These tender and fluffy Better-Than-Starbucks Blueberry Scones are easy to make using the "drop scones" method. This recipe uses cold butter and a buttermilk base to keep them light, fluffy, moist, and perfectly balanced in flavor. I promise after trying these, you'll never need to order another scone from Starbucks again!
Jump to (scroll for more!):
- Americans. Scones. and Starbucks.
- Classic vs. Drop vs. Hybrid Scones
- So why are these scones better than Starbucks?
- Ingredient Tips to Bake it Better
- Special Tools and Equipment You'll Need
- How to Make Drop Scones From Scratch
- Lemon Lovers Read This
- Why This Recipe Leads to Sweet Success
- Test Kitchen Tips + FAQs
- Other Sweet Breakfast Treats You'll Love
- 📖 Full Recipe
Americans. Scones. and Starbucks.
When it comes to what a "scone" is in America, I find that most people think scones are what they get at Starbucks. You probably even came here looking for a copycat recipe.
Now, I'm not hating on Starbucks - I love an Iced Chocolate Almond Milk Shaken Espresso as much as the next girl. BUT, when it comes to pastries, I know we can do better. And these scones are that "better."
Classic vs. Drop vs. Hybrid Scones
- Classic British Scones: my personal favorite with afternoon tea, clotted cream, and jam. These are made by cutting butter into flour, preparing a stiff dough, and then cutting it out with a round cookie cutter. They're tall, flaky, layered cylinders, usually plain or with raisins/currants and tend to be on the dryer side. As such, they are traditionally enjoyed cut open, and smeared with clotted cream and a tasty jam.
- Drop Scones: this is typically a quick mix, sloppier, stir and drop kind of batter. It's the easiest to make typically. Many don't even require you to cut in butter, but instead use heavy cream as the fat. You then usually just drop the batter in rounds on a baking sheet using a spoon or ice cream scoop. These are tender, soft, and fluffy, can be filled and glazed with many flavor combinations, and are more moist than their British counterparts.
- The Hybrid: these guys have some of the flaky layers and rich buttery taste from the British-style scones, thanks to cutting cold butter into the dries, but more moisture and tenderness as well like a drop scone for a looser batter than a traditional British-style recipe. This type also is often flavored with berries, chips, and bits and frequently glazed for a tasty, pretty finish.
The hybrid is what we're working with today. We have the cut butter from the British tradition, but also a high amount of liquid, buttermilk in our case, to allow a "drop" prep without any folding, rolling or cutting needed.
A stiffer version might be patted out into a disk and then cut like a pizza to make triangle wedges. However, our looser version will just be scooped and dropped onto our baking sheet for easy prep!
So why are these scones better than Starbucks?
Thank you for asking! I can't wait to tell ya...
- No creme fraiche required: the original Starbucks scones contain creme fraiche, but honestly, who keeps that in the house? So I removed the creme fraiche from the recipe, and added extra buttermilk in it's place. The buttermilk not only has that same tang to balance out the sweetness, but the higher liquid amount also allows us to use the easy drop scone method.
- Hand cut vs. scooped: speaking of drop scones, the traditional Starbucks triangle shape is achieve by rolling/patting out your dough on the counter top (which is often a bit of a sticky mess if you want a moist scone in the end). To save you all of that work and keep things cleaner and much easier, I've decided to use the drop scone method of scooping the scone from the bowl and dropping them straight on the baking sheet. This looser, wetter dough also makes our scones naturally more moist and tender.
- Maple for the win: last but not least, I switched up the lemon flavoring for maple. I personally prefer maple flavor with blueberry scones. But don't hate me if you're a lemon love, because I'll give you all the tips you need below on how to re-convert this back to a lemon blueberry scone from a maple blueberry scone if you like.
Also...if you've ever wondered what's in a blueberry scone at Starbucks, here's the scary answer:
Enriched Flour [Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid], Enriched Flour [Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid], Butter [Milk], Dried Blueberries [Blueberries, Sugar, Sunflower Oil], Cultured Pasteurized Cream [Milk], Sugar, Whole Buttermilk [Cultured Milk, Nonfat Milk, Less Than One Half Percent Of Modified Food Starch, Salt, Mono And Diglycerides, Sodium Citrate, Calcium Sulfate, Locust Bean Gum, Polysorbate 80, Carrageenan], Eggs, Blueberries, Contains Less Than 2 Of Baking Soda, Water, Cornstarch, Natural Flavors, Lemon Zest, Light Brown Sugar, Monocalcium Phosphate, Salt, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Soybean Oil, Contains Bioengineered Food Ingredients
So last, but not least...these homemade maple blueberry scones are made with much cleaner and more natural ingredients you'd find in your pantry at home, which is always better in my book.
Ingredient Tips to Bake it Better
(Pssst…if you're ready to just get baking, get all the details in the recipe card below!)
- Cold Butter: make sure your butter is really cold, straight from the fridge, to help counter the warming up that will happen as you work it into your dries (especially if using your hands). Keeping it from getting soft or melty will give us that tender texture inside our scones.
