Oatmeal Scones and Clotted Cream from Outlander

Mrs. Graham's Oatmeal Scones with Clotted Cream

“I’ve brought but the two cups, for I thought perhaps Mrs. Randall would care to join me in the kitchen.  I’ve a bit of –“ I didn’t wait for the conclusion of her invitation, but leapt to my feet with alacrity.  I could hear the theories breaking out again behind me as we pushed through the swinging door that led to the manse’s kitchen.

The tea was green, hot and fragrant, with bits of leaf swirling through the liquid.

“Mmm,” I said, setting the cup down.  “It’s been a long time since I tasted Oolong.”

Mrs. Graham nodded, beaming at my pleasure in her refreshments.  She had clearly gone to some trouble, laying out handmade lace mats beneath the eggshell cups and providing thick clotted cream with the scones.

Outlander (Chapter 1 – A New Beginning)


How much does Mrs. Graham know?  As the caller at Craigh na Dun and fortune teller at the town fair, she undoubtedly believes in at least a few spirits beyond those she communes with in church on Sunday.

One thing’s for sure – she’ll never tell – practical, Presbyterian lips like hers weren’t made to crack easily.

I like to think she would have gladly shared her scone recipe with us though.  As traditional as the woman herself, and made hearty with oats and tender with butter, their slight sweetness is the perfect foil to the tang of the clotted cream.


Clotted cream is thick, with a texture much like whipped butter. It has a sweet, slightly nutty flavour and an astronomical fat content (anywhere from 55% to 64% and up)...just a few of the reasons why so many of us love it so.

Its exact origin is uncertain, and very much up for debate, but clotted cream's production is commonly associated with the dairy farms of Southwest England, particularly Cornwall and Devon.  Evidence shows that monks were making it at Tavistock Abbey, Devon, in the early 1300s.

Ancient Britons may have clotted cream to lengthen its shelf life. More recently, prior to industrialization in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, dairy farmers clotted their milk because it resulted in a higher yield of cream.

Fresh cow's milk was set to stand in a shallow pan in a cool place for several hours to allow the cream to rise to the surface. It was then heated, and finally, cooled slowly. During this time, the cream content rose to the surface to form 'clots' or 'clouts'.

Cream separators in modern dairies have eliminated the requirement for clotting in modern dairies, but clotted cream remains popular in the UK and abroad, especially Commonwealth countries. It is a traditional part of a formal tea, and usually accompanies scones and strawberry preserves.


Mrs. Graham would have bought hers down at the corner shop, or had it delivered by the milkman, I suppose.  I could go into the big city and pick some up at a specialty British grocery, but without even knowing the price, I can tell you making it at home saved me a whole lot of money.

Plus, it's a fun test of your food safety comfort levels! I know that the clotted cream recipe is going to make some of you very uncomfortable.  That's OK. I can direct you to recipes that have you heat the cream for an hour, then refrigerate for 24.  In my experience, they don't work half as well as the method I lay out below. You'll still get clotted cream, you just won't get much, and it will be a little runnier than I like.

On the other hand, my method, which I learned in culinary school from my slightly crusty, French chef instructor, has that cream in that oven for a very, very long time (my batches almost always take 12 hours). But, provided the cream you start with is fresh, I HAVE NEVER HAD ANYONE GET SICK USING THIS RECIPE.  I have made it many times for a lot of people, in both large batches for post-wedding breakfasts, and small batches for a quiet picnic of scones and tea midway through a hike.

That's it for today's food safety discussion on this (mostly) 18th C food blog.  Whichever method appeals to you, I hope you'll try making the clotted cream to go along with these delicious scones. Have a little fun doing something new in the kitchen!

Oatmeal scones

I've gone on a little longer than I intended with this post. A few more quick notes before I go:

  • As with Fiona's Cinnamon Scones, you can freeze the unbaked scones for a fresh breakfast without all the assembly work. Freeze the cut, unbaked scones on a baking pan.  Transfer the frozen-solid scones to a freezer bag or sealed container and return to the freezer.  To serve, brush the frozen scones with melted butter and bake on a parchment-lined baking pan at 375° F for 25-30 minutes.
  • Ultra-pasteurized whipping cream will not work for the clotted cream. It contains added stabilizers that prevent the cream from clotting.
  • How else can you use it?  It's wonderful stirred into a risotto or mashed potatoes, just before serving. It adds a lovely thick, luscious tang to a batch of vanilla (or even red velvet) ice cream. And if you're a bacon lover, clotted cream is fantastic on a BLT.

