Drop Scones (Scotch Pancakes)

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Traditional Scotch pancakes, also known as Drop Scones, are tender, fluffy, sturdy, sweet, and easy to make! Drizzled with syrup or topped with butter and jam, they’re a breakfast literally fit for a queen! 

Close-up shot of a stack of drop scones with a pat of butter on top, drizzling pancake syrup on the sides, and blueberries and raspberries arranged around the scones.


Nothing says comfort like a stack of pancakes. But, sometimes, instead of making regular pancakes, I like to make this classic drop scone recipe, passed down to the world by Queen Elizabeth herself! That’s right, this classic recipe was literally given by the Queen of England to President Eisenhower during a visit between the two parties, and now it’s been handed down to the rest of us. Thanks, Internet! 

Drop Scones vs Pancakes

The difference between drop scones and regular American pancakes depends on who you ask! But in general, drop scones are sturdier than pancakes, firm enough to butter like an English muffin. They are also a bit smaller than a typical pancake – somewhere between a usual-sized pancake and silver dollar pancake. Also, drop scones will include some sugar, while pancake recipes often skip that.

A stack of four drop scones set on a plate and topped with whipped cream, blueberries, raspberries, and a drizzle of pancake syrup.

Ingredients For Drop Scones

  • Flour: All-purpose flour is fine in this recipe. Don’t use self-rising flour, which will over-leaven the batter.
  • Cream of Tartar: Cream of tartar will react with the baking soda to make the drop scones light.
  • Baking Soda: Make sure to use baking soda, not baking powder.
  • Salt: Just a pinch.
  • Eggs: Two large, whole eggs bind the batter together.
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar is fine. It is said that Queen Elizabeth recommended substituting treacle (a thick, sticky syrup) in place of the sugar, though, so you could definitely try that! I also make these with this sugar substitute and they work out perfectly.
  • Milk: Whole milk is recommended for this recipe.
  • Butter: A little bit of melted unsalted butter helps keep the drop scones moist. You will also need a bit of butter (or oil) for cooking the drop scones.

How To Make Drop Scones

  1. Whisk the Dry Ingredients Together. In a big mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, the cream of tartar, the baking soda, and the salt. 
  2. Combine the Wet Ingredients. In a second mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and the sugar, along with a cup of milk. 
  3. Mix Together the Wet and Dry Ingredients. Now, slowly pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients, whisking them together until the batter is thick and smooth. (If the batter seems too dry, you can add more milk.) Finally, fold in the butter. The batter should be thick, smooth, and without lumps.
  4. Cook the Drop Scones. Heat a small amount of butter (or oil) in a nonstick pan set over medium heat. I use my favorite ? griddle pan ? Once the pan is hot, drop the batter by the spoonfuls onto it. Cook them for 2 to 3 minutes, or until bubbles begin to appear on the surface of the cakes. Flip the drop scones and cook for 1 more minute, or until they are browned and done. 
  5. Keep the Drop Scones Warm. As you finish cooking each batch, place them on a plate and keep them covered with a clean tea towel while you cook the rest of the scones.

Recipe Tips For Success

  • Butter and Oil: Use a little of both, at the same time, for cooking. The butter adds flavor to the drop scones as they cook, while the oil allows the butter to cook at a high temperature without scorching.
  • Resting the Batter: If you have the time, let the batter rest for about 20-30 minutes before cooking. This will result in tender pancakes.
  • Medium Heat: Don’t have the heat too high. A medium heat allows pancakes or scones to cook through without burning the outside.
  • Non-stick or Lightly Greased: Use a non-stick pan or lightly grease your pan to prevent sticking.
  • Optional Mix-Ins: Mini chocolate chips, blueberries, chopped nuts, and other favorite mix-ins go perfectly in these drop scones, just like in regular pancakes!
pouring pancake syrup over a stack of drop scones topped with a pat of butter.

Serving Suggestions

To serve, just add your favorite toppings! Butter is a favorite, and these little pancakes are delicious with nothing more than a bit of maple syrup. You can also add Homemade Strawberry Jam or this decadent Chocolate Peanut Butter Hot Fudge Sauce. Any kind of chopped nuts would be lovely sprinkled over drop scones with syrup, but especially these easy Vanilla Spiced Nuts.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

  • Drop scones should be stored in an airtight container and kept in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. Reheat in the oven at 350˚F for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • To freeze the pancakes, just stack them in an airtight container with wax paper or parchment in between the layers to prevent sticking. Freeze for 2 to 3 months and reheat from frozen.

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4.75 from 8 votes

Drop Scones

Traditional Scotch pancakes, also known as Drop Scones, are tender and fluffy, sturdy and sweet, and so easy to make!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 18 drop scones


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk, divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter,, melted, plus more for cooking
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil,, for cooking
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  • In a large mixing bowl combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt; whisk until incorporated.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs and sugar; add in 1 cup milk and whisk to combine.
  • Slowly pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and whisk until combined and smooth.
  • The consistency of the batter should be thick and smooth; if it’s too dry add more milk.
  • Fold in the butter. Batter should be thick, but smooth.
  • Add butter or oil to a nonstick pan and set over medium heat.
  • Drop spoonfuls of the batter onto the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until bubbles begin to appear on the surface.
  • Flip, press them down lightly, and continue to cook for 1 more minute, or until browned.
  • Transfer to a plate and keep covered while cooking the rest of the scones.
  • Serve with jam, butter, berries, and/or syrup.


  • Butter and Oil: Combine both for cooking. Butter enriches flavor, and oil prevents burning the pancakes.
  • Batter Rest: If you have the time, let the batter rest for at least 20 minutes before cooking. This allows the flour to fully hydrate and can make for a slightly more tender drop scone. This rule also applies to crepes.
  • Heat: Cook them at medium heat to thoroughly cook without burning.
  • Testing for Doneness: If unsure whether they’re done, insert a toothpick into the middle. If it comes out clean, they’re ready.
  • Pan: Use a non-stick pan or a griddle pan.
  • Mix-Ins: Add mini chocolate chips, blueberries, nuts, or other favorites, just like traditional pancakes!


Serving: 1drop scone | Calories: 129kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 137mg | Potassium: 142mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 98IU | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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  1. T F says:

    These are called Scottish Pancakes, not Scotch (that is alcohol). I have been eating and making them my whole life – in Scotland, Canada, & now the US. Using self-raising flour is how they’re made in Scotland. The SF flour in the US is different, but it works fine. You don’t need cream of tartar or any other leavening when you use SF flour.

  2. Amanda says:

    I’ve never had drop scones before these! They were so fluffy and delicious.

  3. Catalina says:

    I make pancakes every Sunday morning. It’s the best way to welcome a family day! I will make these next time!

  4. Krystle says:

    So tasty! We love them for weekend breakfasts with plenty of strawberry jam.

  5. Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert says:

    What a great way to start the day!

  6. Jennifer says:

    I LOVE these pancakes so much! SO tasty!

  7. Amanda says:

    These look awesome! I will be trying them out this Saturday morning!

  8. Beth says:

    Those look so light and fluffy. I can’t wait to make them. i’ve never heard of these before.

  9. Agnes says:

    Woah, haven’t heard of drop scones before, love the history of them! They look so tasty!