Lemon Blueberry Buttermilk Scones

Lemon Blueberry Buttermilk Scones are the scones that I've dubbed "scones for people who tell me that they don't really like scones." This is another recipe that we used to make at Julie Anne's, in limited batches, and they inevitably sold out before the late risers made it through the door. The appeal of these lemon blueberry scones is that they are light....not dense like some tend to be. The juiciness of the bursting blueberries combined with the tart lemon glaze means they are not overly sweet, just perfectly buttery and flaky.

Two lemon blueberry buttermilk scones on a plate.

What exactly is a scone?

Scones are just a fancy word for biscuits, right? Not exactly.

Scones are a pastry that originated in the United Kingdom. They are typically round, square, or triangular in shape, have a light, flaky texture and are often enjoyed as part of afternoon tea, breakfast or brunch.

The basic ingredients used to make scones include flour, cold butter (more on that later), sugar, baking powder/baking soda, and cream, milk or buttermilk. Scones can be plain or flavored with sweet or savory additions, such as fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, cheese or herbs. They are usually served warm and can be enjoyed plain, with butter, clotted cream, or jam.

Personally, I enjoy these Lemon Blueberry Scones as they are, straight from the oven.

Pile of lemon blueberry buttermilk scones on a platter.

Why Lemon Blueberry Buttermilk Scones will be your new favorite scone recipe

  • Quick and easy recipe: These treats come together in 15 minutes, max, depending on your mixing method. Simply pulse the ingredients in a food processor or mix them by hand, stir in the blueberries and buttermilk, shape, bake, glaze, and (most importantly) devour!
  • Make them ahead....bake them in the morning: Wouldn't scones be a nice surprise for your household on a morning when cereal would be the norm? The correct answer here is: YES! Luckily, you can make this dough ahead, shape the scones and then freeze them. Bake as many or as few as you need straight from the freezer, top with the glaze, and WIN breakfast.
  • That lemon glaze!: While it's safe to say that buttery blueberry scones are great on their own, we are shooting for *spectacular* with this recipe. The addition of a tart-sweet glaze, which is poured over the top of the warm scones and allowed to soak into the crevices, take this recipe to spectacular....or beyond.

Video tutorial: Watch my Lemon Blueberry Buttermilk Scones from start to finish!

Ingredients and special equipment

Ingredients needed for scones.

Ingredients

  • All purpose flour: To make these scones gluten-free, substitute your favorite, reputable gluten-free flour blend.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Baking powder / baking soda
  • Kosher salt
  • Lemon zest: The oils in the lemon zest add a subtle lemony flavor to the scone itself, when they are rubbed into the dry ingredients. Look for bright yellow lemons with as few blemishes as possible.
  • Unsalted butter: Make sure that your butter is very cold when adding it to the flour mixture. Cold pieces of butter, when heated during the baking process, will created airy, flaky layers of dough, similar to a pie crust.
  • Fresh blueberries: See the FAQ section, below, for details on using frozen blueberries in this recipe. While I always recommend that you use fresh berries, I understand that they are not always readily availably or of good quality, so frozen may be used instead.
  • Buttermilk: If you don't have buttermilk, you can make a substitute by mixing 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with enough milk to yield one cup of liquid. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes, until it begins to thicken, and you have your buttermilk substitute!
  • Confectioner's sugar
  • Lemon juice: Fresh squeezed or bottled both work fine!

Special equipment

  • Food processor: If you don't have a food processor, the dough can be completely mixed by hand. See "Notes" section of the recipe card for instructions.
  • Pastry blender: This is helpful if mixing the dough by hand to cut in the butter.
  • Microplane or zester: I always recommend one of these as a great investment for your kitchen tool collection. Not only can they be used for citrus zest, but they can be used for shaving ingredients like whole spices, garlic, cheese and chocolate.
  • Pastry brush: Helpful for brushing the tops of the scones with buttermilk.

Step by step photos and instructions

Blueberry Buttermilk Scones

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 °F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or grease it well.  Set aside until ready to use.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest until well blended. Scatter the butter cubes over the top and pulse 8-10 more times (about 1 second each), until the mixture has the texture of course crumbs. (See Notes section for instructions if you don't have a food processor.)

3. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the blueberries and toss to combine.

4. Mix in 1 cup of the buttermilk until the dough begins to stick together. Add up to ¼ cup more buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, if your dough is too dry.

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it into two equally sized 6-inch rounds. The dough may still be a bit crumbly to work with, but it will come together as it bakes! 

6. Cut each round into 6 equal wedges and then carefully transfer each wedge to the baking sheet, spacing apart. Gently brush the tops with extra buttermilk. This will turn the scones a nice, shiny golden brown after baking.

7. Bake the scones 20-30 minutes, until they are golden brown and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly as you prepare the glaze. 

Lemon Glaze

8. Whisk the confectioner's sugar, lemon juice and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Continue to whisk until the sugar is dissolved, the butter has melted, and the mixture is smooth.  Drizzle the glaze evenly over the tops of the scones. Let the glaze set for a few minutes before serving.

Lemon blueberry buttermilk scone on a baking sheet.

Frequently asked questions

Can you use frozen blueberries to bake scones?

Yes. Rinse your frozen blueberries several times in cold water until the water is a noticeably lighter shade of blue than when you started. This will help to prevent from staining the scones blue as you mix in the berries. After you have rinsed the berries, dry them between two paper towels to remove excess moisture so that the scones are not too watery when they bake.

What can I substitute for buttermilk?

