Fresh Lemon-Blueberry Scones
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This lemon-blueberry scone recipe yields a flaky, buttery, sugar-crusted, and berry-loaded scone. Buttermilk makes the crumb especially tender, and a hint of fresh lemon zest so nicely complements the berries, adding a touch of brightness, too.
You might recall my obsession with Tartine? When you live hundreds of miles from this magical bakery, it’s good to have a few of their tricks up your sleeve. This lemon-blueberry scone recipe is a great place to start.
The key to making a good scone is similar to making a good pie crust or a good biscuit:
- Use cold butter.
- Handle the dough minimally.
Keeping the butter cold creates a flakiness in the finished pastry. Handling the dough with a light touch ensures the crumb will be tender.
There are a few ways to “cut” cold butter into dry ingredients:
- A pastry cutter: This hand-held, u-shaped tool works well if you have a sturdy one with solid (as opposed to wire) “blades”. I find pastry cutters to be a little tricky initially — they slip and slide — but once you make a few cuts, they beautifully “cut” the butter into the dry ingredients.
- The back of a fork: The back of a fork works similarly to a pastry cutter, but will require a little more elbow grease.
- Food processor: Ten 1-second pulses in the food processor will quickly cut butter into dry ingredients, as in this pie dough recipe. Finish the scone dough by hand, however: once the butter is cut into the dry ingredients, transfer it to a bowl and add the buttermilk and blueberries; combine using a wooden spoon or spatula.
- Box grater: If you freeze the butter before using it, you can run it down a box grater to create fine shreds, which will incorporate easily into your dry ingredients.
Three More Tips for Excellent Scones
- Use buttermilk: Buttermilk tenderizes gluten, which promotes a tenderness in the final product. It also offers a nice tang.
- Add citrus zest: Fresh lemon or orange zest makes all the difference in a pastry, offering a touch of brightness as well as a nice complement to the sweet fruit.
- Use the tea towel trick to shape: To prevent overworking the dough, mix it with a spatula until you have a shaggy dough; then transfer to a large tea towel and twist it into a beggar’s purse to bring it together.
PS: I use this same base recipe to make Buttermilk Currant Scones and Cranberry-Orange “Snow” Scones.
More Lemon-Blueberry Recipes
How to Make Blueberry Scones
First, gather your ingredients: flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, butter, berries, buttermilk, and a lemon.
Next, mix the dough just until it comes together (video guidance above and in recipe card):
Turn it out onto a floured work surface and shape into a rectangle or square about 1.5 inches thick:
Cut as you wish: rectangles, squares, triangles or rounds, using a biscuit cutter:
Transfer to a parchment lined sheet pan, and brush with butter and sprinkle with turbinado (or other sugar).
Bake at 400ºF for 20 minutes or until evenly golden:
Transfer to a cooling rack for 5 minutes before serving with butter or jam on the side.
Use this recipe as a guide. These currant scones and cranberry scones are favorites as well:
If you don’t feel like dealing with scraps and re-rolling the dough, simply cut it into triangles:Print
Fresh Lemon-Blueberry Scones
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 6 to 8 large scones
Adapted from Tartine’s recipe for currant scones.
UPDATE 5/12/2023: I recently updated my method, which is highlighted in bold in the recipe below. If you prefer the old method, see the notes below the recipe. In sum I now:
- Grate the butter using a box grater.
- Use 1/4 cup more blueberries.
- Use the same tea towel method I use for my pie dough to bring the dough together.
- Cut the dough into 6 large triangles as opposed to smaller circles.
As always, for best results, use a digital scale to measure.
To freeze: After you place the scones on a sheet pan, transfer them to the freezer. Freeze until solid; then transfer the scones to an airtight container or bag. When you are ready to bake, there’s no need to thaw them. Bake as directed below straight from the freezer. The scones shouldn’t take much longer to bake from frozen, but keep an eye on them at the 20-minute mark.
To make your own buttermilk:
- Place 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup.
- Fill cup with milk (2% or whole is best) until it reaches the 1-cup line.
- Let stand for five minutes. Use as directed.
