Stop shouting "THOSE ARE NOT SCONES!" (as you look at the posted picture).  If you've ever spent time in Utah, you won't bat an eye at calling these fried pieces of scrumptiousness Scones.  But if you live anywhere else and have never eaten along the Wasatch front, you may be wondering what on earth I'm doing referring to these as scones.  Let me humor you...

These, to the nearly 3 million Utahans, are called scones (you, on the other hand might consider them something more like Elephant Ears or Fry Bread?).  In fact, many folks who've never lived outside the state (of Utah) have absolutely no clue that the scones consumed by the rest of the world are anything other than this.  I googled the topic of the "Utah Scone" and came up with so many stories and hypothesis and attempts at explaining everything under the sun that I decided the best approach was to attempt my own little explanation:

For some reason, in Utah (and even some LDS communities in Idaho), the scone is a deep fried yeast bread.... completely removed and absolutely nothing like the scone the rest of the world knows - a dense, slightly sweet, crumbly little biscuit thing.  The Utah scone is usually served as a dessert with
Honey Butter and/or powdered sugar and jam, but is also regularly used in a dish called Najavo Tacos where the base of the "Taco" is the scone, and the toppings consist of anything you'd find on a taco salad (ground beef with taco seasoning, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, cheese, salsa, sour cream, etc.).  The normal British-style scone (as aforementioned) is rarely even referred to in the state of Utah.  If you mentioned to a friend you were having "scones", they'd want to know what time to come over for the frying and what sweet toppings to bring.  Many link the Utah Scone to the Indian Fry Bread, but there are just as many arguments against that link as there are for it.  So I won't try to link it to anything.  I'll just say it is what it is.

Some people really don't believe me when I tell them about Utah Scones (being that I live in the Northwest and people consume scones by the dozen here with their morning cup o' Joe), but it's true.  I spent years in Utah and my sweet hubby is from there, as are many relatives and friends and I tell you - the Utah Scone is not to be missed.  But it's also not to be confused with the standard scones the rest of the world eats.  Just enjoy it for what it is and don't be mad that it stole the name from something else.  If you were to ask me?  This one is hands down the better of the two.  Granted, I don't normally like biscuits.  So it's easy to like a doughnut wannabe than to try and like a biscuit that's trying to be a treat.


Servings: 12
Total Time to Complete Recipe: 20 min (+2 - 6 hr raising time)
    Active cook/prep time: 20 min
    Inactive cook/prep time: 2 - 6 hr

Special Equipment Needed: Deep fryer or large heavy pan for frying, pizza cutter (or similar)

  • Any favorite yeast dough will work well for this recipe.  When in a pinch, I just grab a bag of frozen yeast rolls (such as Rhodes Rolls), and let them rise on the counter for the afternoon.  But you could easily make it with any number of sweet yeast dough bases such as the one from my Pizza Loaf or Croissant (Shaped) Rolls.  There is one recipe I found online that looks like a great dough, I think I'll try it next time.
  • Cutting is much easier with a pizza cutter.
  • Once you roll the dough out and cut it, don't smash it down any more or stretch it before throwing it in the hot oil.  If you do, it won't puff up large.  It'll still fry, it'll just keep flatter rather than puffing up big like you want.
  • Frying Tips:
    • Use a good frying oil that has a high smoke point such as Safflower or Canola (ie don't use Olive Oil).
    • If you have an oil thermometer, you want your oil between 350 - 375 F.  Any cooler and your food will absorb the oil (yuck!!), any hotter and you'll burn the oil (yuck!!). 
      • No oil thermometer:  Your oil is ready when a 1" cube of white bread is browned in 60 seconds.
    • Be careful not to over heat your oil or you'll ruin it (ie don't let it actually start smoking).
    • Only cook a couple items at a time.  Too many items in the oil at once will reduce the temperature of your oil and make consistant frying difficult.
    • Flip/remove as soon as golden.  Their color will darken slightly when removed from the oil, so just be careful not to get them too golden while frying.
    • Have a drain plate (ie plate or cooling rack covered in paper towels).
  • As mentioned, these can be consumed with either sweet or savory toppings.  Both approaches are wonderful - but I'm a true fan of the sweetly devoured scone... fried hot just out of the oil and served with tuns of Honey Butter.

    1 Batch yeast dough, risen double it's normal size
    2 Quarts Frying Oil (for frying)
    Powdered Sugar,
Honey Butter , Sweet Jam (optional toppings)


  • Prepare a drain plate and set aside.
  • Split dough into two equal parts.  Take one part and roll out on a flat floured surface to approximately 1/4" thick.  Using a pizza cutter, cut rolled dough into pieces approximately 3" - 4" each.
  • Heat oil in large heavy pan to 350 - 375 F over medium-high heat.  Once temperature is achieved, reduce heat slightly.
  • Carefully place two or three scones in the oil.  Cook for a couple minutes, or until slightly golden and flip.  Cook an additional couple minutes until slightly golden and remove immediately to your prepared drain plate.
  • Repeat cooking, two or three scones at a time, until all dough has been fried.
  • Serve hot with desired toppings.

