55 Afternoon Tea Recipes | olivemagazine

To learn about how to serve afternoon tea from the best (for example how The Ritz’ afternoon tea is assembled), visit one of the best afternoon teas in London to pick up tips.

Afternoon tea recipes

Savoury afternoon tea recipes

Finger sandwiches usually form the first round of afternoon tea. We have included some recipes for open sandwiches, scotch eggs, savoury scones, muffins, tea cakes and more to serve along with your classic finger sandwiches.

Cheshire cheese and walnut scones

Our freezable cheese scones take just 30 minutes to bake and make a great emergency snack that cooks straight from frozen. The toasted walnuts give them a little extra crunch.

More like this

Cheshire Cheese Scone Recipe With Walnuts

Earl grey teacakes

There’s something really comforting about teacakes and this recipe for Earl grey versions takes them to the next level. Smother them in butter and add a little lemon curd to bring out the flavour. You can shape the teacakes on a baking sheet, but using a traditional Yorkshire pudding tin gives the teacakes a classic flat-bottomed look.

Earl Grey Tea Cake Recipe

Avocado on toast with smoked salmon

Smoked salmon sandwiches are an afternoon tea classic. Try our open avocado on toast with smoked salmon and a tomato dressing for a little twist for your high tea. More avocado on toast ideas here.

Smoked Salmon Toast Recipe with Avocado

Coronation chicken

A plate of neatly-cut finger sandwiches filled with creamy coronation chicken will never go amiss at afternoon tea.

Little Gem lettuce leaves loaded with coronation chicken, presented on a platter with a silver serving spoon

Crab scotch quail’s egg with mustard mayo

Make your afternoon tea super posh with this recipe. Our crab scotch quail’s eggs with mustard mayo are dainty savoury afternoon tea snacks. They’re easy to make but look impressive.

Quail Scotch Eggs Recipe with Crab

Cheddar and pecan scones

Whip up a batch of these nutty savoury scones for an easy weekend afternoon treat to serve friends and family.

Cheese Scone Recipe with Pecans

Pear, saffron and browned butter muffins

If muffins with muffin tops are what you are after, don’t use paper cases, just butter the muffin holes. These work perfectly well without the saffron if you don’t have any – you could add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg instead if you like.

Pear Muffins Recipe With Saffron and Browned Butter

Shrimp skagen

This simple prawn open sandwich is courtesy of executive chef Henrik Ritzén at Nordic restaurant Aquavit, London. If you can’t get fresh horseradish, use 1 tbsp of horseradish sauce instead.

Shrimp Skagen (Skagenröra)

An afternoon tea palate cleanser idea

Gin and tonic granita

If you want to copy some of the most sophisticated hotels that serve afternoon tea, this is an easy way to add something special. Our boozy granita makes a great palate cleanser to serve between your sweet and savoury rounds of afternoon tea.

Gin and Tonic granita

Sweet scones recipes

Scones are often considered as the most important element of afternoon tea, as they are simple to make but a real tell tale of the quality of the tea. We have plenty of scones recipes here, but included a classic scone recipe to start with below. Serve your scones with plenty of clotted cream and a range of jams. We also have a recipe for homemade lemon curd to make your tea extra special.

Classic scones

Making your own scones is so easy with this quick and simple recipe. Make a batch for your afternoon tea spread, jam first or cream is up to you.

A plate of scones alongisde a pot of cream and a pot of strawberry red jam

Air-fryer scones

Make these fluffy, light scones in the air-fryer for a quick, easy afternoon tea option.

Stack of scones with a halved scone on a plate topped with cream and jam

Poppy seed scones

Fancy an exciting twist on a classic? Try our poppy seed scones for a wonderful crunchy texture, and make sure you serve with heaps of clotted cream and lemon curd.

A batch of fresh scones with lemon curd on top

Cherry scones

Stud your scones dough with glacé cherries for easy afternoon tea bakes that the whole family will love.

Cherry Scones Recipe

Strawberry shortcake

Split a crumbly, lemon-infused shortcake in two, sandwich together with cream, strawberries and jam. The British take on the American classic!

Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

Blueberry shortcakes

You can’t have afternoon tea without scones – they are quite rightly the heroes of the occasion. This version is a little different though. We use American-style buttermilk shortcake which is a cousin of the scone and the filling is a simple blueberry compote and mascarpone cream.

Blueberry Shortcake Recipe

Rock cakes

A great bake for beginners and speedy afternoon tea treat, rock cakes are a bit like scones – just more rustic-looking, and sprinkled with demerara sugar

Rock Cakes on a cooling tray with two mugs of coffee

Homemade crumpets

Elevate your afternoon tea spread with these fluffy homemade crumpets – they’re well worth the effort.

A wire cooling rack filled with golden crumpets, with one crumpet on a plate with a knife and butter

Strawberry and Pimm’s boozy jam

Check out this quick and easy boozy jam recipe with juicy strawberries and Pimm’s for a summery addition to your afternoon tea spread.

Strawberry Jam with Pimm’s

Lemon curd

Making your own lemon curd to spread on your scones is easier than you think with this recipe and give you a really fresh, zesty curd.

