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Cherry Almond Scones

Cherry Almond Scones bring together the classic flavor combination of cherry and almond. Made with almond paste and either frozen, fresh or dried cherries, these scones are perfect for a cozy breakfast or sweet afternoon treat.

Sigh….I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…you know I love a good scone. The truth is, I think they satisfy a craving for treats better than other more sugary sweets.

I hadn’t planned on creating a new scone recipe for this post. I was actually working on a completely different cherry almond recipe.

But, I just couldn’t get it right enough to blog about. We certainly enjoyed the fruits of all the trials on that recipe. They were all delicious; just not good enough.

Cherry Almond Scones opened up on a white plate with a bowl of cherries.

I know when I need to set aside recipe testing and development on a given idea. So, I left that idea for another day and proceeded to move on…

And yet, here I was with lots of frozen cherries and almond paste hanging around. I figured it was as good a reason as any to create another scone :)

An overhead photo of Cherry Almond Scones on a white plate with a bowl of cherries with a side dish of sliced almonds.

How to Make Scones That Are Not Dry

We could talk about not over baking or not measuring ingredients correctly. Those things are very important. But really, the most important thing is starting with a good recipe.

My scones are generally “short scones”, which mean they have a higher ratio of fat to flour, just like a short bread cookie has lots of fat. That extra fat makes them buttery and rich.

The right balance of fat and moisture in my recipes keeps all of my scones from becoming a dry disappointment.

That doesn’t mean more liquid is better. In fact, some readers feel like they need to add more moisture to my recipes. If you’ve measured your flour carefully, you shouldn’t need that extra liquid.

Freshly baked Cherry Almond Scones on a baking sheet.

I think of my scone dough as a relative of pie crust and cookie dough. More liquid than the recipe calls for doesn’t help in achieving my ideal texture.

In this recipe, the fat comes from butter, heavy cream, the yolk in the egg and yes, there’s even fat coming from the almond paste.

My Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuit recipe has less fat and more liquid. I have no issues with a wetter dough. It produces a fluffy biscuit that’s never dry. But…I like my biscuits fluffy and my scones buttery and rich.

So, If you’ve made and loved my other scone recipes, this one certainly won’t disappoint.

That being said, you should always check measurements and avoid overbaking.

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How to Make Cherry Almond Scones

Ingredient List

  • all purpose flour
  • sugar
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • unsalted butter-cold
  • almond paste-I used Odense
  • cherries-I used frozen sweet organic, but you can use fresh or dried
  • egg-cold
  • heavy cream-cold
  • almond extract
  • confectioner’s sugar-aka powdered sugar or icing sugar
  • toasted sliced almonds
Frozen cherries in a glass bowl and measuring cup.

Can I use frozen, fresh or dried cherries for Cherry Almond Scones?

You can use any of the above. I used frozen Wellsley Farms Organic Dark Sweet Cherries because I had them on hand. And I wanted a juicy cherry, not a dried cherry for this particular recipe.

Dried cherries won’t have the risk of extra liquid and will give you a more concentrated cherry flavor and a chewy bites of fruit throughout the scone.

It’s a wonderful option and the one with no advanced preparation. I reduce the measurement in the recipe if using dried cherries, but you can increase or decrease as you prefer.

Many recipes recommend that you do not thaw frozen fruit when using it in baked goods. For this recipe, I preferred a thawed cherry.

Frozen cherries have quite a bit of liquid and I needed more control over how much of that liquid ended up in the dough.

I thawed my cherries in the microwave, just giving them a brief 30 seconds, a quick stir and then another 15 seconds. We don’t want warm cherries or they will heat up the cold butter in the recipe.

They don’t need to be completely thawed. I just partially thawed and then cut them into halves and quarters and let them drain in a sieve where they continued to thaw as I worked on the rest of the recipe.

You could also just thaw them in the refrigerator the day before.

When you thaw the cherries you will end up with LOTS of liquid. And too much liquid, as mentioned above, will compromise the texture of these scones.

