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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. THESE ARE DELICIOUS. I made exactly as written, both times I have made these. I made the frosting the first time and it was sinful. Really just over the top. The second time, I made it without the heavy cream wash or the frosting and honestly, I don’t miss it, although the memory of that frosting stays with me. I just wanted to cut back the second time. I am meeting my friends for coffee at the beach tomorrow and these will be greatly appreciated by all. I did use a King Arthur mini-scone pan and they baked perfectly and the serving size is smaller…..but I know they’ll just eat two of them. Will try more of the variations.

      1. Absolutely! Keep the total amount of add-ins to 1.5 cups maximum. Enjoy!

  2. I love these scones! I made them lactose free by changing out full fat goat milk for the heavy cream and Earth Balance butter spread (vegan option) with huge success. The butter spread requires much more cooling/freezing time to keep the scones from getting too spread out while baking. I added in 10 minutes in the freezer prior to adding wet ingredients and 10 minutes after to firm up the dough. The outcome was a light fluffy, crumbly, yummy breakfast treat. Will definitely be making these again!

  3. If I use dried cranberries (because I can’t find anything else Should I soak them first?

    1. Hi Rachel, you can use dried cranberries — no need to soak them, but you certainly can if you’d wish. Hope you enjoy the scones!

  4. Thank you so much for all of your scone recipes! I’ve tried multiple of them and love each one! I’m thinking of making these cranberry orange scones, and I’m a little bit short on dried cranberries – your recipe calls for 125g and I have about 100g. What could I possibly add to substitute for the rest? I have sliced almonds, coconut flakes, raisins, etc.

    1. Hi Nayeon! You could simply leave out the rest, or replace them with raisins if you prefer. Enjoy!

  5. Love this. It is the well written directions that make it amazing. That you. I added pumpkin pie spice in both the dry ingredients and the glaze because I’m spice crazy.

  6. I love these and have made multiple times! I do wonder tho how long I’d need to bake if I made them smaller (16 batch)? Whole one is too much for a quick snack sometimes. 🙂

    1. We make mini scones often! Prepare the dough, cut it in half to make two smaller disks, then cut each disk into 8 mini scones to have 16 mini scones total. The bake time is a couple minutes shorter. You can see these funfetti chip scones for detailed instructions. Enjoy!

      1. Hi Stratton, the bake time is slightly shorter for mini scones (about 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned).

    2. These were the best scones I’ve ever had, and it was my first time making scones! Thank you for the great directions. I served the warm scones with fresh whipped cream and highly recommend it!

  7. I have made your blueberry lemon scones and love it. This recipe with orange rind and juice for the glaze would have tasted so much better with lemon instead of orange. Could not taste the orange rind nor the juice in the glaze. It was done in 17 minutes in my oven.

  8. These cranberry scones were so easy and delicious!! I made them exactly as written and they came out perfect!! They were so great I made them 2 days in a row and brought them to work…. A huge hit there. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Hi Juliet, We are so glad you loved these are that they were a hit at work!

  9. Hi Sally!

    I love this recipe and have made it a number time of times. It’s always been successful and absolutely delicious!

    I’m curious if I could do it as a drop scone like your banana nut bread scone, which by the way I made today. Game-changer! We absolutely love them.

    Thank you very much!

    Mara

    1. Hi Mara, we’re so glad to hear you enjoy this scone recipe! You can certainly make them as drop scones.

  10. I literally make these once a month! I absolutely love this recipe! I do not always use the glaze and they still are delicious. If you have any other scones recipes, please send my way. I never leave reviews but I just needed to let you know these are a staple in my home

  11. Hi! Is it possible to make these without the orange, but with a vanilla glaze instead? I’m not a fan of orange cranberry, but wanted to make these as a cranberry scone with glaze and worried they’ll be too bitter.

  12. Love your recipes! Question..can these be made with gluten-free flour? I generally use Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 gluten free flour. I have Celiac and usually adapt regular recipes using this flour. Just wondered if you had any other advice.

    1. Hi Susan! We haven’t tried this recipe using a gluten-free flour, so we’re unsure of the results. However, many readers have reported success using Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 GF Flour in many of our recipes. If you do give it a try, we’d love to know how it goes!

      1. I made this recipe with Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 gluten free flour, they came out great! Took to a pot luck and they were devoured. Made some clotted cream to go with and everyone raved about them!

  13. Made these today for Thanksgiving! Turned out very nice—-made the smaller ones. Thanks for the easy to follow recipes A keeper, for sure!

  14. I made these today to use up (frozen) cranberries and cream from Thanksgiving. They came out beautifully! I don’t cut scones into wedges, those are a bit too large for us, I use an old biscuit cutter. But even the scones that were in the batch that got re-rolled came out tender as could be, and they look downright professional. I’ll definitely be trying the variations of this recipe.

