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Mom’s Scones

My mom has made “scones” my whole life.  If you ask any of my siblings what favorite foods they think of when they think of mom and scones will be high on the list.

They are family tradition that brings back many warm memories.  Even today, Nan still makes her famous scones that are a favorite with all of the grandchildren.

So imagine my surprise when I found out that the “scones” we love to eat are not what the rest of the world calls a scone.  In fact, the scones I grew up with are a very regional creation… they are sometimes called Utah Scones or Mormon Scones.

What!?  The things I never knew!

The scones in Utah are a raised white bread dough deep fried in hot oil, much like Sopapillas or Navajo Fry Bread.

But whatever you call them, I call them divine.

Here’s how to make them:

Combine 1 cup of warm milk and 1 cup of warm water.  Add in 3 tablespoons of sugar.  Stir for a moment to help it dissolve.

Add one tablespoon of yeast.  A word about the temperature of the water.  Think baby bottle warm and you’ll be at the perfect temperature for your yeast.

Give the yeast a quick stir.

Allow the yeast to activate about 10 minutes.

You can allow your yeast to activate right in you mixing bowl, but the pyrex was better for showing activated yeast in a photo.  I’ve just poured my active yeast mixture into my Bosch mixer.  Pour in your melted, BUT COOLED butter.  Hot butter could kill the yeast.

Add one tablespoon of salt.

And flour.

I used to hate when a recipe stated “Add 5 to 6 cups of flour.”  How am I supposed to know when to stop?

The more you make bread, the more it makes sense.  You start to get a feel for the dough.  One thing I look for when adding the flour is I stop when the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Then I touch it, is it too sticky to work with?  If it is, add a bit more flour.  For scones you want it slightly sticky… but since you’ll be rolling out on a counter without flour… not too sticky.

Set the bowl aside in a warm spot with a towel over the top, and allow the dough to double in size.  This can take up to an hour and a half depending on how warm your home is.  My oven has a warming drawer and it takes about 45 minutes on low warm.

Now is a good time to get your oil heating over medium to medium high heat.  Heat the oil to between 350 – 400 degrees.  I measure the heat of my oil with a candy thermometer.

You will be rolling out and cutting the dough directly on the counter, so if you have a laminate or other type of counter that you don’t want to cut on, roll out on a large cutting board.  Roll your dough out on your counter top without flour.  Flour in hot oil is not a good combo.  My mom never even greases her counter top before rolling.  I spread a thin layer of butter or shortening just to make sure it doesn’t stick.

Cut your dough out with a pizza cutter.  You can cut them any size or shape you wish.  My kids requested triangles tonight… so that’s where I’m headed.  My mom always did smaller rectangles.

For you quilters.. they are half square triangles… kind of.

Make sure your oil is hot enough.  Too cold and the scones will really soak up the grease… yuck.  Too hot and they will be brown on the outside and doughy on the inside.

This is important:  Before tossing your scones into the hot oil give the dough a little stretch….

And drop them in… be sure not to overcrowd the pan.

When they are golden brown turn them over.  They are going to rise and puff just like pillows.

When they are done, let them drain on a paper towel.

Serve them with butter and your favorite syrup… ours is Buttermilk Syrup on scones… or your favorite jam and powdered sugar.  Honey Butter is also a favorite, classic accompaniment here in Utah.  Utah is the Beehive State after all.

Whatever you top them with, be sure to eat them while they are hot.  I guarantee they are a little bit of heaven.

Here is the recipe:

Mom’s Scones

1 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
1 Tbsp. dry active yeast
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
1 Tbsp. salt
5 – 6 cups bread flour
Vegetable oil for deep frying

Combine warm water and warm milk.  Stir in the sugar.  Add dry active yeast and stir lightly.  Allow yeast to activate, about 10 minutes.  In a stand mixer, fitted with a bread hook, add milk mixture and melted cooled butter.  Add the salt.  Start the mixer and add the flour one cup at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Dough should be slightly sticky but workable.  Cover the dough in the bowl with a towel.  Set in a warm place and allow raise until double.

