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Tender and flaky with tart cranberries in every bite, these cranberry orange scones are the best fall scones you’ll ever have. They’re perfect for enjoying with a cup of coffee on a chilly morning!

Cranberry orange scones on a baking sheet with cranberries and orange slices

Easy holiday sconess

With lots of orange flavors and each bite speckled with tart fresh cranberries, these scones are perfect for breakfast, served with a hot cup of coffee on a chilly morning. Or enjoy them in the afternoon as a pick-me-up or for dessert.

The important thing is to just take the time to enjoy them, no matter how busy the season gets!

Several months ago I made these peach almond scones. They had become my favorite summer scone. Now that the season has changed, I felt I needed a new flavor to get through the fall and winter.

I used my blueberry buttermilk scones recipe as a starting point and made a few changes to achieve the desired results for these cranberry orange scones.

Cranberry Orange Scones on brown paper

Cranberry orange scones recipe

Thanks to the cold butter used, these orange scones are light and airy. The butter releases steam, which creates little pockets of air as it melts in the oven, leading to a fluffy inside while the outside is crisp and flaky.

Then to take these holiday scones up a notch, I topped these scones with a sweet orange glaze that enhances the orange deliciousness throughout.

The coarse sugar added before baking adds a slight crunch to the tops, offering a great contrast in texture with the glaze.

Like my other scone recipes, these are fairly easy to make and a great scone recipe for beginners. Once you make these, you’ll be serving them up all winter long!


What you’ll need

For these orange cranberry scones, you’ll need just a few pantry staples, plus fresh cranberries and oranges.

Ingredient notes & substitions

  • All-purpose flour – 2 ¾ cups of all purpose flour is needed to make these wonderfully tall and thick scones.
  • Granulated sugar – ⅓ cup is all I use and find it adds a light sweetness to the dough.
  • Baking powder & baking soda – Using both leavening agents helps achieve the perfect texture and rise from the scones.
  • Salt & Vanilla – Enhances flavor.
  • Orange zest – Adds the orange flavor in every bite.
  • Unsalted butter – It’s essential to use cold butter and cut into small pieces.
  • Cranberries – Fresh cranberries are best for this recipe.
  • Fresh orange juice – Chill the orange juice before using.
  • Whole milk – I don’t recommend substituting the milk. It must be cold as well.
  • Heavy cream – You can also use milk. This is brushed over the top of the scones just before baking to provide a golden color.
  • Coarse sugar – Sprinkled on top to create a little crunch.

How to Make Cranberry Orange Scones

Scones are a surprisingly easy breakfast to make, though you do need to take the time to follow the directions carefully to ensure they rise properly.

  1. Make the pastry dough. Whisk together the dry ingredients and orange zest in a large bowl. Cut in the butter, until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Gently fold in the cranberries.
  2. Add the wet ingredients. Whisk the orange juice, milk, and vanilla together. Gradually mix into the flour mixture, until the dough comes together. If you don’t need all of the mixture, that’s okay. Do not overmix the dough.
  1. Cut the dough into scones. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and gently knead, then pat into a 7-inch circle. Cut the circle into 8 equal parts. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for 30 minutes.
Cranberry orange scones on a baking sheet
  • Bake. Brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream then sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes in the center of the oven, until golden brown.
  • Add the glaze. Combine the glaze ingredients in a bowl, whisk until smooth, and drizzle over cooled orange scones.
Glazed Cranberry Orange Scones on brown paper

Tips for success

I’ve made so many variations of scones that I’m confident I’ve discovered the best tips and tricks to making perfect scones, these cranberry orange scones included!

  • Use fresh cranberries if possible. I like fresh cranberries best because they’re dry and don’t stain the dough. You can use packaged, frozen, and thawed cranberries but keep in mind they may be wet and stain the dough. If you have fresh cranberries that have been frozen, these will work beautifully.
  • Keep the dough cold until it goes into the oven. This is one of the most important things to note when working with scones and why it’s essential that all liquids added should be chilled. Placing the shaped dough into the freezer for 30 minutes ensures the scones will bake up light and fluffy. Alternatively, you can place the scone dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  • Handle the dough as little as possible. Avoid overworking the dough when mixing the ingredients together. You only want to mix until the mixture begins to stick together.
  • Knead the dough just a few times. If you over-knead, gluten will develop. Gluten will make the scones tough. No one likes tough scones.
  • You may not need all the orange juice mixture. Add a little at a time until the dough is moist but not too wet. Do not over mix the dough or the scones will be tough.

Serving suggestions

Like most scones, these cranberry scones are best enjoyed the day they are baked. If you can, enjoy them while slightly warm or room temperature out of the oven – just let them cool enough to add the glaze first.