- 2 1/3 cups (300 g) all-purpose flour
- 1.5 teaspoons (5 g) baking powder
- 0.5 teaspoon (3 g) baking soda
- 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
- 1.25 teaspoons (6 g) salt
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup (113 g) cold, unsalted or salted butter (I use salted)
- 1 to 1.25 cups (150 g to 195 g) fresh blueberries (I use 1.25 cups)
- 3/4 cup (190 g) buttermilk, plus more as needed
- 1.5 tablespoons melted butter
- sugar for sprinkling: turbinado is especially pretty but granulated is fine, too
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, and lemon zest. Grate the stick of butter using a box grater, then scatter the shreds over the dry ingredients.
- Toss the butter with the dry ingredients and, using your hands, squeeze it gently to disperse it throughout the flour.
- Add the buttermilk and the blueberries, and mix gently with a spatula until you don’t see any dry patches in the dough — be patient here. The dough will still be shaggy and will not be a cohesive mass but when pinched, it should hold together. If the mixture seems dry, add a tablespoon more buttermilk (or more as needed). At this point, I now do what I do when I make pie dough: turn the crumbly dough out into the center of a large tea towel, grab the sides and twist the mass into a beggar’s purse, squeezing gently to help it form a disk. Open the tea towel and gently pat the dough as needed to help it come together.
- Dust your work surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Pat the dough into a 7-inch round circle. Brush the top with melted butter. Sprinkle with sugar. Use a bench scraper to cut the scones into 6 or 8 triangles (I prefer the larger size of the 6 scones, but they are on the large side, so do 8 if you prefer smaller scones.) Transfer the scones to the prepared sheet pan.
- Bake until the tops of the scones are lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool briefly, then serve with butter on the side.
Old Method: Step 4 on
- Add the buttermilk and the blueberries, and mix gently with a spatula until the dough holds together. If the mixture seems dry, add a tablespoon more buttermilk (or more as needed). Knead gently if necessary.
- Using your hands, pat the dough into a rectangle about 1½ inches thick. Using a 2.5-inch biscuit cutter or any round cutter, cut each disk into about 8 circles. Gather the scraps together and repeat.
- Transfer scones to prepared sheet pan. (I like to chill my scones for 20 minutes at this point before baking them; you also can freeze the scones at this point — see notes above.) Brush the top with melted butter. Sprinkle with sugar. Note: You also can simply cut these into triangles or rectangles, which is easier.
- Previously I would place another sheet pan beneath the sheet pan holding the scones because often the bottom of my scones would burn, but I have since updated my sheet pans, and I am not having those issues. Something to keep in mind if you find your scones to be too brown on the bottom.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: breakfast, scone, blueberry, buttermilk, lemon, brunch
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144 Comments on “Fresh Lemon-Blueberry Scones”
Gorgeous! I love the wedge-shaped American scones. It lets you handle the dough so lightly and you get such a great result!
last time I was in the city, they were completely sold out of *everything* … damn you, tartine!
This looks wonderful! LOVE THIS! Thanks for the great recipes that include blueberries! We have two bushes and can’t wait to get picking!!
Buttermilk rules once again!
Oh good. Now I can blame my extra weight on you.
could you please send me the 1/2 recipe measurements for the blueberry scones. having a problem figuring them out. thanks in advance.
I know, a half recipe is tricky. This is the best I can do. Here you go:
2 3/8 cup all-purpose flour (3/8 cup = 6 tablespoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/8 tsp. baking soda (a scant 1/2 teaspoon)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt (a heaping half teaspoon)
1/2 tsp. lemon zest, grated
1/2 cup + 1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter, very cold
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup blueberries
1.5 T. butter
sugar for sprinkling such as demerara or turbinado (regular granulated is fine, too)
Can I use frozen blueberries for the scone recipe.
Annetta — I’m sure you could — I’ve never tried, but I think frozen blueberries almost always can be substituted for fresh in baked goods. I would not thaw them before using them. Report back if you have success!
Thanks. I plan to make this for my son whose away at college.
Ok. I made theses this morning and they didn’t turn out exactly right. They did taste good but the texture wasn’t right. I think when using frozen blueberries you should not mix the buttermilk and berries at the same time. The frozen berries freeze up the buttermilk and make your dough to dry. I had to add more buttermilk which made it too soft in the end.
