Bursting with fresh lemon zest and lemon juice and kissed with a tangy lemon glaze these Lemon Poppy Seed Scones offer a burst of citrusy flavor. They come out of the oven with soft, moist, flaky interiors flecked with a generous amount of poppy seeds and crisp, golden edges. Made by hand in just 20 minutes with a few simple ingredients including butter and heavy cream, these scones are the perfect way to start your day and treat yourself to a refreshing and easy indulgence.
Scones get a bad rap because of all the bad bakery scones people have had. But scones are so good when done right and I love how easy they are to make. If this is your first time making scones or you're looking for the right recipe for moist and buttery scones then you've come to the right place.
Why You'll Love This Scone Recipe
- Flavor and Texture: These scones have great lemon flavor. The recipe uses a combination of butter and heavy cream to produce scones that come out of the oven moist and soft on the inside with crispy edges.
- Easy to Follow: This recipe is made by hand. There are no fancy techniques or hard-to-find ingredients.
- Perfect for any occasion: From brunch to dessert, these scones are always a crowd-pleaser and will leave your guests asking for more.
Lemon Poppy Seed Scone Ingredients
Here are the simple ingredients you'll need for these lemon scones:
- Unbleached All-Purpose Flour. The flour provides the structure for the scones.
- Unsalted Butter. Besides flour, butter is the main ingredient in scones. It’s responsible for flakiness, flavor, crisp edges, and rise. Use frozen butter for the best results.
- Granulated Sugar. This recipe has only 1/4 cup sugar to add just a little sweetness to the scone.
- Baking Powder. The baking powder combined with the cold butter helps the scones to rise.
- Lemon Zest. The lemon zest is the major flavor component for these components. The lemon is zested directly into the sugar to maximize the flavor and the release of the lemon oils.
- Fresh Lemon Juice. The lemon juice adds that extra lemony flavor to the scone.
- Poppy Seeds. The poppy seeds add crunch and a visual appeal.
- Heavy Cream. The heavy cream adds flavor, and fat, and helps create a moist tender scone.
- Kosher Salt. A little salt rounds out all the other flavors.
Full ingredients, measurements, and instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to Make Lemon Poppy Seed Scones
The basic recipe for the scones is easy to make. You don't need any special tools and since the butter is grated into the flour mixture, you won't need a pastry blender or food processor to mix the butter into the dough.
Lemon and poppy seeds are a classic combination, but if you don't have poppy seeds you can make regular lemon scones. You might miss that poppy seed crunch, but they'll still taste amazing.
Step 1: Zest the lemon onto the sugar and use your fingers to rub the lemon zest into the sugar.
Step 2: Place the flour, ginger, poppy seeds, salt, and baking powder into a bowl and whisk to combine.
Step 3: Juice the lemon or lemons until you have two tablespoons of lemon juice.
Step 4: Add the flour and poppy seed mixture to the lemon-sugar mixture and whisk all the ingredients together.
Step 5: Grate the frozen butter directly into the flour mixture. If you're using a box greater it should fit comfortably into the bowl.
Step 6: Toss the butter in with your hands until the butter is coated with flour and dispersed throughout the dry ingredients.
Step 7: Add the heavy cream and stir the dough together using a silicone spatula until moist clumps of dough start to form.
Don't overwork the dough. There will still be some flour not thoroughly mixed in. That is okay, this flour will be mixed in when we shape the dough.
Step 8: Pour the scone dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gather the dough and press it together into a rough-looking rectangle.
Use a bench scraper to fold the dough into a letter fold. Use your hands to press and shape the dough into a rectangle. Repeat this step two more times. After folding and shaping the dough will come together and be a little sticky.
Step 9: Shape it into an 8-inch circle. Use an 8-inch round pan as a guide to shape the dough into an even circle.
Step 10: Cut the circle into 8 pieces with a sharp knife. Please the unbaked scones on a board or tray and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
At this point, the scones can be frozen. Place the scones in a single layer on a sheet pan, freeze them for an hour, and then place them in a freezer bag. When ready to bake, preheat the oven and take them straight from the freezer to the oven. You may need to add 2-3 minutes to the baking time.
Step 11: Place the scones on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Use a large baking sheet (12 x 18-inch) so the scones are not crowded and have plenty of room to rise and spread.
Step 12: Brush each scone with the egg wash.
