Blueberry Scones

This is an involved recipe but the results are worth it. These scones are nice and slightly crispy, pastry-like, with delicate lemon flavor. Making the smaller size is recommended, if serving with other offerings. 
Based largely on a recipe from J. Kenji Alt, Cook's Illustrated, July & August 2007, p 23.
Prep Time1 hour 20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time1 hour 40 minutes
Course: Breads
Keyword: Freezes Well
Servings: 8
Author: Catherine Christiano


  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries approximately 7 1/2 ounces
  • 2 sticks salted butter (16 tablespoons) frozen
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups unbleached flour plus extra for working
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter melted
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


  • Place box grater and small bowl in freezer.
  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 400°F. Line a baking pan or cookie sheet with parchment.
  • Rinse blueberries, pat dry, pick over, place in a bowl and set aside in freezer.
  • 8 tablespoons of the butter will be grated. Take each stick of butter, score in middle around all four sides, remove paper wrapper so 4 tablespoons on each stick is exposed. Place one in freezer while working with the other. Using grater from freezer, grate 4 tablespoons of butter onto a sheet of wax paper. Place in bowl in freezer. Repeat for second stick of butter. 
  • In a  medium bowl add milk and sour cream and whisk until combined. Set aside in refrigerator.
  • In a large bowl add 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest. Whisk until ingredients are uniformly distributed. Add frozen butter to flour mixture and toss with a fork until evenly coated.
  • Pour milk mixture into flour mixture. Use a large rubber spatula to fold until just combined. 
  • Gather a rolling pin, scraper, a cup of flour, a 12 inch ruler, and a plate dusted with flour. Liberally flour a work surface, hands, and rolling pin. Dust surface of dough with flour and, using spatula, transfer to work surface. Knead dough 8 times, until it forms a ragged ball, adding additional flour as needed, and being careful not to overwork.
  • Roll dough into  a 12 inch square. Fold, like a business letter, into thirds.
  • Fold into thirds again to form a square that is 4 inches on each side.
  • Transfer dough to plate dusted with flour and place in freezer for 5 minutes.
  • Transfer chilled dough to a well floured work surface. Roll again into a 12 inch square. Place blueberries evenly across surface, pressing slightly into dough.
  • Using scraper to loosen dough from work surface, roll dough into an even and tight log. With seam side down, use rolling pin to help press into a 12 x 4 inch rectangle.
  • Using a large sharp knife cut in half across width, then in quarters, then on a diagonal across each section. This will form traditionally sized scones.
  • For smaller scones, cut another diagonal in opposite direction, attempting to keep equal proportions.
  • Place evenly on the parchment lined pan, allowing space for scones to rise.
  • If planning to serve the next day, stop here, wrap pan with scones in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator, then when ready to bake continue following directions but extend baking time.
  • Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake until tops and bottoms are golden brown. Smaller scones will take 18 - 25 minutes. Allow more time for traditional size scones. Transfer to a wire rack and cool 10 minutes before serving.
  • Leftover scones can be stored by wrapping tightly in foil, placing in a plastic bag, and freezing. To serve, heat oven to 350°F, unwrap scones, place on baking sheet, bake until warm and slightly crisp, 15 minutes or less if stored in refrigerator.


If making scones for an occasion when there is lots of other food preparation going on, it is best to bake the scones several weeks ahead and follow the instructions for freezing and later reheating.
Raspberries and strawberries can be substituted, dice to the size of a medium blueberry.
Copyright 2024, Catherine Christiano. Website by Catherine Christiano.