Tip! Reserve some cherry juice if you want to use it in the icing instead of water, milk or cream.

Once thawed, and cut into halves and quarters, go ahead and measure them for the heaping 1 cup. This is important to do before you drain them well because they will get compressed in the process and you won’t get the right measurement.

Frozen cherries. Thawed and patted dry on a paper plate.

Ensure cherries are dried well!

If you use fresh cherries, you’ll need to pit them and slice them into halves and quarters. Then, pat them dry between 2 layers of paper towels to get most of the excess moisture out of them.

If you use frozen cherries, you’ll need to repeat the drying process at least 3 times or until they’re releasing just small areas of moisture when gently pressed with the paper towel.

I soaked two sets of paper towels with the frozen cherries. The photo above is the third pressing. I let them sit and then I went for one additional pressing just before I added them to the dry mixture.

What is almond paste?

Basically, almond paste is formed when blanched almonds and sugar are processed together so finely that they turn into paste.

Sometimes egg whites or sugar syrups are used to help bind the paste.

I use Odense almond paste because my grocery store carries it and it’s easily accessible.

Did you know you can make your own almond paste?

Ok, so I’ve never tried it myself, but it’s REALLY easy to do! Here’s an almond paste recipe if you want to take the plunge or can’t find almond paste when you need it.

I love almond paste. It’s not as sweet marzipan which you often see molded in fruit shapes.

I used it in this Shortcut Stollen recipe. So delicious!

A pile of grated almond paste sitting on a paper plate next to a silver box grater.

Grate almond paste for easy use in recipes like Cherry Almond Scones

Almond paste is a somewhat sticky, solid mass of paste. We want to distribute the paste as evenly as possible throughout the scone mixture.

Grating it will give us lots of bits to work with.

I use the wrapper to hold the paste while grating. Whatever is left on the end, I just chop up into small pieces.

How to Cut Butter into Flour

You can cut butter into flour using 2 knives. I have never had the patience for this.

If you’re going to be making pie crusts, scones or biscuits, it’s a good idea to invest in a pastry blender. I own this Oxo pastry blender {aff. link} and this wire pastry blender. {aff. link}

I used to prefer the wire version, but honestly, I’ve grown to love both.

Can you cut butter into flour with a food processor? {aff. link}

Yes. You absolutely can use a food processor, but I find the texture of the finished scone isn’t quite the same.

Don’t get me wrong. Your scone will still be good and some bakers love blending butter this way. Perhaps those who haven’t gone through endless recipe development and testing might not notice a difference. I do.

If you do use a food processor, make sure you don’t over process the butter. Just pulse until you have small bits of various sizes no larger than peas.

Then, mix the cherries and wet ingredients in by hand.

An overhead photo of the six step process of ingredients being added to a bowl to make Cherry Almond Scones including cutting in the cold butter with a pastry blender
First the butter is cut in, then the sticky almond paste shreds are tossed and separated in the flour, followed by the cherries. Everything is separated and coated in flour.

That being said, when faced with the choice between cleaning the food processor and cleaning the pastry blender, the pastry blender wins, hands down, EVERY time.

Add the cherries

Once you’ve got the almond paste mixed into the dry ingredients, it’s time to add the cherries.

If you’re using frozen or fresh cherries, give them one last pat to dry them. Then add them to the dry ingredients, tossing them with a spoon, coating and separating them in the flour.

If using dried cherries, separate any that are sticking to stuck together, then toss and coat in the flour as described above.

Egg and heavy cream mixture being poured into dry ingredients.

Add the wet ingredients

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it.

Then, use a sturdy spoon to draw the dry mixture up and over the center, turning the bowl as you go until no dry bits remain in the bottom of the bowl.

An overhead photo of wet and dry ingredients before and after being mixed.
An overhead photo of raw Cherry Almond Scones dough in a glass bowl.
An overhead photo of two discs of wrapped and unwrapped Cherry Almond Scones dough on a baking sheet.
Before freezing on the left. After freezing and cutting on the right.