Step 13: Bake the scones for 15-18 minutes until the scones have doubled in height and the tops are golden brown.
The center of the scones will be at 204F degrees. Check the temperature by inserting an instant-read thermometer in the center of one scone.
Step 14: Remove the scones from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Transfer the scones to a wire rack to completely cool. If adding a lemon glaze to the scone let the scones cool completely to room temperature.
How to Make a Simple Lemon Glaze
The sweet lemon glaze or lemon icing is easy to make. Add the powdered sugar to a small bowl, add the lemon juice, and stir until the glaze is smooth.
Spoon or drizzle the icing over the lemon scone and add a sprinkle of poppy seeds or fresh lemon zest. Serve them with homemade lemon curd for an extra burst of lemon flavor.
How to Store the Scones
- Room Temperature: Store the scones for up to 2 days at room temperature in an airtight container without the lemon glaze. Once the lemon glaze is added the scones should be consumed right away or refrigerated.
- Refrigerator: The scones with or without the lemon glaze can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Wrap each scone in plastic wrap so they don't dry out.
- Freezer: Once the scones have cooled. Wrap each one in plastic wrap, then place them in a freezer bag or freezer safe container. Freeze the scones for up to 1 month. When ready to eat, place them in a 300F oven and bake until they are warm all the way through.
Why Use Cold Butter for Scones
When cold butter is used in a recipe it creates pockets in the dough. As the scone bakes the butter melts, releases steam, and creates air pockets. The steam helps expand these air pockets ultimately helping the scone to rise. These pockets studded throughout the dough create a flaky center while keeping the edges crumbly and crisp.
Frozen butter gives you the best results. Because the butter is grated it's already in small pieces which means we don't have to work the dough as much to mix the butter into the dry ingredients and therefore there is less of a chance that the butter will melt while the dough is mixed.
Pro Tips for Making These Scones
- Use a kitchen scale to weigh the flour to ensure the right amount of flour. Too much flour will make the scone dry and too little will make the dough hard to work with.
- Use cold ingredients for this recipe. The cold butter will melt as the scones bake releasing steam and causing the scone to rise. The cold heavy cream will keep the dough cool.
- Fold the dough. After kneading the dough, fold the dough three times to create layers when the scones are baked.
- Don't overwork the dough. Overworking the dough will cause gluten to develop which will result in a chewy scone. If the dough starts shrinking as you are rolling or patting it out, you have overworked it.
If you make these scrumptious scones please leave a rating and a comment below. I would love to hear from you.
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If You Love This Recipe Try These
Lemon Poppy Seed Scones with Lemon Glaze
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest about 2 or 3 lemons
- 2 1/2 cups (315 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 8 tablespoons (114 grams) unsalted butter frozen
- 1 1/2 cups (345 grams) heavy cream cold
- 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 (50 grams) large egg
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3 teaspoons lemon juice
- Place the sugar in a large bowl and zest the lemon directly on top of the sugar. Use your fingers to rub the sugar and lemon zest together. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, ground ginger and poppy seeds to the bowl and whisk the ingredients together for about 30 seconds.
- Use a box grater to grate the frozen butter into the dry ingredients. Use your fingers to toss the butter and flour together. Measure the heavy cream into a 2-cup measuring cup. Add lemon juice and whisk to combine. Add the cream mixture to the dry ingredients and use a rubber spatula to mix the ingredients together until just blended and most of the flour is mixed in. The dough will look shaggy and there will still be some flour not mixed in.
- Pour the dough onto a floured work surface and knead the dough to mix in the remaining flour. Form a square (approximately 8 x 8 inches). Fold the dough in half and use your hands to pat it into an 8 x 8 square. Fold the dough again in half. Shape the dough into an 8-inch circle, about 1-inch high. If you have an 8-inch round cake pan, use that as a template for an 8-inch circle/ Cut the dough into 8 wedges.
- Place the wedges on a tray or board and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400F while the scones are chilling.
- Whisk together the egg and the cream (or milk). Place the unbaked scones on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the scones with the egg wash.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the internal temperature is 204F degrees. The scones will have golden brown tops and doubled in height. Remove the scones from the oven. Let them cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before moving them to a cooling rack. If adding the lemon glaze let the scones cool to room temperature before added the glaze.
- Place the powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl and stir together with a spoon until the glaze is smooth. Add the glaze to the scones and enjoy.