Chai Scones with Brown Sugar Butter

These buttermilk Chai Scones are given a spicy spin with a chai-spiced streusel swirl. Serve with some brown sugar butter, and jam if you dare, for an out-of-this-world brunch treat.

How to Make Scones

Scones are great morning breakfast pastries to make. They don’t require any rising time like cinnamon rolls, and don’t need to be babysat on the griddle like pancakes. The dough comes together in minutes, and can be made in advance, frozen and baked whenever you like!

Here’s what you need to make these chai scones:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking Powder. This gives these scones that distinctive *pop* of height in the oven.
  • Spices. Cinnamon, cardamom, and salt for the dough.
  • Homemade Chai Spice Blend. Used in the filling.
  • Brown Sugar.
  • Butter. Use very cold butter. Similar to a pie dough, the cold butter helps to give the scones a flaky texture. When the cold butter hits the hot oven, it creates steam, and that makes little air pockets – or flakes.
  • Buttermilk. There’s a lot of debate if scones should be made with milk, cream or buttermilk. For my money, buttermilk is the way to go for the best texture and flavor.
  • Egg. If you’re thinking these sound a lot like a biscuit, this is where that ends. Scones include eggs for a more cake-like texture.
  • Vanilla extract

To make the scones, whisk together all the dry ingredients. Rub in cubes of cold butter until you have a sandy texture, but leave a few larger pea- and grape-sized chunks remaining.

Next, we will add our wet ingredients. In this recipe, you will notice that I separate out the amount of buttermilk. That is because you may not need all of it to bring together the dough. Only add enough to create a “shaggy” dough, which means a slightly sticky dough.

Close up scone on side on marble board.

How to Make the Chai Swirl

Now comes the showstopper part – the chai swirl. This is similar to a streusel. Flour, sugar, and chai spices get mixed together with cold butter. Our chai mixture includes lots of deep and flavorful spices, including:

  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Ginger
  • Allspice
  • Cloves
  • Black pepper

Next, roll out the scone dough on to a floured surface and sprinkle the streusel over the top. Fold the dough over itself like a tri-fold letter and continue to tuck the edges in until all the streusel is sealed in.

This doesn’t need to be perfect, the more messy and random the swirls are the better! Cut the dough into two and form two flat discs about 1″ thick. Transfer to a baking sheets with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Slice each disc into 6 wedges and pull apart slightly.

I like to freeze the scones for about 20 minutes before baking if possible. It helps the butter rechill and encourages the dough to rise instead of spread. You can also freeze the scones on the tray and transfer to a freezer-bag to have at the ready.

When you are ready to bake, give the top of the scones an egg wash and sprinkle the top with a spiced sugar mixture.

5 scones on marble board with one sliced in half being buttered with knife.

Brown Sugar Butter

Flavored butters are so, so easy, but so, so impressive for brunch events. Softened butter is whipped with brown sugar and cinnamon. That is it. But now you can serve your chai scones with brown sugar butter instead of regular old butter and make things so much fancier.

Serving Scones

Scones are best served the day they are baked. They are great on their own, with the brown sugar butter, and/or with jam. I love the combination of blackberries with chai spices.

Leftover scones can be placed in an air-tight container and refreshed in the oven. Heat for 5 minutes in a 350° oven for best day-two eats.

3 scones sliced with jam and butter with knife and whole scones on side.
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Chai Scones with Brown Sugar Butter

  • Author: Theresa | Quiet Baking Day
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Chilling Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 12 scones
  • Category: Pastries
  • Method: Easy
  • Cuisine: American


Swirls of spiced streusel make these chai scones irresistible fresh out of the oven with a pat of brown sugar butter.



Chai Streusel Swirl

  • 15g all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons homemade chai spice blend
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 25g light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

Chai Scones

  • 375g all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 50g light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 150g unsalted butter, cold, cubed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk, divided
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Egg wash (1 egg + 1 tablespoon water)

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

  • 2tablespoons course sugar, like turbinado
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom

Brown Sugar Butter

  • 113g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Chai Streusel Swirl: Whisk together flour, chai spices, salt and brown sugar.
  2. Using your fingers, rub in the cold butter until the mixture resembles a sandy texture. Place in the fridge until ready to use.
  3. Scones: Whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Using a pastry blender or fingers, rub in cubes of cold butter into flour until a sandy texture forms with clumps of butter the size of peas.
  5. In liquid measuring cup, mix together 1 egg, 3/4c. buttermilk and vanilla extract.
  6. Pour wet mixture into flour, mix using wooden spoon or dough whisk. Add remaining buttermilk as needed to just moisten flour to form a shaggy dough. A shaggy dough should be thick and slightly sticky, but not wet and soggy.
  7. Tip dough onto heavily floured surface. Pat or roll out into a rectangle roughly 10″ x 8″. Sprinkle top of the dough with the chai streusel mixture. Fold the dough like a tri-fold letter. Tuck in edges to enclose streusel completely.
  8. Divide into 2- 1″ tall disks and slice into 6 wedges each.
  9. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and allow to chill in freezer for 20 minutes.
  10. While dough chills, preheat oven to 425°F.
  11. Once dough is chilled, brush the top with egg wash. Make sugar topping by combining course sugar, cinnamon and cardamom and sprinkle over the top of each wedge.
  12. Bake 18-20 minutes, turning pan halfway through.
  13. Brown Sugar Butter: Whisk softened butter with brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.


  • Scones can be made ahead of time. Unbaked dough in Step 9 can be frozen completely. Transfer to a freezer bag. Bake directly from frozen adding 3-4 minutes to the bake time.
  • Scones are best served the same day. Store leftover scones in an airtight container and refresh in a 350°F oven.

Keywords: spiced, mixer free

Interested in other recipes that use cardamom?

Recipe Disclaimer: 

I test all my recipes using the Metric gram weights as shown. I recommend investing in a small kitchen scale for the most accurate results. I cannot guarantee exact outcomes using the US system. 

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About Theresa
Oh, hello, and welcome to my kitchen! My kitchen is the place I go to escape the hustle of the world and find some peace and serenity. These are the recipes I go to when I truly need a quiet baking day.

Hi, I'm Theresa

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