round, pull away the excess dough and transfer any scones that are left, to the paper, via a palette knife not by hand – don’t touch sides of the scone.

16. Gently knead the dough in your hands to bring together again for cutting more scones. Knead as little as required as the first scones will always turn out ‘structurally best‘ since they have had the least amount of handling.  Repeat till all dough has been used up. Yield is 11 -12 scones.

2 photo collage of final baking of underside of air fryer British cheese scones, and then on cooling rack with text 'photo 12'.

17. Once the first batch of scones are cooked, remove and leave to cool a little on a cooling rack.

18. Proceed to bake the next batch as before, and repeat until all scones are baked & cooling.

Close cropped shot of 4 British cheese scones, with 2 stacked on top of eachother on a cooling rack.
Serving & Storage

1. Serve the cheese scones warm with some butter (homemade butter from double/heavy cream past its date is great for baking & can be frozen too). Take on picnics or serve alongside other nibbles for Afternoon tea, or Tea parties. A great addition for those who like savoury snacks.

2. Store the cheese scones in an airtight container for at least 3 days. (I always recommend cake or cookie tins, keeping the bakes longer, alongside the parchment/baking paper that they were baked with, keeping the scones from fresher).

3. British scones are perfect for freezing. Freeze individually wrapped in a little baking/parchment paper (that you used to bake them on), and then in a labelled food bag or container. Frozen British cheese scones are safe for up to 3 months1. Simply defrost at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.

Best eaten warm, by simply halving and heating in the microwave for 20 seconds. Alternatively re-heat whole scones in the air fryer @170°c/325°f for 1-2 minutes or if you happen to have the oven on, heat a few minutes till warmed through.

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Recipe Card

Air Fryer British Cheese Scones

Close shot of tall British cheese scone on pink vintage plate, with more to the background, pink napkin and butter dish to the background.
Savoury cheese version of my popular British scones & made in the air fryer! Includes all the tips for a perfect rise to the scones that are perfect with your afternoon tea or as a snack.
Caro @ Caroline’s Easy Baking Lessons
Prep Time 24 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
2nd/3rd Batch Baking Time 24 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Serving Size 12 Scones*


  • Scales or measuring cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Mixing spoon
  • Jug
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Pastry Cutter/Pastry Blender (optional – or 2 butter knives, or fingers)
  • Whisk or fork
  • Baking/parchment paper
  • Round Cookie Cutter (5-6cm or 2-2⅓″, mine is 5¾cm or 2¼")
  • Small bowl/dish
  • Pastry brush or clean artist brush
  • Air Fryer
  • Cooling rack


Dry Ingredients

  • 450 grams Self-raising Flour OR 15 ¾oz , 3⅔ cups All Purpose/Plain Flour PLUS 5½ (level tsp Baking powder *)
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder rounded (In addition to that above if using Plain/A.P. flour*)
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Powdered Garlic I used Aldi Garlic & Herb Seasoning mix*
  • 2 – 3 tsp Mustard Powder found in condiments aisle, optional*
  • ½ – ¾ tsp Smoked Paprika Not spicy*
  • 100 grams Mature Cheese (cubed) or Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese (3½ oz Extra/Sharp Cheddar, about 7mm (⅓”) small cubes *)
  • 30 grams Grated/Shredded Mature Cheddar Cheese 1 oz, for on top, optional

Wet Ingredients

  • 50 grams Caster Sugar 1¾ oz, level ¼ cup Extra/Super Fine Sugar*
  • 75 grams Butter unsalted, cubed & a little softened, 2½ oz or level 2/3 stick or ⅓ cup
  • 2 Med-Large Eggs US – Large or Extra Large
  • 240 ml Milk or Buttermilk 1 cup, 8 fl oz – approx.*)

* Denotes -see notes


    Prepare Air Fryer

    • Cube the 75 grams Butter about 1cm (⅓") size to soften quicker or try this hack I reviewed for softening butter.
    • Before preparing the scone dough, use your cookie cutter to see how many scones you can bake at one time in your own particular air fryer. **Do not bake over 2 levels if you have a basket style air fryer**.
    • Cut a square of baking/parchment large enough to fit the number of scones, but not too big that it touches the sides of the air fryer. Cut 2 or 3 more for the rest of the batch.

