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Last Updated on April 5, 2021 by Chenée Lewis
I love citrus season! Some of my favorite recipes on this site, like my Orange Rosemary Olive Oil Cake or my Lemon Icebox Pie are full of citrus flavor that is so perfect this time of year. And today I’m so excited to share these lemon poppyseed scones! They’re soft and tender, with the perfect amount of tart lemon flavor and crunchy poppy seeds for texture. Then, just top them with a simple lemon glaze and you’ve got the perfect brunch treat or afternoon snack!
This lemon poppyseed scones recipe is based on my cinnamon scones recipe, and just like those, you won’t be able to stop eating them! They’re perfectly sweet and so easy to make!
What is the secret to making good scones?
The number one thing to remember is to keep your ingredients cold. That means starting with frozen butter, and adding cold sour cream and a cold egg. Plus, we’re grating our butter into the dry ingredients, which will help it to mix in easily without giving it time to warm up. Finally, when our lemon poppyseed scones are ready to bake, we’ll pop the whole baking sheet in the freezer while the oven preheats. This rechills the butter and makes sure we get the best rise and most tender and flaky texture.
Here’s what you’ll need for this simple lemon poppyseed scones recipe:
- granulated sugar – adds just enough sweetness to these scones!
- lemon zest – we’re going to rub the zest into the sugar to release the lemon oil and boost the lemony flavor even more! Be sure to only zest the yellow outer part of the lemon rind, avoiding the white pith, which can add bitterness.
- all-purpose flour – you’ll want to measure your flour by weight using a kitchen scale for the most accurate result, or use the spoon-and-level method.
- baking powder & baking soda – helps to give these lemon poppyseed scones their lift!
- poppy seeds – these add some nice nutty flavor and texture to these scones.
- frozen salted butter – because we need the butter to be very cold and stay cold until the scones are in the oven, we’re going to use frozen butter grated with a box grater so that it incorporates into the dough quickly without too much manipulation.
- sour cream – I recommend using full-fat sour cream for the best texture.
- an egg – unlike in most baking recipes, you’ll actually want to use a cold egg for this lemon poppyseed scones recipe!
- vanilla extract – definitely opt for a good-quality pure vanilla extract. Or better yet, check out my post on how to make vanilla extract at home with just 2 ingredients!
And for the quick lemon glaze you’ll just need:
- fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- powdered sugar
- vanilla extract
You’ll need a box grater to grate your frozen butter, and I like to use a bench scraper to divide the dough into 8 pieces. Other than that, you’ll need a large sheet pan to bake your scones. Here are all my tool recommendations:
Tips and F.A.Q.
As I mentioned, make sure you grate in frozen butter and use cold ingredients!
Also, don’t over mix your dough or handle it too much before baking. We’re also using a special ingredient, sour cream, as an additional boost. It interacts with the baking soda in the dry ingredients to add even more lift to these lemon poppyseed scones!
Finally, make sure your oven is the right temperature and is fully preheated before you begin baking. If your oven temp is a little low, your butter may melt before the outside of the scones have risen and firmed up. I recommend using an oven thermometer to double check your oven temperature and adjust accordingly.
I think so! Adding an egg gives these lemon poppyseed scones a richer, softer texture and helps them to rise while baking.
One of these scones, including the lemon glaze, has a total of 406 calories. See below for complete nutrition information.
Yes! They’re best frozen prior to baking — just freeze them solid, then place in a freezer bag for up to 2 months. Then just bake straight from frozen and add a few more minutes to the bake time.
If you’re loving the citrus flavor in these lemon poppyseed scones, keep it going with my lavender lemon cupcakes! Soft, fluffy, moist vanilla cupcakes with a hint of natural lavender flavor topped with a luscious lemon cream cheese frosting. They’re always a good idea, trust me!
Or for a more subtle citrus flavor, try my No-Bake Cannoli Tart. It’s got a creamy ricotta filling in a cocoa-graham cracker crust, and a hint of orange zest contrasts so well with the dark chocolate chunks that are spread throughout. It’s so good — you’ll never believe how easy it is!
Equipment you may need
- At least one hour before preparing dough (or the night before), place butter in freezer.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together sour cream, egg, and vanilla. Set aside in fridge to keep cool.
- In a separate large bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest, pressing zest into sugar to release oils.
- Whisk in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and poppy seeds and mix well.
- Grate in frozen butter and combine with dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender or a fork, blend butter into flour mixture.
- Fold sour cream mixture into dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined. Use floured hands to continue to lightly knead dough into a ball.
- Place dough on a lightly floured surface and dust top of dough ball with a little more flour. Gently shape into a 8-inch round flattened disk and cut into 8 wedges. Place wedges at least 1-inch apart on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking liner.
- Preheat oven to 400°F and place baking sheet with scones in the freezer to chill while it heats up.
- Bake for 16-17 minutes or until scones are lightly golden on top and golden brown on bottom. Let cool before adding glaze.
- Whisk glaze ingredients together until smooth.
- Place scones on cooling rack over parchment paper or paper towels to catch drips. Drizzle glaze over cooled scones and allow to set.
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