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Savory Kale and Two-Cheese Scones

12 Large scones

1¼ hours 40 minutes active, plus cooling

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When standard breakfast pastries are too sugary, bake a batch of these flavorful savory scones. This recipe is our adaptation of the hearty kale and cheese scones created by Briana Holt, of Tandem Coffee + Bakery in Portland, Maine. Dried currants and a small amount of the sugar in the dough complement the minerally, vegetal notes of the kale and counterbalance the saltiness of the cheddar and pecorino, while a good dose of black pepper adds an undercurrent of spiciness. Either lacinato kale (also called dinosaur or Tuscan kale) or curly kale will work; you will need an average-sized bunch to obtain the amount of chopped stemmed leaves for the recipe.


Large scones


Don’t allow the buttermilk and butter to lose their chill before use. Keeping them cold helps ensure that the dough will remain workable and won’t become unmanageably soft during shaping. When rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time, work quickly so the oven doesn’t lose too much heat.

1¼ hours

40 minutes active, plus cooling


  • 80

    grams (½ cup) dried currants

  • 87

    grams (4 cups) stemmed and finely chopped lacinato or curly kale (see note)


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Eugene T.
December 10, 2023
Weight Measurements!
I love the fact that Milk Street is doing more metric weight based measurements. It's so much more convenient and accurate. But then there is the butter... I buy Kerrygold butter which comes in a block. Meting out tablespoons doesn't work. So I always do butter by weight: 14.1 grams per tbsp. Be nice not to have to do the math for this ingredient.
Sara N.
January 27, 2024
I can’t get kale or pecorino cheese where I live. Any suggestions for substitutes? Thank you!
Carole K.

Followed the recipe using red kale because that’s what I had. Awesome.

Linda W.

This was excellent. I pulled my spinach from a bag of frozen, then rubbed it in my hands to easily break it up. Also, I think the wedge-cutting step would go better if the knife were wetted between cuts; next time I might even further simplify and simply drop from an ice-cream scoop.

Bill H.

My dough was so wet I could hardly work with it. Followed the recipe exactly using grams. Tasted delicious in the end but could hardly shape them.

Lorraine T.

I had the same situation, very wet dough. Hard to shape & place on pan, but lovedend result.

Lorraine T.

Do I keep scones refrigerated or on counter?
Can I freeze the scones for later? Or is it better to freeze 1/2 dough and then bake them later?
Best thing I did was to buy a great cheddar, not the bagged shredded stuff, imo.

Janelle C.

As a general note, it should be fine if left in a container on the counter for a few days (so long as it's not extra humid). You can freeze the dough to bake later. Leave it on a baking sheet and cover it with plastic wrap.

The Milk Street Team

elizabeth m.

Milk Street, I love your recipes but I really wish you would give options for those who don’t have a microwave. Often I find a recipe I want to make and get the ingredients (Such as I did with this) only to find that it requires a microwave.

Christine P.

You could pour boiling water over the currants instead of microwaving it.

Hanan F.

Can I use gluten free flour?

Janelle C.

We have not tested this, but we encourage you to try it and report back!

The Milk Street Team

Jennifer B.

loved these scones! I love savory so next time would skip the currents. I get a ton of greens every week with my csa so reckon any green would work.

Allison H.

When I visited Portland I went to Tandem every morning just to have these scones, they were so good. Beyond excited to have this recipe, they turned out perfectly! The process for me was exactly as described, and I really appreciate the specific details of knowing that it would a shaggy dough. It stopped me from potentially over-mixing. Just perfect and exactly as I remember from enjoying them at Tandem!

Alice C E.

This is both a question and a comment/answer to another baker. Question: I have the original recipe from Briana Holt/Tandem, which called for 727.5 g all purpose flour (6 cups) versus your 455 g (3.5 cups). Milk St is also suggesting a lot more cheese and keeping the volume of butter and buttermilk (1.5 cups) the same. I'm wondering if this reduction in flour in comparison to the other ingredients could have contributed to the wet dough some bakers experienced. I thought the flour measurement might be typo when the recipe first appeared on your site, but checked again now and it hasn't changed. I'm really surprised that you made such a significant reduction in Tandem's recipe and some bakers found that it worked out OK. Answer/comment: For the person who asked about gluten free, I made my Tandem recipe for these scones (1/2 recipe producing 8 normal sized scones) using 3 cups GF flour blend + 1.5 tsp xanthan gum and all other ingredients about the same as this Milk St recipe. Even with almost twice the ratio of flour, the dough wasn't all that shaggy and came together easily. It seemed well hydrated. The scones were delicious. I think if you substitute GF flour in this recipe 1:1 for the all purpose flour, you might get a REALLY wet dough. I hope that helps.

flavia Z.

Boy are these good. Great contrasts of taste and texture. I too had a wet dough. I'm sure the buttermilk was cold, and I thought the butter was. So I lowered the temp and baked 10 minutes longer and they came out a bit flatter than I would have liked, but still fine. Maybe using frozen butter?

Cathy L.

Made them twice, but first time used golden raisins as I could not find currants. Just made with currants, and I actually liked the raisins better. Rough chop them and add a teeny bit of flour to keep them from globbing. Either way, these scones make me a hero.

Dawn N.

As I don't yet own a food processor, I'm hoping to try this recipe with just a hand pastry cutter when adding the butter to flour. Any suggestions?