There are several ways that you can make a substitute for buttermilk if you don't have any on hand. Here are some of the most common ones:
1. 15 tablespoon milk + one tablespoon red wine or cider vinegar (to yield one cup)
2. 15 tablespoon milk + one tablespoon lemon juice (to yield one cup)
3. Once cup milk + 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
4. ¾ cup sour cream + ¼ cup water or milk
Mix any of the above and let them stand 5-10 minutes until thickened.

What should I serve with scones?

Although scones are often delicious and satisfying enough to serve by themselves, you can make them part of a complete breakfast or brunch by serving alongside fresh cut fruit or fruit salad, eggs or a quiche (like my Ham and Gruyere Quiche), and spreads such as butter, jam, or the traditionally English clotted cream.

Tray of lemon blueberry buttermilk scones.

Looking for some more tasty breakfast and brunch treats? Look no further! I have you covered:

Tried this recipe and loved it? Take a photo and tag me on Instagram or give it a review!

Two lemon blueberry buttermilk scones on a plate.

Lemon Blueberry Buttermilk Scones

Julie Hession
Using buttermilk instead of the more traditional cream in these Lemon Blueberry Buttermilk Scones makes a lighter, flakier scone. The basic buttermilk scone recipe is one that I've been making for years, ever since I served them in my bakery. They can be altered to incorporate a seemingly endless variety of ingredients, including fresh fruit, chocolate, spices, nuts, and even cheese!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 scones
Calories 301 kcal
5 from 11 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Equipment

  • 1 microplane or zester
  • 1 food processor (optional)

Ingredients
 
 

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large lemon, zested
  • ½ lb unsalted butter (very cold, cubed)
  • cups fresh blueberries
  • cups buttermilk

Lemon Glaze

  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar
  • ¾ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter

Instructions
 

Scones

  • Preheat oven to 400 °F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or grease it well.
  • In the bowl of a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest until well blended. Scatter the butter cubes over the top and pulse 8-10 more times (about 1 second each), until the mixture has the texture of course crumbs. (See Notes section for instructions if you don't have a food processor.)
  • Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the blueberries and toss to combine.
  • Mix in 1 cup of the buttermilk until the dough begins to stick together. Add up to ¼ cup more buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, if your dough is too dry.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it into two equally sized 6-inch rounds. The dough may still be a bit crumbly to work with, but it will come together as it bakes!
  • Cut each round into 6 equal wedges and then carefully transfer each wedge to the baking sheet, spacing apart. Gently brush the tops with extra buttermilk.
  • Bake the scones 20-30 minutes, until golden brown and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly as you prepare the glaze.

Lemon Glaze

  • Whisk the confectioner's sugar, lemon juice and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Continue to whisk until the sugar is dissolved, the butter has melted, and the mixture is smooth.
  • Drizzle the glaze evenly over the tops of the scones. Let the glaze set for a few minutes before serving.

Video

Notes

  • If you don't have a food processor, you can whisk the dry ingredients and lemon zest in a large bowl.  Add the cold butter and cut it into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or two knives until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  • Instead of mixing the glaze in a saucepan, you can warm it in a microwave-safe bowl in your microwave for 30 seconds at a time, until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted.  
  • The scone dough can be prepared in advance and then refrigerated overnight or frozen for up to one month, tightly wrapped in plastic.  Thaw frozen dough in your refrigerator overnight.  
  • Scone wedges that have been frozen can be baked directly from the freezer. 

Nutrition

Calories: 301kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 243mg | Potassium: 88mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 573IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 2mg
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16 Comments

  1. I know this post is a few years old, but I just came across it and these look delicious!

    Do you have any idea if adding cream of tartar to the meringue frosting would help it to hold up longer? I'd like to make these the night before a party 🙂

    1. Kendra! I am so, so sorry for the delayed response. For some reason, I wasn't notified of your comment and only saw it as I logged in to my account. I am undergoing a blog make-over, so that might be the cause. I'm sure that I am too late to respond, but I think the main factor with the meringue holding up would be the humidity where you are. I live in a very dry climate, so the meringue holds up better here. That said, I try to make desserts with meringue as close to serving time as possible, so if you could stand to make them the same morning as your party, it would be better and not develop that "crust."

  2. Thank you, Christie!  Hope you are having a fantastic weekend.  This weather is great!

  3. 5 stars
    I LOVE Meringue on cupcakes! I had a yummy lemon one at Central at Ceasars Palace! Can't wait to try your recipe!

  4. 5 stars
    Oh yum! These look wonderful. I had to laugh at your photo not because it was bad but because that looks better than some of the ones I take when I'm taking my time. I'm with you milk and cupcakes are definitely the best hotel amenity I've ever seen.

  5. Thank you, Lisa!  It was a short, but fun trip!  I wish that I could get there as often as you can.  Have a great week!

  6. Thanks, Katrina!  Hopefully next time I encounter a celebrity I will be ready with my iPhone 🙂  Glad that you enjoyed the cupcakes!

  7. 5 stars
    THAT is exactly how photos I would have taken would have turned out of someone famous, too. Sigh!
    But doesn't matter, because the cupcakes look de-lish and those photos are great!

  8. 5 stars
    Thanks, Stacey!

    New York was great (albeit too cold for April!)  Didnt you stay at a Gansevoort when you went to Turks Caicos?  That was where we were in New York -- great property.  Now I want to go to Turks Caicos even more 🙂

  9. 5 stars
    May I have YOUR autograph? You are SOMEBODY and those cupcakes look divine! Hope you had a fun stay in nyc!

5 from 11 votes (1 rating without comment)

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