Homemade cranberry orange scones are deliciously flaky and tender with bright orange flavor and pops of juicy cranberries. Crunchy coarse sugar and orange glaze are the perfect finishing touches!
Scones. They can taste REALLY good or they can taste REALLY bad. It all depends on the recipe and mixing method.
I learned how to make absolutely delicious scones a few years ago when I attended a cooking event in the Panera Bread test kitchen. Turns out that I had been making all the wrong scones up until that point! Since that fateful afternoon, I’ve mastered chocolate chip scones, cinnamon scones, and blueberry scones. I use the same basic scone recipe for each flavor. By the way, I wrote an entire post devoted to my favorite base recipe for scones.
Today we’re making cranberry orange scones, flavors perfect for fall.
Why You’ll Love These Cranberry Orange Scones
- Sweet crumbly edges
- Soft, moist centers
- Crunchy golden brown exterior
- Bright flavor from orange zest and orange juice (a tasty addition we use to make the best cranberry sauce, too!)
- Pops of juicy cranberries (just like biting into a piece of cranberry cake!)
- Drizzle of orange glaze on top
Cranberry Orange Scone Ingredients
- Flour: 2 cups of all-purpose flour is my standard amount for homemade scones, but set extra aside for the work surface and your hands.
- Granulated Sugar: Stick with around 1/2 cup of white granulated sugar for this dough. Feel free to slightly decrease, but keep in mind that the scone flavor and texture will slightly change.
- Baking Powder: Adds lift.
- Salt & Vanilla Extract: These kitchen staples add flavor.
- Cold Butter: Besides flour, cold butter is the main ingredient in cranberry scones. It adds flavor, flakiness, crisp edges, and rise.
- Heavy Cream: For the best tasting pastries, stick with a thick liquid such as heavy cream. Buttermilk works too! For a nondairy option, try using full-fat canned coconut milk. Avoid thinner liquids such as milk or almond milk– the result is often dry, bland, and flat scones.
- Egg: 1 egg adds flavor, lift, and structure.
- Orange Zest: The zest from one orange provides bright flavor and pairs perfectly with the tart cranberries. Don’t leave it out!
- Cranberries: I prefer to use frozen cranberries because they keep the scone dough super cold. Fresh or even dried works too. Use the same amount.
Before baking, brush the scones with heavy cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar. These extras add a bakery-style crunch and lovely golden sheen.
Frozen Grated Butter
I’ve learned that frozen grated butter is key to scone success.
Like when we make pie crust, work the cold butter into the dry ingredients. The cold butter coats the flour. When the buttery flour crumbs melt as the scones bake, they release steam which creates pockets of air. These pockets add a flaky center, while keeping the edges crumbly and crisp. Refrigerated butter might melt in the dough as you work it, but frozen butter will hold out until the oven. Timing is KEY! And the finer the pieces of cold butter, the less the scones spread and the quicker the butter mixes into the dry ingredients. Remember, you don’t want to over-work scone dough.
I recommend grating the frozen butter with a box grater.
How to Make Cranberry Orange Scones
Since there’s no yeast, these cranberry orange scones go from the mixing bowl to the oven relatively quickly. First, mix the dry ingredients together. Second, cut cold butter into the dry ingredients. You can use a pastry cutter, 2 forks, or your hands for this step. A food processor works too, but it often overworks the scone dough. To avoid overly dense scones, work the dough as little as possible. I always use a pastry cutter.
Next, whisk the wet ingredients together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, add the cranberries, then gently mix together. Form the dough into a disc on the counter, then cut into 8 wedges.
One of my recent tricks! To obtain a flaky center and a crumbly exterior, scone dough must remain cold. Cold dough won’t over-spread either. Therefore, I highly recommend you chill the shaped scones for at least 15 minutes prior to baking. You can even refrigerate overnight for a quick breakfast in the morning.
After that, bake the scones until golden brown.
Video Tutorial: Cranberry Orange Scones
Here I’m making blueberry scones, but for the cranberry orange variety add orange zest and cranberries.
The scones are WONDERFUL right out of the oven, but taste even better with an orange glaze on top– a must on cranberry scones. 🙂
More Cranberry Orange Recipes
- Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake
- Orange Cranberry Bread
- Cranberry Orange Muffins
- Cranberry Orange Icebox Cookies
These scones should most certainly be on your Thanksgiving breakfast menu!Print
Glazed Cranberry Orange Scones
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 8 large or 16 small scones
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
These cranberry orange scones are buttery and moist with crisp crumbly edges and soft flaky centers. Crunchy coarse sugar and an orange glaze are the perfect finishing touches! Read through the recipe before beginning. You can skip the chilling for 15 minutes prior to baking, but I highly recommend it to prevent the scones from over-spreading.
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for hands and work surface
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons orange zest (about 1 orange)
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, frozen
- 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 heaping cup (125g) frozen cranberries*
- optional: 1 Tablespoon (15ml) heavy cream and coarse sugar
- 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
- 2–3 Tablespoons (30-45ml) fresh orange juice*
- Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and orange zest together in a large bowl. Grate the frozen butter using a box grater. Add it to the flour mixture and combine with a pastry cutter, two forks, or your fingers until the mixture comes together in pea-sized crumbs. See video above for a closer look at the texture. Place in the refrigerator or freezer as you mix the wet ingredients together.
- Whisk 1/2 cup heavy cream, the egg, and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Drizzle over the flour mixture, add the cranberries, then mix together until everything appears moistened.
- Pour onto the counter and, with floured hands, work dough into a ball as best you can. Dough will be sticky. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour. If it seems too dry, add 1-2 more Tablespoons heavy cream. Press into an 8-inch disc and, with a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut into 8 wedges.