oatmeal-scones-clotted-cream-2 copy

Show/Hide Comments


03 Mar 2014 - 3:22pm

Ellen Aronoff


03 Mar 2014 - 4:44pm


Dear Theresa,nnYou must have a touch of the Sight, along with being the finest substitute for actually attending culinary school. And you are an absolute sadist. How can I thank you?nnI was given a Nook for Xmas (and in case anyone's wondering, trying to use it as an real tablet is one of the most frustrating things in the world. I would have much more appreciated the cash, or a gift card from Barnes & Noble). But when I was forced to send my laptop for repairs, I re-purchased the entire set of books and settled in to read yesterday. I just passed this scene in Outlander, and it made me crave tea and scones. The scone recipe I've been using for years is one I adapted using whole grain flour (usually wheat, amaranth or spelt), light cream substituted for butter, and a small amount of straight Splenda, and either currants or diced crystallized ginger. The scones are much easier to make than the traditional ones, and the changes I made allow you to eat them with far less guilt. They're one of only a small handful of baked foods I've had success using straight Splenda. They have nearly the flavor and texture of traditional scones, except they don't keep well. But then, they don't last long anyway.nnWell first, I discovered I was out of all my varieties of Twinings. Scones without tea? Unthinkable. (Though I have been known to munch on these cold, before they become inedible. Waste not, want not, right?) Then the really important roadblock to baking scones, much worse than using Lipton teabags. Since I'm still stuck staying at my mom's, she was missing most of the ingredients I needed, and I stopped using Splenda a few months ago when I learned it was the likely culprit responsible for my metabolism crashing, and my uncontrollable cravings for sweets, among other, more serious medical issues. But still, while I'm not a binge eater, my willpower is fierce. When I have a craviing for something, my will doesn't let go until it's satisfied some way.nnAnd then I wake up to your blog entried this morning. Not only another felicous recipe for scones I lack the ingredients for, but one for the real ambrosia, the food of the gods. The last time I tasted clotted cream was in 1990, when I smuggled a large container from Harrods' food halls into Kennedy Airport in New York in an insulated Harrods bag, along with some Cornish pasties and a large steak & kidney pie. The saleswoman who sold me the bag assured me I'd have no problems with customs, despite the fact that Iwas violating federal laws, because after all, it was HARRODS. And despite dreaming about the "I Love Lucy" episode where she dressed a large salami as a baby to do the same thing I was, the justifiably snooty Harrods employee was right. But since then, the only commercial brand I've been able to buy in the States tastes like soap.nnAnd now Theresa, the only way I've succeeded in denying my ruthless yearning this rich, creamy, buttery instant inches where no woman wants them, not to mention my high cholesterol, the result of an unhappy marriage between bad genes and a decade-long splurge with butter in the 80s, was lack of access to this luscious addiction. But like the most generous drug dealer who never existed, you not only reveal the recipe for this incredibly rich, smoothy thick drug, you teach how to produce it. So Theresa, I thank you from the bottom of my up-to-now dieting, rumbling tummy, and I dedicate my first MI to you. I apologize in advance, because I doubt there will be a golden statuette, or a ceremony at which it will be presented. But never doubt that I think you worthy of both. For this recipe alone, you rank up there with my cooking hero, Julia Child, who first introduced me to the delights of fresh, unsalted butter, its unsurpassed taste, and many uses. But ahhhh, clotted cream. Please know I will die a happy, sated woman, grateful to you till the very end. Thank you. (BTW, I think they should have had you catering the food for the miniseries. How much more realistic atmosphere would that have given the cast, not. To mention giving "Claire" the bottom n Jamie so admires.)

Tammi MacClell…

Theresa & Leigh, I thank you as well and heartily second what Leigh said to you. Clotted Cream was love at first sight and then , years later, with first taste. Ahhh, Heaven on a scone xx

03 Mar 2014 - 6:53pm

Carol Mackey

Thank you, Theresa! Right now there is only ultra-pasturized heavy cream in my fridge-left over from a "silky caramel chocolate fudge sauce" (yummy) made for Valentine's Day sundaes. Next time I go to the store, though . . . right now my favorite topping for scones is either raspberry jam or lemon curd (sigh . . .).


I have a delicious, easy and fast lemon curd recipe for the microwave, Carol. I hate microwaves, but this recipe really is the bomb...I love it. Let me know if you'd like to give it a try.

