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 tried this recipe because I had some dried cranberries in the pantry and some oranges laying around and I am so happy that I did! My first time baking anything from scratch. Very good recipe. Can’t wait to try another flavor. Thanks, Sally!
Love it! Easy to follow instructions & they don’t take too long to make.
Want to try additional flavours, but this one is hard to pass by.
I never post reviews but this one is worth it. Last night I followed the recipe and it came out perfectly. At the request of my younger child, I did another batch this morning with cinnamon and raisins but mistakenly added too much buttermilk. I added a little more flour and refrigerated, hoping for the best but expecting a disaster. They still came out great and my family wants a second batch ( Haha, I could never duplicate). My point is, this recipe will survive the errors of the most inexperienced baker and still taste fantastic! Thank you!
First of all let me say I AM NOT ONE TO LEAVE REVIEWS, however these scones were soooo fabulous I felt I just had to! My whole family agreed they were better than any they have had from any bakery! I did use dried cranberries because it was what I had and they were great but I will try the frozen next time just to see the difference. I also added orange zest to the glaze because I had leftover and of course you can never have to much orange zest. Thank you and I look forward to making more of your recipes!
Hi Sally, I use frozen cranberries that I buy fresh, (and freeze), at the annual Cranberry Festival in Chatsworth, NJ. The are dry-scooped and big, so I cut them in half before adding to flour mixture–they come out beautiful and delicious! As far as the glaze, it is very sweet, maybe because of the fresh orange juice, maybe I should use the store- bought instead?
Hi Patrice! So glad you’re making and enjoying these scones. Glaze is typically pretty sweet. You can use lemon juice instead (for something a bit tart) or a tart store-bought orange juice.
Thank you, I will do that next time. I actually make blueberry-lemon muffins with a lemon glaze that isn’t too sweet. The scones are delicious, though, and thanks for replying so fast! keep up the great recipes and stay well!
Thanks for the recipe! Do you usually let the scones cool down for a few minutes before putting the icing/glaze on top or is it okay to drizzle on top right out of the oven?
Up to you! You can drizzle it on right after they come out of the oven if you’d like.
Seriously. Delicious. I doubled it and froze half to bake another day. Absolutely amazing!!
I’ve made several scone recipes and this was the best by far. Amazing.
Question: Could I slice the fresh cranberries before freezing them? I think eating a whole cranberry might be a little too tart for my taste. Also, would it be helpful to pop the grated butter back in the freezer for a few minutes … just so it’s frozen hard before adding to the flour mixture? Love reading your recipes and how you explain everything, and look forward to baking these soon.
Sure can, Sharon! If your butter begins to soften before you get a chance to add it in then there is not harm in placing it back in the freezer for a few minutes. Enjoy!
These are the best scones!!! My daughter-in-law has to eat gluten free. Do you have a recipe for gluten free scones?
Hi Deniese, I don’t. Here are all of my gluten free recipes if you are interested.
Fresh cranberries are some of my favorite things. I used sour cream thinned a bit with milk instead of cream – a good thickness and more readily in my fridge than cream ever is – and dialed down the sugar. They end up with a lovely rise, a punch of orange, and awesome tart bursts of cranberry. It’s nice to use butter from frozen, since then I don’t have to do any thawing beforehand 🙂
My first attempt at scones and my husband says I nailed it. Thanks for the specific instructions about freezing the butter and keeping cranberries frozen, as well as not working the dough.
Excellent recipe! It was my first time making scones and they turned out perfect. Thank you, Sally!
Hi, Sally! I’ve made about 5 different flavors of your scones so far, so I noticed that with this one, you’re having us whisk the granulated sugar in with the wet ingredients instead of the dry. What is the reason for the change? Thanks!
Hi Jamie! It really makes no difference. Lately, I’ve been using the granulated sugar in the dry ingredients because it helps break down the butter. Results are usually the same, though!
I’ve made these twice, and the blubbery version this morning for breakfast. I LOVE scones but have never really gotten the hang of making them. This recipe is amazing, DON’T change a thing, you and your family won’t be disappointed!!!
Easy to follow recipe, very good tasting scones. I used 1/2 cup dried cranberries and thought the amount of cranberries was good.
Fantastic recipe! Baked these this morning after making the dough the night before and chilling overnight. So delicious and will definitely be going into the rotation of brunch recipes!
The only changes I made was to double the zest to two oranges and I lowered the baking temp to 375 as my oven tends to run a little hot.
Just made these! So so delicious! I didnt have orange so I swapped with lemon zest and juice and it was amazing!
I just made these. The flavour is nice, but I had to take them out of the oven early because they were burning. Not sure what went wrong. I followed the recipe exactly, so not sure what to do differently.
Just made these and enjoying with a cup of tea! Amaaaazing!
This is the best scone recipe. I love it so much and I am making a second batch to freeze. Thank you so much!
This is the first time I’ve made scones. They turned out FANTASTIC! Thanks for this recipe and the detailed description and instructions, they are truly delicious! Next step, blueberry.
I have made this over and over and it turns out fantastic every time! My family loves it! Thanks so much for this delicious recipe!
Sounds delicious!!! Will be making these tonight and storing in refrigerator unbaked til tomorrow morning. Should they be covered with plastic wrap while on cookie sheet in frig?
Yes, I would recommend covering the scones if keeping them in the fridge overnight. Plastic wrap works great. I hope you love this recipe, Diana!
These are delicious! Would it work to get 16 smaller scones rather than the 8 large ones? Does that alter baking time?
Hi Stacy! Use this scone batter, but follow the “to make smaller scones” directions in my Funfetti Chip Scones recipe. (steps 3, 7, and 8)
I made these yesterday they were delicious! I loved the tartness of the cranberries with the orange and I like that they weren’t overly sweet! Thanks for the great recipe I can’t wait to make them again!
I made this recipe with pomegranate instead of cranberries for Christmas and New Years. The slight crunch of the pomegranate is so good and the scones are delicious anyway.
These scones are to DIE for! I love the tartness of the cranberry addition and also the citrusy flavour or the orange. My guests raved about your recipe and asked for the recipe.
So good! Divine! Awesome recipe. I ended up adding a splash of almond extract to the heavy whipping cream that you’re supposed to brush on top of the scones before refrigerating them, as well as adding some to the glaze. Gosh it pairs so well with the orange-cranberry flavor. The scones are fluffy with a wonderful crust. These would be a banger at a party. Next time I’ll probably make more, smaller scones.