Freeze and bake scones: oven-fresh treats on a tight schedule

Q. We run a bed and breakfast, and often need to have fresh baked goods ready very early in the morning. Is there some way we can freeze prepared recipes to bake first thing? – Mary Ann and Jim Guertin, Lake George, NY

A: Freeze and bake scones!

If there’s one thing we’re absolutely devoted to here at King Arthur Flour, it’s solving your baking challenges. Our bakers are ready to help you every day via our baker’s hotline, live chat, and email.

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If there’s one breakfast treat that’s absolutely perfect for preparing ahead, it’s scones. The secret is freezing them at the point where they’re shaped, but not yet baked, the obverse of bake and freeze – freeze and bake scones.

Freeze and bake scones via @kingarthurflour

Days (or weeks) later, when you’re hurrying to make an early breakfast, simply pop those frozen gems into the oven, and within 20 minutes you’re serving hot scones, ready for butter and jam.

Let’s see how to make freeze and bake scones.

I’ll start with one of my favorite recipes: Harvest Pumpkin Scones. I’ve added some pumpkin spice chips to the dough – just because.

Freeze and bake scones via @kingarthurflour

For purposes of testing I divide the dough into six pieces, rather than the usual two. The rounds are still 3/4″ tall, though, which will yield what I consider an optimally thick scone: about 1 1/2″.

Freeze and bake scones via @kingarthurflourI brush the top of the scones with milk, and sprinkle with sparkling sugar. Then I cut each round into four wedges. For larger rounds, you’d cut six to eight wedges.

Freeze and bake scones via @kingarthurflour

I tent the scones with plastic wrap, and freeze until solid, which will take a couple of hours.

Freeze and bake scones via @kingarthurflour

Once frozen, I wrap each round tightly in freezer wrap…

Freeze and bake scones via @kingarthurflour

…then bag the rounds as airtight as possible. Be sure to label and date the bag – your memory’s probably not as good as you think it is!

Time marches on [calendar shedding pages, like in those old-time movies]. You decide it’s time for some hot, fresh scones.

Freeze and bake scones via @kingarthurflour

Transfer however many scones you want to a baking sheet. Parchment reduces cleanup to zero. For crisp-sided scones, separate the wedges as pictured above. For softer scones, leave the wedges close together.

Preheat your oven; the scones will thaw a bit while the oven heats.

Bake the scones for however long the recipe calls for, adding a couple of minutes or so to the time to account for the scones being partially frozen. (Though if your oven is slow to heat, the scones may be pretty much thawed by the time they go in.)

Freeze and bake scones via @kingarthurflour

Remove fresh-baked scones from the oven; serve hot.

Now how easy was that?

Wait a minute – I hear it coming, everyone’s burning question:

How far ahead can you do this, i.e., how long can you freeze unbaked scones?

Freeze and bake scones via @kingarthurflour

Here are baked scones that had been frozen (unbaked) for 1 week (left), 2 weeks (center), and 3 weeks (right). No discernible difference in rise, right? And I can attest to their taste – all moist and tender. So you can freeze unbaked scones for at least 3 weeks without any reduction in quality.

After that, things get a bit dicey. I’ve baked scones that were in the freezer for 5 weeks, and there was definitely a diminution in rise and moisture. Thus I’d suggest freezing unbaked scones no longer than a month.

So, what if you’re one of those super-organized people who has plenty of time to make scone dough in the morning and bake it right away, without freezing? I have a suggestion: slip the pan of shaped scones into the freezer anyway – but just for about 30 minutes.

Why? Chilling hardens the scones’ fat, and time relaxes the gluten in the flour, both of which contribute to a higher rise.

Freeze and bake scones via @kingarthurflour

On the left, a scone baked directly after shaping; on the right, after 30 minutes in the freezer. See the slight difference in rise? Just as chilled chocolate chip cookie dough produces a better cookie, so does chilled scone dough make a better scone.

Now, since the summer Olympics are coming right up, I’ll close with this thought: freeze and bake scones embody the Olympic motto – faster, higher, stronger yummier!

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. VIVIAN SIMPKINS

    The KAF website also has instructions for freezing other lovely breakfast goodies, like cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, biscuits, etc. 🙂 The pumpkin scones do look yummy, and I intend to make them soon.