Pour your oil in a large pan (with sides deep enough to fully immerse the scones) or a deep fryer and heat slowly over medium to medium high heat.  While the oil is heating, roll the dough out onto the counter, without flour, into a large rectangle about 1/2 inch thick.  You may choose to butter the counter lightly.  Using a pizza cutter, cut into squares or triangles.

Heat oil to between 350 – 400 degrees and cook scones until golden brown.  Serve immediately.

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80 Responses to “Mom’s Scones”

  • those look delicious! they remind me of Beignets .. you often find them in Belgium but I think I’ve seen them in France and Germany too.

  • Aha! My dad’s family is from SLC and we too make “scones” on Thanksgiving and Christmas. How surprised was I to discover (many many years ago) that these are not real scones. So delicious anyways. Now I know that it’s not just my family that had it wrong (but oh-so right!). My favorite topping is powdered sugar and jam.

  • Cindy:

    Thanks for posting. I was just thinking of this childhood delight the other day and wondering where to get the recipe. Growing up we referred to this receipe as fried bread and stuffed the pillow with tongue (yes, another farm treat that is now coming into foodie fashion).

  • I love putting one straight from the pan into a giant bag of cinnamon sugar and shake it up. This is particularly delicious topped with Nutella. What? Don’t judge me. :)

    xox

  • Lori:

    These are the “scones” that I grew up with too. However, traditional scones are quite tasty too. I think most people take them with coffee but I don’t drink coffee so we eat them with hot chocolate.

    Nothing beats honey butter on the fried ones though. It gets all melty and pools on the hot little devils. YUM!

  • WOW! Does that look good! Do you think that if I printed the recipe and left it on the counter my hubby would get the hint?! lol! Thanks for sharing those. I have never see “scones” like that! Nifty!

  • I grew up with this type of scone as well. My grandma makes them then puts them in a brown paper bag with granulated sugar and shakes them up until they are completely covered. Sometimes we just eat them plain with honey.”Utah” scones are the best:)

  • Anne:

    these are common in sw montana, but not in nw montana–300 mile difference :) my husband and i had a great argument about them and i have embraced these “scones” as well because lets face it–there is nothing better than fried dough :)

  • I Love these scones. You can’t imagine my disappointment when I went to the fair in Washington and ordered a scone and got some silly dry cake. I just use Rhodes Rolls to make these, set them out for a few hours, stretch them then deep fry them. So yummy with honey butter!

    • Patricia:

      Holli, thats the way we do it in south Louisiana,Rhodes dinner rolls thawed, flattened out then fried, drain on paper towels,& butter them right out of the skillet, and enjoy. One of my favorite things growing up. Never knew them as anything other than ‘Fried Dough’ So fun to see them on Pinterest, SMALL world.

  • I’ve never had these kinds of scones, but being a lover of everything fried, I know they will be wonderful! And I must try some buttermilk syrup, I’ve been seeing it everywhere, and it sounds so good!

  • The first time I ordered “scones” after I moved to Utah, I was very surprised to be a plate of these. But let me tell you – I quickly became hooked. Thanks so much for sharing your mum’s recipe.

  • barb in Edmonton:

    This is a traditional dish that Mennonites make, only we call them roll kucken. In my family, they’re either served with watermelon on a hot summer day, or with rhubarb sauce. Hmmmm, fried bread… yum-mmmy.

    • Calli:

      Oh Barb, I need a recipe for rhubarb sauce. I LOVE rhubarb!

      • Kerri:

        Calli,

        My go to rhubarb sauce is my grandmother’s sauce and of course not written anywhere. Basically you cut your rhubarb into 1 inch pieces and place in a large pot with a small amount of water. You want enough water to help the rhubarb cook down much like you would when boiling apples for applesauce. Cook the rhubarb down until it is like applesauce and then add a small box of strawberry or raspberry jello and sugar to taste.