- Cinnamon: the cinnamon adds that extra-special touch that takes these scones to the next level. It also pairs beautifully with the maple flavor. That said, if you aren't a cinnamon lover, feel free to just leave it out of your recipe.
- Buttermilk: to keep these blueberry scones light and fluffy, I developed this recipe without heavy cream, using buttermilk instead. The acidity in the buttermilk helps to tenderize the scones and I love the slight tang it brings to the mix too. But if all you have is regular milk at home, you're welcome to use that instead.
- Maple Syrup, the real stuff: for this recipe we want to use real maple syrup - the thin, dark, robust flavor kind. Not only do I prefer it's flavor, but because it doesn't have any of those artificial stabilizers/preservatives which vary from brand to brand, you know you'll get consistent results as well.
- Blueberries: this recipe works with any kind of blueberries you can get your hands on. The batter will stay lightest with fresh store-bought or wild blueberries. It will turn a pretty blue-purple if you use frozen blueberries. If using frozen berries, make sure they stay frozen right until you add them to your batter.
(p.s. for all the basic tips that no one ever taught you, that are super important to help you bake your best, check out my Baking 101 series!)
Special Tools and Equipment You'll Need
There are no special tools required for this recipe, but a dough whisk and a large ice cream scoop will definitely make the process easier for you.
What is a dough whisk, you ask?
It's a very unique tool that I didn't discover until I'd been baking for many years. I specifically use it for batters that are a little too sloppy for a wooden spoon to work well, but too stiff for a regular whisk.
As you can see below, it has a single large wire wound around in a few spirals, with no give to it. What this allows is for substantial mixing with each stroke, and a full blending of your ingredients with as little mixing as possible and without the dough whisk getting clogged with batter thanks to its large center opening.
90% of the time I'm using this tool, it is indeed for scones as there is no tool better suited for the job. So if you love having quick mix drop scones on the weekend, it's definitely a tool worth looking into, as they aren't very expensive either.
That said, if you don't have one - no worries! A wooden spoon or big fork will work fine too.
How to Make Drop Scones From Scratch
(Pssst…if you're ready to just get baking, get all the details in the recipe card below!)
- Prep your pans and preheat your oven.
- Blend together your dry ingredients.
- Cut your cold butter cubes into the dry ingredients. (Check out this REEL for a quick video lesson on cutting in butter!)
- Toss the blueberries into the flour/butter mixture.
- Combine the wet ingredients in a small bowl, and gently stir the wet and dry ingredients together (this is where that dough whisk is really helpful!).
- Drop your scones in rounds, on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake until golden brown and fully set.
TO MAKE THE GLAZE:
- Make the glaze by stirring all ingredients together until smooth.
- Finish scones by drizzling glaze back and forth using a fork or small pitcher.
- Allow glaze to set, then enjoy the perfect coffee or tea treat with your favorite breakfast beverage and put those run-of-the-mill Starbucks scones in the past!
Check out the full RECIPE WEB STORY for a click-through tutorial!
Lemon Lovers Read This
If you love the original lemon blueberry flavor profile or are just looking for a brighter citrus flavor addition, here are the substitutions you'll make in the recipe to convert it back to a lemon blueberry scone:
- For the scone batter:
- remove the cinnamon
- remove the maple syrup
- add the zest of one lemon (can be blended with the dry ingredients in Step 2)
- add 1 tablespoon lemon juice (this can be added with the buttermilk)
- For the glaze:
- remove the maple syrup
- add 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- add 2 tablespoons total of buttermilk (instead of the original 1 tablespoon)
Why This Recipe Leads to Sweet Success
- Cutting the butter all the way in: cutting butter into flour is not exactly the easiest thing to do, so I tried to make it as simple as possible in this recipe. Instead of having you stop part-way through, wonder how big exactly is a "pea-sized chunk," we're going to work the butter in completely. This makes it so you don't have to try to guess when you're all done, because it's easy to see when everything's evenly mixed.
- Drop it like it's hot: many scones require folding the dough, rolling it out, and often cutting it into shapes. To keep things super simple (and keep your counters clean!), I've designed this recipe to just be scooped and dropped for easy prep.
- The best of both worlds: I've also created this recipe to give you the best of the British and Cream Drop Scone style recipes, with none of the annoying bits! You'll get the rich flavor from the cut-in butter cubes. But, you'll also have a fluffy and moist crumb from the higher amount of liquid. And need I mention again, it'll keep your counters clean without compromising the quality of your scones at all?!
- Buttermilk instead of heavy cream: heavy cream is the traditional ingredient you'll finds in drops scones. However, I've found it can weigh the batter down, especially if you're using butter as well, and the final scones can just be too rich overall. So we're holding onto that high liquid ratio to keep a light and fluffy, but still moist scone, but using buttermilk which both balances the flavor, and helps to tenderize the scones with its acidity for a truly irresistible bite. (p.s. if you're into light and fluffy breakfast treats...don't miss out on my Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes, Oreo Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing, and Cinnamon Donut Muffins!)
Test Kitchen Tips + FAQs
What is the secret to making good scones?
