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Buttermilk Poppy Seed Citrus Scones

I think it’s pretty apparent by now that I have a weakness for sweet breakfast recipes. Scones are definitely at the top of that list for me and these Buttermilk Poppy Seed Citrus Scones just might be my favorite yet.

grapefruit poppy seed scone

People often ask me how I come of with my recipes. Do I just make stuff up? Well, yes! I’ve mentioned many times how I often like to cook (or bake) with formulas rather than recipes.

Over time I’ve come to learn what things can be changed and what can’t. I am pretty sure that all of the scone recipes on GoodLife Eats have originated from the first scone I ever made: Cranberry Orange Scones, which is (in my opinion, of course, one of the best scone recipes).

This method gives me room for variation that wouldn’t happen if I viewed a recipe as just a recipe. It opens up cooking and recipe development to being a creative process rather than purely scientific.

Once you dissect a recipe down to it’s bare bones and have a basic understanding of rations, you have a pretty basic scone formula that can be changed into a multitude of different recipes. If you have a good base, the sky is the limit!

poppy seed scone recipe

Basic Scone Formula

The ingredients are so flexible. For example, use a full 3/4 cup of milk for your moistener or use a combination of milk and juice. Use all granulated sugar or part granulated and brown sugar. The end result is up to you!

Flexible Ingredients

Flour – 4 cups

  • You can experiment with different types or stick to all purpose. Sometimes I will use half all purpose and half freshly ground white hard wheat.

Moistener – 3/4 cup

  • Dairy: Milk, buttermilk, half and half, or cream.
  • Fruit: fruit puree (pumpkin, apple sauce, etc.), juice
  • Dairy Alternative: coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk

Sweetner – 1/3 – 2/3 cup

Depending on the type of sweetener use, you may need to vary your amount. Liquid sweeteners are far sweeter tasting than traditional sugars so you don’t need to use as much. This is where experimentation and your judgment come into play. Find what works for you and stick to it.

  • Sugars: Granulated, Whole Cane, or Brown
  • Liquid Sweeteners: Agave, Honey, Maple Syrup, Molasses

Remaining Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup cold butter

For this particular recipe, I knew I wanted a Buttermilk Scone with Poppy Seeds. Depending on what mood you’re in or what citrus you have on hand you can change the flavor of the scone: Lemon Buttermilk Scone, an Orange Buttermilk Scone, or even a Grapefruit Buttermilk Scone.

I love lemon and poppy seed together, but this time I decided to try something a little different: Buttermilk Poppy Seed Scone with Grapefruit. The Grapefruit is subtle, so increase the zest if you’d like more zing.

lemon poppy seed scones

I usually like to top scones with a simple glaze. Instead, I prepared a simple Grapefruit Curd (I’ll share that recipe another day) to top this perfect springy treat.

With the Easter holiday coming up soon, I have to say that I think these Buttermilk Poppy Seed Scone with Grapefruit would make a wonderful addition to a special Easter brunch menu.

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Buttermilk Poppy Seed Citrus Scones

Buttermilk Poppy Seed Citrus Scones

Yield: 16 scones
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Cooling Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Buttermilk Poppy Seed Citrus Scones make a tasty springtime scone.


  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons grapefruit zest
  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • 2 large eggs, plus an extra for the egg wash
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and zest. Rub the zest and sugar together with your fingers to release the oils.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, zest, and poppy seeds. Cut the butter into the flour mixture. Set aside.
  3. In a smaller bowl, combine the 2 eggs, buttermilk, citrus juice, and vanilla. Whisk until well combined. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour in the egg mixture and stir until it comes together. Whisk the additional egg in a small bowl combined with 1 tablespoon water. Set aside.
  4. Turn out on a lightly floured counter and knead a few times until it holds it's shape. Divide into two equal portions (a kitchen scale helps with this) and roll into an 8 or 9 inch circle. Dust the bottom of the circles with flour.
  5. Cut each circle into 8 triangles. Place the triangles on a parchment lined baking sheet. Lightly brush with the egg wash, then bake for 15-25 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until golden and cooked through.
  6. Cool on a wire rack until cool enough to handle. Serve.


  • You can use any citrus juice and zest in this recipe. Lemon or lime also work well.
  • To Freeze: cool completely, then place in a gallon sized Ziploc bag. Freeze for up to 1 month.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 16 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 272Total Fat 13gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 66mgSodium 374mgCarbohydrates 34gFiber 1gSugar 9gProtein 5g

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love it if you let me know what you think! Snap a photo and tag me on Instagram at @goodlifeeats with the hashtag #goodlifeeatsrecipes so I can see what you’re cooking up in YOUR kitchen!


Tuesday 14th of April 2015

I made these yesterday with grapefruit zest & juice and made a glaze with some grapefruit juice and powdered sugar to drizzle over top. The grapefruit flavor was delicious! Thanks so much for the inspiration and recipe!


Thursday 11th of April 2013

Loved the scones with the grapefruit zest. The taste is very light. Thanks.


Sunday 15th of January 2012

Mmmnnn these look gorgeous and yummy.. I will try your grapefruit curd recipe to make a tart :-)


Saturday 2nd of April 2011

I love your blog! These look yummy. I like scones more than I like cookies even!!! Stumbling this now!

Nancy @SensitivePantry

Sunday 27th of March 2011

I love the idea of the base recipe with variations depending on what you have on hand or what your heart desires at that moment. (PS - I think I'm partial to the Cranberry Orange Scones myself...some of my favorite flavors.)

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