How to Eat a Scone Properly

How to Eat a Scone Properly

Note: This post was originally published in July 2012 and has been updated with new content and photos.

Is there a proper way to eat a scone? Why yes, yes there is.

How to Eat a Scone Properly

If you’re at an afternoon or a cream tea service, on the table should be little serving containers filled with clotted cream and preserves. These little pots are for the table, so no dipping your own knife into them, or even worse, dipping your scone directly into the container. Instead, use the spoons provided (usually sitting right next to the little bowls) to scoop out small portions onto your plate. Place the spoons back as they don’t belong on your plate. Try not to cross-contaminate and use a different spoon for each condiment.

Feel free to go in for a second serving of jam and cream if you’ve finished what’s on your plate.

How to Eat a Scone Properly

How to Eat a Scone Properly


If you’re getting ready to grab a knife to cut the scone — STOP! Never, ever cut a scone with a knife. You can either break it apart horizontally first (left), or break off small bite sized pieces (right) with your hands. It mostly depends on how big the scone is — if it’s fairly big, break it off horizontally first before break it apart again to make it bite-sized.

How to Eat a Scone Properly

Now, you can use your knife to slather on the jam and cream to your small bite-sized pieces of scone. (Don’t pre-break the scones but take off pieces as you go and spread the jam and cream on each piece.)

Here is where the controversy comes in. Some people swear by jam first, then topped with cream (Cornish-style) and others, cream and then jam (Devon-style). Me? I like cream first, then jam.

Another no-no is making a scone sandwich by putting the two halves together with the cream and jam in the middle. Shudder.

Scones are meant to be eaten with your fingers, not a fork. Actually, there really isn’t a use for a fork during the entire afternoon tea service. It’s strictly a knife and spoon affair.

The Basics of Eating a Scone Properly

[1] Scoop out clotted cream and jams onto your plate. Enough for one scone.
[2] Break apart a small bite-sized portion of scone with your hands — NEVER with a knife.
[3] Use a knife to slather on cream and jam onto the piece of scone.
[4] The bite-sized piece of scone should be eaten in 1-2 bites.

9 Comments

  • Ling
    5 years ago

    Funny that you should post this a few days after I read the difference between Devon and Cornish clotted cream. After reading this:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/poll/2010/may/20/cream-tea-scone-clotted-cream
    I got to looking up the differences between the two and realized that this is a hotly debated age old issue. So much in fact that the BBC decided to get in on it also
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/cornwall/hi/people_and_places/newsid_8694000/8694384.stm

    Personally, I like cream then jam. Not only is it easier to spread on, it's aesthetically more appealing to me at least. Which makes sense since I never had Cornwall clotted cream as far as I know. During tea with British friends over the years I have noticed they prefer the Cornwall cream on top method.

  • Karen
    5 years ago

    There's no official guidance on which goes on first, the cream or the jam. Rather, it's a very controversial topic depending on if you're speaking to someone from Devon or Cornwall.

    Having tried both methods of applying cream and jam to a scone, I'm more partial to the Devonshire method (cream, then jam) since it seems to be the more practical way for both cream and jam to stay on. If the jam goes on first, my cream usually ends up sliding off the jam and scone.

  • 5 years ago

    Ling & Karen, thanks for the comments on this hot button topic! Who knew it was this controversial?

    Ling, thanks for the links, off to check them out!

  • snowmoonelk
    3 years ago

    Never, ever cut a scone! It ruins the texture.

    Pull scone apart, spread each half with jam and top with cream. Eat open-faced. It is not a roll, do not break bits off.

  • GetBaked420
    1 year ago

    Yeah mate totally on this ting.
    Just then I was proper high and looking for some late night munch yeh. I look in the cupboard and boom, three of the four pack of scones I bought from the reduced section of sainsbobs yesterday (60p, bargain and a half). I had no idea whether these little things were toasted or not so I did a Google and got to here. The order of jam and clotted cream wasn’t a concern until I read this page. Unfortunately I don’t have any jam or clotted cream (and neither do my flatmates, I’ve already looked through their cupboards). Thankfully I had the trusty I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter (or should I say I Can’t Believe It’s Not Clotted Cream And Jam) stepping up for the job like a hero. I wasn’t convinced by the ripping chunks off school of thought, it sounded a bit savage to me, so I cut it in half, spread the little devil with my low-fat marge and devoured my long anticipated take on eating a scone properly.

  • Julia
    9 months ago

    I also prefer cream them jam 🙂

    • Jee
      8 months ago

      Hi Julia, good answer! haha

  • Nicolette
    2 months ago

    Since learning about this – I eat one half with the cream & jam and the other half with the jam and cream. I still cannot work out which way tastes better. After all isn’t it the taste that matters??

    • Jee
      1 month ago

      Hi Nicolette, I think it’s all a matter of preference rather than taste since it should taste the same either way. I just prefer the cream first, then jam.

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