How to Eat a Scone Properly

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Is there a proper way to eat a scone at afternoon tea? Why yes, yes there is. Get etiquette rules and tips, including step-by-step instructions on how to eat a scone, the correct way.

Tea and scones photo

Want to save this?
Enter your email and get it sent straight to your inbox. Plus, get recipes & tips from me every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Like anything with afternoon tea, there are certain rules to follow to eating a scone correctly. I’ll give you the scone etiquette run-down.

What is a Scone?

A scone is a small flour-based shortcake-like baked good. They’re usually plain, crumbly, dense, and lightly sweetened.

The traditional English scones for with afternoon tea are round, not triangular, and they’re served with jam and clotted cream.

How to Pronounce Scone

Is scone pronounced scon, rhyming with gone or is it scone, rhyming with own?

It seems like both are used depending on where you’re from. In the US, we usually say scone, rhyming with own.

Jam or Cream First?

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). I like cream first, then jam.

RELATED: What is Afternoon Tea? (All Your Afternoon Tea Questions, Answered)

Scones photo

How to Eat Scones

1. Scoop out clotted cream and jams onto your plate, enough for one scone.

If you’re at an afternoon or a cream tea service, on the table should be little serving containers filled with clotted cream, preserves/jams and lemon curd.

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.

RELATED: Afternoon Tea 101: Course Order

How to eat scones photo

You’ve now got your jam and clotted cream on your plate. Time to eat the scone.

2. Break apart a small bite-sized portion of scone with your hands or if using a knife, cut the scone horizontally.

The best method is to break apart the scone into bite-sized pieces using your hands.

I like to break it in half vertically then break that into half so you’re eating a quarter of the scone at a time.

What are scones photo

3. Use a knife to slather on cream and jam onto the broken-off piece of scone.

Don’t pre-break the scones but take off pieces as you go and spread the jam and cream on each piece.

The bite-sized piece of scone should be eaten in 1-2 bites.

Tips on How to Eat a Scone Properly

  • A HUGE no-no is making a scone sandwich by putting the two halves together with the cream and jam in the middle. Don’t do it! 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.
  • Scones are best when they’re served warm. Reheat them in your oven.
  • At an afternoon tea, the scone course is the second course, after the tea sandwiches and before the sweets.
  • Traditional scones at afternoon teas are the round, not triangular.

The Latest

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Thanks for the just in time education. I’m considering a scone and tea spot. This shall be printed and laid on the tables.

  2. Jam or cream first is entirely up to your preference. Don’t listen to the mental Cornish or Devonians. I always suggest thinking of it this way. If you like more jam than cream then put the cream on first. If you like more cream than Jam then put the Jam on first. If you like equal amounts then emigrate to the west country, eat pasties and start arguing with the locals.