When it comes to elegant brunch options, lemon lavender scones are top of the list. Whether it’s for spring get-togethers, bridal or baby showers, Mother’s Day, or tea time with friends, this recipe checks all the boxes.
The flavor combination of lemon and lavender is divine. Let’s get the first question out of the way: “do they taste like hand soap…or lotion?”. Asked because maybe you’ve had the experience of biting into a lavender baked good and its…too floral. Or maybe just the thought makes you nervous.
I reassure you, there is no soapiness around here! Dried lavender infuses an aromatic flavor throughout the scones that is subtle and inviting, and while yes floral, but in the best way possible. Paired with bright, citrusy lemon, they balance each other out. A match made in heaven.
The scones themselves are soft and moist (no dry scones here!). Drizzled with powdered sugar icing for a sweet finish, they’re just what your breakfast table needs!
Where to buy Culinary Lavender
The first thing is to make sure you have dried food-grade lavender to bake with! You have a few options:
- I use this dried culinary lavender from Amazon. It’s high-quality, organic lavender straight from the fields of France (not sponsored, but it is an affiliate link). Do be warned, because it’s au natural, you may need to pick out an extra branch here or there before mixing it into your scones.
- Check Whole Foods or a natural foods store. I’ve seen it in the bulk food section, but they may also sell packages.
Tips for Baking with Dried Lavender
Until these scones, lavender played the role of help-me-calm-the-heck-down in my life. It was the essential oil I’d diffuse after a long day when I needed some relaxation, the one I’d drop in my bubble bath, the one I’d slather on my wrists when I couldn’t sleep.
But my friend, baking with lavender is so wonderful, too. It’s especially delicious in scones…and have you tried lavender coffee?!
If you haven’t baked with lavender before, these scones are the perfect place to start. They’re the best kind of “beginner scone” and “beginner lavender” recipe out there. Plus, I have some tips to help you find success in baking with lavender.
You must use a culinary (food) grade lavender when using lavender in baked goods, cocktails, and anything you’ll be eating.
- Less is more. Using dried culinary lavender infuses a lightly floral flavor throughout the recipe. It adds such a unique, comforting flavor, but if you use too much, it can quickly become overpowering. That’s when the soapy flavor comes in.
- Similarly, if you have super fresh dried lavender, or you’re new to the flavor, you may want to start with less until you find your perfect amount.
- There might be what look like little sticks mixed into your dried lavender, depending on the brand. You can remove the larger pieces as best you can but overall, the smaller ones will be fine.
The Key to Making Good Scones
There are really two keys to making good scones, so before we dive into the process, let’s cover them:
- Keep your ingredients COLD! The cold butter is the main ingredient that once baked, releases steam and creates the light, fluffy layers in the scones. If the ingredients are too cold, your scones will be flat and spread significantly.
- Grate frozen butter or simply cube the butter and keep it in the fridge or freezer while preparing the scones.
- Do not overwork the dough. There is a little kneading and folding to form the scones, but it’s important to not overdo it. Don’t work the dough too much or the scones will turn out tough, instead of their light, soft selves.
How to Make Lemon Lavender Scones
Scones can be intimidating to tackle; I hear you. I’m happy to report back that these scones are quite easy to make, and as long as you don’t have too much of a heavy hand when kneading, you’ll be met with layers inside your light, fluffy scones.
Here’s an overview with tips and tricks, please see the full recipe card below for all instructions and amounts.
Combine Sugar and Lemon Zest
When I’m making baked goods with lemon, the first order of business is rubbing together the granulated sugar and lemon zest.
Lemon zest is a must because it holds so much bright flavor, and when it’s rubbed together with the sugar, the oils from the zest are released. This means there is SO MUCH more lemon infused throughout.
Simply rub the two together between your (clean!) fingers until it transforms into a sand-like mixture. You’ll also have a lovely citrus scent fill the air.
A Microplane is a perfect tool for zesting citrus!
Photo credit: www.amazon.com
Mix Together the Liquids
Next up, stir together the milk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Mixing the milk with the lemon juice creates a “buttermilk” – giving the scones extra flavor and keeping them moist.