- Brush scones with remaining heavy cream and for extra crunch, sprinkle with coarse sugar. (You can do this before or after refrigerating in the next step.)
- Place scones on a plate or lined baking sheet (if your fridge has space!) and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. After refrigerating, arrange scones 2-3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet(s).
- Bake for 22-25 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and lightly browned on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes as you make the glaze.
- Make the glaze: Whisk the confectioners’ sugar and orange juice together. Add a little more confectioners’ sugar to thicken or more juice to thin. Drizzle over scones.
- Leftover iced or un-glazed scones keep well at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for 5 days.
- Special Tools: Glass Mixing Bowls, Box Grater, Pastry Cutter, Baking Sheet, Silpat Baking Mat, Pastry Brush
- Freeze Before Baking: Freeze scone dough wedges on a plate or baking sheet for 1 hour. Once relatively frozen, you can layer them in a freezer-friendly bag or container. Bake from frozen, adding a few minutes to the bake time. Or thaw overnight, then bake as directed.
- Freeze After Baking: Freeze the baked and cooled scones before topping with icing. I usually freeze in a freezer-friendly bag or container. To thaw, leave out on the counter for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Warm in the microwave for 30 seconds or on a baking sheet in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 10 minutes.
- Overnight Instructions: Prepare scones through step 4. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Continue with the recipe the following day.
- Over-spreading: Start with very cold scone dough. Expect some spread, but if the scones are over-spreading as they bake, remove from the oven and press back into its triangle shape (or whatever shape) using a rubber spatula.
- Cranberries: I prefer to use frozen cranberries because they keep the scone dough super cold. Fresh or even dried works too. Same amount.
- Orange Juice: I prefer fresh orange juice. You’ll have an orange anyway– the one you zested for the scone dough! Store-bought OJ works too, of course.
Keywords: cranberry orange scones, scones
Reader Comments & Reviews
I love scones, but never tried making them, they sounded difficult. But these turned out fabulous. Great recipe! Thank you.
Of all the scones I bake, my family and guests repeatedly request this one!
I love to cook and bake, but have never made scones. This recipe was the first scone I’ve ever made, it was easy and so delicious! I’ve tried other recipes since and none compare to this recipe. My favorite is the cranberry orange scone. I’m excited to try the lemon poppyseed seed as well. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for the video it helped tremendously. This recipe is a family favorite!!
I made these yesterday, and wow! So amazing. I can’t wait to make them again. Thank you for such a fantastic recipe.
This has turned out to be a favorite wherever I take them. I have added an additional 1/4 teaspoon salt as I always use Kosher salt. I also add a third teaspoon of orange zest. I made three batches for a baby shower and they were consistently perfect….even when I forgot to add the butter with the flour and added it at the end…I was pleasantly surprised.
These are the best scones I have ever made! I had to put some in the freezer so I wouldn’t eat them all at once!! They tasted very good after being in the freezer, too! They were so good I can’t stop thinking about them. The crunch from the sugar, the softness inside from the frozen butter, the orange glaze…sigh! Thank you for sharing!
Great tasty, easy to make and bake recipe.i am making my second batch this week as they are absolutely delicous.
Very good scone recipes, wondering why my scones don’t turn a golden color. I brush on the heavy cream
Hi Marcy, you may just need to add a few more minutes to your baking time to get them more golden on top.
So glad I found your scone recipe! I’ve made scones many times but I wasn’t completely happy with the results whenever I substituted plant milk with lemon juice for buttermilk, until today that I learned that I could use full-fat coconut milk! The scones turned out excellent
Excellent recipe!!! I find grating frozen butter to be a pain, so I grate a stick from the fridge and put that in the freezer for 10 minutes. Also, I add some chopped pecans.
This is my go to recipe. It’s very good! Since it’s just my husband and I, I bake half and freeze the other half, unbaked, for later. I don’t thaw, just bake from frozen and add a minute or 2 to the cooking time.
Delicious recipe! The way to chunk up the butter was a “grate” idea! I used more orange zest, more vanilla (I had imitation so it was weaker), subtracted cream for the extra vanilla (1/2 tsp), and used more salt (mermaids love salt). I also put some lime juice into the glaze for more tartness. And unfortunately, the store didn’t have cranberries :(( so I used raspberries but they were also delicious! It was hard not to eat the dough! Thank you. It’s been 36 years and I did not think I liked scones until now! I work Night Shift so buying them at the coffee shop is so rare, I decided to make them at home. Good thing for me you were here.
My family especially my grandson love the blueberry scones. They did spread some. What do you think of a scone pan.
Hi Mary, many readers have said scone pans work well with our recipes. Feel free to use one if you’d like! Otherwise, make sure your fats and dough are super cold before going into the oven, and that will help minimize the spread. Glad your family enjoyed the scones!
Can I use buttermilk instead of heavy cream and if so, same amount?
Hi Deb, Buttermilk also works beautifully – enjoy!
I am a huge fan of this recipe! I love the cranberry scones, and have made them many times using this recipe, but I’ve also substituted blueberries (and a little less sugar) and they still turn out absolutely perfect. Thank you!
never made scones they were great i did double the orange zest and may add more next time
Sally’s recipes for scones are the best! I’ve made both her blueberry scones and the cranberry orange scones, and they are delicious and surprisingly quick and easy to make. I especially like her tip of grating frozen butter to aid in incorporating into the dough. The added cold helps create a more pleasing texture. These scones are superior to any bakery scones I’ve tried.
Simple and tasty.
These scones look amazing! I’m going to make them Your instructions make them easy to make. Thanks for sharing!