    Prepare The Dough

    • Add 450 grams Self-raising Flour, to a mixing bowl before whisking in 2 tsp Baking Powder, ½ tsp Salt, 1 tsp Powdered Garlic, 2 – 3 tsp Mustard Powder & ½ – ¾ tsp Smoked Paprika. **If using Plain/All Purpose flour, please also remember to add 5½ level tsp baking powder, in addition to the 2 tsp mentioned above.**
    • Add the 75 grams Butter to the dry mixture and mix through briefly before you 'Cut the butter' into the flour using a Pastry Cutter (also known as a Pastry Blender) until the mixture resembles large breadcrumbs. Alternatively use 2 butter knives, or rub between your fingertips. (To see in action, watch the video below). Then add in the 50 grams Caster Sugar and mix through.
    • Add the 2 Med-Large Eggs to a jug and whisk together, before adding in enough of the 240 ml Milk or Buttermilk, to come to the 300ml (10 fl oz) level. Whisk together and then reserve 2 tbsp of the mixture in a small bowl for later.
    • Make a reservoir in the centre of the dry mixture & add about a ⅓ of the wet mixture before starting to mix together with a spoon or spatula. Gradually add in small amounts of the wet mixture until it starts to come together into a slightly sticky dough. **Please note you might not need all of the wet mixture or need a touch more (in which case just add milk).** Use the video as a reference point to get your hands in there and make sure there is no dry patches at the bottom of the bowl.
    • Use your knuckles to spread out the dough a little, before adding in half of the 100 grams Mature Cheese (cubed), and very briefly knead into the dough. Then repeat with the rest of the cheese pieces and form into a ball then a disc shape. DO NOT USE A FOOD PROCESSOR OR MIXER.
    • Lightly dust baking/parchment paper or a clean worktop/counter before placing the disc of dough down and use your hands to gently pat the dough out until a depth of at least 1″ (2⅓cm). Do not use a rolling pin.
    • Dip the cookie cutter in a small bowl of flour before cutting out as many scones as you can get. ** DO NOT TWIST THE COOKIE CUTTER! ** This is very important for a good rise. Pull away the excess dough and then transfer the scone to the paper lined air fryer. Any that stick in the cutter, just carefully shake and let it fall onto the paper itself. **Try not to touch the sides of the scone if possible.** Excess scones can be placed on spare paper while the first batch are baked.
    • Once there are enough in the air fryer, very carefully brush some of the reserved egg/milk mixture, onto the tops of the scones only. DO NOT LET ANY DRIP DOWN THE SIDES – shake the brush, then start brushing from the centre of the top of the scone and work your way out to avoid drips.

    Bake The Scones

    • Bake your first batch of scones in the air fryer @ 200°c/400°f for a total of about 12 minutes. (Preheat the air fryer if your machine recommends this). After 7 minutes of cooking, add about 1 tsp worth of the 30 grams Grated/Shredded Mature Cheddar Cheese, to the top of the scones (being careful not to push down too hard). Continue baking for another 2 minutes.
    • At this 9-minute mark, turn the scones over & if the bottoms are soft and pale, brush on some more egg-wash and continue baking for a further 3-5 minutes till fully cooked and golden. (Note some air fryers might not require this step but most basket air fryers will). For regular ovens use temperature of 220°c/200°c Fan Oven/425°f/Gas Mark 6, or go to the regular cheese scones recipe.
    • While the first batch are baking, gently bring the excess dough together as best you can with minimal handling & no rolling out. Just pat out to at least 1″ (2½ cm) deep. Cut out more scones & repeat till all the dough is used. (Yield 11-12 scones). Transfer these carefully to prepared small sheets of paper, brushing on egg-wash.
      Close cropped shot of 4 British cheese scones, with 2 stacked on top of eachother on a cooling rack.
    • When the first scones are baked, transfer to a cooling rack & continue baking the next batch.

