Easy Ham and Cheese Scones Recipe

The best way to use up leftover ham, and a welcome addition to any brunch.

Close up view of a cross section of a ham and cheese scone.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

In This Recipe

Why It Works

  • Using more cream than butter gives these scones more lactose, helping them brown and crisp along the bottom.
  • Milk cuts the richness of cream, keeping the scones light in both taste and texture.
  • A pinch of sugar in the dough complements the savory chunks of ham.

When I was growing up down south, Easter supper wasn't Easter supper without a honey-baked ham on the table. Oh, sure, we had lamb as well, but by my father's reckoning, the meal was simply incomplete without ham—mostly because that man sure does love a ham sandwich. But, to be honest, a family can only eat so many sandwiches.

If that sounds familiar, just follow my lead: Dice up your leftover ham, grab a handful of scallions, and coarsely shred some cheese. That's all it takes to put a savory twist on a batch of plain and simple scones. For this batch, I happened to use some shredded Gruyère, but just about any shreddable cheese will do, whether that's sharp cheddar or Drunken Goat.

The ingredients that will make this scone special: diced ham, shredded cheese, and scallions.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

The Basic Scone Mix

The basic mix starts out exactly the same as my bakery-style chocolate cream scones, with cold butter rubbed into a mix of flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.

Just as a pinch of salt can go a long way to round out the flavor of a dessert, a bit of sugar stays in the mix here to offset the savory richness of ham and cheese, while softening the sharpness of green onion. Plus, anyone who's ever had a honey- or maple-glazed ham knows how amazing that subtle edge of sweetness can be.

Once the butter has all but disappeared into the floury mix, you can actually pause the recipe and refrigerate everything in an airtight container up until the date stamped on your package of butter. When you're ready to bake the scones, just dump the mix into a bowl, then add a heaping cup of diced ham, a quarter cup of chopped scallions, and a handful of coarsely shredded cheese. (When you're measuring mix-ins, volume can often be more important than weight, since it's the only measurement that can give you an idea of how much space these ingredients will occupy in the scone.)

Making the Scones

Toss the fresh and dry ingredients together until they're evenly distributed, stir in a mix of milk and cream to form a stiff dough, and pat it all out into a wheel no less than one inch thick. Cut into wedges with a chef's knife, and generously cover with shredded cheese; again, the specific amount is less important than physical coverage, but if that's giving you any anxiety, aim for about three ounces.

Bake until the scones are puffed and the cheese is melted and golden, about 25 minutes in a 400°F (200°C) oven. Do give the scones a few minutes to cool before digging in. The steam pictured a couple of photos down is the real deal—those pockets of ham and cheese are screaming-hot.

A golden-brown savory scone.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

While my version keeps the flavors simple, with ham, cheese, and a hint of onion from the scallions, feel free to customize the recipe with your favorite herbs and spices. Try a bit of fresh rosemary or smoky paprika; the scone mix is a blank canvas for your cravings.

A just baked ham and cheese scone, sliced open to show the steam escaping.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Whether served up for brunch with fluffy scrambled eggs, or at the dinner table alongside a hearty bowl of broccoli cheese soup, these fast and simple scones will make short work of whatever leftover ham you find in your fridge after the holidays.

April 2017

Recipe Facts

Active: 10 mins
Total: 40 mins
Serves: 6 scones

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Ingredients

  • 9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups, spooned; 255g), plus more for dusting

  • 1 tablespoon (12gbaking powder

  • 2 teaspoons (8g) sugar

  • 1 teaspoon (4g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much by volume or use the same weight

  • 2 ounces cold unsalted butter (4 tablespoons; 55g), cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • 7 ounces diced, fully cooked ham (about 1 heaping cup; 200g)

  • 1 ounce chopped scallion (shy 1/4 cup; 30g)

  • 4 ounces coarsely shredded cheese, such as cheddar or Gruyère (about 2/3 cup; 115g), divided (see notes)

  • 2 ounces milk (1/4 cup; 55g), any percentage will do

  • 6 ounces heavy cream (3/4 cup; 170g)

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Sift flour into a medium bowl, then whisk in baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add butter and toss to break up the pieces, then smash each one flat between your fingertips. Continue smashing and rubbing until butter disappears into a coarse meal.

    A collage of adding butter to flour, then cutting it in until only small lumps remain.

    Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

  2. Add diced ham, scallion, and only 1 ounce cheese (shy 1/4 cup; 30g); the rest will be used to top the scones. Toss until well combined, then stir in milk and cream to form a stiff dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7-inch round, no less than 1 inch thick.

    A four photo collage showing: adding cheese, scallions, and ham to flour, adding cream, stirring, and patting into an inch-thick circle.

    Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

  3. Cut into 6 wedges with a chef’s knife, cover with remaining cheese, and arrange on a parchment-lined half sheet pan.

    Cutting scone dough into wedges and sprinkling with cheese.

    Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

  4. Bake until puffed and golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool at least 5 minutes. Serve as a snack, with eggy brunch dishes, or alongside hearty soups and stews. Leftovers can be stored up to 24 hours in an airtight container, then briefly warmed in a 350°F (180°C) oven to serve.

Special Equipment

Half sheet pan

Notes

This recipe works well with almost any sort of firm, shreddable cheese, so feel free to use whatever you have on hand, from Swiss to parm.

Make Ahead and Storage

After cutting the butter into the flour, you can actually pause the recipe and refrigerate everything in an airtight container up until the date stamped on your package of butter. When you're ready to bake the scones, just dump the mix into a bowl, add the remaining ingredients and continue with the recipe.

Baked scones can be stored up to 24 hours in an airtight container, then briefly warmed in a 350°F (180°C) oven to serve.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
453 Calories
26g Fat
37g Carbs
17g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 453
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 26g 34%
Saturated Fat 15g 76%
Cholesterol 93mg 31%
Sodium 936mg 41%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 13%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 17g
Vitamin C 1mg 6%
Calcium 297mg 23%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 231mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)