These lemon poppy seed scones are flaky, fluffy, and moist, with bakery style crunchy tops. They are tangy from the lemon juice and buttermilk, and filled with lots of lemon zest for extra zestiness. The poppy seeds add a delightful texture and flavour to the scones. Top with an optional tangy lemon glaze and serve with butter, clotted cream, or your favourite scone toppings!
This recipe will give you all the tips and tricks about how you can get the most perfect, flaky and moist, scone texture. And that crunchy topping – it’s just so addicting!
🥐 Flaky AND Fluffy?
Yes they are! I use a couple of tricks to make the flakiest, never dry scones:
- Weigh out your flour. Using a scale to weigh your flour will give you the most accurate results! You don’t need to weigh the rest of your ingredients. If you don’t have a scale, measure the flour properly by fluffing it with a spoon, scooping into a measuring cup, and scrape off the excess with the flat edge of a knife without packing in the flour.
- Freeze the butter in little cubes before working it into the flour. This will help ensure that the butter stays as cold as possible.
- Handling: Keep the butter and dough as cold as possible throughout the process. You want to handle it as little as possible so that it does not melt into the dough. The little pockets of cold butter will create layers and flakiness in the scones.
- Cut the butter into the flour (with a knife, pastry cutter, or food processor) until it forms very coarse breadcrumb texture with larger pea sized pieces. The bigger pea sized pieces are key!
- Do not overwork the dough when adding in the wet ingredients. Mix until barely incorporated with some dry bits.
- Folding the dough before chilling: I like to flatten and fold the dough a few times because it helps to form all those buttery flaky layers.
- Chill: Make sure you chill the dough in the freezer before cutting the scones and baking them. This will help re-solidify the butter and ensure that the scones stay flaky during baking.
- Egg wash: Careful to not get any egg wash on the sides of the scones. Egg wash on the sides can prevent the scones from rising as high as possible in the oven. This is because the egg wash will bake and become hard before the scone has a chance to rise completely during baking.
💧 The Glaze
You can top or drizzle the lemon poppy seed scones with an optional two ingredient tangy lemon glaze. The glaze works perfectly with the scone and is perfectly sweet and tart. It is made using only powdered sugar and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
My hubby prefers the scones with glaze, but I prefer them without! I prefer the bakery style crunchy topping which stops being very crunchy after glazing. Make a mix of glazed and unglazed scones and decide what you like yourself!
You can drizzle the scones with the glaze using a fork dipped in the glaze, or dip the tops of the scones right in (what I did).
☕ Serving Suggestions:
The most popular ways to serve the scones is with a generous smear of clotted cream and jam. If you can’t find any clotted cream, I love to serve mine with a generous pat of good quality butter. Oh, and a good cup of tea on the side! These lemon poppy seed scones make the perfect addition to your breakfast, brunch, afternoon tea, or dessert table.
I do so by cracking open the lemon scone in half lengthwise and smearing butter on both sides. If I’m feeling a little festive I also like to add some of my favourite jam in there. But obviously, this is just one way I like to eat scones and I am nowhere near educated about the proper way to eat scones. Find out all about scone etiquette here.
If you’re feeling a little more fancy, you can serve the scones with a lemon or fruit curd. Or a luscious homemade raspberry curd as I did here:
❓ Your Questions Answered
Just cold, refrigerated butter is not good enough for getting flaky layers in your scones. Frozen butter stays cold for longer, giving you enough time to work with the dough without it softening.
I freeze my butter by cutting it into small cubes, laying them out on a plate, and freezing for about 10 minutes. They need to be in small pieces because it is much easier to cut the butter into the flour that way. Also, it freezes faster.
It is important not to get any egg wash onto the sides of the scones because that will prevent the scones from rising as much as possible as they bake in the oven. Only brush the tops for a crunchy, golden top.
My standard egg wash recipe consists of 1 egg and 1 tbsp of whole or 2% milk, whisked together until smooth. I’ve used non dairy milk and it works great substituted for whole milk.
You can also brush the tops with heavy cream, or just egg.
The coarse sugar on top of the egg wash is important for that signature bakery style crunch.
The key to a bakery style scone with a crunchy top is an eggwash and a sprinkle of coarse sugar before baking. I like to use a sparkly coarse sugar for cake decorating that you can find in the cake aisle of the grocery store.
You can make your own buttermilk by adding ½ tbsp of apple cider or white vinegar in a measuring cup and adding enough room temperature milk to get a total of half a cup. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes. It should become lumpy and thick. Use soy or almond milk for a non-dairy option.
Plain kefir also works as a good replacement for buttermilk.
1. Weigh your flour
2. Use frozen butter
3. Do not overwork the dough and handle it as little as possible
4. Fold and chill the dough before baking
5. Careful to not get any eggwash on the sides of the scones
Serve with clotted cream, butter, and jam. If you’re feeling fancy, serve with a little bit of lemon or fruit curd. These scones make the perfect addition to your breakfast, brunch, afternoon tea, or dessert table.
Check out my other brunch approved recipes:
Happy baking! xx
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Lemon Poppy Seed Scones
- parchment paper
- 2 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
- ½ cup buttermilk see notes for how to make buttermilk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 2 ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 lemons zested (save the rest of the juice for glaze)
- ¼ cup poppy seeds
- ½ cup butter 1 cm cubes and frozen for 10 minutes
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp milk
- 2 tbsp Coarse sugar for sprinkling on top
Lemon Glaze (optional)
- 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice more as needed
- Whisk together the lemon juice, buttermilk, vanilla extract, and egg in a medium bowl. Set aside.2 tbsp lemon juice, ½ cup buttermilk, 1 tsp pure vanilla extract, 1 large egg
- Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add sugar, salt, lemon zest, poppy seeds, and stir.2 ½ cup all purpose flour, 1 tbsp baking powder, ⅓ cup sugar, ¼ tsp salt, 2 lemons, ¼ cup poppy seeds
- Using a food processor, pastry cutter, or a knife, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles crumbs with larger pea sized pieces.½ cup butter
- Make a well in the center of the butter and flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir with a spoon until it starts clumping and forming a dough. You want some dry bits to still be there.
- Turn the dough onto a piece of parchment paper and gather it into a ball. Flatten the ball and fold. Repeat two times. Work very quickly to not melt the butter.
- Form into a circle about 20 cm (8”) in diameter. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill.
- Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F). Whisk together the egg and milk for the eggwash.1 large egg, 1 tbsp milk
- Slice the dough into 8 equal wedges (Cut into quarters, and each of the quarter in half). Lift and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper with 2 inches (5 cm) of space in between.
- Brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar for a crunchy topping. Do not get any egg wash on the sides.2 tbsp Coarse sugar for sprinkling on top
- Bake scones for 18-20 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown and the tops are crunchy.
- Let cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.
Lemon Glaze (optional)
- Whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Add more lemon juice as needed to get desired thickness. I had my glaze very thick so that it does not all drip off the scones.1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Use a fork to drizzle the glaze onto the scones. You can also dip the tops into the glaze like I did for a thicker coating.
- Let the glaze firm up for five minutes on a parchment lined baking tray or on a wire rack.
- Serve with your favourite scone toppings and enjoy!
- Weigh flour with a scale
- Use frozen butter (cut in small 1 cm cubes)
- Do not overwork the dough and handle it as little as possible
- Fold and chill the dough before baking
- Careful to not get any egg wash on the sides of the scones
- Eat the scones warm and store in an airtight container
- You can substitute the dairy milk in the egg wash with non dairy milk.
- Brush the tops with heavy cream, or just egg.
- The coarse sugar on top of the egg wash is important for that signature bakery style crunch.