Pumpkin Scones

Tender and buttery Pumpkin Scones, perfect for afternoon tea or as a savoury side dish. Make these classic Pumpkin Scones with homemade pumpkin purée or canned pumpkin.

pumpkin scones on metal tray

Pumpkin Scones

There is something about Pumpkin Scones which always reminds me of Australia. My parents sold them in the bakery alongside the plain scones and fruit scones, and I was never sure if pumpkin scones were intended to be sweet or savoury, but I knew that I was always intrigued by their deep orange hue.

pumpkin scones on metal tray with fresh nutmeg

Australian Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin Scones are very popular in the US, but the ones in Australia are much more simple and humble – there’s no frosting or glaze, and they are always made using round scone cutters.

Also, as the seasons are not as defined in Australia (it is generally hot all year round), the arrival of autumn is not widely celebrated with large displays of pumpkins and squashes like you would see in other countries. So pumpkin scones are eaten all year round in Australia, not just in autumn when pumpkins come into season.

Lady Flo’s Pumpkin Scones

In fact, pumpkin scones are particularly popular in Queensland, Australia, where I grew up.

They were the signature dish of Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen (also known as Lady Flo), who was a former senator and widow of a long-standing premier of Queensland. The story goes that Lady Flo became well-known for making pumpkin scones to greet her royal visitors and other special guests, that she ultimately became famous for her pumpkin scone recipe and even went on to author several cookbooks in her lifetime.

Although my pumpkin scone recipe differs slightly to Lady Flo’s recipe, I think it still pays homage to the original, but with a little twist.

pumpkin scones sprinkled with sea salt

Pumpkin Scone Recipe

My pumpkin scone recipe follows the same blueprint as for my Plain Scones, except with the addition of pumpkin purée.

If I have the time and energy, I will steam some pumpkin pieces to make my own homemade mashed pumpkin the night before.

In fact, usually when I steam pumpkin to serve as a side dish at dinner, I will often add an extra wedge of pumpkin so that I can make pumpkin purée just for these pumpkin scones or maybe even pumpkin pancakes the next day.

But if time is tight, some shop-bought pumpkin purée is absolutely fine.

I use slightly less milk due to the moisture content in the pumpkin purée, and would even recommend using buttermilk if you have that to hand. If not, simply add 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar to the milk and leave it to sit for about 5 minutes.

And what I think is crucial to a pumpkin scone recipe is freshly grated nutmeg to add a gentle, warming spice.

pumpkin scones with freshly grated nutmeg

What to Serve with Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin Scones are best served immediately while they are still warm, slathered generously with butter. They can be served as a “sweet” treat, but they also work well as a savoury accompaniment to a bowl of soup.

As the scones do not taste overwhelmingly of pumpkin – I think the pumpkin adds mostly colour and moisture – they would also be delicious alongside a Roast Pumpkin Soup.

More Pumpkin Recipes

If you are looking for more pumpkin recipes, you might also like:

Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Roast Pumpkin Soup

Print

Pumpkin Scones

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Thanh | Eat, Little Bird
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 10-12 scones
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Australian

Tender and buttery Pumpkin Scones, perfect for afternoon tea or as a savoury side dish. Make these classic Pumpkin Scones with homemade pumpkin purée or canned pumpkin.

Ingredients

For the Pumpkin Scones

  • 500 g (3 1/3 cup) plain flour (all-purpose flour)
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 25 g (2 tablespoons) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 75 g (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes (see Kitchen Notes)
  • 250 g (1 cup) pumpkin purée (see Kitchen Notes)
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk (see Kitchen Notes)