    Reply
  2. REBECCA VAN UUM

    Freezing the Pumpkin Scones is probably a good idea – I can’ stay out of them, once they come out of the oven!!! This way, I can bake a few at a time, and not devour the entire batch in one sitting!!!

    Reply
  3. Colleen

    Love the idea of freeze and bake scones! I make sourdough scones using some of my starter …. Can I use the freeze and bake method for these as well?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Colleen, as long as you’re not relying on the sourdough starter to help the scones rise, this should work fine. Barb@KAF

  4. Joan Meiman

    Where is Freezer Tite sold? As shown in your ‘wrapping for freezing ‘ picture. I have
    searched in different grocery stores for this transparent wrap with no success.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Joan, this isn’t a product we sell, but I was able to find it online. And since these scones get wrapped both in plastic wrap and a freezer bag, I think another brand of plastic wrap would work just fine. I really like the ChicWrap plastic wrap we sell, although it won’t be quite as thick as the Freeze-Tite brand. Barb@KAF

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Pat,
      Biscuits and scones both benefit from a 30 minute freeze before baking. It’s one key to flaky layers. ~ MJ

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      Yes Kim, it’s really that easy! We hope you give this technique a try and see what you think. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  5. Roz Diemand

    What kind of baking powder do you use with the frozen scones? I have found that some do not rise well after freezing.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Roz,
      We’ve had good luck with both store-bought leavener (the one at my house is Rumford) and Bakewell Cream Baking Powder. You want to make sure it’s fresh and double-acting. ~ MJ

  6. Jarrett Smith

    Hi,
    I’m a scone junkie so will be trying this for sure. Another suggestion relating to the freezer tip: When I make apple crisp (or any flavor) I put the crisp in the freezer, spread out on a cookie sheet, for 30 minutes before adding it on top. You get much nicer, bigger chunks of crisp that way. Cheers.
    JWS

    Reply
  7. Patricia L. Barichivich

    I love scones! My favorite are cinnamon scones made with cinnamon chips – sometimes they are hard to find but well worth the search. This is great in as much as I live alone and tend to “over do” when I bake. LOL!

    Reply
  8. Ann Cawthon

    I wrap with a terry towel and freeze cake layers immediately after baking and while still in their pans. When frozen, it is easier to crumb, cut, and frosts them. The layers remain moist because there isn’t as much evaporation of moisture before adding the frosting. I think I learned this from a King Arthur site years ago. Thanks for the suggestions about freezing scones, biscuits and chocolate chip cookie dough.

    Reply
  9. Carol

    I use a biscuit cutter to shape mine before freezing. I make a double batch then place them in a 9×13″ pan in layers with wax paper between them. I cover with wax paper then snap the lid to the baking pan on top. they can stay frozen as is for up to 3 or 4 weeks. They’re always in demand so I never know how much longer than that they’ll keep!

    Reply
  10. Marian

    What other types of scones have you tried? I tried a blueberry scone, but the blueberry leaked all over as it thawed before baking. I did not consider baking while frozen. I will give it a try your way.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Marian, you could use just about any scone recipe or flavor and have good results! Bryanna@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Dorothy, you can certainly bookmark this blog post on your computer so you can find it again easily, but currently there isn’t an easy way to print these posts. Barb@KAF

    2. Peg in Wisconsin

      Dorothy and Barb, I just do a copy/paste into a program like Microsoft Word, make it look nice, and print.

  11. Karen from Manlius

    Thanks for the freezing tips. My recipe makes about a dozen scones and with only 2 of us at home now, it seemed a waste to make them. Now scones will be back on the menu Sunday mornings at my house!

