Buttery, flaky, and full of fresh cherries - these are the best cherry scones. This easy recipe comes together quickly thanks to simple ingredients and minimal mixing. Enjoy almond and cherry scones for breakfast or as an afternoon treat.
Sweet tart cherries marry with lemon and almond flavors in this delicious scone recipe. Almond cherry scones are melt-in-your-mouth tender and irresistible. The scone dough uses heavy cream and unsalted butter (no egg) for the ultimate taste and texture.
The delicately sweet scones are full of fresh cherries and crunchy almonds. Like my brown sugar pecan scones, they have a tender, moist interior and golden brown exterior with crumbly edges. Enjoy cherry scones with afternoon tea or coffee. Serve a batch for breakfast or brunch too.
Almond Cherry Scone Recipe
Fresh cherry scones are buttery, flaky, and filled with pops of tart, sweet flavor. Chopped almonds and fresh cherry pieces fleck the scone dough. Lemon zest provides a vibrant flavor, while almond extract offers a subtle sweetness and almond taste. You will want to make this simple scone recipe repeatedly, especially during cherry season. Here is why you will love this scone recipe:
- Fresh Cherry Scones - This scone recipe uses fresh cherries for delicious flavor and texture.
- Easy Recipe - While making homemade scones may sound intimidating, they require minimal mixing and bake quickly.
- Simple Ingredients - You won’t find any complicated ingredients in this recipe; most are pantry and refrigerator staples.
- Moist, Tender Scones - The scones come out soft and flakey thanks to cold butter and heavy whipping cream.
- Breakfast or Brunch - Enjoy an almond cherry scone as a quick breakfast, or serve a batch for your next brunch. This recipe's simple flavor profile is one that everyone will enjoy!
Which cherries are best for baking?
While you can use all cherries for baking, not all cherries perform the same. Bing cherries — my favorite and the most popular in the US — have a firm, crisp texture, large size, and heart shape. Morello cherries (sour cherries), aka “pie cherries,” are juicy with dark skin. This variety is known as the baker’s best friend for their texture and flavor. There are black cherries (a generic name) which are sweet cherries with black skins. And there are rainier cherries. While beautiful, rainier cherries are best eaten raw versus used in baking because of their juiciness. In addition, they lose their color once baked. For this recipe, bing cherries are the variety of choice.
- All-Purpose Flour - This simple scone recipe uses plain flour as its base.
- Light Brown Sugar (packed) - Light brown sugar provides just enough sweetness.
- Baking Powder - Baking powder is the leavening agent in many scone (and biscuit) recipes. Make sure that your baking powder has not expired for a proper rise.
- Lemon Zest
- Unsalted Butter (cold and chopped)
- Almonds (chopped)
- Bing Cherries (pitted and chopped)
- Heavy Whipping Cream (cold)
- Almond Extract
- Turbinado Sugar (optional)- Coarse sugar adds a delectable texture and crunch to the exterior of the finished scone.
See the recipe card for ingredient quantities.
Like biscuits, scones are made with the biscuit method of mixing. Cold butter is cut into the dry ingredients. The wet ingredients are carefully mixed into the butter-flour mixture before the dough is minimally turned onto a lightly floured work surface. The dough is then portioned, chilled, and baked.
STEP 1 (DRY INGREDIENTS) - Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest in a large bowl.
STEP 2 (CUT IN BUTTER) - With a pastry cutter, or two forks, cut butter into the dry ingredients until coarse crumbs remain. Stir in the almonds and cherries until combined.
STEP 3 (ADD THE LIQUID) - Whisk the almond extract into the heavy cream. Pour the wet ingredients into the center of the butter-flour mixture and carefully mix just until a dough starts to form.
STEP 4 (FORM THE DOUGH) - Pour the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Turn the dough a couple of times until the dough comes together — do not over-mix.
