Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Scones are soft, moist scones filled with poppy seeds and freshly grated lemon zest, drizzled with a delicious lemon glaze. This classic scone recipe with bright lemon flavors pairs perfectly with your morning coffee, afternoon tea, and is a wonderful addition to a brunch menu or Sunday breakfast.
Confession time: I’ve never been a big fan of scones.
Slather them with all the butter or clotted cream and jam you want but I’d pick a slice of Blueberry Lemon Bread or a moist Chocolate Banana Muffin over a scone just about any day of the week.
Then I discovered how to make a truly moist scone. The kind that won’t leave you needing a large gulp of tea to wash it down.
Made with an easy buttermilk substitute and butter, this great recipe for Lemon Poppyseed Scones turned me into a scone lover!
SAVE THIS EASY SCONE RECIPE TO YOUR FAVORITE PINTEREST BOARD!
Lemon Poppy Seed Scone Recipe
Onto the scones! You’ll love how easy it is to make a lemon poppy seed scone that rivals anything you’ll find in the pastry case at your local coffee shop.
I adapted the recipe I’m sharing today from this awesome cookbook, Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.
These lemon scones are sweet and zesty with a moist crumb. Topped with a lemon glaze and flecked with poppy seeds, I can’t think of anything better to pair with an afternoon cup of coffee or tea.
Best Lemon Poppy Seed Scones
The key to the best lemon scones might surprise you: soured milk. Sounds appetizing doesn’t it?
Maybe I’d better call it “buttermilk” so you don’t think I’ve completely lost it! That’s all buttermilk is, after all. The buttermilk gives these lemon scones a moist crumb and keeps them from getting dry.
Instead of running out to the store for a carton of buttermilk, we’re going to make our own homemade buttermilk by adding acid to regular ol’ milk from your fridge and letting it curdle.
For this recipe, I poured two teaspoons of white vinegar into 2/3 of a cup of milk. Stir it all together then let it sit for a few minutes.
When it’s ready, it’ll look . . .well, spoiled. My kids find it very amusing that I actually spoil milk on purpose when I make scones.
How to Make Lemon Scones with Crunchy Poppy Seeds
Prepare a large baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. While your milk is curdling, get the other ingredients ready. Combine all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the zest of a lemon and a generous amount of poppy seeds to the flour mixture.
Then, cut cold butter into the dry ingredients to make a crumbly dough. I used a pastry cutter for this step but you can also use a fork, food processor or even your hands to work the butter in. The dough will look crumbly and should resemble a coarse meal.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg and soured milk, then add it to the dry dough and mix until just combined. Knead and fold the dough with a rubber spatula about 8 times.
Divide the dough in half on a floured surface and pat each into a circle approximately 5 inches in diameter. Cut the dough into 6 wedges with a sharp knife and transfer dough to the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes in an oven preheated to 400 F and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until lightly golden brown on top. Transfer scones to a wire rack and cool for at least 10 minutes while you prepare the lemon glaze.
Lemon Poppy Seed Scones with Simple Lemon Glaze
This lemon glaze recipe I found here at Kitchen Magpie. The scones are flavorful enough all on their own but the sweet, tangy icing with fresh lemon flavor adds a whole new level of deliciousness!
To make lemon icing for scones, you combine three simple ingredients:
- salted butter (softened works best)
- fresh lemon juice
- confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar)
Whisk all the ingredients together in a microwave safe small bowl. Then microwave the icing for a few seconds until it turns into a pour-able glaze.
Let the lemon glaze cool for a few minutes before pouring it over the scones. My family loves a lemon poppy seed scone with lemon glaze as an afternoon snack. They also make a great on-the-go breakfast paired with a cup of coffee!
Can you store scones in the freezer?
Scones keep beautifully in the freezer! I love to make a double batch of these scones and throw some in the freezer for later. Then, I know I’ll always have a fresh baked good to offer company (or myself!).
Place the scones in a freezer safe bag or airtight container before sticking them in the freezer. They keep well here for several months!
I recommend freezing them before adding the lemon glaze. The glaze is more than fast and easy enough to whip up just before you serve the scones and they’ll taste like they just came out of the oven!
Recipes Notes for Lemon Scones
- I cut the scone dough into wedges before baking but keep the wedges touching in the circle. Cutting it before baking allows for easy separation, but keeping the wedges together during baking allowed for the scones to be bit more moist than is typical.
- If you have store-bought buttermilk on hand, feel free to substitute it for the soured milk.
- Scones keep well stored at room temperature for a couple of days–but we love them fresh from the oven. If you need to make them farther in advance, storing them in the freezer works best!
Lemon Poppy Seed Scones
These scones…um, yeah. I ate like 5 of them by myself before anyone else had a chance to try any. They were just. that. good. I love anything lemon (hello, Lemon Crepes and Lemon Ricotta Pancakes ) and the poppy seed flavoring was great, too.
And that lemon glaze? Oh yeah, it completely made them absolutely swoon-worthy. No joke.
If you love the combo of lemon too, you’re going to adore these other lemon recipes:
- Lemon Poppy Seed Dutch Baby
- Dairy-Free Lemon Poppy Seed Waffles
- The Fluffiest Blueberry Lemon Pancakes
- Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars
I rate everything I make on a scale of 1 – 4 with 4 being the best and these Lemon Poppy Seed Scones earned 4 rolling pins. Mom is going to LOVE these for Mother’s Day!! So, make them for her. Serve her breakfast in bed. She deserves it.
Or if you’re the mom, then you totally deserve them, too and you should SO leave the recipe laying out on the kitchen counter and in red Sharpie write, “MAKE THESE FOR MOTHER’S DAY!” They may just get the hint.
Once I found out that scones could be so incredibly delicious, I didn’t stop with lemon poppy seed. After you bake a batch of lemon poppy seed scones you’re also going to want to give some of my other favorite scones a try.
Cranberry Macadamia Scones are sweet and nutty with just the right amount of tart cranberry flavor in each bite. For bright fruity flavor, make these Mixed Berry Scones and these Blood Orange Marmalade Scones. Apple Cinnamon Scones with Maple Glaze make everyone happy especially in the Fall. And these Cranberry Orange Scones are to die for, too!
This easy soft poppy seed scone recipe with lemon juice, zest, and a sweet lemon glaze with be a welcome addition to any breakfast menu.
Lemon Poppy Seed Scones
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- freshly grated zest from one lemon
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1 egg
- ⅔ cup soured milk directions in notes
- 1 ¾ cups confectioners sugar
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp salted butter
- Place a rack into the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
- Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest.
- Cut butter into smaller pieces and with a pastry cutter, cut butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the egg and soured milk.
- Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until it just comes together. Then using a rubber spatula, knead and fold it together about 8 to 10 times.
- Prepare a flat surface by dusting it with flour, and turn the dough out onto it.
- Divide the dough in half and pat each into a circle approximately 5 inches in diameter. Cut the dough into 6 wedges and transfer the entire disk of dough to the prepared baking sheet. Cutting it before baking allows for easy separation, but keeping the wedges together during baking allowed for the scones to be bit more moist than is typical.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until tops are lightly golden and firm. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes while you prepare the glaze.
- In a medium microwavable bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and butter.
- Place bowl into the microwave and set on high for 45 seconds.
- Whisk again to mix well, removing any lumps and allow to sit for a few minutes to cool.
- Drizzle over scones and serve.
Use as directed.
This post was originally published 5/7/14. It has been updated in format and with pictures on 9/16/22.