    Reply
  12. Mary Beth Kinnon

    Does vacuum sealing help the length of time the scones can be frozen? Does it hurt the rise of the scones?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Mary Beth,
      We don’t usually go through the trouble of vacuum sealing our scones, but instead we use zip-lock bags and then use the dough within about 3 weeks. As you can see from the photo showing the 3 kinds of scones baked after each subsequent week of freezing, it doesn’t hinder the rise of the scones. You’re welcome to try vacuuming sealing your bags to extend the freezer life if you wish. Let us know how it goes! Kye@KAF

  13. Linda

    I love the savory scone recipe from KAF. I make the mini scones, freeze them well. They are so wonderful when I have company, expected or unexpected.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Self-rising flour has a bit more baking powder in it than what’s typically used for scones, so if you make the swap you’ll probably notice they’re more cakey and biscuit-like. You’re welcome to give it a shot and leave out the baking powder and salt. Or you could try using one of these recipes for Caramel Apple Biscuits or Pumpkin Shortcakes, both of which are made with self-rising flour and are somewhat scone-like. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  14. Jeannine

    If I understand this correctly, I make the scones (but don’t bake) freeze them, and bake for the same temp and time as I always do adding a couple Xtra min’s because they’re frozen?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You’ve got it Jeannine! It’s really that easy. You might find that you actually like the texture of the scones even better after they’re frozen and baked. Let us know. Happy scone baking! Kye@KAF

  15. Gayle Schild, WA

    Another great idea! I love scones too. Freezing them sounds like a wonderful tip. Thank you.

    Reply
  16. Al F.

    I used this method to prepare my scones the night before and toss them in the oven in the AM. It worked great, thank you. I wonder though, if you were prepping scones for the next morning, would you bother to wrap them at all ?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      It’s important to wrap unbaked scone dough in plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out and also to keep any other flavors from sneaking into your dough. Wrapping is a must! Kye@KAF

  17. June

    Can I freeze scones made out of KA scone mix? I’m having a baby shower and would like to prep as much before hand as possible!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You sure can, June! It often times actually makes the scones a bit flakier in texture as a result. Just be sure to wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. Enjoy the shower! Kye@KAF

  18. Cynthia

    Can this dough made sooner than the night before? I’m hosting a bridal shower brunch for my cousin, and would love to include these – but I’m trying to get anything and everything possible done early so that I have less to stress about the night before (after I get out of work…)

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We see you found the info you were looking for; we found that scones made up to 3 weeks in advance were practically just as perfect as scones made and baked right away. Enjoy the bridal shower! Kye@KAF

  19. cynthia voskamp

    Thank you for sharing the tip. It is such a time saver for mornings.
    If I plan on baking the scones the next morning, do I have to freeze or would refrigerating overnight work? Thank you for your reply.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We like the texture that comes as a result of freezing your scones, so we’d recommend popping them in the freezer if you have room. If you don’t, not to worry — they’ll be just fine in the fridge overnight. In either case, wrap the dough tightly with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  20. Artist Elaine

    I’m sorry if this question has already been asked; I’m about to run out the door to an appointment so didn’t read through all. Does this method work well with most any scone recipe? Pumpkin scones don’t appeal to me, but I have many other recipes I love to use and what a great method this would be to have them fresh whenever the mood strikes! Thank you for your help!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Yes — this method works with other scone recipes aside from just pumpkin. Give your favorite scone recipe a try using this approach and see how you like the results. You might find you prefer the craggly texture! Kye@KAF

  21. Tom

    Perfect! I had just started my search for baked goods that I could make and freeze at home, then transport in a cooler to our church Family Camp (more like glamping – we have a cabin with a kitchen). I would like to be able to provide fresh stuff without lugging my stand mixer, and I haven’t had good results making/freezing/baking cinnamon rolls. Thanks!

    Reply
  22. Peter Van Erp

    I just used this, and they came put great (KA recipe for Classic Scones, with egg, yogurt and milk as the liquid).
    Yet another reason to praise KAF!

    Reply
  23. Jamie

    I don’t normally brush my scones with a wash, but I currently have some in the freezer that I would like make a little prettier for serving. Can I apply a wash to frozen scones right before they go in the oven, or is it too late for that? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Yes, it’s the perfect time Jamie. Washes should be applied to scones right before they go into the oven. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  24. Joanna

    Making ahead is a great idea. How many recipes (double, triple…even more) can we make at one time and still have delicious scones?

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      Hi, Joanna. That depends on the size of what bowls you have around; I would suggest staying to double batches and doing that more than once if you’re really feeding a crowd. Susan

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