Ina Garten's Salt Tip For Delicious Scones That You'll Just Have To Trust

Ina Garten has helped home cooks tackle all sorts of cooking challenges, from offering great recipes for what to serve at a holiday meal to how to build a show-stopping brunch. As such, Garten has earned a devoted following for her relaxed, straightforward approach to making delicious food at home. Still, it's hard not to raise an eyebrow when such a trusted figure gives a beloved classic an unusual kind of a twist. And that's what she's done with her approach to making scones.

Most scone recipes share the same basic elements: flour, eggs, milk, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, butter, and a pinch of salt. There are cream scones, too, which skip the eggs and swap out the butter and milk for cream. But none of these recipes do what the Barefoot Contesssa suggests. Compared to other recipes, she wants you to seriously amp up the salt. Garten recommends using a whopping 4 teaspoons of salt. Most recipes only use ½ teaspoon of salt, so that's a tremendous increase. And she also doesn't want you to use just any old salt. She recommends using kosher salt in her recipes for scones, and her preferred brand is Diamond Crystal as she pointed out in her 2018 book "Cook Like a Pro."

Salt makes scones better

Garten is a longtime devotee to kosher salt. Chefs often prefer this type of salt because the crystals are larger, giving you more control over the seasoning. Also kosher salt doesn't have sodium iodide or additives to prevent caking as many table salts do. Some say there's a noticeable taste difference between the two as well.

Over the years, Garten has clearly experimented with how much salt to use in her scones. A 2006 recipe for cranberry orange scones only calls for 2 teaspoons, but a 2020 recipe for Irish scones uses her recommended amount of 4 teaspoons. So what does increasing the salt do to the scones? Salt is an important ingredient in baking because it does so many things. It boosts the flavor of your baked goods and it helps balance out the overall sweetness. Salt also allows your baked goods to stay moist and last longer because of its preservative powers.