The Importance of Well Chilled Scone Dough

Cold butter helps prevent the butter from melting before scones are baked. You want cold butter so that it has a chance to release steam during baking. That helps the scone to rise.

Chilling time helps to relax the gluten in the flour which also helps the scone to rise.

So plan in some chilling time for this recipe. I often make the dough the day before, wrap it up and put it in the freezer. The next day, I’ll let it thaw for a bit on the counter, then cut and bake.

An overhead photo of unbaked Cherry Almond Scones on a baking sheet.
An overhead photo of Cherry Almond Scones on a baking sheet before they've been iced

How do I know when the scones are done?

Scones will take about 12-15 minutes in a 400-degree oven. The scones should have risen and the edges should begin to turn golden brown.

Take them out of the oven and let them cool on the pan before icing.

Freshly baked Cherry Almond Scones on a baking sheet.

How to Make a Simple Confectioner’s Sugar Icing

I decided just a simple icing would be perfect for these Cherry Almond Scones. Just mix confectioner’s sugar with almond extract, a pinch of salt and your choice of liquid.

You can sift the confectioner’s sugar to remove lumps, but I never do. I just whisk the icing until they’re gone. One less dish to worry about :)

For the liquid you can use water, milk or heavy cream. You could also use reserved cherry juice from frozen cherries for an extra hit of cherry flavor and a light pink color.

Really, any liquid will do. It’s an easy place to be creative.

icing dripping from a whisk into a glass bowl full of icing
Cherry Almond Scones on a baking sheet with a whisk drizzling icing over their tops

Whatever liquid you have, add it in small amounts, a spoonful at a time until you’ve reached your desired drizzling consistency.

For this scone, I used my whisk to randomly drizzle the icing on the scones. You’ll see some random puddles of icing on my baking sheet.

Overhead photo of Iced Cherry Almond Scones on a baking sheet

To combat any waste of icing on the baking sheet when randomly drizzling, just place the scones closer together before drizzling so that another scone will catch any excess drizzle instead of being left behind on the pan.

More often than not, I’ll make the icing just a bit thicker. Then, I’ll put it in a zip top bag, cut a small bit of the corner off the bag and “pipe” my drizzle in a more controlled fashion.

The icing will harden as it dries, making it easier to stack the scones when storing.

Placing a Cherry Almond Scone on to a white plate with a silver spatula.

Can you freeze scones?

You can freeze scones before or after baking.

To freeze BEFORE baking, make recipe up to forming the raw scone dough discs. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and seal in a zip top freezer bag. Store in freezer for up to 3 weeks.

When ready to bake, allow to thaw at room temperature just until the dough soft enough to make clean cuts. If it’s too hard, the dough will either not cut at all, or you will not get clean cuts.

I am not a fan of baking scones from frozen. Baking from firm and well chilled results in a better outcome.

Alternatively…if the dough is too soft, you will lose the benefit of the cold butter for rising and the dough will be less manageable.

To freeze AFTER baking, just wrap scones individually in plastic wrap or waxed paper, then place them in a zip top freezer bag. You can freeze for at least 2 months. Thaw at room temperature.

Cherry Almond Scones opened up on a white plate with a bowl of cherries.

How to Reheat Scones

Scones are generally best the day they are baked. I love the crisp edges and the fluffy interior.

Because these are short scones, the fat creates a slightly denser scone on day 2. My husband prefers that texture.

I like to get those crispy edges back.

You can reheat a scone in the oven at high heat (375-400F) just until the edges get crisp again. The insides will be warm and tender.

I don’t even mind reheating this way if the scones have icing. The icing gets bubbly and the edges get crisp. It’s all good. And I do mean aaalllll good!

hand holding a piece of Cherry Almond Scone and showing the inside texture

More scones to love…

Placing a Cherry Almond Scone on to a white plate with a silver spatula.

