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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!

cranberry orange scones

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
  • Pops of juicy cranberries (just like biting into a piece of cranberry cake!)
  • Drizzle of orange glaze on top
2 cranberry orange scones on an orange plate

Cranberry Orange Scone Ingredients

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Baking Powder: Adds lift.
  4. Salt & Vanilla Extract: These kitchen staples add flavor.
  5. Cold Butter: Besides flour, cold butter is the main ingredient in cranberry scones. It adds flavor, flakiness, crisp edges, and rise.
  6. Heavy CreamFor 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.
  7. Egg: 1 egg adds flavor, lift, and structure.
  8. Orange Zest: The zest from one orange provides bright flavor and pairs perfectly with the tart cranberries. Don’t leave it out!
  9. 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 cranberries in a measuring cup

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.

2 images of cranberry orange scone dough in a bowl and cut into triangles on a baking sheet

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.

cranberry orange scones on baking sheet

The scones are WONDERFUL right out of the oven, but taste even better with an orange glaze on top– a must on cranberry scones. 🙂

cranberry orange scones with icing on an orange plate

More Cranberry Orange Recipes

These scones should most certainly be on your Thanksgiving breakfast menu!

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cranberry orange scones

Glazed Cranberry Orange Scones

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 large or 16 small scones 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for hands and work surface
  • 1/2 cup (100ggranulated 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

Orange Glaze

  • 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 23 Tablespoons (30-45ml) fresh orange juice*

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.)
  5. Place scones on a plate or lined baking sheet (if your fridge has space!) and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
  7. 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).
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Leftover iced or un-glazed scones keep well at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for 5 days.

Notes

  1. Special Tools: Glass Mixing Bowls, Box Grater, Pastry Cutter, Baking Sheet, Silpat Baking Mat, Pastry Brush
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Overnight Instructions: Prepare scones through step 4. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Continue with the recipe the following day.
  5. 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.
  6. Cranberries: I prefer to use frozen cranberries because they keep the scone dough super cold. Fresh or even dried works too. Same amount.
  7. 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 Questions and Reviews

  1. I have made this recipe (and a couple other scone variations) several times, and they always turn out so well! 21-22 minutes is just about perfect in my oven. Usually only make a small amount of glaze: 1/4 cup of powdered sugar with ~1 Tbsp milk or OJ and this time dropped the sugar in the recipe a bit. Still turned out great! I like to freeze most of them and take one out at a time throughout the next week

    1. can i use buttermilk instead if heavy cream and still have excellent results??

      1. Hi Lauren! Buttermilk works beautifully for a slightly tangier flavor.

  2. My husband is a scone connoisseur. He is especially fond of a cranberry orange flavor combination. We live in a rural area and scones are hard to find. I wanted to find a scone recipe I could make for my husband that would knock his socks off! So one day I gathered the ingredients and set about making your cranberry orange scones. My husband was pretty doubtful that I could make a scone that would impress him. Sally, your cranberry orange scone recipe knocked his socks off! I made a batch last night and my husband messaged me this morning that I have perfected his perfect scone. I laughed, and said all I did was add an extra teaspoon of orange zest to the flour mixture and about a tablespoon of orange zest to the glaze. I’m pretty tickled that I can make scones as good if not better than a bakery for my husband. I am now making your scones weekly for family and friends! When asked where I found the recipes for such amazing baked goods, I tell everyone about your website! Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much for this positive feedback, Brenda! We’re so glad to hear these scones were such a hit.

      1. Hi Sally, enjoying making your different scone recipes.
        Wondering if you use a convection oven when baking them? Thx

      2. Hi Bev! All of the recipes on this site are written for conventional settings. We always recommend conventional settings for baking (not convection/fan). The flow of air from convection heat can cause baked goods to rise and bake unevenly and it also pulls moisture out of the oven. If you do use convection/fan settings for baking, lower your temperature by 25 degrees F and keep in mind that things may still take less time to bake.

  3. Can I use craisins instead of cranberries? Thank you

    1. Hi Patricia, yes, you can use craisins if desired.

  4. I make your recipe probably once a week. They are such a treat to have with my coffee in the morning. For some reason I’ve found my scones cook much faster, even at a lower temp (like 375, for 10 minutes fast). Best scones EVER. Thank you for the recipe!

  5. Hi, this is one of my fave recipes on your page, thanks! How long should I bake the scones for if I’m making 16 small scones instead of 8 bigger ones?

  6. I have made these twice now for my Mom. She loves them. And so do I . The first time I cut them like yours. The second time I cut them like biscuits. Personally prefer that way. But either way, taste great

    1. Great recipe, but in my opinion the bake temp and time is all wrong. At 400f for 22 minutes these babies will scorch. I do 375 for 13-15 minutes and they are perfect. At 400, I would only leave them in for ten or three bottoms will burn. (Assuming your heat source is below. )

  7. I made these this morning and they are the absolute best scones I’ve ever had – whether homemade or from a bakery. I was even worried that they would be dry because they were rather brown all over by the time I took them out (only baked for 22 minutes), but it resulted in a slight crisp on the outside, and a soft, melt in your mouth texture on the inside. I’ll definitely keep this recipe and check out your other variations! Thank you for such a wonderful recipe and for all the helpful tips!

  8. My friend Michelle served these one afternoon as we visited on the patio. Granted Michelle is an excellent cook but this recipe is the best ever for showcasing her artistry!

    I immediately asked who wrote the recipe and I’m looking forward to trying the master scones recipe both in blueberry and in orange cranberry varieties soon!

    I do have a question though. If I divide the recipe into two circles and 16 smaller scones for an event or a road trip – do I need to change the baking time?

    1. Hi Donna, thank you so much for your kind note! For shaping and bake time for smaller scones, you can use this rainbow sprinkles scone recipe as a guide. We hope you love the scones!

  9. Very disappointed with how wet and sticky the dough was, it was out of control, I finally somewhat controlled it with about another whole cup of flour on my hands and patting it on the dough. In the end I couldn’t taste any orange flavour and I think it didn’t have enough cranberries in the recipe to fill each scone, lots of bites were too plain. Won’t make again. Also took 1h45mins from start to finish

    1. I had same sticky problem. Ended up adding flour until it worked properly.

      And also added 3 teaspoons of frozen orange juice concentrate to enhance the orange flavor. You also could try adding orange extract . Mine was plenty orangey.

  10. I have made these several times with great success. I added a fewfresh thyme leaves to the frosting, as
    I like the savory with the sweet. Question about using frozen cranberries – if I do the “overnight method” will using frozen cranberries still be as successful as doing the recipe the “day of”. Thanks!

    1. Hi Connie, It should still be just fine to use frozen cranberries. Enjoy!

  11. Made this today. I made one addition which was 3 Tsp of orange juice concentrate and offset the added liquid with an additional 1/4 cup of flour.

    It was knock your socks off good.

    1. Hi Michelle, we haven’t tested this recipe with egg substitutes but let us know if you do!