Easy lemon curd

Pink rhubarb shortcakes

American shortcakes are more like scones than biscuits. Usually filled with strawberries and cream these pink rhubarb ones are a great British twist to serve at high tea. Try our rhubarb recipes for more British sweet treats.

Rhubarb Shortcakes Recipe

Want to serve an interesting tea with your scones? Try this recipe…

Turmeric chai tea

Turmeric is said to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties and has been used as a culinary medicine in India for centuries. This chai tea is really simple to make and perfect if you have any leftover turmeric.

Turmeric Chai Tea in two cups with a tea pot

Patisserie and sweet afternoon tea treats

Serve your sweet afternoon tea treats on a cake stand to create an impressive spread to carry to the table. You can assemble the pastries, biscuits and cakes ahead and bring out the afternoon tea stand after a couple of rounds of scones. If you want to spruce up your pastry skills, here are our best patisserie recipes to try.

Coconut macaroons

Bite-sized coconut macaroons make the perfect addition to your afternoon tea, best served with a hot pot of tea.

Chocolate-covered macaroons cooling on a wire rack


These delightful French treats would go down beautifully at afternoon tea, made from featherlight meringue discs with a white chocolate ganache filling.

A plate of pastel-coloured macarons on a white surface with a pink linen napkin

Ferrero Rocher cupcakes

Show off your baking skills with these heavenly Ferrero Rocher cupcakes – a whole Ferrero Rocher is inside each sponge, topped with silky Nutella buttercream.

A stone cupcake stand on a wooden surface holding chocolate cupcakes topped with Ferrero Rocher

Viennese whirls

These buttery, melt-in-the-mouth biscuits are a tea-time blast from the past – ideal for a classic-style afternoon tea.

Marshmellow Vienesse Biscuits

Vanilla cake

This classic vanilla-scented sandwich cake will go down well at your next afternoon tea – present it to guests and watch it disappears in minutes.

A vanilla sponge cake covered in icing and topped with sprinkles with a slice taken out, against a pink and green background

Strawberry cupcakes

These table ready cupcakes would make a summery addition to your afternoon tea spread, perfect with a fresh pot of tea.

Cupcakes topped with frosting and sliced strawberries

Snowball madeleines

Give the English madeleine a festive spin by infusing with the flavours of a classic snowball cocktail.

Coconut Snowball Madelines Recipe

Earl Grey and yogurt madeleines

Refresh the classic afternoon tea menu with these fragrant madeleines.

A plate of earl grey yoghurt madeleines next to a cup of coffee

Chelsea bun

Pair sweet and squishy chelsea buns with a cup of tea for the perfect afternoon treat.

A batch of chelsea buns on a wire cooling rack with icing drizzled over on a marble countertop

Blood orange sticky iced buns

These pretty buns a more refined version of that cake shop staple, topped with a zesty blood orange icing and pretty edible flowers. Popular at Easter, you’re sure to impress family and friends with these beautiful buns.

Orange Sticky Buns Recipe

Dulce de leche banana bread

Afternoon tea has a reputation for fussiness and recipes that need a lot of patience to make. These mini loaves are incredibly easy to make but still look elegant enough for the fanciest tea.

Dulce De Leche Banana Bread Recipe

St Clements swiss roll

Simple citrus flavour combinations makes this swiss roll really light and refreshing. An airy lemon sponge is layered with tart marmalade and a rich vanilla and orange cream.

Lemon Swiss Roll Recipe with Orange

Carrot and tahini muffins

These delicious muffins are sure to go down a treat at afternoon tea, with a nutty tahini buttercream taking classic carrot cake to the next level.

A teal background topped with a small plate, with a golden muffin with white icing on top

Chocolate éclairs

Take your éclairs to the next level with step-by-step help from the olive test kitchen. Craquelin is similar to a crumble mix, and when baked on top of the choux buns, gives a crackly, crisp top, typical in classic patisserie.

Chocolate Éclairs Recipe

Rhubarb and custard slice

We’ve taken a classic flavour combination and given it a modern twist with this recipe for rhubarb and custard slices.

Rhubarb and Custard Slice Recipe

Cornflake tart

Bring a nostalgic sweet treat to your afternoon tea spread with our revamped cornflake tart, with fresh berry jam and added peanuts for extra crunch.

A wooden background topped with a golden pastry tart with cornflakes on top

Cherry bakewell tart

Our cherry bakewell tart is an exceedingly good tart – serve with a cup of builder’s tea for a proper English teatime treat. Try our favourite sweet tart recipes here.

Cherry bakewell tart

Raspberry and white chocolate macarons

They’re a bit of a labour of love, but macarons aren’t that difficult to make and everybody will think you are a genius. The powdered egg white gives you a crisp light finish and the raspberry and white chocolate flavours make them the perfect afternoon tea treat. Or try our Nutella macarons for something a bit more chocolatey.

Raspberry and white chocolate macaroons

Cherry and pistachio bakewell galette

Check out this easy twist on the classic British bakewell tart. Pistachios add a vivid green colour and richness to the traditional almond filling. Chilling the tart before baking helps set the shape so don’t skip that step.