    Serving, Storing & Freezing

    • Serve the scones cut in half and top with butter. Try some homemade butter.
    • Left-over scones should be stored in an air-tight container such as a cake or cookie tin. Store with the paper you used to bake them & they will last a minimum of 3 days.
      Front shot of a table with British cheese scones stacke dona plate to the back, with butter disn, tea cup and halved scone about to be buttered to the front.
    • Freeze scones wrapped in baking/parchment paper or cling film/plastic wrap & then in a labelled food bag. These scones are fine for up to 3 months1. Defrost at room temperature or in the fridge overnight. Once defrosted, to enjoy warm simply cut in half & microwave for no more than 20-30 seconds. Alternatively, place a whole scone in the air fryer @170°c/325°f for 1-3 minutes, being careful not to dry it out.



    Flour – UK self-raising & Plain (All Purpose Flour) have all been used & tested. ***IMPORTANT – If using Plain/A.P. flour, please make sure to add the 2 amounts of baking powder.***
    Gluten free flour Self-raising or Plain/A.P. flour with Xanthan gum also works well.
    Sugar – Caster sugar (equivalent being Extra/super fine sugar) is used & a small amount. So very easy to make your own from granulated sugar.
    Tall British cheese scone on pink vintage plate, with mor eto the background, pink napkin and butter dish to the background.
    Seasonings – mustard powder is found with the mustard in larger supermarkets.   Smoked paprika (non-spicy) is also used & helps colour the scones. No mustard powder? Increase the smoked paprika amount. Garlic powder/granules is used, but Aldi Garlic & Herb Seasoning mix is used in these photos & is a blend of garlic & rosemary.
    Milk – regular milk works for scones, as does lactose-free & goat’s milk. Buttermilk works great too. Read my Homemade Buttermilk & Butter recipe.
    Cheese – extra/mature cheese (extra/sharp cheddar) is used. Small pieces in the scone dough and a little grated/shredded on top of the scones, part-way through baking.
    Cookie Cutter – try to use a cookie cutter that is straight edged, and with a diameter of 5 to 6cm or 2 to 2⅓″. My cutter is 5¾cm or 2¼”.
    Air Fryer – my air fryer is small so takes 4 scones at a time.
    Yield – using the same cutter & thickness, you should get about 12 scones from the recipe.
    For all other information & scone tips, please refer to the complete recipe post before this recipe card & my Scone video tutorial that is nearly real-time.
    Kids can try my simple Tear-&-Share Cheese Scones, with no need to cut out the dough.
    Check out my Original British Scones recipe (photo above), the Cranberry Spiced Scones recipe, or my Double chocolate orange Scones version.
    Close shot of a stacked british scone filled with cream and jam on blue willowcrockery.
    **Total Time to make – based on making 3 batches of 4 scones, for 12 minutes each in a basket-style air fryer. If your air fryer is larger, and can bake more than 4 scones at one time, total time would be reduced.
    Browse Recipe Index
    Try my beginner’s recipe – Tear-&-Share Cheese Scones for an easier recipe.
    Close shot of a stack of 3 tear and share cheese herb topped scones, with pink tile table and crockery to the background.
    ReferenceFreezing information from website Freeze It.co.uk @ https://freezeit.co.uk/can-you-freeze-scones/
     ***I am not a qualified nutritionist, & all nutritional values are based on a serving of  1 cheese scone (from a batch of 12 as per recipe above), with no fillings/toppings.  Bigger or smaller scones & the nutritional values will change.  All values from MyFitnessPal.com 
    Nutrition Facts
    Air Fryer British Cheese Scones
    Serving Size
    1 Scone
    Amount per Serving
    % Daily Value*
    Saturated Fat
    Monounsaturated Fat
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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    Caro x

    Traditional British cheese scones in the air fryer

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    1. Freezing information from website Freeze It.co.uk @ https://freezeit.co.uk/can-you-freeze-scones/ ↩︎
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    1. (5/5)

      4 stars
      Yet another excellent recipe from Caro. Detailed step by step instructions with great pictures. Love the little chunks of cheese and so light. Great budget recipe. Thank you

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