Abstract The content of individual amorphous supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs) in anhydrous and hydrated blended cements was quantified by the PONKCS  X-ray diffraction (XRD) method. The analytical precision and accuracy of the method were assessed through comparison to a series of mixes of known phase composition and of increasing complexity. A 2σ precision smaller than 2–3wt.% and an accuracy better than 2wt.% were achieved for SCMs in mixes with quartz, anhydrous Portland cement, and hydrated Portland cement. The extent of reaction of SCMs in hydrating binders measured by XRD was 1) internally consistent as confirmed through the standard addition method and 2) showed a linear correlation to the cumulative heat release as measured independently by isothermal conduction calorimetry. The advantages, limitations and applicability of the method are discussed with reference to existing methods that measure the degree of reaction of SCMs in blended cements.