Delectable Pumpkin Scones practically melt in your mouth. They are light and buttery, with a crisp sugary topping. A sweet maple glaze finishes them with pizzazz.
In the words of my six-year-old, Pumpkin Scones are “way too good.” That’s probably because they have a light and soft texture and are perfectly spiced. Thanks to some sparkling sugar, the top of the scones have a nice crunch. And everything is made even better with the sweet maple glaze on top.
My picture collage will show how these scones come together, along with brief descriptions of what’s happening in each photo. I have a few tips for success in getting the perfect pumpkin scones and I’ll share those, too.
How to make Pumpkin Scones
The descriptions below correlate to the numbered collages in this post.
- Dry ingredients: Measure flour, baking powder, salt, and all the spices into a very large bowl.
- Mix: Toss all the dry ingredients until combined.
- Wet ingredients: Combine an egg, heavy cream, pumpkin, brown sugar, and vanilla in a medium-sized bowl.
- Whisk: Whisk all the wet ingredients until smooth.
- Butter: Cube straight-from-the-fridge butter into small pieces.
- Use a pastry cutter: Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with the pastry cutter.
- Continue to cut in the butter: Keep cutting until it resembles small peas.
- Make a well in the dry ingredients.
- Add the wet ingredients: Pour into that empty center well.
- Mix: Stir until just combined; it doesn’t need to be all incorporate, so mix as little as possible.
- Sprinkle flour on a surface and knead: Very gently (handling as little as possible), knead the dough to form a large ball. Divide into 2 smaller balls, flatten into discs, and wrap each in plastic wrap.
- Chill: Place the dough in the freezer for 20 minutes.
- Cut discs: Form each disc into 8 equal-sized wedges.
- Place: Arrange dough wedges on a lined (parchment or non-stick baking mat) sheet pan.
- Brush: Use a pastry brush to add a layer of heavy cream on top of all the pumpkin scones.
- Add sugar: Coarse sparkling sugar goes on top for a crunch.
- Chill again: Place the scones in the freezer for another 20 minutes.
- Bake: Bake at 400 degrees F until golden (about 13-17 minutes). Allow to stand on the sheet for 5 minutes and then remove to a rack to cool.
- Glaze: While the scones bake, whisk together all the glaze ingredients in a small bowl.
- Drizzle: Spoon glaze over the scones when just barely warm.
Pumpkin Scones baking tips
- Number one tip: Keep the butter and dough as cold as possible! I chill the flour, freeze the butter after cutting it, and use wet ingredients straight from the fridge. The colder your dough, the better your pumpkin scones; they’ll be less dense and more airy and light.
- Press excess liquid out of the pumpkin: I use a few paper towels to press all the extra moisture out of the pumpkin before adding to the bowl. You can also use cheesecloth to achieve the same result.
- Stir and knead lightly: As soon as the dough comes together, stop mixing or kneading. A few bumps and lumps are fine. Remember, we want to keep the dough as cold as possible and the more you manipulate the dough, the softer the butter will get.
- Don’t use a rolling pin: Doing this will over-flatten the scone dough; instead, use your hands to work the dough into two 5-inch rounds.
More Pumpkin Scone tips
- Cut the dough into wedges: Use a sharp knife, with firm pressure and a straight, downward motion. Don’t swivel, shimmy, or shake it! This is important to help them rise correctly.
- Let baked biscuits stand: Once you pull the biscuits from the oven, let them stand on the sheet pan for about 5 minutes. That way, the residual heat and steam ensure the insides are fully baked.
- Use parchment paper or a nonstick liner on the pan: This keeps the pumpkin scones baking evenly and prevents the bottoms from burning and sticking to the tray.
- Glaze and sprinkle: Brush the tops of the pumpkin scones with heavy cream and then sprinkle the tops with some coarse sparkling sugar. This helps them to brown and caramelizes the tops of the scones during baking. It adds a slight–and amazing– crunch to the top of the scone.
- Chill well: Don’t skimp on the chilling time, because chilling relaxes the gluten structure and will contribute to a more tender result. It also cools that butter down again which contributes to the flaky texture.
