Cheesy, buttery, flaky, and festive, these savoury Buttermilk Manchego and Chive Scones will be perfect for your Christmas mornings or holiday dinners. This recipe also includes freezing instructions so you can make these beauties ahead of time.
The beautiful thing about sweet or savoury scones is that you can eat them morning, noon, and night and any time in between. Also nice that you can enjoy them aaalmost straight out of the oven, with little cooling off period required. I like to eat them with steam coming off when cut open because who can resist a flaky hot scone.
I love just about any scones combination I come across but these savoury Manchego and chive scones are hands down my absolute favourite. Impossibly tender, they are also just about the easiest I’ve ever slapped together with hardly any effort at all. They are as delicious served with eggs in the morning as they are alongside the many stews and soups these chilly nights are calling for.
Would this New Year’s Eve be permitting swanky soirées at home, I would make mini versions of these cheesy scones to serve as appetizers chased down by bubbly glasses of Champagne. Next year, my friends. Next Year. For now, I hope you add these to your holiday bake list for when you’re craving instant gratification. You’ll not be disappointed.
Ingredients For Buttermilk Manchego and Chive Scones
- Buttermilk. Commonly used in scones, buttermilk makes the crumb notoriously rich and tender and offers a mild tang. If you don’t have any buttermilk, an easy way to make a quick substitute is to add 1 Tbs. white vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup whole milk and let it stand for 10 minutes. Note, however, that this mixture will be a lot thinner and will slightly affect the outcome of the scones.
- Manchego cheese – Spain’s most beloved cheese, Manchego is made with 100% full-fat sheep’s milk. Saltier than cheddar cheese, but not as salty as pecorino, it is rich and flavourful and melts beautifully inside these scones. It grates up fluffier than other cheeses which keeps the scones light and airy. You can use any hard, strong cheese for these scones but I seem to always have a hunk of Manchego in my cheese drawer so this is what I use. This is a great article on Manchego cheese, if you’re interested.
- Chives – Here they lend a light, herbal freshness that is brilliant with the salty Manchego.
- Mustard powder – Optional, but helps bring out the flavour of the cheese.
- Baking powder – A good amount of baking powder is what will make these scones rise beautifully.
- Baking soda – Just a smidge is needed.
- Flour – I like to add whole wheat flour to any baked goods whenever I can. Here, I wasn’t thrilled with the result. Using exclusively all-purpose flour just makes a better cheese scones.
- Butter – I give myself permission to indulge over the holidays and you should too. Don’t try and skimp, this is what makes the crumb really soft and rich tasting.
- Water – Some buttermilk brands can be very thick. I find mixing a 1/4 cup of water with the buttermilk is needed both for a little more moisture and for airiness. If your buttermilk is very thin, use all buttermilk. Likewise, if you make your own buttermilk mixture using vinegar and milk, reduce the amount of water to 2 tablespoons.
- Kosher or sea salt – We use a full teaspoon for these savoury scones.
- Egg – An egg wash will give the scones a pretty, shiny top.
Tips To Make The Best Scones
No one wants doughy, hockey puck scones. These are far from that.
Here are my tips to make the best buttermilk Manchego and chive scones:
- Use Buttermilk. It really does make a flakier, more tender scones.
- Keep the butter well-chilled at all times. Cold butter will make these scones extra moist and tender. Once you incorporate the butter into the flour, it helps to place the bowl in the freezer for a few minutes.
- Grate the butter. I like using a box cutter to grate the butter. This makes it much easier to incorporate into the flour. However, the butter needs to be frozen, or nearly frozen. You may also want to return the grated butter to the freezer for a few minutes before adding to the butter.
- Use a digital scale. So helpful for weighing the flour. Without one, your dough might end up too heavy, or too wet.
- Don’t over-handle the dough. This will make the scones heavy.
- Don’t forget the egg wash. Before baking, brush with egg wash for a pretty bronze colour.
- Bake immediately. Chilling the scones for 30 minutes before baking, like many recipes call for, does help them keep their shape when baked. However, the scones will rise more if baked immediately as the baking powder will not have a chance to weaken.
- Finish with flaky salt. This is optional, but it really brings out the flavour in these savoury scones. I adore this one.
How to make Buttermilk Manchego and Chive Scones, Step-by-Step
- Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Grate the butter using the large holes of a box grater. I like to place the grated butter back in the freezer for a few minutes before I continue.
- Add the butter to the dry ingredients. Use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour until it resembles pea-sized lumps.
- Stir in the grated cheese and minced chives and toss to combine.
- Pour in the buttermilk and water and use a spatula or wooden spoon to mix just until combined.
- Tip out the mixture onto a work surface and knead it a few times times to bring it together. Pat the dough into a roughly 10×6-inch rectangle that is 1-inch high.
- Cut the dough into rounds using a 3″ cutter, use a sharp knife to cut into squares. Re-roll the scraps until all of the dough is portioned out. I get 12 scones plus maybe a tiny one. (At this point, you could freeze the triangles well-wrapped on their sheet for another day. Then bake them from frozen.)
- Place on a baking sheet and brush the tops with the egg and milk mixture. Grate the remaining cheese over the top and bake for about 12 minutes until golden.
- Allow to cool slightly and serve warm.
Scones are best eaten the same day they are baked. The good news is unbaked scones freeze beautifully and you can bake them directly from frozen. Make a few batches ahead of time so you have them ready to bake at any time throughout the holidays.
Once you place the cut out scones on a sheet pan, without applying the egg wash, transfer the whole tray to the freezer. Freeze until they are completely hard, then transfer the scones to a ziplock bag freezer bag or to an airtight container.
When you are ready to bake them, place the frozen scones on a sheet pan and brush with egg wash. Bake from frozen as per recipe, perhaps adding 1 minute to the cooking time, or until the scones are nice and golden.
Recipes To Enjoy With Savoury Scones
Buttermilk Manchego and Chive Scones
- 3 cups (384 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter, nearly frozen (or just very cold if not grating)
- 1 cup (4-5 ounces) finely grated Manchego cheese, divided (or any hard cheese)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
- 1 cup whole buttermilk plus an extra splash if needed (see notes to make your own buttermilk)
- 1/4 cup water (*see notes)
- 1 egg lightly beaten with a splash of milk
- Flaky sea salt, if you wish
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, mustard powder, and salt. Use a box grater to grate the butter using the largest holes. (Alternatively, you can cube very cold butter, instead of grating.)
- Add the grated, or cubed, butter to flour mixture, then use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour until it resembles the size of small peas.
- Add 3/4 cup of the cheese and chives to the flour mixture and toss to combine. Pour in the buttermilk and water and use a spatula or wooden spoon to mix just until combined. If the mixture seems dry, add a tablespoon more buttermilk (or slightly more as needed).
- Tip out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it a few times to bring it together. Don't overwork it - it's fine if it still looks scraggly.
- Pat the dough into roughly a 10x6-inch rectangle that is 1-inch high. Cut into rounds using a 3" cutter, or use a sharp knife to cut into squares. Re-roll the scraps until all of the dough is portioned, you should have 12 scones plus maybe a tiny one. (At this point, if making ahead, you could freeze the scones - see notes for instructuons.)
- Place on prepared baking sheet and brush the tops with the beaten egg and milk mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese and a sprinkle of flaky salt, if desired. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown and well risen. Allow to cool slightly and serve warm.
- Scones are best the day they are baked, but I quite enjoy them the next day, gently reheated in the oven. See notes below for making ahead.