Using that nice cold butter and taking the time to thoroughly and evenly work it into your dry ingredients. That technique, in combination with the magic of using buttermilk instead of heavy cream will give you that rich buttery taste you'll love, while still producing a light and fluffy texture.
Can I substitute frozen blueberries for fresh in scones?
Absolutely! Frozen berries will make your batter turn a bright blue-purple as opposed to staying cream-colored. But honestly, I kind of love the pop of color! If using frozen berries, just make sure you keep them in the freezer right until you're adding them to your bowl. If they start to defrost and release their water, they will make a mess of your batter.
Can you make scones ahead of time?
I wouldn't recommend making this recipe ahead of time more than a few hours before service, as scones are one of those treats that are really best enjoyed fresh.
How do you store scones?
If you do have leftovers, you can store them airtime at room temperature for up to two days (the moist crumb, and fresh juicy berry unfortunately give them a fairly short shelf life). If 10 scones is too many for you to eat fresh, feel free to halve the recipe to bake off just 5 at a time.
Can you freeze scones?
While you can freeze these scones baked and un-iced, I highly recommend eating them fresh as the texture and overall experience is going to be much more enjoyable.
Do I have to use the glaze?
You absolutely don't have to include the glaze for this recipe. These scones are plenty delicious all on their own.
If you'd like, you can skip the glaze recipe altogether and just top your scones with some sparkling sugar before the bake for a super easy and pretty finish.
Other Sweet Breakfast Treats You'll Love
Here are a few of my other favorite breakfast and brunch recipes:
- Cinnamon and Sugar Donut Muffins
- Strawberry Mini Donut Muffins
- Sour Cream Blueberry Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel
- Lemon Pancakes with Fresh Lemon Whipped Cream
- Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes
- Cookies and Cream Cinnamon Rolls (with cream cheese icing!)
⭐ If you gave this recipe a try please give it a ⭐ rating and tag me on Instagram @mint.and.mallow.kitchen so I can see what you're baking up! ⭐
📖 Full Recipe
Better Than Starbucks Blueberry Scones (easy drop scones style!)
FOR THE SCONES:
- 2 ⅓ cups all purpose
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (cold, cut into ¼" cubes)
- 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
FOR THE GLAZE:
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar (sifted)
- 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon buttermilk
TO MAKE THE SCONES:
- Prep and preheat: preheat your oven to 400°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Blend dry ingredients: using a medium-sized bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients until well blended.
- Cut in butter: add cold butter cubes to your dry blend and toss to fully coat them in flour. Work the butter into the flour, bit by bit, either smearing it into sheets between your fingers (my preferred method) or cutting it into the flour with a fork or pastry blender. Continue to blend until no chunks of butter remain and you have a mixture of course compact-able crumbs (this usually takes at least 2-3 minutes).
- Toss in blueberries: add blueberries (straight from the freezer if using frozen), and toss with the crumb mixture until fairly well distributed.
- Combine and add wet ingredients: stir together buttermilk, egg, maple syrup, and vanilla until well blended. Add wet mixture to the flour mixture and stir everything together using a fork or whisk just until combined with no pockets of flour remain.
- Scoop and tray: scoop dough into rounds using ⅓ cup of dough per scone (an ice-cream scoop works well here for easy portioning!), and place on a prepared baking sheet at least 3” apart.
- Bake ‘em: bake for 14-16 minutes, until the surface is golden brown and looks fully dry, and the center feels set and springs back when gently pressed.
TO MAKE THE GLAZE:
- Make the glaze: as the scones cool, prepare the glaze. Mix together all the glaze ingredients with a fork until smooth and well blended. The glaze should be thick, but still settle to a smooth surface in the bowl a few seconds after you stop stirring. Feel free to thin with a little extra syrup or milk to your preferred texture.
- Glaze scones: when scones are just a little warm still, set them on the wire rack over parchment/foil. Slowly drizzle glaze using a fork over the tops of scones, and allow the excess to drip off below the rack.
- Set, share and enjoy! Allow glaze to set for at least 15-20 minutes (or longer if possible to allow it to fully crust on top), then pass around these tender blueberry treats and enjoy!
Test Kitchen Tips
- Frozen Blueberries: frozen berries will make your batter turn a bright blue-purple as opposed to staying cream-colored. But honestly, I kind of love the pop of color! If using frozen berries, just make sure you keep them in the freezer right until you're adding them to your bowl. If they start to defrost and release their water, they will make a mess of your batter.
- Lemon Lovers Variation: If you'd prefer a lemon blueberry scone with the traditional Starbucks flavor profile, check out this recipe's full post for tips on exactly what substitutions to make the base and glaze bright and lemony.
- Storage: If you do have leftovers, you can store them airtime at room temperature for up to two days (the moist crumb, and fresh juicy berry unfortunately give them a fairly short shelf life). If 10 scones is too many for you to eat fresh, feel free to halve the recipe to bake off just 5 at a time.
- Freezing: While you can freeze these scones baked and un-iced, I highly recommend eating them fresh as the texture and overall experience is going to be much more enjoyable.