        But another easy one (that is written down!) calls for 4 cups of rhubarb cut into 1/2 inch pieces
        1/4 cup orange juice
        1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
        2/3 cup sugar

        Mix in microwaveable bowl and microwave on high for 9 minutes

        • Calli:

          Thank you so much Kerri! I can’t wait to try this next year when my rhubarb is ripe! I love your grandmother’s recipe. With the Jello, it reminds me of the type of recipes my husband’s grandmother always made.

  • Beth:

    I wonder how many cultures have fried bread? Yours definitely look like the beignet I ate while visiting new orleans. We at them with powdered sugar and cafe au lait at the Cafe Du Monde while listening to some great New Orleans music. Live. In the morning. Mmmmmm.
    Here’s the link: http://www.cafedumonde.com/beignet.html

    Here in Lancaster PA (aka Pennsylvania Dutch Country) we have a fried bread specialty that is very similar but called funnel cake. Take a pan of oil and swirl a batter through a funnel all around, flip once and eat golden brown with powdered sugar. They serve it at all the fairs. Makes me gain weight just thinking about it.

    I wonder what foods our children will grow up and remember us by?

  • These look wayyy better than regular dry scones! Thanks for sharing a regional favorite :)

  • I have not had scones like these in years!!! What memories you have triggered! Now I can’t wait to make them so my own kids get to try this little piece of heaven!

  • I’ve never in my life heard of Utah Scones. They remind me of a cross between a churro and a sopapilla, but no matter, I am intrigued and VERY glad you shared!

  • Patty Ozgul:

    Yep, These are my mom’s scones too and the rest of the world calls them Elephamt Ears! You are definately from Utah girl! I love you! I miss that world I grew up around!!!

  • Susana I.:

    They look great!
    Does anyone know if they can be freezed? Maybe before frying them I can freeze the ready, cut dough and use it later?
    Thanks!

  • Yes! I had fun reading all the reactions on this post!

  • Sara:

    I used to eat these kind of scones growing up in Boise! OMG sooo delicious! It’s not suprising you eat them in Utah too, since the cultures are so close in that area. But I never heard them called “Utah” or “Mormon” scones. I haven’t ever found them at restaurants since I moved away from Idaho. Imagine my surprise when I went off to college & my roommate brought me back a “scone” from the coffee shop — it was a big dry rock of a thing! UGH! I am so excited to have a recipe for these kind, the real scones! :P

  • Erin:

    Oh Calli this is hilarious – we also had these kind of scones growing up and I have a treasured recipe book that my mom typed up for me where this exact same recipe appears front and center. :] I seriously LOVE these scones, and love that my sons are beginning to love them too. They know it’s a special night if I say it’s scone night for dinner. And I don’t know what anyone is talking about – those crusty, flaky things are NOT scones! ;]

  • Thomas:

    I have been searching the net for DAYS, (literally), looking for this recipe. All I could find was what I would call cakes or biscuits! I finally tripped over this recipe on another site and when I saw the picture, I startled the whole house. I am living in the Philippines and the thing I miss most here is breakfast at Sill’s in Layton, Utah. If you know the place, you know why. Thanks MUCH!

  • these look absolutely irresistible !!

  • norniea:

    Thanks for the memories and this post! My Mom made bread 3-4 times a week for our very large family here in WA. and the best treat EVER was when she made these same Scones out of “left over” bread dough. Mom’s are the best! I have never tried making them, but I will now using Rhodes dough. Thanks again!

  • Kathy:

    Thanks So Much For Posting.. I’m Definately GOING to try these tomorrow. But can u use a beater instead of a mixer?

    • Calli:

      I haven’t tried, but our grandmothers used to make it by hand. If you can make roll or bread dough with your beater, then you can make scones. I suspect you would have to knead by hand.