Cherry Almond Scones

Yield: 12 scones
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 2 minutes

Cherry Almond Scones bring together the classic flavor combination of cherry and almond. Made with almond paste and either frozen, fresh or dried cherries, these scones are perfect for a cozy breakfast or sweet afternoon treat.


  • 1 heaping cup of sliced sweet cherries (fresh or frozen and thawed. See notes if using dried cherries)

Dry ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • 5 ounces of almond paste, grated on large holes of grater

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup or more heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Icing Ingredients:

  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2-3 Tablespoons water, milk or cream
  • pinch of salt


  • toasted sliced almonds, coarsely chopped


Prepare cherries

  1. If you're using frozen cherries, thaw completely, drain well and slice into halves and quarters. (Reserve drained cherry juice if you want to use it in the icing. See recipe notes.) Measure a heaping cup. Then, sandwich the cherries between double layers of paper towels and gently press the excess moisture out of the cherries. I did this 3 times changing to dry paper towels each time. If you're using fresh cherries, pit them and slice them in halves and quarters and press the excess moisture out. Fresh cherries will give off less liquid than frozen. Set aside.

Prepare scone dough

  1. In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  2. Using a pastry cutter, add chunks of butter into the flour mixture and cut it until the butter is various sizes no larger than a pea.
  3. Add the grated almond paste and toss in the flour, using your fingers to separate any pieces sticking together so that the paste pieces are evenly distributed.
  4. Pat cherries dry one last time and add to dry ingredients, tossing them gently in the flour to separate the individual pieces of cherry. Set aside.
  5. Crack the egg into a liquid measuring cup. Whisk with a fork to combine. Add enough heavy cream to bring the total measure of egg and cream to 3/4 cup. (This will be about 1/2 cup of cream.) Add almond extract and whisk with a fork until thoroughly combined.
  6. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour egg/cream mixture into the well. Using a sturdy mixing spoon, slowly bring the dry mixture into center, turning the bowl as you go. Continue to gently combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any excess dry ingredients. Set the spoon aside and use your hands to finish mixing. Take care not to squeeze the mixture too much, which will extract more juice from the cherries. I bring the mixture into a ball and then flip it over, press in any dry bits, flip and press until the mixture has come together with no excess flour left in the bowl.
  7. Divide the mixture in half. Place each half onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form into a round disc about 5" wide and about 1" tall. Wrap tightly in the plastic and freeze for 30-60 minutes or until firm.
  8. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. When oven is ready, remove scone discs from freezer. Cut each disc into 6 scones and place on ungreased baking sheet, leaving a couple of inches of room in between scones.
  9. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until scones are tall, puffy and are beginning to turn golden brown on the edges. Remove from oven and set aside to cool on pan.

Make the icing:

  1. Starting with 1 Tablespoon of water, milk or cream, whisk all icing ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Add additional liquid until you get your desired drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cooled scones. Icing will set as it dries.


* Measure the heaping 1 cup of cherries after they've been chopped. I initially measured out about 2 cups of whole frozen cherries. That amount, thawed, worked out to my 1 cup of chopped cherries.

*If you want to use sweetened, dried cherries, use 1/2 cup.

*Too much excess moisture does not work well in this recipe. Ensure you thoroughly pat the cherries dry for best results.

*If using salted butter, reduce salt to 1/4 teaspoon.

*You can reserve cherry juice drained from frozen cherries and use in the icing instead of water, etc. Your icing will be pink and have a hit of cherry flavor.

*To make scones ahead, follow instruction up to wrapping the scone discs in plastic. Once wrapped, place in zip top freezer bags and freeze up to 3 weeks. When ready to bake, allow to thaw on counter just until thawed but still firm enough to cut through with a sharp knife. It should just be lightly pliable. Don't wait for the dough to get too soft. We want the butter in the scone to be chilled and firm.

*Scones can be stored covered at room temperature for up to 2 days. For longer storage, wrap each scone individually in plastic wrap or waxed paper and place into zip top freezer bags.

*See blog post for more helpful tips!

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