A Culinary Tribute: Queen Elizabeth II’s Scotch Pancakes

By Jennine Rye and the Staff of Tasting Table

If you love digging into a warm stack of freshly made pancakes, then you might have something to learn from the late Queen Elizabeth II. Back in 1960, Her Majesty shared her drop scone recipe with U.S. President Eisenhower, who had quickly become a fan of the treat during a recent visit. If you’re not into crumbly scones, you’ll be glad to know that drop scones, aka Scotch pancakes, are more akin to the fluffy dish commonly served for breakfast. Indeed, recipe developer and food photographer Jennine Rye from The Marshside Pantry points out “they are similar to American pancakes really, and you can never go wrong with a pancake.”

While the queen left excellent notes for President Eisenhower, Rye put it all to test and includes a few adjustments to make it foolproof. In true British royalty fashion, Her Majesty’s recipe used quantities such as “teacups” to measure out flour and milk. With Rye’s help, these drop scones are an easy option to prepare in the morning or for afternoon tea. And just like pancakes, you can serve them with all of your favorite toppings.

Gather the Ingredients for Queen Elizabeth’s Drop Scones

If you spontaneously find yourself craving drop scones (and the queen’s recipe no less), you’ll be glad to see that the ingredients are possibly already among your pantry staples. You’ll need superfine sugar, which per its name, is just finely ground granulated white sugar. Next, bring your eggs to room temperature before incorporating them into the recipe. Whole milk is used to thin out the batter, which gets its bulk from all-purpose flour. Meanwhile, bicarbonate of soda (aka baking soda) and cream of tartar help the scones rise. Finally, melted butter provides just the right amount of fat to make the drop scones pleasantly moist.

Per the queen’s notes, replacing the superfine sugar with golden syrup or treacle “can be very good, too.” Meanwhile, Rye encourages further experimentation: “They are also delicious with different flavorings added to the batter, such as orange zest or cinnamon — have fun with them.”

Serve Queen Elizabeth II’s drop scones with classic toppings

There are plenty of ways to enjoy these delicious drop scones depending on your preferences. Rye recommends classics like butter, jam, golden syrup, maple syrup, and fresh berries. Given their similarity to pancakes, pretty much anything that goes with the classic breakfast dish works well here too. That being said, you might want to channel the queen and keep your toppings restrained, in order to savor these delicate drop scones for what they are. On more traditional scones, Her Majesty was fond of sweet jam and clotted cream, as shared by former royal chef Darren McGrady (via New York Post).

If you have leftovers, Rye advises storing them in a sealed container in the fridge for up to three days and reheating them before digging in. All the same, she shares, “it would be my recommendation to only make as many as you need and store any remaining batter in the fridge, as they are always at their best when fresh!” Alternatively, she adds that the drop scones can be frozen as long as they are properly wrapped.


4 tablespoons superfine sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 ½ cups whole milk, divided
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (aka baking soda)
3 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Optional Ingredients

Butter, jam, golden or maple syrup, or fresh berries (for serving)


For the full recipe and video instructions go to the Tasting Table



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