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Feta and za'atar scones

Sat, 9 March, 2024

A cross between cheese scones and feta parcels, with the flavour of za’atar added to the equation. Feta and za’atar scones from Ottolenghi are incredibly tasty!

feta and zaatar scones

The original recipe comes from the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen studio and is for gluten free scones. I have adapted it to work with ordinary wheat flour, and it’s benefited hugely from it – except, of course, for celiac sufferers who will need to follow OTK recipe.

They are very easy to make, as most scones should be, and make a perfect brunch or even lunch, if buttered and served with perhaps an extra wedge of Cheddar on the side.

savoury scones with middle eastern flavour

What’s a scone?

A scone is a traditional, quite ancient British baked product whose name can be traced back to Dutch ‘shoonbrood’ – fine bread.

There are many regional as well as flavour varieties: in Scotland they make them with potatoes, cook them on a griddle or drop them.

Australians, for some reason, have taken a shine to lemonade scones, made without butter (you’d never guess lemonade was a substitute for butter, would you? {just kidding, there’s cream in the recipe as well}).

And the good people of Devon and Cornwall carry on the eternal feud on what comes first: cream or jam.

In the US they make scones too, but I’m sorry to say, not very well. They are very crumbly and dry, made basically only with butter and flour. Which is strange, because they can make excellent scones in America actually, except they insist on calling them biscuits and serving with gravy. Of all things.

ottolenghi feta zaatar scones

Scone or scone?

They come both sweet and savoury, as evident above. Sweet, plain or fruited scones are the cornerstone of British national institution that is cream tea. See above for Devon vs. Cornwall.

But savoury scones are popular too, from Scottish tattie scones to National Trust cafes’ Cheddar and chive, so the offering below doesn’t break any scone rules. The only contentious thing about scone in fact (Cornwall vs. Devon aside), is the pronunciation.

Does it rhyme with ‘bone’ or with ‘gone’? Every now and then, usually about the time of GBBO, the debate rises like a scone in the oven. Personally, I rhyme it with bone but I’m not a native speaker of English so don’t quote me.

Apparently it’s regional, with the south going for ‘bone’ and the north for ‘gone’, but there are also opinions that ‘gone’ is the only right pronunciation and anyone saying it otherwise is a pompous fool trying to sound posh. That’s told me.

However you pronounce it though, there is thankfully only one way to eat it: greedily, still warm from the oven.

cheese scones with chives and zaatar

How to make feta and za’atar dough?

The use of feta and za’atar is a revelation, but there’s nothing unusual about the process. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl, rub in cold butter cut into dice. Add both cheeses, the feta and the grated Cheddar into the mix gently, as you want to keep the feta lumpily visible in the dough.

Then beat the wet ingredients together and stir in with a spatula, only up to the point when the dough comes together, just about.

scone dough

When you turn the dough out onto a floured surface, give it a quick knead and shape into a thick circle.

You can absolutely cut scones and place them, all spaced out, on a baking tray. But the OTK method of baking them in a square brownie tin, so they almost-but-not-quite merge together is rather fun. Just make sure you line the tin with parchment.

With a 7cm cutter you should get exactly nine scones, arranged neatly in the tin, three by three. And the best part is that you can now stick them in the fridge even overnight, and bake the next morning, ready for a delightful weekend breakfast or brunch.

baking feta scones

More scone recipes

Traditional, plain English scones. My best scone recipe to date produces fluffy classic scones, as big or as small as you want to cut them. Homemade scones freeze very well though are really the best warm from the oven.

Fruit scones, light and fluffy, with a good raisin count are perfect for cream tea. The secret: don't twist the cutter and don't overbake the scones.

Cheddar cheese and chive scones, delightful warm from the oven, are made with wholemeal flour and diced Cheddar. The go-to savoury scone option.

More feta recipes

Fresh cucumbers with feta cheese and honey are a minimalist version of Greek salad and all the better for skipping tomatoes – mainly with the benefit for your digestion.

Feta cheese, roasted grapes and crunchy walnuts are the perfect combination of juicy, sweet, crunchy and salty. It's a fantastic autumnal salad, to serve for lunch or as a starter.

Saganaki is a Greek dish of anything cooked and served in a small skillet, cheese saganaki the most popular. This recipe for fried saganaki feta is dead simple and makes a super tasty snack or appetiser. Saganaki feta with caramelised figs, a great mix of flavours.

ottolenghi feta scones

Feta and za'atar scones

Servings: 9Time: 1 hour


  • 80g (13 cup) double cream, plus extra for brushing
  • 115g (12 cup) full-fat Greek yoghurt
  • 1 egg
  • 250g (2 cups) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 212 tsp baking powder
  • 12 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 12 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp za’atar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped chives
  • zest grated from ½ lemon
  • 100g (7 tbsp) cold unsalted butter
  • 125g (34 cup) feta
  • 60g ( 12 cup) grated Cheddar plus more for topping
  • 112 tsp sesame seeds, for sprinkling


1. Line a square 20 x 20cm (8 x 8 inch) brownie tin with parchment.

2. Whisk together the cream, yoghurt and egg in a jug.

3. Stir together all the dry ingredients plus chives and lemon zest in a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment.

4. Dice the butter and rub it with your fingers into the dry mix or beat it briefly in the mixer so it’s still visible, pea sized.

5. Crumble in the feta and add the Cheddar, stir it in roughly. Pour in the wet ingredients and mix only until the dough comes together, it will be very sticky. Turn it out onto a floured surface and give it a brief knead to shape a ball, which you then flatten to a disc 3cm (1 inch) thick.

6. Cut scones with a 7 cm (234 inch) plain cutter, flouring it very well after each one; the dough will still be very sticky. Arrange them in the tin, 3 by 3.

7. Chill the scones for 30 minutes to firm up, or even overnight. Preheat the oven to 200C fan if available/400F/gas 6.

8. Brush the tops with cream, sprinkle with Cheddar, za’atar and sesame seeds.

9. Bake for 25 minutes, turning down the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4 after 15 minutes.

10. Cool on the parchment on a wire rack before serving.

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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