Place the mixture back in the fridge (cold ingredients!) and by the time you’re ready to use it in the dough, you’ll see it thickened and appears slightly curdled. That’s what you want! That’s the milk turning into “buttermilk”.
Make the Dough
In a large bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and dried lavender. Add the lemon-sugar mixture as well, and stir it until it’s combined.
Then, cut in the cold butter pieces until a pea-sized mixture forms.
Cut in butter: this means using a pastry/dough blender, fork, or simply your hands, to press the butter into the flour. The smaller the butter pieces are to start, the faster they will be incorporated into the dry ingredients, and the less the scones will spread while baking.
If you are using your hands, I recommend sticking the mixture back into the fridge before proceeding, since your hands will have warmed the butter.
Once the butter is incorporated, gently stir the cold milk mixture in until just combined.
Remember, it’s important to not overmix throughout this entire process! Once the mixture is moist, transfer the dough to a clean work surface lightly coated with flour.
Form the Scones
With the dough transferred to your lightly floured work surface, gently form the dough together into a ball. If it’s sticky, use floured hands or lightly sprinkle flour across the top of the dough.
I recommend folding the dough for the most rise. Press the dough into a rectangle, then fold the sides in thirds, horizontally, like you’re folding a piece of paper to make a pamphlet. Then, press it back down into a rectangle that is approximately 8 inches by 5 inches.
The folding process also helps form the dough together without working the dough too much.
Cut the rectangle horizontally down the center. Then, make two verticle cuts so you’ve sliced the rectangle into thirds. You’ll now have 6 smaller squares. Cut each square in half to make two triangles, and you’ll have 12 small triangles.
If the knife is sticking to the dough, dip it in flour or flour the top of the dough before cutting.
You can also form the dough into one large or two smaller discs and cut the triangles that way if you prefer.
For best results, place the prepared scones in the fridge or freezer for 20 minutes before baking.
Bake the Scones
Place the cut wedges on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving at least 2-3 inches between each scone so it has room to expand. Brush the tops of the scones evenly with milk to help the exterior turn a lovely golden brown.
At this point, if using, sprinkle with coarse sugar. It’s so pretty and a perfect alternative to using icing.
Bake the scones for 19-22 minutes until the bottoms and tops are slightly golden brown. Once baked, allow the scones to cool slightly before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Icing for Scones
While the icing isn’t required for the scones, it is absolutely delicious, gorgeous, and feels extra special.
To add to the bright lemon flavor of the scones, make a lemon icing by combining powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice, plus lemon zest.
Otherwise, use milk or cream in place of the lemon juice for a subtly sweet icing. This lets the flavor of the scones shine through.
Stir together until a thick, but drizzle-able consistency is achieved. You may need to adjust depending on your preferences, adding more powdered sugar to thicken, and more liquid to thin it out.
Drizzle on top of cooled scones, et voila, you’re ready to enjoy!
Serving, Storage, And Making Ahead
Alright, the good news is that you do not have to wait for the scones to cool completely before serving. In fact, I love them when they’re still slightly warm and fresh (the best!). But then again, who doesn’t love warm baked treats?!
I will say they are best on the day of baking, but you can make them the day ahead if needed. The longer they sit (2-3 days), they do tend to dry out. That’s best remedied by reheating them quickly in the microwave.
I recommend not icing more than 1-2 hours in advance before serving. If left overnight, the icing does “melt” into the scones and isn’t quite as pretty.
To store leftover scones, place them in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 3 days.
One more idea…
Dare I say…dessert? I’m thinking of warm scones topped with a scoop of ice cream. Maybe lavender ice cream? Drizzled with honey and lavender syrup? Then toss in some fresh blueberries with fresh mint leaves. Holy cow, I think we just perfected a light, spring-summer dessert.
The beauty of this recipe is that the scones freeze well both before and after baking!