Anna Lapping

I would love the recipe for microwave lemon curd! I do it the old fashioned way with the double boiler, and constant stirring. Alan loves it and I usually do lemon curd tarts for his birthday (July 27). Also thanks for the clotted cream recipe. I'm going to try it, and I think the brand of cream I use for creme fraiche will work just fine. So excited to try it and the scones.


You'll find it here, Anna http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/easy-microwave-lemon-curd-recipe

Cyndi Johnson

I would love your recipe for lemon curd!

Helen Bullard

Theresa, you know once you post something like "I have a lemon curd recipe' = we all are going to want it. Ha haa Add me!

04 Mar 2014 - 1:49am


I know it's not very 18C, but would the clotted cream work in a slow-cooker?


you could try it, Jessica, I'm not sure! Note that the long slow cooling is part of the method, so make sure you let it cool down on the counter.

04 Mar 2014 - 3:14am


I've loved clotted cream since the first time I had it at my "wedding tea" my friend and boss threw for me at the local fancy hotel. I can't wait to make it at home, thank you thank you!nnPS Outlander makes me so hungry. Great to see some 'practical applications' that come from such a rich and lovely series.

04 Mar 2014 - 3:58am


Hi Theresa,nnI've never had clotted cream and always wondered how it was made. Can't wait to try it. Thanks for another great post!nJeanne

12 Mar 2014 - 5:42pm


I've never had clotted cream, and your instructions seemed easy enough so I decided to make some over the weekend. Oh. My. Goodness. It was amazing! Oh clotted cream, where have you been all my life?!! Thank you, Theresa!

04 Jun 2015 - 7:00am

Bird Lady

It worked! I did it! I made clotted cream! I was a bit concerned about my oven. Using a digital probe thermometer I saw my oven cycled from 170 to 223 . Maybe even more fluctuations, I wasn't there all the time. But the finished cream is great. Trader Joe's sells 16 0z. cartons of organic whipping cream.

23 Aug 2015 - 12:43pm


It tooke a while, but I did finally figure it out! The serving size of whipping cream is by the tablespoon!

01 Aug 2014 - 6:34pm


Hi Theresa, Got my "un ultra pasteurized" cream in the oven right now! I plan to make clotted cream and scones for a small gathering tomorrow at my house to watch the sneak peak first episode of Outlander on Starz! Love your site - watch out, if the series gets big, you may start getting lots more hits - and maybe you already are!

02 Sep 2014 - 3:25am


Theresa, I made these scones last night - covered them with waxed paper - then baked them this morning and they were GREAT. I had no clotted cream though or lemon curd. So yes, please post your lemon curd recipe. Helen in Ark. P.S. If you already have, please directed me to the recipe. Thanks,

Vicki Sewell Larson

You can buy already made lemon curd that is very good. Some stores stock it on the same aisle as apple, cherry, blueberry pie fillings and I have also found it in some stores with the jams, jellies and preserves. It comes in a square shaped jar.

03 Sep 2014 - 4:40pm


Theresa, I was wondering, in the making of the clotted cream. Even if the cream isn't ultra-pasturized, it is still pasturized, which iliminates all the cultures that give cheeses and butters their flavor. Would it adversely affect the flavor if a touch of buttermilk was added?


I don't think any change in flavour would be adverse, it may just add a little more tang. It's a great idea! Let us know if you make it that way and how it went.

10 Sep 2014 - 11:24am


Where does one find whipping cream that isn't ultra pasteurized? I'm in Texas and there's not much in the dairy case at the grocery stores.


I don't know, Dawn. I know there is a lot more ultra pasteurized products down in the States, as compared to where I am in Canada. Have you tried calling health food stores in your area?


The local grocery stores don't even sell actual whipping cream. What we call heavy whipping cream is only 8% fat. I live in the county and there's a dairy down the road. I might call them! Thanks


IF you can find it, Organic Valley *does* make just a pasteurized (vs. ultra) heavy cream. And the cream here in the States is the 40% butterfat. That 8% you're thinking of is just part of the dietary nutrition.

15 Sep 2014 - 5:43am


Theresa, I had clotted cream on scones 8 years ago on a business trip, and still recall the taste. OMG. Thanks so much for the recipe. I bought 2 c of whipping cream in Canada, and it says "pasteurized" - I didn't see any whipping cream alternates that were "ultra" anything. Is that just a US thing or am I missing something? Anyway, after devouring way too much of your pork tenderloin w/apple cider reduction tonight, I am putting the cream in the oven momentarily. Hope it works. Thank you SO MUCH for your blog, your recipes and all your efforts. Much appreciated.


