If you love baked goods, no doubt you've had a scone or biscuit. But it can get confusing to distinguish between British biscuits (called cookies or crackers in the U.S.) and American biscuits, which are not unlike English or Scottish scones.
But is there a difference between scones and biscuits in Canada? While they're both delicious and seem similar in some ways, they have some key differences.
Here's what you need to know about Canadian scones and biscuits:
What Is a Scone?
A scone is a cake-like baked good with a mildly sweet taste and crumbly texture. The dough consists of flour, sugar, butter, eggs, baking powder, milk, or cream—typically containing very little liquid or fat.
Just before baking, bakers cut scones into triangles or wedges. You can enjoy a scone at any time of day, but Canadians mostly have them as a mid-morning or afternoon snack with tea or coffee.
What Is a Biscuit?
A biscuit is a quick bread with a soft, flaky interior and firm, dry exterior.
They contain wheat flour, sugar, fats (e.g., butter, lard, or vegetable shortening), buttermilk, and leavening, such as baking powder or baking soda. They are mostly savoury, but you can make them sweet. Most notably, American-style biscuits contain no eggs.
To make a biscuit, mix the ingredients and then shape them into disks or rounds before baking in an oven.
Scones vs Biscuits: What’s the Difference?
Is there a difference between scones and biscuits? Yes, plenty!
First, there is a huge difference in the texture. A biscuit is well-defined, light, and airy but still robust enough to eat with gravy or stew. A scone is dense, crumbly, and drier; it doesn't flake like a biscuit but rather crumbles into delicious goodness.
A scone is also usually larger than a biscuit and has more liquid in its ingredients. It contains eggs and usually has more butter and sugar than biscuits do. Because of this, scones have a softer texture than biscuits and feature in sweet dishes.
You typically serve scones warm from the oven with whipped cream or clotted cream (a type of cream with a higher fat content than normal heavy cream), jam, or preserves.
On the other hand, a biscuit is lighter and flakier than a scone, and it features more as part of a savoury dish, such as country gravy, chicken dishes, or beef stews.
Tea biscuit vs scone: are they the same?
No. Tea biscuits and scones are both baked treats, but they're not the same. Regarding tea biscuits vs. scones, the main distinction is in the texture. Biscuits are flaky and buttery, while scones are dense and crunchy.
What is the closest British equivalent to the Canadian biscuit?
The closest British baked good to a Canadian biscuit is a scone. Both baked goodies use flour, fat, liquid and a leavening agent. In Canada, we call them biscuits because we usually eat them with gravy or jam—or sometimes both!
Conclusion: The Difference between Scones and Biscuits
We hope this guide to the difference between biscuits and scones has been helpful.
If you're looking for a place to get these delicious treats in Toronto, check out Lazy Daisy’s Cafe. We offer our famous bake at home buttermilk biscuits plus delicious desserts, savoury treats, and an incredible brunch. Stop by our cafe today for delectable breakfasts, brunches, and lunches!