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Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Scones

I just love the combination of lemon and poppy seeds — lemon poppy seed muffins, lemon poppy seed cake, lemon poppy seed bread, and so on. But what I really wanted was a recipe for lemon poppy seed scones, and surprisingly I could only find a few choices. As none of them really jumped out at me, I decided to create my own recipe.

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As you know, the litmus test for all of my recipes is how they fare with my five kids. Well, I can tell you that within five minutes of them walking in the door from school, every last scone, crumbs and all, was devoured!

Sadly I only got to sample one small scone, but I will definitely be making these again for our Easter brunch. It was flaky and tender, with just the right amount of lemon flavoring, and the lemon glaze was deliciously tart and sweet all at the same time. Even my ultra-picky five-year-old has been begging me to make more — no small miracle.

I started with these juicy Meyer lemons. If you’re not familiar with Meyer lemons, they’re a cross between lemons and mandarin oranges, which gives them a unique, slightly sweeter lemon flavor than a standard lemon.

The key to light and airy scones is not to overwork the dough. Just mix it enough so that it comes together, and then form it into a round for cutting. I like to use a pastry mat with guidelines to help gauge size and prevent the dough from sticking to my counter.

If you have a dough scraper, it makes cutting the scones easier. Just press it straight down, quickly and cleanly, so you don’t compress the dough, allowing your scones to rise higher.

I gave my lemon scones both a dusting of granulated sugar and a drizzle of simple lemon glaze. What can I say — I have a sweet tooth! But seriously, the granulated sugar gives them a slightly crispier top and adds visual appeal.

Lemon Poppy Seed Scones

Lemon Poppy Seed Scones

Yield: 12 scones
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Total Time: 29 minutes


For the scones:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus more to sprinkle on top
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 lemons, zested
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of chilled unsalted butter, grated or cut into small pieces
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

For the glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar


For the scones:

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees, and position your baking rack in the top third of your oven.
  2. Mix flours, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, lemon zest, and salt in a bowl with a whisk.
  3. Add grated or cut butter to mixture and cut in with a pastry cutter. I choose to simply use my microplane that I had already used for the lemon zest to grate my butter.
  4. Whisk together egg and lemon juice and add to the flour mixture, mixing with a wooden spoon.
  5. Add heavy cream to mixture and use wooden spoon to combine as best you can. You'll probably need to get your hands in there to work it all together, but be careful not to overwork the dough.
  6. Divide the dough into two and flatten each half into a 6-inch disk. Cut each round into 6 equal pieces.
  7. Transfer scones to a baking sheet and sprinkle with granulated sugar if desired. Adjust oven temperature down to 450 degrees and bake the scones until they're golden brown, about 14 minutes.

For the glaze:

  1. Whisk together 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar until smooth.
  2. Drizzle over cooled scones.

How much did you LOVE this recipe?

Please leave a comment below or share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #unsophisticook!

I think these scones are perfect as is, but you could also serve them with some homemade butter or lemon curd or even your favorite jam.

How do you like to top your scones?


Sunday 29th of April 2012

3 tablespoons of poppy seeds seems like a lot.

Tara @ Unsophisticook

Sunday 29th of April 2012

You can certainly cut it down if you'd like -- it won't affect the recipe. We really liked the way the pepperiness of the poppy seeds contrasts with the lemon though.

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