 Recipe Origins: my childhood


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  • 5/26/2010 7:39 PM Sarah wrote:
    Haha, I had never thought about those not really being scones! You're absolutely right. They sure are good though, and yours look delicious.
    Reply to this
  • 5/26/2010 8:31 PM Shanan wrote:
    Sarah - you CRACK me up! So I must ask, have you ever even seen or ordered a "scone" that the rest of the world calls a scone (the crumbly biscuity ones)?  Or have you only ever heard of the fried scones?
    Reply to this
  • 5/27/2010 11:06 PM Chrissy wrote:
    I am so excited to try this recipe!!! I remember when I first moved to Utah I could not believe they called those scones and noone out there had ever heard of elephant ears either! HAve you ever eaten at Sconecutters, yummy!
    Reply to this
  • 5/28/2010 9:21 AM Shanan wrote:
    Oh my GOSH I LOVE Sconecutters!   No better midnight drive thru around!!
    Reply to this
  • 5/28/2010 3:31 PM cassidy wrote:
    Mmmmm I love these. Thanks for the idea for dinner.
    Reply to this
  • 8/18/2010 8:01 PM boadicea wrote:
    I read about Utah Scones so went searching for a recipe - when I saw yours, I realized it is basically what my German/Russian grandmother used to make for us grandkids. She called it Santa Claus Bread (I have no idea why) and would just use bits of the bread dough she was making - fry it up and roll in sugar.
    Reply to this
  • 8/19/2010 3:17 PM Shanan wrote:
    Oooh, that sounds good!  I might have to roll a couple in sugar next time.  And what a great story, thank you for sharing!
    Reply to this
  • 1/14/2012 4:33 AM Amy wrote:
    I have a Utah Heritage, too, and my Danish grandmother always called this Dough Gads not Scones. Therefore, I call them that, too. It eliminates the Scone confusion.
    Reply to this
  • 1/15/2012 9:11 PM Melissa wrote:
    My daughter had to bring a food that represented her ethnicity to share with her social studies class. She asked me of I could make scones. She called them "Mormon scones" so the class wouldn't confuse them with the other scones.
    Reply to this
  • 1/17/2012 10:16 AM Cori wrote:
    To muddy the waters a bit, I've never lived in UT or ID (I live in Montana) and these are the first thing I knew as scones. My sister has lived, with her Navajo husband, on the Navajo reservation,in UT, the last 20 some years, and authentic fry bread isn't made with yeast at all. I think it's just flour, water, grease, and baking powder. She also learned about and makes "dry bread" which I think is the same thing, but cooked in a "dry" skillet.
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  • 1/18/2012 9:44 AM Lyndsay wrote:
    My grandmother made scones every week for her children growing up (she had 5), she made fresh bread and used the leftover dough to fry and serve with sweet honey-butter, a treat her mother made her and now a treat my mother makes us. It has been a favorite childhood memory for all. If you have the chance to go to Layton, UT and eat at Doug & Emmy's (may be closed now) or Sil's cafe, their scones will knock your socks off. They are HUGE, so are their cinnamon rolls. Heaven.
    Reply to this
  • 1/20/2012 1:36 PM April wrote:
    Ok, so I'm age 32, lived in Utah all of my life, and I didn't know until I read this post that what we call scones here, are not really scones. :) I'll have to travel sometime and try "the other scone".
    Reply to this
  • 1/25/2012 8:21 AM Emily wrote:
    I was uber disappointed the first time I went to get scones in San Francisco after growing up in Utah. The above is what I wanted and expected.

    When I moved to Rhode Island as an adult, they sold these all over but called them "dough boys" (or just "fried dough".)