  • Ashley:

    Looks like fry bread, but we eat ours plain with butter, or maybe topped with taco stuff1

  • Linda:

    I love these type of scones too! I grew up in ILlinois and we had these every Friday after seminary. We would put Choc. frosting on them too. I have also just taken canned biscuits, flattened and stretched them out some and fried them up. They taste good too! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  • Annie:

    I’ve made these for years,it’s the constant partner to my Montana Cowboy Stew. My whole family loves them, even today when my grown kids stop by, they first stand still and enjoy the aroma from the stew, and then they are looking for the scones. Scones and honey butter, yum! I’ve been asked by my sisters to “bring the scones,” when we have a brunch family get-together. Then I make a whole roaster full of them, in stead of just my platter. Trust me there is NEVER one left over.Montana Cowboy Stew and scones, are my kids, all (5) of theirs, favorite dinner. It is always one meal I make for my out of state kids, and the ones that live right down the road. Every mom loves to know she has a special meal that her kids love and ask for time and again. Well,…I guess I know what will be on the menu this week!

    • Now that I’ve got a taste for “Utah Scones,” you’ve got me curious about, and my mouth watering for, Montana Cowboy Stew! Will you share that, PLEASE? (And thank you—both!)

  • Tara:

    I grew up in the Washington DC area, and these are a family tradition. We call them Puffs though. And nowadays we cheat and use frozen bread dough (Rich’s usually). Also , we don’t roll and cut them. We tear off a chunk of dough and stretch it out with our hands and drop it in the oil.

  • Pam:

    made these Sat. for an extended family breakfast and they turned out perfect! Thank you so much for the oil temp. info as I think this is why I couldn’t get them to ever turn out the right way in the past.

    made the Kneaders syrup and a coconut syrup~ devine!

  • Janice:

    My husband’s mother is Portuguese. They make “flippers” and they are exactly like this. They eat them with syrup. It’s a huge family tradition!

  • Dana:

    these sound like the Airy Nothings my grandmother (a Roosevelt/Vernal Utah native) used to make when I was a child. Are they hollow once fried?

  • Okay so I made these tonight and they were SO GOOD! unfortunately we didn’t have any syrup in the house but honey butter or jam did the trick. its the first time i’ve ever fried anything but it certainly won’t be the last!
    thanks for sharing this!
    love,
    elisabeth

  • Christa:

    Yum! A family favorite here in N Idaho as well. Such a versatile little thing. We like them with butter, jam, or dipped in cinnamon sugar, or covered with powdered sugar. But they are also great smothered in chili and cheese. Out of state relatives ask me to make these when they are coming for a visit. Might have to make these for dinner tonight.

  • Joni:

    These are the best. I’ve been looking for a recipe like this for years. We grew up in Utah and I go back every year. There’s a certain restaurant in the small town where my mom lives that make these and this recipe tastes exactly like the restaurants. We call it fried bread out there. Since I’ve made them, my family has been asking for another batch every week. Thanks.

  • Bethany:

    My older sister and I used to make scones all the time.she passed away when i was nine. She made hers by scratch and for the life of me i couldnt remember how. This recipe hit the spot tho. i made it today and they taste just like the ones my sister and made years ago. thank you so so so much for posting this.
    lots of love and gratitude,
    bethany

  • Ang:

    these are so good, I called them scones my whole life..I am from Idaho too, it is such a fun day for my family when we make this and our topping is honey and butter, I went to a family reunion with some canadian family and they called it NAVAHO FRY BREAD and topped it with taco fixins…. I had never heard it called anything other than scones so I was very surprised when I saw what the rest of the world called Scones….I am sure my face was funny when they brought it out to me. Your pics are awesome and so easy to follow, great job

  • Maryia:

    Thank you so much for this site!!! I have been looking for a recipe for what I think of as scones. This is just what I have been looking for:)

  • Nicole:

    We always used Rhodes rolls growing up. Ever try freezing your dough? Usually there are only two of us for breakfast, so this makes quite a lot. Wanted to know your thoughts on saving leftovers. Freeze after fried or before you roll it out? Any ideas?

