These Lemon Poppy Seed Scones are incredibly tender, tart from the fresh lemon zest, and delicately sweet, with a hint of almond added for good measure. They’re buttery and moist, with crisp crumbly edges. Toss in the visual texture and faint crunch of poppy seeds, drizzle them with fresh lemon glaze, and this unique scone is a keeper!
2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for hands and work surface
6 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided (4 for mix; 2 for sprinkling on tops)
2 tablespoon fresh lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
1–2 tablespoons poppy seeds, depending on preference (I use 2 tablespoons)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold (*if you use salted butter, omit the 1/2 tsp. salt from the recipe)
1/2 cup buttermilk (*if you don’t have buttermilk, see the tip in NOTES)
2 large eggs (1 for scone mix; one for brushing tops of scones)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest (optional, but highly recommended!)
2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)
1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 4 tablespoons sugar, lemon zest, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2. Cut chilled butter into chunks and add to the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles large, pea-sized coarse crumbs. If you don’t have a pastry blender, you can use two forks or your fingers to cut in the butter. Add poppyseeds and gently blend into mixture.
3. Place bowl with the flour/butter mixture in the refrigerator or freezer to chill while you mix the wet ingredients together.
4. In a small bowl gently beat 1 egg. Add buttermilk, vanilla extract, and almond extract, and whisk together. Remove bowl with flour/butter mixture from refrigerator and drizzle the egg mixture into the large bowl over the flour mixture. Gently mix together until just combined. Do not over mix. (If the mixture seems dry, add more heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time.)
5. Working gently, bring the mixture together with your hands until a dough forms.
6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and, with floured hands, gently knead 3-4 times. Do NOT overwork the dough.
7. Roll the dough into an 8 to 9-inch circle and cut into 8 wedges with a sharp knife or bench scraper. This will make fairly good-sized scones, that are large enough for one complete serving. If you prefer smaller scones, separate the dough into two sections, roll each section of dough into a 6-inch circle and cut 6-8 wedges. You will end up with 12-16 smaller scones that are perfect if you are planning to serve other foods along with the scones.
8. Carefully place each scone onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg. Brush some of the egg over each scone. Using remaking 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar, sprinkle over tops of scones.
9. Place baking sheet, with scones on it, in the refrigerator, and chill for at least 15 minutes. This will get the butter in the dough as cold as possible before putting the scones in the oven, which will help the scones to hold their shape as they bake and expand.
10. While uncooked scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
11. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. When 15 minutes are done, take scones out of the refrigerator and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet, arranging them 2-3 inches apart.
12. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and lightly browned on top. Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes. Transfer the scones to a cooling rack.
13. To prepare the Lemon Glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together sugar, lemon zest (if using), and 2 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice until smooth. Whisk in more lemon juice, if necessary, 1 tsp at a time, until glaze is thick but pourable. Drizzle the glaze over warm or cooled scones before serving.
Serve with homemade clotted cream on the side.
14. Store scones in an airtight container. The scones (glazed or unglazed) will keep at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for 5 days.
Equipment needed: Large and small bowls, Pastry Cutter, Baking Sheets, Silicone Baking Mat, Pastry Brush, Micro Zester
These scones are not excessively sweet. If you prefer them sweeter, you can add an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar, but with the drizzle of lemon glaze, I doubt you’ll need to.
BUTTERMILK FROM SCRATCH: Use regular whole or 2% milk and lemon juice or vinegar. For every 1 cup of milk, stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar. Pour milk into a liquid measuring cup. Add the acid (lemon juice or vinegar) and mix together. Let mixture sit for 5-10 minutes while the milk curdles slightly. **for this recipe use 1/2 cup milk and 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice or vinegar.
Freeze Before Baking: Freeze scone dough wedges on a plate or baking sheet for 1 hour. Once relatively frozen, you can layer them in a freezer-friendly bag or container, separated by wax paper. If baking from frozen, add a few minutes to the baking time. Or thaw overnight, then bake as directed.
Freeze After Baking: Freeze the baked and cooled scones before topping with icing. I usually freeze in a freezer-friendly bag or container. To thaw, leave out on the counter for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Warm in the microwave for 30 seconds or on a baking sheet in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 10 minutes.
Overnight Instructions: Prepare scones through step 5. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Continue with the recipe the following day.
Over-spreading: Start with very cold scone dough. Expect some spread, but if the scones are over-spreading as they bake, remove from the oven and press back into their wedge shape, using a rubber spatula.
- Category: Breakfast, brunch or dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: British
Keywords: Lemon Poppy Seed Scones