    Whatever they are, they're YUMMY!!!
    Reply to this
  • 2/2/2012 8:33 PM Cassee wrote:
    I grew up in Utah and "utah scones" were the only scones I had ever known. When I moved to Oregon at 20 I ordered a scone at starbucks and they gave me this dry crusty biscuit/cookie thing. I was disgusted. that was the day I realized that what I had known as a scone all my life to the rest of the world was NOT a scone. my sister moved up here and went to the store and bought a scone mix, mixed it up and when she tried to fry it it burst into a million pieces. It took a bit for us to realize they are not the same thing. OUR scones are more like elephant ears, but sooo much better :) Anyone who is eating a "rest of the world" scone instead of a "Utah Scone" is totally missing out!!!
    Reply to this
  • 2/11/2012 4:33 PM Brenda wrote:
    Sounds wonderful, but sure is hard to read. Font is small and white on this green makes it hard too.
    Reply to this
  • 2/12/2012 4:39 PM Sherry wrote:
    Hey, these are Wyoming scones to! I have no clue what those other things are that you were referring to. I only know of scones like this and I love them!
    Reply to this
  • 2/15/2012 10:26 AM Amy wrote:
    You are correct. A tradition Navajo Fry Bread is not made with a yeast dough. It uses baking powder for the leavening--more like a biscuit dough.
    Reply to this
  • 2/23/2012 6:07 AM Dee wrote:
    My mother made these whenever she made bread. She called them "windpuffs". I have been looking for recipe. Thanks
    Reply to this
  • 3/6/2012 6:33 AM Monae wrote:
    OMGosh! I LOVE these! I have been looking for a recipe since I left Utah 20 years ago. Of course when you google scones you get the European type of recipe. I never realized they were indigenous to Utah. I used to go to a place in Provo on BYU campus called The Rolling Scone. They would cut it open, smear the honey butter inside and fill it with warm pie filling (apple, peach, cherry). It was TDF.
    Reply to this
  • 3/22/2012 6:14 AM Katie wrote:
    These look great! I live in CO, but am originally from Utah and these are just what I remember! Great job! One question though, I would love to make them a bit healthier, and hate frying in all that grease! What if you were to boil these....would they come out more like a bagel or would they still be light and fluffy! Just a thought! Otherwise I will just have to deal with all that delicious oiliness!
    Reply to this
  • 4/1/2012 7:56 PM louize brand wrote:
    We eat this in South-Africa too - is known there as "vetkoek". It can been eaten with a savoury filling made with hamburger meat and curry or sweet with honey and cheese. It is very popular there!
    Reply to this
  • 4/7/2012 4:24 PM Carly wrote:
    Love it! I live in Idaho Falls and grew up only knowing scones as what you have made here. My brother that moved away to D.C. and then to Utah can't stand that everyone calls them scones and was the one that told me that these are not "real" scones. They will always be the real scones to me and the people that live around here. Your recipe looks great! I will try it soon. Thanks!
    Reply to this
  • 4/24/2012 12:10 PM Emily J. wrote:
    Thanks for this post! Not sure that I'll actually make them, but I sure enjoyed your intro to them. I too am from the N.W. and I too spent several years in Utah (2003-2011). Even though I grew up in the N.W. I never ate a scone until Utah, so that's all I know.

    However, that being said, when I saw the scones and ate them, I was constantly reminded of the dough-boys that my father and brother would make with the scouts and sell during events for fund-raising. I'll forever miss Sconecutter! (my waistline won't, though!)

    What area are you in, in the N.W.?
    Reply to this
  • 6/21/2012 10:01 AM Rara wrote:
    I live in Michigan,have no family out there BUT we have had these from the time I was a little girl. They are the BEST. We cut them in half and put loads of butter inside,or jam.(butter is the best).Sometimes we sprinkle powdered sugar on top,sorta(Michigan slang( like a mexican donut. AWESOME..Try them,you will love them. :) Not great for diets though ;)
    Reply to this
  • 7/6/2012 11:06 PM Christine wrote:
    Too funny! Where I grew up, in Canada, this was called a beaver tail, and in Newfoundland (correct me if Im wrong) this is a touton!
    Reply to this
  • 7/14/2012 10:26 AM Phyllis wrote:
    Out on the prairies in Canada the German name for what you describe is called Schmutz Kuckelin or dough boys and were served with chokecherry jam or brown sugar or served plain with soup.
    Reply to this
  • 8/7/2012 8:50 PM Jill wrote:
    My mother and grandmother (Utah natives) always made these but called them "tuffies" I'd never heard them called scones until I was grown.
    I don't know where the name comes from unless it's the edges which are sometimes chewy. Delicious by any name.
    Reply to this
  • 8/16/2012 5:09 PM Rebekah Davies wrote:
    The "Utah scones" originate from New Zealand where the Maori People make "Fry Bread". There are a number of Maori people in Utah and am not surprised that they still make it. All though in New Zealand everyone makes it from scratch and recipes can vary slightly, the concept is still the same. Scones in New Zealand are more like the English scone.
    Reply to this
  • 10/17/2012 7:37 AM Laura Cravens wrote:
    Thank you Thank you Thank you. I was born in Heber City Utah and moved to Oklahoma when I was 13. Have not been able to get these and I couldn't remember how to make them. We had them with Honey Butter. I am so doing this.
    Reply to this
  • 1/11/2013 12:04 PM Jen wrote:
    I grew up in Utah eating these for dinner! We put peanut butter or cinamon sugar on them. I feed them to my kids here in Minnesota, now. To me, it's similar to a doughnut, lol! But I still call them scones!
    Reply to this

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