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! A perfectly festive prelude to all those Thanksgiving pies later in the day. 🙂Print
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 (spooned & 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 (8 Tbsp; 113g) 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.
- 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.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Glass Mixing Bowls | Whisk | Box Grater | Pastry Cutter | Bench Scraper | Pastry Brush | Baking Sheet | Silicone Baking Mat or Parchment Paper
- 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 silicone 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 orange juice works too, of course.
Keywords: cranberry orange scones, scones