THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO AMERICAN BISCUITS AND BRITISH SCONES
Nothing beats splitting open a piping hot biscuit and watching the steam billow out. Then, slathering a hefty pat of butter on it before devouring this fluffy bread. Likewise, indulging in a warm scone with a heap of fruit jam and scoop of clotted cream is pure delight.
But what, exactly, is the difference between a biscuit and a scone? If you’re in the U.S., a biscuit is a round, flaky, buttery piece of leavened bread. In the U.K. a biscuit is a crisp cookie often enjoyed at tea time.
A scone is a quick bread that is denser than a biscuit and can be either savory or sweet. Scones come in many shapes, like round or triangular. Biscuits are round or square.
Are Scones and Biscuits the Same Things?
No, scones and biscuits are not the same thing. However, they are made with similar ingredients:
- Dairy: traditionally buttermilk for biscuits and heavy cream and/or eggs for scones
- Fat: like butter, lard, or vegetable shortening
- Flour: traditionally barley flour or oatmeal for scones
- Leavener: like baking powder or baking soda
Scones are also made with sugar. They are dense, drier, and can be larger than biscuits. Originally, scones were baked in cast iron pans. Nowadays, the dough is quickly kneaded, then rolled, and cut into diamonds, rounds, triangles, or wedges.
Scones come in many flavors. Sweet scone flavors include:
- Lemon poppyseed
- Orange cranberry
- Vanilla bean
Savory scone flavors include:
- Bacon, cheddar, and chive
- Garlic herb
Biscuits are airy, have layers, and are flaky. The dough is cut into rounds or squares and baked in the oven. They may be served with a variety of sweet and savory condiments and toppings like:
- Pimento cheese
Biscuits can also be used to make sandwiches like:
- Bacon, egg, and cheese
- Sausage, egg, and cheese
- Country ham
- Fried chicken
What’s Better, Scone or Biscuit?
It depends on who you ask and what you prefer. We love both, particularly biscuits for breakfast and dinner and scones for breakfast and tea time.
Variations of these two quick breads include:
- Scuffins: a dense, muffin-shaped scone with a crumbly texture and a generous dollop of rich, fruity preserves at the center
- Welsh Cakes: a cake that is a scone/biscuit/pancake hybrid
Are English Scones the Same as American Biscuits?
Yes, English scones are the same as American biscuits. Scones originated in the British Isles in the 16th century. When the British scone arrived in America, it morphed into two different kinds of quick bread because of the availability of local ingredients.
Southerners made their scones with easily available buttermilk, lard, and low-protein soft wheat. This yielded a lighter, fluffier bread that became known as a biscuit. Northerners used a harder wheat to make their version along with heavy cream, eggs, and sugar to create what is now referred to as a scone.
Why Are Scones Called Biscuits in America?
The reason scones are called biscuits in America is likely because the recipe to make Southern biscuits is similar to those used to make hardtack. Hardtack is a dense cracker or biscuit made of similar ingredients, but no dairy. The mixture of flour, water, and salt was commonly served as a military ration from the 17th to 20th centuries.
Most Famous Biscuits & Scones
Get up all in our biscuits before they are going, going, scone. The most famous biscuits and scones are shipping nationwide on Goldbelly!
Founded by husband-and-wife Karl and Sarah Worley in 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee, Biscuit Love has been baking sky-high biscuits that are a cut above the rest. Each biscuit is made from scratch with just six ingredients: baking powder, baking soda, butter, buttermilk, flour, and salt, plus loads of LOVE.
Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit
Risk it for the biscuit by adding Southern flair to your next brunch. Add a taste of Southern comfort food with Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit. The Charleston biscuit shop has been on a roll since its debut in 2005. Each soft biscuit is rolled by hand and made with rich butter and hints of cream cheese.
Seven Sisters Scones
You know it’s scone be a great morning when you start the day with scones from Seven Sisters Scones. The Johns Creek, Georgia bakery, founded by Chef Hala Yassine, takes its name from the fact that Yassine is one of seven sisters (and two brothers).
Each scone is made with butter, cream, and eggs. Flavors include savory Garlic Herb, Jalapeño, Green Olive & Cheddar, and Bacon, Cheddar, and Chive, and sweet Blueberry, Triple Chocolate, and Vanilla Bean.
Copper Kettle Bakery
Welsh Cakes are a sweet bread that is a cross between a scone, a biscuit, and a pancake. There’s no better place to try these outside of Wales than Copper Kettle Bakery in Westwood, Massachusetts.
Helen Coastes makes these light and fluffy cakes on the griddle. She enhances these golden cakes with additions like cranberries, currants, and chocolate chips. They’re perfect for breakfast, tea time, and anytime.