Hi Annetta — I’m sorry to hear that the frozen blueberries didn’t work out. Thanks for reporting back on this — I wouldn’t have thought about the coldness of the berries affecting the buttermilk, but that makes sense.
The blueberries should be folded in at the last and not handled so that they stay good and frozen. Hope this helps: )
Hi there, i’m wondering, would it still be okay if i refrigerated the dough and put it away for tomorrow morning (St. Patty’s Day!!!) to bake? would they stay fresh if i did make them today and saved them for tomorrow?
also, i think i’m just going to keep them in the shape of a disk like they do in Dub-town (hehe). would that be possible, and if so, should I make any baking changes?
Rachel — Definitely refrigerate the dough and save it to bake fresh for tomorrow morning. Scones taste OK the second day, but they definitely dry out a bit. They taste so much better freshly baked. If you have to bake them a day ahead, they liven up a bit if you slice them and toast them.
The disc shape sounds nice — you shouldn’t have to make any baking changes. Happy St. Patty’s Day!!
I have made these twice now to rave reviews. (From everyone other than my husband, who doesn’t like scones at all… How? I have no idea!) One gentleman co-worker with whom I shared my goodies said he hadn’t had a good scone since he came home from England, years ago. It made me feel quite accomplished. Thanks for sharing such a special recipe with us! I’ll be making it over and over again…
Annette, thanks so much for writing in with this nice comment. It’s always nice to hear others share their enthusiasm for certain recipes. And, I think these scones must be modeled after traditional British scones, because my father, also from England but a resident of the US for 40 years now, said literally nearly the same thing when he came to visit last weekend and made him the currant variation of this recipe. Anyway, British or not, I love them and so glad you do too!
I just made these. I made a half batch. The taste and texture were good. One of my issues was having to halve all the ingredients. That was a bit of a pain. I figured out the measurements easily but I would have rather made a whole batch. having to half 3/4 of a teaspoon? Anyway I did it. Another issue was how wet my dough was. I followed the recipe to the T and i had to add flour and chill the dough in the freezer for a half hour. It was too wet otherwise even after adding the flour. I’m sorry, it killed my desire to ever make these again. Sorry 🙁
My daughter and I just returned home from blueberry picking and we’re getting ready to make the 6th or 7th batch. 🙂 We LOVE these scones. (It makes me not want to try other recipes… lol) This time, we will make the whole recipe, but put half in the freezer. When we return from vacation, I know we’ll have a yummy treat on our first morning back. Thanks again for an AMAZING recipe. —To Ellen ^ I would strongly suggest trying this recipe again, using the whole recipe. Bring the extras to neighbors, a pastor, co-workers, friends, whomever…. My dough is wet when I make it too, it doesn’t affect the outcome. Best Wishes!
Annette — I am so happy to hear this. It’s one of my favorites as well. I love a scone in the morning — not too sweet, but still a “sweet” in spirit — and summer berries are just the best addition. Thank you for the encouragement to Ellen as well.
This is our Glycemic Indulgence Day goto breakfast hullabaloo. We add a bunch of chopped candied ginger.
James — love it! Love the idea of candied ginger, too.
@Annetta I made these this morning with frozen blueberries, but as per your experience, I added all the buttermilk in before mixing in the frozen blueberries. They are delicious!! 🙂 I did have to knead the dough a bit on the counter to get them to mix in, but it was fine otherwise and baked the same
Wonderful recipe! thanks for sharing!! 🙂
Made these again today only, with a few changes, since it’s valentine’s day and Mr. loves nutella 🙂
replaced the blueberries with chopped strawberries, omitted the lemon zest. after mixing, rolled dough out to approx 19 x 6 x 1/2″ and smeared nutella all over it then rolled it up. smushed it to about 1.5″ thick and cut into 12 triangles. baked as usual. Very tasty! I prefer the blueberry, but these are wonderful too. Not quite as flaky and crumbly because I worked the dough so much more, but still delish!!
Kelsie — Thanks so much for writing in with this fun and festive variation! Definitely more fitting for Valentine’s Day despite not being as flaky. I LOVE nutella, especially with strawberries. I have a feeling the kiddos might like this a lot. Fun. Thanks so much!
