I know that scones are often seen as an unhealthy snack, but many English recipes don't actually include that much sugar and English scones contain much less sugar than American scones (why do Americans put sugar in everything?), so it got me wondering whether English scones were classed as savoury or sweet. They are often seen as sweet, but don't usually taste as sweet and are usually served with clotted cream and jam to make them sweeter.

Are plain English scones savoury, or are they sweet due to their sugar content?

  • 1
    I have never in my life had scones that are sweet by themselves. I've never been to the US though. All the scones I had in the UK and in Asia were non-sweet. (By non-sweet I mean Japanese milk white bread or Indian roti type of non-sweetness which is obviously a little bit sweet)
    – slebetman
    Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 8:55
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    Neither, as shown by the existence of both cheese scones (savoury) and ones with dried fruit (sweet).
    – rlms
    Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 13:05
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    biscuits, the US equivalent of scones, generally have no sugar in them. If you're finding US recipes with sugar that's more about different meanings of the word scones than anything else Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 14:37
  • Biscuits (US) aren’t very like scones (UK or US). That’s a hill I will die on.
    – Preston
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 15:56

2 Answers 2


They are both sweet and savoury.

You can use the same recipe & put clotted cream & jam on them, or butter [salted, of course], or slices of cheese, ham, anything you like… even Marmite.

This is what you get searching the BBC [good old Auntie Beeb, can't get more stiff-upper-lip British ;) - BBC Good Food - Savoury scone recipes Because I specifically searched 'savoury' these tend to not include sugar - but there's no reason at all that they can't.

There's a particular tang to those foods which fall perfectly between the two stools… pancakes & crêpes are the obvious ones. There are British biscuits [cookies] that embody this sweet/salt dichotomy, even though they are in themselves considered 'sweet'. I'm thinking of the traditional Scottish shortbread & the modern pretender, the Hob Nob. Heck, over here we even put cheese on xmas cake ;)
This sweet/salt is not the same as sweet & sour, but a similar effect, I guess.

  • 2
    Plus it's popular to add things to the scones, either cheese or dried fruit, the former obviously being a savory and the latter being sweet (although I do know people who add Lancashire crumbly cheese to things like scones and fruit cake so - who knows)
    – Gamora
    Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 13:21
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    FWIW the question is a bit like "is bread sweet or savoury"
    – abligh
    Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 13:31

Plain english scones are generally not sweet-tasting, though you'll sometimes find them baked with sugar sprinkled on top, or with fruit like raisins or raspberries mixed in. Scones, particularly plain ones, are generally served with jam. So if you insist on classifying foods as either "savory" or "sweet", I suppose you'd have to put scones in the "sweet" category.

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