- Freeze Before Baking: Do not brush with milk. Freeze the scones spread apart on a baking sheet, for 1-2 hours. Once they’re frozen, transfer them to an airtight, freezer-safe bag for bulk storage. You can bake them from frozen, adding a few minutes to the cooking time, or thaw them overnight in the fridge.
- Freeze After Baking: Do not drizzle the scones with icing if you plan on freezing them after baking. Let them cool completely before freezing. Place them in a freezer-safe bag or airtight container. Thaw at room temperature for a few hours, or place in the microwave on defrost for about 1 minute. You can also warm a batch in the oven at 275°F for 10-12 minutes.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Lemon Lavender Scones
- 1/2 cup COLD butter, 1 stick, small cubed, see notes
- 1/4 cup (55 g) granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons lemon zest, ~3 lemons
- 3/4 cup milk + more for brushing
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups (320 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoons (1 g) dried culinary grade lavender flowers
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the butter into small cubes now and place in the fridge or freezer. Alternatively, grate frozen butter and place back in the freezer until ready to use.1/2 cup COLD butter
- In a small bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest, rubbing between your clean fingers until a coarse, wet sand-like mixture forms. This step helps infuse the lemon flavor!1/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 Tablespoons lemon zest
- In a separate bowl, combine milk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. This will form a "buttermilk" like consistency. Place it in the fridge until you're ready to use so it stays cold.3/4 cup milk + more for brushing, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, dried lavender, and the lemon-sugar mixture.2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 Tablespoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, 2 1/2 teaspoons dried culinary grade lavender flowers
- Cut the cold butter cubes (or grates) into the flour mixture until a small, pea-sized mixture forms. If needed, you can use your fingers to press it together, but if so, put it back int he fridge to chill the dough before proceeding. You want the dough as cold as possible.
- Gently stir the milk mixture into the flour until just combined and everything is moist. Do not overmix or you'll end up with tough scones.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and gently form it together into a ball. Again, do not over-knead it, just gently push the dough together. Press it into a rectangle and fold the two horizontal sides over each other, as though you're folding a pamphlet. This will help form layers.
- Then, press the dough into an 8 x 5 inch rectangle. Cut the rectangle down the middle, lengthwise, to have two long rectangles.
- Then make two horizontal cuts, into thirds horizontally, to create 6 squares.
- Cut each square in half diagonally to form two triangles. This will result in 12 small triangles.
- Use a thin spatula to transfer the scones to the baking sheet. Leave plenty of space in between each one, around 2-3 inches (they will expand when they bake). Brush the tops and sides of the scones evenly with a bit of additional milk to add color as they bake. If using coarse sugar to top, sprinkle on now.
- Bake the scones for 18-22 minutes until the bottoms and tops are slightly golden brown. Remove and let cool slightly before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Icing (optional, but recommended): Stir together powdered sugar, milk (or lemon juice & zest, if substituting it), until combined into a thick but drizzle-able icing. Drizzle on cooled scones and enjoy!1 cup powdered sugar, 1 – 1 ½ Tablespoons milk, 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or see the notes below for freezing.
- Cold Ingredients: Keep all ingredients cold, especially the butter! Cut it into small cubes before beginning the process, and store it in the fridge or freezer. You can also grate frozen butter to spend less time cutting it into the dough.
- Food Processor: You can use a food processor, just be sure to not overwork the dough. The food processor tends to chop the lavender up more, so I like to add a little extra if I’m making the scones this way.
- Freezing: they freeze well before and after baking.
- Before Baking: Do not brush with milk. Freeze the scones spread apart on a baking sheet, for 1-2 hours. Once they’re frozen, transfer them to an airtight, freezer-safe bag for bulk storage. You can bake them from frozen, adding a few minutes to the cooking time, or thaw them overnight in the fridge.
- After Baking: Do not drizzle the scones with icing if you plan on freezing them after baking. Let them cool completely before freezing. Place them in a freezer-safe bag or airtight container. Thaw at room temperature for a few hours, or place in the microwave on defrost for about 1 minute. You can also warm a batch in the oven at 275°F for 10-12 minutes.