The ultra thing is mostly in the US. hope your clotted cream turns out!

17 Sep 2014 - 5:28pm


It seems a bit difficult to locate in my area, however I was able to locate this & thought it might help others in the US as well. http://www.natural-by-nature.com/cream.htm#javascript;

07 Oct 2014 - 4:58am

Jody Lamond

Twin Brooks Creamery has regular whipping cream from their grass fed Jersey cows. I live in WA and can find it in some Top Foods, Haggan and QFC stores, possibly others. They may sell in states close by also. Comes in glass bottles so you have to pay a bottle fee but when you turn in your bottles for next purchase it's waived. It is really yummy, milk is soooo good, 1/2 and 1/2 to die for in your coffee! I'm making this for sure!

15 Oct 2014 - 4:32pm


Theresa, I made the scones and they were a hit with the family! Delish! I was wondering if there were any changes needed to be made to the original recipe if one wanted to add raspberries or blueberries? Any suggestions?

03 Nov 2014 - 8:59pm

michelle szott

Had a little end of season one Outlander celebration yesterday and made these delicious scones served with Scottish coffee. Thank you for the recipe - love your website.

19 Dec 2014 - 7:46pm

sheila moline

thank you these recipe are a mazing and i going to use d them

19 Feb 2015 - 6:38pm

Jennifer Harrell

Oh my goodness, you've done it again. I've been making these for a while because they're phenomenal, but my brain was hung on trying a new add in last night... and it's fabulous. I added roughly a cup of very finely diced pecans and a tablespoon of maple syrup to the batter... and when they came out of the oven, I poured a fresh maple syrup light glaze on them. I adore your recipes, because they are SO versatile. I'm not sure this batch is going to make it to the end of the day when the family arrives home. These were amazing as written and the maple pecan just takes them over the edge even further. Thank you for your recipes!

29 Mar 2015 - 9:46pm

wanda Upton

Sounds like a good tea for anyone ! I must get me some new tea. I like to dress the table up for my company. Everyone brings out their best then.Don't you think so ?

20 May 2015 - 5:41pm

Carol Mackey

Lovely to see this again, Theresa. Reminded me that I might not have reported back on the "freezing of clotted cream" experiment, to wit: It worked well. There were no ice crystale in the cubes, which froze nicely in ice cube trays and were then transferred to a gallon zipper-locked bag, the air squeezed out then zipped. They lasted quite a while--at least three weeks (;-))--with no deterioration in flavor. To use them, I simply removed what I needed and left them in the fridge in a covered container overnight, giving the melted yumminess a stir in the morning. Loved it on my morning oatmeal--probably part of the reason they only lasted three weeks! Certainly past time to make some more! BTW, we have similar casseroles--a hand-me-down from my mom in my case--sans lid. I have to assume it got broken between the '30s or '40s, when she probably bought it, and 2007, when I inherited it (!). Unfortunately, your lemon curd receipt--erm, recipe--got lost when I moved at the end of the year--Probably because it was under a magnet on my fridge door and looking quite scruffy by then . . . :-(

21 May 2015 - 12:06am

Lisa Marie

Baking these now with the pecan-maple additions mentioned by @Jennifer Harrell. My, the smell of butter is divine! (I also subbed in brown for white sugar.) YUM!

15 Oct 2015 - 8:45pm

Grape Jelly …


17 Dec 2015 - 3:58am


I live on a dairy farm milking jersey cows, so luckily I have a higher butterfat milk handy. How would you suggest going about using fresh, raw milk and acquiring the cream for this (typically I would just let the creamline rise in the fridge). Also, instead of heating in the oven for 8-12 hours, is it possible to "cook" in a crockpot? Just curious. Thank you!


Jenessa,nnHowever you usually get the cream is how you should get it for this. I've never tried it in the crockpot...maybe have a look on google? If you do try it and it's successful, please let us know!


Oh I am I LOVE with this recipe, Theresa (in addition to many of your others)! You must include this in your Outlander cookbook! I did use the cream from our Jersey cows and then placed it in a large crock pot (for greater surface area) on low for approximately 10 hours. It turned out perfect! I also made your delicious oatmeal scones since we grow and market our own oat products (so freshly rolled oats are in abundance in my home) while also using the left over liquid cream from the clotted cream in place of the half-and-half (to use it up). These were absolutely delightful! A new favorite of mine, for sure. Thank you!

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