AMAZING!!!! I’ve made these scones twice already and getting set to make them for a third time. The entire family loves them. They looks so professional, like I’m a real baker. Great for a housewarming gift…if you can stand giving some away.
Jill — I’m so happy to hear this! I know, aren’t these the best scones? They truly are hard to give away…
Hey, When I mix the blueberries, they always get smushed 🙁 do you have any tips to prevent this from happening? Thanks!
Crystal, it definitely is tricky to fold berries into scone dough versus cake or muffin batter. There isn’t really a trick except practice and also being gentle and patient. One thing I always do when I fold berries into muffin batter is to reserve a little bit of the flour mixture to toss with the blueberries before folding them in. Does that make sense? You could try it. It might protect the berries a little bit, but I can’t guarantee it. Hope that helps somewhat.
These are the best scones I have ever made! Thank you!
Yay! So happy to hear this!
I have been looking for a good scone recipe and this one looks fantastic. Will have to try making them this weekend.
Made these today for the first time. I will certainly make them again; they were delicious and have just the right amount of sugar. My only problem is they spread out and flattened more than I expected. When they seemed a little dry, I added more water (since I used powdered buttermilk that is always in my pantry). Next time I will mix them more before adjusting the liquid.
Wonderful to hear this Jo! Sorry to hear about the spreading, but I think your instincts were right re adding more water — I always add a little more buttermilk if the mixture seems dry. Buttermilk is thicker than water, so that could make a difference, but flour behaves differently depending on the time of year so small adjustments such as the one you made do make sense. But, I am happy to hear you will adjust differently next time based on this experience. I am sure they will turn out better next time!
When I baked these at 400, they were burning from the bottom(I had the rack in the middle of the oven). I moved them mid-baking session up one level and also lowered the temp a bit- have you heard of this occurring? I do not bake much and wondered what I could have done wrong.
Oh no! You know, every oven is different, and it’s possible that yours just runs a little hotter, so even though it says 400, it might be 25 or 50 degrees off. I would suggest just lowering the temperature by 50 degrees next time around and using your best judgement re baking time. Also, what kind of pan were you using to bake them on — certain materials conduct heat differently, and the pan could have made a difference.
Can I use raisins with this recipe? Thanks.
Yes! I would suggest following this recipe for Tartine’s currant scones: https://alexandracooks.com/2012/11/13/tartines-currant-scones-lemon-cream/
One of my favorites!
I just made these from your exact recipe tonight! My first time making any type of scones…they were amazing!
They turned out fabulous…. I used Trader Joe’s wild blueberries (thawed and drained) and worked them in after the dough was incorporated. Cut them into triangles, buttered them and sprinkled them with the turbinado. Stuck them in the fridge for a couple of hours till breakfast and then baked. Turned out phenomenal. I also used a Lemon Glaze to drizzle on the top. See Tyler Florence Blueberry Scone). Combining the two really gave it a good flavor.
This are AMAZING!!! Just made them and they turned out great! I did have to add almost 1/2C more of buttermilk to make the dough come together. Thank you for the wonderful recipe.
Yay! So happy to hear this, Rachel! I always have to add more buttermilk, too. I should just adjust the recipe. Thanks for writing in!
This recipe is amazing I have made it several times. I use sticks of frozen butter and grate it into the dry ingredients since I do not like using the pastry cutter
So smart! Love this idea. Totally going to try it. I don’t own a pastry cutter — have always wanted one — but now I don’t think I need one after all 🙂
I have made these and they are amazing!! Do you think it could work with cranberries?
It is so funny that you asked this yesterday, because yesterday I posted this: Cranberry Snow Scones. Cranberries work beautifully. Happy Holidays!
YUMMMMM! I made these last night. They are so good!!
Thanks for the adaption with the bluebs 🙂
ALSO- I LOVE TARTINE! SF is so much better because of Tartine’s insanely good bread! And, Bi-Rite Creamery is just down the corner… just the best. 🙂
So happy to hear this Gabriella! The bluebs variation is great 🙂 🙂 🙂 I am due for a SF trip — too many years have passed without a visit to Tartine and Bi-Rite. So so good.
Yes. I LOVE SF. (And a good part is for those reasons!!!) 🙂
Also- I have made this recipe twice already. SO GOOD!
So happy to hear this! One of my favorites, too 🙂 🙂