Bakewell Tart with Cherries and Pistachio galette cut up into triangles and served on round white plates on a rustic white table

Lemon and blueberry bars

Our simple lemon and blueberry bars are seriously moorish, gooey on the inside and crunchy on the out, the ideal summertime afternoon tea treat.

Lemon and Blueberry Tray Bake Recipe

Strawberry éclairs

Our light and airy strawberry éclairs are a fantastic summery twist on the classic chocolate. They’re a little effort, but look stunning – they’ll be a hit with adults and kids alike. You can get strawberries all year round now, but they’re at their best from June until August, so make the most of them.

Strawberry eclairs recipe

Rose and almond choux buns

Our favourite delicate afternoon tea recipe. Bite-sized rosewater cream buns, designed to impress. A new way to use choux pastry, these crumble-topped treats are a doddle once you’ve mastered the choux.

Rose and Almond Choux Buns Recipe

Pistachio swirl biscuits

These easy pinwheel biscuits are made with cocoa and pistachio, these nutty treats are quick to bake and will add a pretty touch to tea time. Make plenty – they won’t last for long when the rest of the family spots them. Make one of our favourite biscuits recipes here to add to your afternoon tea spread.

Pistachio Pinwheel Cookie Swirl Recipe

Fresh cherry and coconut lamingtons

Lamingtons, originally from Australia, make a delicious high tea treat. Mini cakes, decorated in cherry jam and desiccated coconut, topped with a fresh cherry.

Cherry and Coconut Pink Lamingtons Recipe

Apricot and pistachio sticky buns

These apricot and pistachio sticky buns are hard to resist. They’re perfect with a cup of tea or as part of an afternoon tea spread.

Sticky Iced Buns Recipe with Coconut

Afternoon tea cakes

When you go to a proper afternoon tea at somewhere like The Ritz or The Savoy, you have a final sweet course on top of the pastry stand. Some afternoon tea connoisseurs bring out a cake trolley and cut a slice for you at the table, while others have a choice of one or two cakes to enjoy as a final treat before you go home. Our British cake recipes are ideal to serve at your afternoon tea.

Classic Victoria sponge cake

A classic, simple Victoria sponge is one of the recipes that you should have in your repertoire. This traditional sponge cake uses an all in one method making it super quick, easy and the perfect party cake. Once you master this, afternoon tea will no longer be daunting, and making variations will be easy.

Victoria Sponge Cake Recipe

Coffee, chocolate and walnut cake

The combination of coffee and walnut is a classic but the addition of chocolate adds another layer of flavour to this beautiful cake, ready in just one hour.

Coffee and Walnut Cake Recipe with Chocolate

Raspberry custard cake

Check out this easy traybake recipe with sweet and juicy raspberries and creamy custard, a perfect teatime treat. Long-life custard is a bit more stable and usually thicker than fresh, so it’s good for baking into cakes.

Raspberry Custard Cake Recipe

The lightest victoria sponge

Follow these simple steps to get a beautiful, classic jam and cream sponge sandwich that is lighter than air – perfect to go with your afternoon tea.

Victoria sponge cake filled with jam, fruit and cream

Lemon curd layer cake

Love the zingy flavour and creamy texture of lemon curd? Us too. It’s even better in a cake, when you can use lemon curd as one of the key components in a really indulgent icing recipe. We’ve used a whole jar of lemon curd for this recipe, but you can always reduce that amount if you haven’t much of a sweet tooth. Find our lemon curd recipe above. Check out our other show-stopping cake recipes here.

Lemon curd layer cake decorated with edible flowers

Strawberry and pistachio cake

A lovely light pistachio cake with strawberry icing that’s worth the extra effort. When strawberries smell good, they should be at optimum ripeness and have flavour – perfect for this cake.

Traybake sponge topped with strawberries and pistachios

Chocolate loaf cake

Serve this rich, fudgy loaf cake at afternoon tea for an ultra-chocolatey hit. Top with a sprinkle of chilli flakes for a subtle spicy kick.

A glossy chocolate loaf cake with chocolate ganache and sea salt flakes on top

Passion fruit layer cake

An easy-to-make springy sponge cake layered with the tangy, fresh-tasting sweetness of a passion fruit icing.

Passion Fruit Cake Recipe

Date and ginger tea loaf

Check out our easy tea loaf with juicy dates and fiery ginger. This moreish cake recipe is easy to make and packed with plenty of flavour – perfect with an afternoon cuppa.

Ginger and date loaf cakentopped with icing and chopped ginger

Chocolate and hazelnut millefeuille cake

Sandwich crisp puff pastry circles together with homemade hazelnut ganache, then top with sweetened Frangelico whipped cream, crushed hazelnuts and a drizzle of warm Nutella for a decadent dessert.

Chocolate and hazelnut millefeuille cake

Coffee cake with pecan brittle

Classic coffee cake is one of our all-time favourite afternoon treats. In this recipe, we’ve given it a modern twist to include deliciously crunchy pecan brittle.

Coffee Cake Recipe with Pecan Brittle

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