How to Make: Queen Elizabeth II’s Drop Scones

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Welcome to Tenacious Genealogy! This post is a bit late for Foodie Friday, but seeing as today is Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding and lots of people are fangirling over it, I figured a drop scone recipe from the Queen herself would be a fun ‘historical recipe’ to try.

I saw this recipe on The National Archives’ Facebook page yesterday and thought ‘that looks easy enough to do!‘ Which it was. I made a few changes and experimented with how to cook the drop scones, but overall it was a fun recipe to try and play around with.

The history of this recipe (and how it ended up in the National Archives) is pretty cool too. Apparently, at some point, Queen Elizabeth II promised Dwight D. Eisenhower her recipe for drop scones (which I’m sure originated well before her). So in 1960, she sent a handwritten note and a typed copy of the recipe to him. I’ve linked to a picture of the recipe from the National Archives’ collection down below, so you can check it out.

Queen Elizabeth II’s Drop Scones

Cookbook: Typed note from Queen Elizabeth II to Dwight D. Eisenhower

Author: Queen Elizabeth II

Published: 1960

Original Recipe:

4 teacups flour
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 teacups milk
2 whole eggs
2 teaspoons bi-carbonate soda
3 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons melted butter

Beat eggs, sugar and about half the milk together, add flour, and mix well together adding remainder of milk as required, also bi-carbonate and cream of tartar, fold in the melted butter.

Enough for 16 people

My translation of the recipe:

3 cups flour (sifted)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
2 whole eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 tablespoons melted butter

  1. Beat eggs, sugar and milk together.
  2. Add flour and mix well.
  3. Add baking soda and baking powder and continue to mix.
  4. Fold in the melted butter.
  5. If cooking on the stove, turn it to medium heat and grease skillet. Use an eating spoon to measure out the scones and cook them as you would pancakes.
  6. If baking them in the oven, heat the oven to 350° F. Spoon the dough onto a silicone mat and put in the oven at 300° F for 20 minutes.

Royal Scones for a Royal Wedding

So I ended tweaking a couple things because of the ingredients I had. Basically, I didn’t have enough cream of tartar, so I used baking powder at a ratio of 1 teaspoon baking powder for every 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. The measurements can be found here. You’ll find different ratios on different websites, but this is the one that I used. Because 2 tablespoons of baking powder equal 1.5 teaspoons of baking soda, I also added a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to keep the ratio balanced.

I also decided to play with cooking methods because… as you can tell – there are no real cooking/baking instructions. Some people cook scones like pancakes, so I did that with half of the batter and baked the other half in the oven. In the end, both make a good tasting end product, so I’ve described both options.


Ingredients are pretty simple – flour, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar (or baking powder), milk, eggs, and butter.

The original recipe calls for splitting the milk in half, but I just dumped it in with the eggs and sugar.

I let it mix in my KitchenAid until everything was well combined. Then I added the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. I let that all mix together and lastly, folded in the melted butter.

Drop Scone dough


Something I found interesting while making this recipe is that the dough had a consistency somewhere between pancake batter and actual dough. It stuck together quite nicely, but when I was scooping it out with a spoon, it was sometimes hard to portion out.

Stovetop Cooked Drop Scones

Because the original recipe didn’t mention whether to cook on the stove like pancakes or in the oven (and I had seen it done both ways), I figured I’d experiment.

First, I tried cooking the scones on the stove like pancakes. The first thing I noticed, was that when the scones were ready to flip, they didn’t ‘bubble’ like pancakes. So I had to watch them more carefully than I usually do pancakes. This led to some slightly burnt scones like you see above. Thankfully, it didn’t seem to affect the taste or texture that much.

I also noticed that the scones made on the stove rose more than the ones made in the oven, so the end result was more like a thick pancake.

Oven Baked Drop Scones

Curious to see how the scones would do in the oven, I plopped a dozen on a silicone mat and popped them in. After putting the timer on for 20 minutes, I realized the oven was only at 300° F (crap!) and figured I’d see what happened.

Not too shabby for 20 minutes, eh? As it was, the oven scones seemed to cook more uniformly and 20 minutes seemed just fine as the temperature rose from 300°F to 350°F. They were perfectly cooked when I pulled them out, although not as fluffy as the stovetop scones. They still tasted delicious when I put strawberry jam on them and even plain, they weren’t as dry as I had originally worried.

Either way, this was a fun (and quick) recipe to make. I enjoyed eating them this more with strawberry jam and whipped cream as I watched the Royal Wedding on Facebook. I would definitely make this recipe again and maybe incorporate more of the history of it with my kids or whoever I was making these with.

Questions? Comments?

Questions or comments about this recipe? Have pictures from when you’ve made it? Have other recipes I should try? Let me know down in the comments. And if you like what you’ve been seeing here on Tenacious Genealogy – please subscribe to our email list. Not only will you stay up to date with the latest blog posts, but you’ll also get access to freebies such as ’10 Tips for Starting Your Genealogy’ and other fun ‘subscriber only’ items!


2 thoughts on “How to Make: Queen Elizabeth II’s Drop Scones

  1. Susan Brunner says:

    Can’t seem to find the link to the national archives collection picture of recipe. Thanks for this, my Mom was a British war bride so anything British gets my attention and I love Queen Elizabeth as did Mom.

    • Laura Nelson says:

      The link is in the underlined section next to ‘Cookbook’ up at the top. I double-checked the link and as of this morning, it was working. I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe. It was a fun one to make and eat.

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