    • Calli:

      Hi Nicole, I don’t have a large freezer, so I don’t freeze much, but I would opt for freezing them separately on a cookie sheet, just after rolling out and cutting up the scones, but before raising and frying. Once they are frozen, they could go in a freezer bag together in the right amount for two servings. Just like Rhodes dough, I would give 5 to 6 hours of defrosting and raising time. If you give it a try, I’d love to hear the results. I’ve tried Rhodes too before and they are good in a pinch, but this recipe is lighter and less tough than scones made from Rhodes, and once you’ve tried the from scratch recipe, it’s hard to go back.

  • Carrie:

    Hi, reading your recipe history, I laughed out loud…….that’s my story too! My Mom always called them scones, and now I know the connection, my great grandparents were born in Utah and were Mormon, the recipe must have come with them to Alberta Canada, lol! Mynkids always have loved these…..as a matter of fact my 6 year old grandchild came home from school yesterday, and I had been making buns…..I fried a couple up, buttered them, and sprinkled them with icing sugar…..”oh, Mama” he said, “it tastes just like a doughnut”!
    Thanks so much for the history!

  • Ive never this type scones but cant wait till morning so i can make them for breakfast. Can you tell me if the bread flour can be replaced with all purpose? Because if not i will have to make an early run to the grocery store. Thanks for the recipe and the history. I enjoy food and enjoy learning the cultures and places they derived from.

    • Calli:

      I’ve made my scones with all-purpose flour when I was out and they turned out just fine. I would make it do ; ) with with what you have! Happy baking! Calli

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  • Linda:

    Hi, I found your site through Pinterest. We made these tonight and they were awesome. I used all-purpose flour but other than that followed the recipe exactly. Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  • Sarai:

    I lived in Helper, UT when I was in elementary and loved the scones at the restaurant there. I finally learned in my High School cooking class that those were not “real” scones :( I was bummed that we made the biscuit ones in the oven and not the yummy fried ones in that cooking class.

  • Kayla:

    I have never seen these “scones” outside of the small town in Utah that I am from. They were served at the “fancy” restaurant in town. I am excited to make these! It has been about 20 years since I had one.

  • diane:

    I was trying to remember how my G’ma made her scones for our family for years and years, she’s gone now. My wife just couldn’t understand why I was telling her I fried them, and she say’s “that’s not any kind of scones I have ever heard of!”
    So I began looking up scones receipts to add to what my G’ma had written about making her scone, and what I found was not what G’ma made and we ate. So I kept looking and found what was called Utah Scones or Mormon scones, and walla! I come from a long line of Mormons, G’ma included and of course it makes perfect sense, that they were Mormon scones!!! Too funny and glad I could figure out what they were. It’s a tradition in our home for the holidays to make scones with breakfast Christmas morning, and now G’ma and G’pa and Mom are gone it’s time for me to pick up the tradition and make these Mormon Scones!

  • Darci james:

    My mom used to make these all the time too, we call them doughboys!! I dream about them. It might be time to introduce my kids to them…

  • Debi:

    I am a Utah/Mormon girl and grew up with these scones all my life. The only difference was that my mom made them with whole wheat. She would just use her bread dough recipe and roll them and cut them like you do.
    When I lived in So. Utah, their was a booth at the city fair every year that made them into Navajo Tacos. I now live in Layton and understand the addiction of Sills delicious scones…always a treat! I have never got mine as big as theirs.
    I make these for my family now and so my kids will also grow up having “Utah Scones”.
    Thanks for a great recipe!
    Debi

    PS- one of the comments about ordering a scone at the fair, made me laugh because I had a similar experience–ordering (and expecting) one thing and getting another. But instead of a scone, I ordered a Churro (I was 15). Imagine my surprise when I got a flat bread filled with lamb meat and some weird Greek sauce. No wonder it was about $5….I ordered a gyro, not a churro. My family still teases me!

  • Aislinn:

    Down Texas way we call these sopapillas, and eat them slathered with butter and honey. mmmm so good.