  15. If you freeze them before baking, how long are they good in the freezer? I start my baking prep in August (making dough, portioning & freezing to bake in Dec) for the holiday season and I want to add scones to my list for next year. I’m just trying to get a handle on when to make these.

    1. Hi Amanda, the frozen scones will last for up to three months in the freezer.

  16. theses were amazing I used my left over cranberry sauce came out perfect and moist

  17. I’ve made these scones so many time and they’ve all turned out delicious!! I’m wanting to make them again but with gluten free flour. Will gluten free flour work the same and should I add anything else?

    1. Hi Jade, We haven’t tried this recipe using a gluten-free flour, so we’re unsure of the results. However, many readers have reported success using Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 GF Flour in many of our recipes. If you do give it a try, we’d love to know how it goes!

  18. I made these for breakfast for the day after Thanksgiving. I used fresh cranberries from the farmer’s market in Portland, Maine. These were incredible. The cranberries burst in your mouth. The orange flavor was very faint but I think my oranges weren’t as fresh as they could be. These were so delicious I am making them for gifts for Christmas instead of just cookies.

  19. Yummy!! My first attempt ever at making scones and these are awesome! I made the first batch the large size and the second smaller which will be my go-to size. Wondering if there’s nutritional info available as I usually like to include for my allergic an/or pre-diabetic friends? Thanks!

    1. Hi Laura, We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients, and many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients. However, there are many great online calculators where you can plug in your exact ingredients like this one: https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076.

  20. Fantastic. These are absolutely delicious—I cannot say enough good things about them. The orange flavor was excellent, but I might add a little more zest next time just because I don’t use the glaze. For anyone wondering about cooking them at high altitude, I live at 7000 feet and made the following adjustments (which are slightly less than what King Arthur recommends): about half the baking powder, a tablespoon less sugar, a tiny bit more cream. I didn’t add additional flour, but it took a bit more to pat them out. I baked at 410 degrees for about 20 minutes. I do have a friend who made the blueberry scones with no adjustments at all who said they were great, but I would always at least reduce the leavening.

  21. I made the recipe and followed it to the tee and my scones melted on the pan and flattened. Can you help me know what I did wrong maybe? I don’t know how to make scones so this was my first attempt and I just want to understand why they went flat and lost shape. Thank you!

    1. Hi Stephanie! Did you use heavy cream (thinner liquids can change your results)? Make sure all of your ingredients are very cold. You can even place your bowl of flour in the refrigerator if needed. 15 minutes is the minimum we recommend chilling the dough but you can chill it longer – up to overnight. 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. Thanks so much for giving these a try!

  22. Thank you, again, Sally. Every recipe I have tried from your website has worked perfectly – both tasted great and even looked pretty, too. I wish I could post a photo to show you how great my cranberry/orange scones came out. The only thing that doesn’t look like your picture is my glaze. It came out rather clear. Some soaked into the scone, and the rest was one top but couldn’t be seen. It was hard not to eat the whole batch at once!

    1. Hi Lori! We’re so thrilled you enjoyed this scone recipe. Next time, feel free to add more powdered sugar to your icing to reach your desired consistency.

  23. Hi Sally, I made the Cranberry orange scones delicious. I followed you recipe and grated the butter on my box grater. The second time i thought I would try another way to grate the frozen butter I used my electric salad shooter and it did a fantastic job, It took only a few seconds and no worry about scraped fingers. The frozen butter came out exactly the same as it did on the box cutter. Just thought you might like to give this a try. Your recipes and I have tried many are always A 1 in my and our families thinking.

  24. So DELICIOUS! I made these this weekend and they were a huge hit, even with my kids who are weird and picky about baked goods! I made them exactly as written and they came out absolutely perfect – lovely and tender with lots of little bursts of flavor from the frozen cranberries and orange zest. The sweetness was perfect, as well. I ended up not glazing them as they tasted wonderful on their own. So, so good and I will definitely be making these again. Thank you for the amazing recipe!

  25. Loves this recipe! Sally never fails to impress. Had a tea party over the weekend and made these, they came out so big and had a good crunch on the outside and so warm and soft on the inside. Made them again this morning to have with coffee.

  26. These sound delicious and I can’t wait to make them! I was wondering if I could use whole wheat flour instead of all purpose? Thanks!!

    1. Hi Leah, whole wheat flour will dry out the scones. We suggest you begin by replacing half the all purpose flour with white whole wheat flour to see how that goes.

  27. This is my go to scones recipe! I have a dairy allergy so I substituted the butter with country crock avocado oil plant butter and used canned coconut milk for the milk and the heavy cream substitute. Comes out great every time! I also freeze them right before the step to bake and it bakes perfect from frozen! Allows me to pop one in the oven on weekday mornings and still have a warm breakfast on a tighter schedule.

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