Scones are truly best fresh and still slightly warm from the oven, so I recommend baking these pumpkin scones about an hour or two before you plan to enjoy them.
To make ahead: Shape the dough into scones and place in an airtight bag in the fridge overnight. Then, bake fresh the next day.
To freeze: Freeze the unbaked scones on a lined baking sheet, transfer the frozen scones to an airtight bag, and freeze for up to one month. Bake the scones straight from the freezer (add 1-3 minutes on baking time). (More details on freezing and baking scones here).
Use your leftover pumpkin in another recipe
- Small Batch Pumpkin Cookies
- Starbucks copycat Pumpkin Spice Latte Steamer
- Pumpkin Cupcakes with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting
- Glazed Pumpkin Coffee Cake
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with a streusel topping
Pumpkin Scones practically melt in your mouth! They're light and buttery with a crisp sugary top. A sweet maple glaze takes these over the top.
- 2 cups (255g) white all-purpose flour See Note 1
- 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon each: ginger and allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter See Note 1
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup (128g) + 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
- 1/4 cup (55g) canned pumpkin, With liquid pressed out with paper towels. See Note 2
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (120g) light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste OR 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Coarse sugar for topping
- 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup (80g) pure maple syrup
- Pinch fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
DRY INGREDIENTS: In a large bowl, combine the 2 cups (spooned and leveled) flour, 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon ginger, 3/4 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, and 3/4 teaspoon salt.
WET INGREDIENTS: In a small bowl, whisk together the 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 large egg, 1/4 cup pumpkin, 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and 1/2 vanilla paste or extract. Mix until smooth.
ADD BUTTER: Add the frozen cubed butter into the dry ingredients. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is evenly dispersed and the size of small peas.
COMBINE WET AND DRY: Make a well in the center of the ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well. With a wooden spoon, gently combine the ingredients until a dough begins to form. Mix as little as possible -- just until everything is moistened and mostly combined.
FORM SCONES: Very lightly dust a surface with flour and turn the mixture onto the surface. With lightly floured hands, gently work the dough into a ball (we want to handle the dough as little as possible while getting it into a cohesive disc). If the dough is too sticky, add a tiny bit more flour; if it is too dry, add 1-2 tablespoons additional cream. Press dough into a disc and cut exactly in half. Form each half gently into a smaller disc about 5 inches wide. Chill the discs, wrapped tightly for 20 minutes in the freezer. Remove and cut (with a very sharp knife) each disc into 8 equal wedges. Try to cut each wedge in one decisive cut (don’t shimmy the knife through the wedge). Place wedges on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or Silpat liner), about 2 inches apart. Pour remaining 2 (3 if needed) tablespoons heavy cream into a small dish. Using a pastry brush, brush the cream over the scones. Sprinkle with sparkling/coarse sugar if desired.
FREEZE: Place the pan of scones in the freezer for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
BAKE: Bake for 17-23 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges and lightly browned on top (over-baking scones will make them less flavorful and more dense, so watch carefully). Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before using a metal spatula to transfer to a cooling rack.
GLAZE: Whisk together the glaze ingredients. Add more maple syrup (or heavy cream or milk) 1 teaspoon at a time if the glaze is too thick. Drizzle just-barely-warm scones with glaze. Let set and then enjoy.
Scones are best served fresh and still slightly warm from the oven so I recommend baking these pumpkin scones about an hour or two before you plan to enjoy them.
Note 1: Keep all the ingredients as cold as possible! Chill the flour in the fridge ahead of time if possible (10-20 minutes). Cut the butter into small cubes and place in the freezer to chill until needed.
Note 2: Use cheesecloth or paper towels to press any excess liquid out of the pumpkin. Don't skip this step or the scone dough will be too wet; strain out as much liquid from the pumpkin as possible.
To make ahead: Shape the dough into scones and place in an airtight bag in the fridge overnight. Bake fresh the next day.
To freeze: Freeze the unbaked scones on a lined baking sheet, transfer the frozen scones to an airtight bag and freeze for up to one month. Bake scones straight from the freezer (add 1-3 minutes on baking time).