Lemon Sultana Buttermilk Scones


Finally, summer is here and I’m so excited. Since this season also makes life easier and more fun! Windows stay open allowing plenty of fresh air to flood our homes, washing dries easily and long, sunlit days allow eating outdoors. Whether it’s an organised picnic, cup of tea in the garden or venturing to an open air concert, Summer is THE season for outdoor fun. And these Lemon Sultana Buttermilk Scones are as ideal for Afternoon Tea as they are easy to pack up for a fun picnic.


Cut scones topped with clotted cream and lemon curd on a pretty plate.
Lemon Sultana Buttermilk Scones

Picnics are a great way to gather friends and family together, for feasting and fun. Whether you choose to meet at a local park, or trek to the seaside, they are a fantastic way of getting people together without being restricted by space or cost. Also, most people are more than happy to bring food along with them, as well as drinks, blankets and games. And so it’s fun to organise everything in advance. Since delegating spreads the workload, it also ensures that everyone relaxes and has fun making new memories!


Pinterest image of Lemon Sultana Buttermilk Scones with descriptive graphics.

Scones; Such An Easy Bake

Scones are the number one recipe I advise people to try if they are new to baking. Since they are virtually foolproof and nobody minds an occasional, slightly wonky One! A successful bake builds a level of achievement and satisfaction in a newbie baker. As a result, they are more likely to continue baking, while learning new skills, attempting more complex recipes as confidence in the kitchen grows.

Lemon Sultana Buttermilk Scones

And now, back to these delicious. Truthfully, I must say these are my favourite scones to date! A positive result for someone who wouldn’t go near a scone until I started baking them myself! So, it is time for me to stop chatting and make these yummy, cream tea favourites.

Recipe: Lemon Sultana Buttermilk Milk Scones makes 8-10 large scones

450g/1lb Plain White Flour

3tsp Baking Powder

1/4tsp Sea Salt Flakes – I use Maldon

25g/1oz Vegetable Fat such as Trex

50g2oz Unsalted Butter

4tsp Caster Sugar – plus extra for sprinkling on top of the unbaked scones

Zest of 2 medium or 1 very large lemon (scrubbed and washed in hot water before zesting)

225g/8oz Sultanas

284ml/10fl oz Buttermilk – Alternatively, use the same quantity of whole or semi skimmed milk, add 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice or 1 teaspoon of white vinegar and stir. Leave for 5 minutes then stir again, the liquid should be thicker and slightly lumpy and is now ready to use.

3-4 Tablespoons of Semi or Whole Milk

Method: Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7, 425F

Note – you may notice an American dry cup measure in the photographs. Since we are decorating at the moment I was unable to locate my round cutters. So I improvised. Using a one cup measure worked perfectly for cutting out the scones. Also, if using a smaller cutter for smaller scones, remember to adjust the baking time.

Making The Buttermilk Scone Dough

  • First of all line a large baking tray with baking parchment.
  • Next, tip the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a large bowl.
  • Stir all the dry ingredients together with a balloon whisk.
  • Add the vegetable fat and butter in small chunks, then add the lemon zest.
  • Using a pastry cutter work the fats into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs with some pea sized chunks of fat still visible.
  • Add the sultanas and using your fingers gently lift and drop them into the bowl so they become covered in flour.
  • Make a well in the centre of the flour mix and pour in all of the buttermilk.
Four stages showing how to incorporate fats and fruit with flour for a recipe.
Making the scone dough.
  • Using a butter knife stir all of the ingredients together until large clumps begin to form.

Turning Out And Shaping The Dough And Cutting Out Individual Scones

  • Turn the clumpy dough out onto a floured surface. And note, the dough should be quite wet and sticky.
  • Using floured fingers bring the dough together and pat out to form a round shape that is about 1 inch (2.5cm) deep.
  • Most importantly, check that the disc of dough moves freely across the surface and is not stuck.
  • Flour a round 3 inch (7.5cm) cutter that is also at least 2 inches (5cm) deep and place it on top of the dough.
  • Press the cutter straight down onto the dough taking care not to twist it.
Patting the dough out onto a pastry mat, ready to be cut.
Getting the dough ready.
  • Place each cutout scone onto the baking parchment lined baking tray.
  • Brush fresh milk onto the top of each scone using a pastry brush and then sprinkle a pinch of sugar over the top.

Baking The Lemon Sultana Buttermilk Scones

  • Place the scones into the centre of the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Because each oven is different and other variables such as the thickness of scone dough affect the baking time, I have given a range of times. My scones took 18 minutes to bake.
  • The scones are baked when the are risen, golden in colour and sound hollow when rapped on the base with your knuckle. Similar to bread when baked.
  • As soon as the scones are baked remove them from the oven and carefully place them on a cooling rack.
Raw and baked Lemon Sultana Buttermilk Scones
Before and after baking.

Serving And Enjoying The Scones

Eat these scones either warm or cold. Also they can be enjoyed just as they are, or split in two and topped with either clotted cream or butter.

Split scones topped with clotted cream and lemon curd on a pretty plate. Fresh whole scones and lemons are in the background.
Lemon Sultana Buttermilk Scones

Topping a scone with clotted cream and lemon curd and sitting down with my favourite foodie magazine, a delicious cup of tea, and a relaxing afternoon.

Delicious magazine with a plate on top containing a tasty afternoon sweet treat.
Relax with a great foodie magazine and a clotted cream and lemon curd topped scone.

Homemade scones are usually best eaten on the day they are baked. Yet with this recipe they stayed moist for up to 3 days when kept in an airtight container.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Lemon Sultana Buttermilk Scones you may also like these:

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Cheddar Sun Dried Tomato Scones 

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So, is this recipe tempting you to make scones at home? Doing so is a very rewarding experience, especially when you share your bakes and receive compliments on your baking! And, aside from being a world away in taste and texture from their shop bought counterparts, you know exactly what has gone into your baking. Love cannot be bought, yet these scones were made with an extra large helping of it.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie x

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Lemon Sultana Buttermilk Scones piled on a pretty cake plate with a bowl of fresh lemons in the distance.
Lemon Sultana Buttermilk Scones perfect for Afternoon Tea.