Moist, tender scones that are loaded with fresh lemon zest and poppy seeds are the most delicious treat for breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea! A drizzle of easy homemade lemon glaze will add an extra lemony kick to your scones in just 2 ingredients!
If there’s lemon poppy seed on the menu, I’m a happy chick. When there’s lemon poppy seed scones on the menu, I’m a happy chick times 1,000! This scone recipe is my go-to base for really any flavor of scones. Add in lots of fresh lemon zest, poppy seeds, and a squeeze or fresh lemon juice and you’ve got yourself a scone masterpiece!
Try my Cranberry Orange Scones next!
What are Scones?
Scones are a rich, slightly sweet baked goods typically serve in England, Ireland and Scotland for breakfast or afternoon tea! The texture is dense yet tender and a bit crumbly.
Scones vs. Biscuits
Scones are a baked good similar to the American biscuit. The main difference is the texture! Biscuits are flakier and lighter, while scones are crumblier and denser yet still moist.
- All-purpose flour – flour is the base for scones!
- Heavy cream – heavy cream makes scones rich and moist.
- Butter – butter will flavor your scones, while yielding a moist yet slightly crumbly texture!
- Egg – eggs add flavor and structure.
- Baking powder – baking powder causes your scones to rise.
- Sugar – a dash of sugar will sweeten your scones just enough to play nicely off the lemon.
- Salt – salt adds flavor.
- Vanilla extract – vanilla adds flavor.
- Poppyseeds – poppyseeds add a bit of texture and a pop of nuttiness!
- Lemon zest – lots of fresh lemon zest will add lemon flavor without unwanted sourness.
- Lemon juice – a dash of lemon juice in the dough will add the slightest bit of tang! There’s also lemon juice in the glaze.
- Powdered sugar – powdered sugar is the base of our easy lemon glaze.
Ingredient Substitutions & Variations
- Heavy cream – substitute buttermilk for heavy cream if you like a tangier flavor.
- Vanilla extract – substitute almond extract for vanilla extract, or leave this ingredient out completely.
- Add turbinado sugar – halfway through baking, sprinkle with coarse sugar (like turbinado) for extra crunch!
- Try my Cranberry Orange Scones for a different flavor of scone with the same delicious base!
Why Must Ingredients Be Cold When Making Scones?
To make sure your scones rise properly, work with cold butter, cream and eggs! If the ingredients are too warm and the butter melts, the pockets of steam needed for moist, tender scones won’t form.
When in doubt, refrigerate your dough for 10-15 minutes before forming the dough into scones! You shouldn’t have to do this if you use cold ingredients and bake your scones as soon as they’re formed.
How to Make Scones
Full scone recipe in recipe card!
- Combine dry ingredients.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, and poppy seeds.
- Add butter.
Add cold butter chunks, and cut into the dry ingredients until it resembles a fine crumble.
- Combine wet ingredients.
Combine cold egg, cold heavy cream, vanilla extract and lemon juice.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.
Use a spoon to combine wet and dry ingredients until just incorporated.
- Form dough into scones.
Form a 1-inch thick round disk. Cut the round into 6 even-sized wedges.
- Brush with cream.
Brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes until golden.
Let scones cool for at least 10 minutes before glazing with powdered sugar mixed with lemon juice.
How to Make Lemon Glaze for Scones
Simply mix together ½ cup powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. Use a spoon to drizzle glaze on scones that have cooled for at least 10 minutes!
How to Store Scones
Scones store well in an airtight container for 3 days! Of course, they’re best enjoyed freshly baked!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
You can warm scones in the oven wrapped in foil at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes until just warm. You can warm scones in the microwave if you’re in a pinch by places scones on a plate covered with a damp paper towel for 20-30 seconds.
Yes! Freeze the dough before baking by freezing dough wedges for 30 minutes on a baking sheet until they harden, before transferring them to a freezer safe bag. Bake a few minutes longer than directed below! You can also freeze unglazed baked scones in a freezer-safe bag, warming them in the oven wrapped in foil.
What to Serve With Scones
Serve your room temperature or warm with:
- Clotted cream
- Homemade Strawberry Preserves
- Lemon curd
- Homemade whipped cream
- Fresh fruit
- A cup of coffee
- Hot tea
- Or alone!
More Baked Good Recipes on Tastefully Grace!
- Cranberry Orange Scones
- Bacon Cheddar Biscuits
- Strawberry Muffins
- Blueberry Lemon Muffins
- Buttery Parker House Rolls
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup cold heavy cream plus more for brushing
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- 1 large cold egg
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest packed
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, and poppy seeds.
- Add cold butter chunks, and use a pastry/dough cutter or fork to cut up and incorporate butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles a fine crumble.
- In a separate bowl, lightly whisk cold egg, ¾ cup cold heavy cream, vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and use a spoon to combine together until just incorporated. Do not overmix! Mixture will be relatively dry and crumbly, just moist enough to form into a flaky ball. If it’s too dry to form a ball add a tablespoon or two more heavy cream.
- Move dough to a clean, dry working surface. Form a 1-inch thick round disk. Use a bench or regular knife to cut the round into 6 even-sized wedges.
- Move each wedge onto baking sheet, lightly pressing any loose pieces into the scones. Use a basting brush to brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream (about a tablespoon in total).
- Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes, until scones are set and light golden brown.
- Let scones cool for at least 10 minutes before glazing with powdered sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
- Don’t overmix your dough! Overmixing causes tough scones.
- You MUST use cold butter, cold cream, and cold eggs for tender, moist scones!