  • Tamara:

    In New Zealand it’s called “Maori Fry Bread” :)

  • Peggy:

    Those are what my mom always made, only we always called them dough dodgers!!!

  • Jack:

    I grew up in Utah my mother made these. We called them Did Dodds delicious with cinnamon and sugar.

  • Laurie Resch:

    I am from Minnesota but lived in Utah when I was 18-19. I worked at a fast food restaraunt called “Yummies” in Sandy, Utah. They had the best scones. I had never heard of them until then.

    When I returned to Minnesota, nobody understood me when I explained scones. I am SO happy (30 years later) to have thought about googling “scones” and finding this recipe…..and the story that these are from Utah even makes me smile more.

    I will be making them tonite!!

  • loa337:

    Made these today with my teenage daughter. They were fabulous! The dough was easy to throw together in the Kitchenaid. We used a FryDaddy for frying and it was perfect. Add some homemade honey butter and they are the quintessential fried scone. Thank you for sharing!

  • Cassi:

    I made these tonight and they were SO tough. What did I do wrong?!?

    • Melissa:

      It sounds like one or two problems. 1. You may have added too much flour. 2. You may have kneaded the Doug too much. I used to make both mistakes, and would end up with very dense, tough dough.

      I never pay attention to the amount of flour a recipe calls for anymore. I just add as much flour as it takes to make a sticky mass, and then let it sit for ten minutes. Letting your dough rest for the ten minutes allows the gluten to form easier, and it is much easier to handle. After ten minutes, kneed the dough just until it is elastic like in its look and feel. Then let it raise until it doubles.

      When you are rolling dough, don’t add to much extra flour, just enough so that it won’t stick.

      Hope this helps!!

  • Jen E:

    Thanks for the recipe! We love Utah Scones at our house, but our favorite way to eat them is to cover them with chili, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, etc. and some sour cream. Anyone in the mood for a Navajo Taco?

  • Melissa:

    You know, these needant be as bad for you as they seem. Substitute sprouted whole grain flour for white, honey for sugar, and fry in coconut oil instead of veggi oil. Voila!! Healthy fats, and much more digestible grains. Made these tonight for Navajo tacos — very good dough!

    When using sprouted grain you may not need as much flour.

  • Jennie:

    Hi and thank you for the wonderful recipe! I grew up in Utah and my mom and grandmother always made scones…heavenly! I was also shocked to find out they are called Navajo fry bread or even referred to as “Elephant Ears” in other states. We live in WA state now and my 5 kids are always asking me to make scones for breakfast and this is the recipe I use when I don’t have buttermilk on hand (my grandmother’s recipe calls for that).
    I have a question about the butter- have you ever tried substituting margarine? Just curious if it would still work.

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  • MaryAnne:

    Isn’t English a wonderful language? I’ve finally disentangled some baking terms. What you call ‘biscuits’, we in Australia call ‘scones’. What we call ‘biscuits’, you call ‘cookies’. And there’s no way you can buy frozen scone/biscuit dough. Do you do a ‘Devonshire Tea’? That is, scones with strawberry jam and whipped cream. Decadent, but a huge treat. Many tea shops serve it for morning or afternoon tea. And the scone are straight out of the oven too.

    Having said all that, I’ll go back and try to sort out other terms, such as ‘churros’. I’m at the ‘Huh?’ stage with that one!

    • Rachael:

      Churros are very good and a staple at state fairs and carnivals. We don’t practice “tea time” unless its a tea party with a toddler :) American scones are delicious, especially when made from scratch. I make them every so often and my family loves it. Good luck with more of the terms, they can be tricky.

  • Luca:

    I addded 2 diced apples into the dough after it had risen along with a teaspon of cinamon and a tid bit of flour in order to compinsate for the extra moisture from the apples

  • I used to eat these when I went to East High School at the old man and the famished woman cafe. Yummy stuff. Thanks for this delicious recipe. I can’t wait to make them.

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