STEP 5 (PORTION AND CHILL) - Portion the dough into eight triangles with a sharp knife or bench scraper. Place the scone dough triangles onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
STEP 6 (BAKE) - Preheat the oven to 400° F. Brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream and sprinkle them with turbinado sugar. Bake the scones for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Light Brown Sugar - Granulated Sugar, Dark Brown Sugar
- Lemon Zest - Orange Zest, Lime Zest
- Almonds - Pecans, Walnuts, Pistachios
- Bing Cherries - Morello Cherries (sour cherries), Black Cherries
- Almond Extract - Vanilla Extract (use 1 tsp)
Can I use frozen cherries in this scone recipe? Avoid frozen cherries for this recipe. The cherries will add too much moisture and alter the texture of the scones. Instead, use frozen cherries to make this frozen cherry compote.
- Cherry Chip Scones - Fold in ½ cup of semi-sweet or white chocolate chips.
Transfer cooled scones to an airtight container. Store the scones at room temperature for up to 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Can you freeze cherry scones? Freeze scones before or after baking.
- Freeze Before Baking - After forming the triangles of scone dough, freeze them on a baking sheet for one hour. Transfer frozen dough wedges to a freezer-safe zip-top bag or airtight container, and separate layers with wax paper - freeze for up to 3 months. Bake from frozen - add a few extra minutes of baking time. Or thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- Freeze After Baking - Transfer cooled scones to an airtight container or zip-top bag. Freeze for up to 3 months—thaw scones on the counter or in the refrigerator.
Other Delicious Scones
- Cinnamon Roll Scones
- Apple Cinnamon Scones
- Chocolate Chip Scones
- Lemon Blueberry Scones
- Bacon Cheddar Scones
- Chocolate Chip Coffee Scones
- Use cold butter and cream.
- Refrain from over-mixing the scone dough, especially after adding the cherries. The moisture level becomes unbalanced and sticky if the cherries are blended too much into the dough.
- Chill and rest the dough before baking it.
Frequently Asked Questions
A good scone has a moist, tender center and golden brown exterior. This texture transpires through minimal mixing, cold dairy, and dough chilling before baking.
You have either over-mixed or over-baked your scones. Tight scone dough will result in tightly structured scones with a crumbly texture. Similarly, over-baking the scones removes their moisture and dries them out.
Both buttermilk and heavy cream are satisfactory liquids to use in scone dough. Buttermilk is lighter and less fatty, creating a soft, fluffy texture with a subtle tangy flavor. Heavy cream is thicker and fattier, creating rich, melt-in-your-mouth tender scones. Heavy cream is usually my liquid of choice when making scones because of its high-fat content.
For a delicious buttermilk scone, try my strawberry buttermilk scone recipe.
The butter, and cream, should always be cold when making scone dough — do not use room-temperature butter. If the butter becomes too soft and warm, pop it in the refrigerator or freezer for about 10 minutes. Cold butter melts into little pockets within the dough as the scones bake. This process creates the luscious layers and flakey texture within scones and biscuits.
Always chill the scone dough wedges for 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking. Refrigerating the scone dough resolidifies the butter so it can melt in the oven and create steam pockets.
Almond Cherry Scones
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar packed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ tablespoon lemon zest
- 6 tablespoon unsalted butter cold and cut into pieces
- ⅓ cup almonds chopped
- 1 cup bing cherries pitted and roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream cold, plus more for brushing
- turbinado sugar as needed (optional)
- Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest in a large bowl.
- Cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until pea-sized pieces remain. Stir in the almonds and cherries until combined.
- Whisk the almond extract into the heavy cream. Pour the wet ingredients into the center of the butter-flour mixture and carefully mix just until a dough starts to form.
- Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Turn the dough a couple of times until the dough comes together — do not over-mix.
- Portion the dough with a sharp knife or bench scraper into 8 triangles. Place the dough triangles onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and place the tray in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill.
- Preheat the oven to 400° F. Brush the chilled scones with heavy cream and sprinkle them with turbinado sugar. Bake the scones for 20 minutes or until golden brown.