For the Egg Wash

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Instructions

For the Scones

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F) (without fan).
  2. Place a baking tray in the middle shelf of the oven to warm up while you are making the scones.
  3. Place the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and nutmeg into the bowl of an electric stand mixer.
  4. Add the butter and briefly mix with the flat paddle attachment until the mixture resembles damp sand. Alternatively, you can do this by hand by simply rubbing the fats into the flour with your fingertips.
  5. Add the pumpkin purée and beat it into the mixture briefly.
  6. Slowly add the buttermilk and quickly mix everything together. You may not need all of the buttermilk – just add enough buttermilk until the mixture just comes together into a rough dough. Try not to overwork the dough as this may lead to tough scones later.
  7. Place the dough onto a floured work surface and pat it into a rectangle or circle shape about 3 cm (1 inch) high.
  8. Cut your scones with a round cutter. You could also use a teacup or small glass to shape your scones. Use a straight up-and-down movement to cut the scones. Try not to twist the cookie cutter as this might prevent the scones from rising nicely later.
  9. Dip the cutter into some flour to prevent the dough from sticking to it. 
  10. You can make the scones as little or as big as you like, adjusting the baking time accordingly. I use a 6 cm (2.5 inch) cookie cutter to make medium-sized scones.
  11. Lightly re-shape the dough as necessary, but try to handle the dough as little as possible.
  12. Arrange the scones closely together on a baking tray.
  13. Make an egg wash by lightly beating together the egg and milk.
  14. Brush the scones with some egg-wash.
  15. Bake the scones in the oven for about 15-20 minutes (depending on size), or until they are lovely and golden.
  16. You may need to test a scone to make sure that it is fully cooked through in the centre. A digital thermometer inserted in the centre of a scone should read about 85°C (185°F).
  17. These scones are best served hot or warm, but they are also lovely served at room temperature.
  18. Serve the scones warm with a spread of butter.
  19. To stop the scones from developing a hard crust as they cool, cover the warm scones with a clean tea towel. The steam trapped under the tea towel will help to keep the scones soft.

Kitchen Notes

HOMEMADE BUTTERMILK
To make your own buttermilk, simply add 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar to 1/2 cup milk, and leave to stand for about 5 minutes before using.

HOMEMADE PUMPKIN PURÉE
* Peel and remove the seeds from about 500 g (1 lb) of pumpkin.
* Cut the pumpkin into large pieces of roughly equal size.
* To boil, bring a large pot of water to the boil, add the pumpkin and cook for about 30 minutes until the pumpkin is tender.
* To steam, bring a large pot of water to the boil, place the pumpkin in the steamer basket and steam for about 50-60 minutes until the pumpkin is tender.
* Place the cooked pumpkin into the bowl of a large food processor and blitz until you have a fine purée.
* Leave the purée to cool completely before using in this recipe.
* Any leftover pumpkin purée can be kept in a covered container in the fridge for a few days.

USING FROZEN BUTTER
You can use frozen butter in this recipe and simply grate it into the dry ingredients.

STORAGE TIPS
The scones are best eaten right away, or at least on the day of baking. But I find that if you individually wrap them in clingfilm, they still taste quite fresh one or two days later.

FREEZER TIPS
The scones can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer. Simply prepare the scones as per the instructions above until Step 9. I like to freeze 2 or 4 scones together in a small zip-lock freezer bag for easy handling. To bake, simply proceed with the remaining instructions above using the frozen scones (there is no need to defrost them first), but they will require an extra 5-10 minutes in the oven (depending on size).

OVEN TEMPERATURES
All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.

CONVERSIONS
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.

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3 comments

  1. Carolina 24 September 2021

    I do the same as you, Every time I cook pumpkin as a side dish, I put an extra slice for baking scones or muffins the next day!!! Love your recipes and I send you my love from Argentina 🇦🇷

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 25 September 2021

      Hi Carolina,
      Great minds think alike! Have a great weekend 🙂

      Reply
  2. James 29 September 2021

    I had some leftover mashed pumpkin which was barely enough for this recipe but the scones still came out great. Loved the addition of nutmeg. Do you think it would also work with mixed spice to amp up the spice flavour?

    Reply