Christmas Breakfast – Buttermilk Scones


16 Dec Christmas Breakfast – Buttermilk Scones


I don’t know how my mother did it. She used to serve a homemade Swedish tea ring, fresh scones, fruit salad, scrambled eggs, sausages and hot chocolate for Christmas breakfast. We faced this gargantuan meal mere hours after gorging on a full Christmas Eve dinner, complete with a chocolate Yule log. No wonder it was hot dogs for lunch.

These days, Christmas breakfast with the Christies is more streamlined. But fresh-from-the-oven scones are always on the menu. We usually have a plain buttermilk version with loads of butter and homemade jam. I make no less than three batches for 10 people and there’s hardly a crumb left. If we ate this way all the time we’d have flat noses and curly tails.

This morning, I decided to try a cheese variation and tossed in some whisky cheddar left over from our weekend gathering. Scotch for breakfast? Not a bad way to begin the day.


Whether you like your scones sweet with jam or savory with butter, this recipe is quick and simple enough for Christmas breakfast. Just mix the dry ingredients together the night before. In the morning, cut in the butter, stir in the wet, roll and bake.

Buttermilk Scones
Printable recipe

Makes 12


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp white sugar (for sweet scones only)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1 cup buttermilk*
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar (optional)

* If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, sour plain milk by adding 1 tbsp of lemon juice or white vinegar and letting it sit 5 to 10 minutes. Thanks to cousin Donna for reminding me of this trick.


  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together (can be done the night before).
  3. Cut in the cold butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Stir in grated cheese, if using.
  5. Add milk and stir to form a ball.
  6. Knead dough on a floured board.
  7. Roll to 1/2 inch thick.
  8. Cut into 3-inch circles. **
  9. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden.
  10. Serve immediately.

** Don’t throw out the leftover dough. Instead, use your fingers to form a lumpy scone. We call these patchwork ones “the ugly scones” but they’re my favourite.


If scones are too hands-on for you on Christmas morning, I’ve posted a recipe for an easy make-ahead stratta at Accidental Hedonist.

Do you scarf down scones at Christmas breakfast or is something more upscale on your menu?

No Comments
  • Dana McCauley
    Posted at 16:29h, 16 December Reply

    I do love scones but only make them once or twice a year. At our house Chritmas Breakfast is kept pretty simple and fairly light so that we can prepare for the feast ahead.

    This year, I’m serving fresh bagels (we have an excellent Jewish owned bakery near us), smokes salmon, capers, dill, and chopped red onion with fresh squeezed oj (my son loves to use the citrus juicer) and lots and lots of espresso.

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 17:20h, 16 December Reply

    Dana, I love the idea of bagels and lox for breakfast. So simple yet tasty.

    My family members are sticklers for tradition and I’ve got to serve scones or risk coal in my stocking. But I like your menu!

  • cheryl
    Posted at 17:21h, 16 December Reply

    Love scones, and I often make several batches of them in preparation for our annual New Year’s Day brunch. Because the party prep is so hectic, I always make and form the scones days earlier, freeze them on baking sheets, then transfer them to ziploc freezer bags. On New Year’s Day, I brush them with cream and pop them, still frozen, right into the hot oven. Works like a charm!

  • Kathe Lieber
    Posted at 17:28h, 16 December Reply

    Thanks so much for posting this, Charmian! I’m still unpacking my cookbooks (though I did find A Passion for Baking the other day – hurray!). And thanks for the lemon squares the other day. You have an unerring instinct for posting my favourite things!

  • Monica
    Posted at 17:32h, 16 December Reply

    Your food always makes me soooo hungry. Gorgeous!!!

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 17:58h, 16 December Reply

    Cheryl, I love your idea. I’ll have to give it a try — before Christmas. I can imagine the mutiny if I mess up :-)

    Kathe, glad to oblige. I will be posting healthier treats in the New Year since my unerring instinct tells me we will all be watching our waists. Hope the move went well.

    Thanks Monica! Quite a compliment coming from you, the cookbook author.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 20:17h, 16 December Reply

    I’m the lucky one who gets to eat these in person, and not just drool over the pictures.
    I dibs any cheese scones that happen to make their way to the table.
    Your new camera techniques create even greater hunger pangs when I read your blog.
    Licking my lips in anticipation.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 21:40h, 16 December Reply

    I make these scones too, however, I use non fat plain yogurt instead of buttermilk. I don't even roll them out -just scoop from the bowl-with a large spoon or even your hands ( clean) onto a greased or parchment covered pan. The uneven tops turn a nice golden with a bit of crunch-. We always have bacon & eggs Christmas morning-the ONLY morning my husband makes breakfast. We also have homemade cinnamon knots warm from the oven and lots of coffee!

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 22:08h, 16 December Reply

    Robin, all cheese scones got scarfed down within minutes. Sorry.

    Anonymous #2, you scoop them?! Another great idea. Between Cheryl’s freezing suggestion and your no-roll method I’m sold on speeding this process up! And I’d get the uneven top I love so much. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 13:29h, 17 December Reply

    In our home, we call the ones made with the leftover pieces ‘testers’. Applies to all such baking (especially cookies), and makes for tasting the warm ones guilt free: after all, it’s a tester!

    – jj

  • Catherine
    Posted at 12:12h, 20 November Reply

    I found your blog via Copywriter’s Kitchen. I’m an American over in the UK. Cheese scones are a particular fave of mine – have you tried them with butter and tomato chutney/jam?

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 15:17h, 20 November Reply

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I haven’t tried cheese scones with tomato chutney. I have had them with red pepper jelly, which isn’t quite the same thing. Love how flexible these recipes are.

Post A Reply to Anonymous Cancel Reply

Subscribe to my newsletter.

It’s easy. It’s free. It’s informative.


Receive weekly tips, recipes and advanced notice of upcoming events.

Yes, please!