The perfect lemon scone has a slight crunch, a soft plush interior, a pronounced lemon aroma, and a kick-ass tangy lemon glaze!
Perfectly petite lemon scones
Don’t let these cute little lemon scones fool you ~ they pack quite a citrus punch thanks to my super flavorful lemon sugar which is my secret weapon when it comes to baking up lemony treats with intense flavor. I love having them on the counter for everyday breakfast, but they really shine on a spring brunch table (think Easter and Mother’s Day, for sure.)
what you’ll need for perfect lemon scones
- fresh lemons for juice and zest
- for lemon scones I recommend using regular lemons. This is one case where I don’t recommend mellow Meyer lemons. Meyer lemons are amazing for some recipes like lemon curd, lemon pudding, or lemon bars. But they have a very thin peel, and aren’t the best for baked goods where I want to utilize lots of lemon oil packed zest for flavor.
- cold, unsalted.
- heavy cream or whipping cream, cold.
- regular granulated sugar for the scones, and confectioner’s sugar for the glaze.
- baking powder, baking soda, salt
- vanilla extract
- vanilla extract (or almond extract) is added for nuanced flavor, it’s surprisingly delicious with the lemon. But don’t add too much, you definitely don’t want to compete with or overwhelm your star flavor.
food processor method for making lemon scones
Recently with my raspberry scones I shared an alternative scone making method that involved melted butter. Today I’m returning to my traditional method using my food processor because it’s so darned quick and easy.
step 1. make lemon sugar
Put your sugar and lemon zest (just the yellow part) into the food processor and pulse/process until all the zest has been incorporated and you’ve got a pale yellow, super fragrant lemon sugar.
step 2. pulse dry ingredients to combine
step 3. pulse in cold butter
Cut your cold butter in smaller chunks and pulse it into the dry ingredients until the butter is completely incorporated and the mixture has a uniform fine crumb texture.
step 4. pulse in wet ingredients
Pulse in the wet ingredients until the dough starts to hold together. It will still be a bit crumbly.
step 5. scoop and bake your lemon scones
Scooping the scones is easier than rolling out the dough, with less cleanup.
the lemon glaze
This is essential for these lemon scones. For while the scones themselves have a softly aromatic lemon flavor, it’s the glaze that packs the lemony punch that makes these scones just perfect.
easy way to glaze a lemon scone ~ dunk them!
- Take your cooled scone and dunk it down, headfirst, into a small bowl of glaze.
- Lift straight up, and them tilt the scone to stop the glaze from dripping.
- Give a little twist of your wrist to turn the scone upright.
- Let the glaze set up before serving.
why we love ’em
The burst of bright citrus is a little bit unexpected in a scone, and really makes this a standout recipe. The all natural lemony flavor sets them apart from even the best bakery scones. The glaze serves to lock in moisture, too, so they’re good for a couple of days.
more scones we’re loving
Perfect Lemon Scones
- baking sheets
- parchment paper
- 2 ounce cookie or ice cream scoop
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- zest from one lemon, peeled with a serrated vegetable peeler (you want the yellow part, not the bitter white pith.), See my post on How to Make Lemon Sugar for details.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp coarse salt
- 1/2 cup cold butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
- 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
- lemon juice
- Put the sugar and zest in the food processor and pulse/process until the zest is fully incorprated and the sugar is pale yellow and fragrant. It will have the texture of brown sugar.
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the bowl and pulse to combine well.
- Drop the pieces of cold butter into the machine and pulse about 20 times to fully incorporate the butter. The mixture should have an even crumbly texture.
- Add the cream and extract and pulse until the dough begins to come together. It will look crumbly, but moist, without dry flour remaining.
- Scoop the dough with a 2 ounce cookie or ice cream scoop onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Put the sheet in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400F.
- Bake the cold scones for 18 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden. The centers may look moist, but will firm up as they cool. Try not to overbake these small scones.
- Let the scones cool on a rack completely before glazing.
to make the glaze
- Combine the sugar with just enough lemon juice to make a thick pourable glaze. Start with 2 tablespoons and go from there. Stir until there are no more lumps left.
- Dunk each scone headfirst into the glaze, then set them on the rack to allow the glaze to set up. You can test one scone to make sure you've got the glaze the way you like it. Add more sugar for a thicker glaze, and more lemon to thin it down.
- Store the scones, covered in foil or with a cake dome, at room temperature for up to 2-3 days.