You can enjoy these with a cup of coffee or tea. They’re the perfect dessert for a cozy winter night or you can even enjoy them as a breakfast pastry!


How to make ahead & store

  • How to store unbaked scones. You can store the unbaked scones in the fridge overnight or in the freezer for up a month. If baking directly from the freezer, add 2 minutes to the baking time.
  • How to store baked scones. Baked scones (without glaze) can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight then reheat in the oven until warmed through. Glaze before serving.
  • How to store & reheat leftovers. Leftover scones can be stored for up to 2 days in the fridge. Reheat in the oven for 5 minutes or so until warmed through.

More scone recipes you’ll love

  1. Carrot Cake Scones
  2. Honey Citrus Sweet Potato Scones
  3. Apple Cinnamon Scones

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Cranberry Orange Scones on brown paper

Cranberry Orange Scones

Yield: 8 scones
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Tender and flaky with tart cranberries in every bite, these Cranberry Orange Scones are the best fall scones you'll ever have. They're perfect for enjoying with a cup of coffee on a chilly morning!

Ingredients

For the scones

  • 2 ¾ cups (357 g) all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup (67 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, cold & cut into small pieces
  • ¾ cup (77 g) fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup (120 ml) fresh orange juice, cold
  • ½ cup (120 ml) whole milk, cold
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sugar

For the glaze

  • 1 cup (120 ml) confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Instructions

Make the scones

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest together.
  2. Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender, 2 knives, or your fingertips. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Gently fold in the cranberries.
  3. Whisk the orange juice, milk, and vanilla together then gradually add it to the flour mixture. Stir just until the dough comes together. You may not need all the orange juice mixture. Add a little at a time until the dough is moist but not too wet. Do not over mix the dough or the scones will be tough.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and gently knead four or five times. Pat the dough into a 7-inch round circle.
  5. Cut the circle in half, then cut each half into four triangle-shaped wedges. Arrange the scones 2 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the scones in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, position the oven rack to the center of the oven and heat to 400°F.
  7. Brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and drizzle with glaze.

Make the glaze

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.

Notes

Cranberries: I like fresh cranberries best because they're dry and don't stain the dough. You can use packaged, frozen, and thawed cranberries but keep in mind they may be wet and stain the dough. If you have fresh cranberries that have been frozen, these will work beautifully. Dried cranberries will also work.

Keep the dough cold: The scones need to be cold when going into the oven. Placing the shaped dough into the freezer for 30 minutes ensures the scones will bake up light and fluffy. Alternatively, you can place the scone dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Make ahead tip

  1. Unbaked scones can be refrigerated overnight. Or seal in an airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month. Add about 2 minutes to the baking time when baking from frozen.
  2. You can keep leftover scones for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.
  3. Unglaze scones can be frozen for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight then reheat and glaze before serving.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 scone
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 384Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 471mgCarbohydrates: 63gFiber: 2gSugar: 27gProtein: 5g

The nutrition information provided is for convenience and as a courtesy only. It is not guaranteed to be accurate because nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator and input the exact ingredients you used in the recipe.

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54 Comments

  1. This is the best scone recipe by far thank you for this. The scones are flavorful puffy and Flaky. Make them three times a week sometimes. Thanks again,
    Lisa

  2. Hi Jen! Love, love, love your cranberry orange scones! I tried three different recipes for cranberry orange scones and yours was hands down the best! I want to use your recipe to make raspberry lemon scones. Not sure about simply replacing the cranberries for raspberries and the orange juice for lemon juice as 1/2 cup of lemon juice sounds like a lot. Any suggestions? Thanks again!

    1. I haven’t made this recipe with lemon before so it’s hard to say exactly how much you’d need to get the right flavor. I do have a lemon cream scone with strawberries that uses lemon zest in the scone dough and lemon juice in a glaze. Maybe you can try that with raspberries instead of strawberries.

      1. I’ll check out that other recipe, thanks so much!

  3. Christina Millman says:

    I’m in England and we use metric measurements rather than “cups”. When I look at conversion tables they vary so much and my recipes fail miserably. Hence I’m reluctant to try your delicious looking recipes. Would be great to have grams for dry ingredients and mls for wet ingredients. Please could you send me a conversion table via email. That would be brilliant.

    1. Unfortunately, a lot of my older recipes are missing weight measurements. I am working through them to add grams and milliliters but it’s a slow process.

  4. I have made these scones many times and it’s absolutely delicious. Very unique taste and texture. This recipe is a keeper!

  5. Gretchen Manson says:

    Jen, The ingredients for your Cranberry Orange Scones list one Tablespoon of Vanilla extract. Is that correct? Thank you.

    1. Yes, I often use 1 tablespoon of vanilla in my recipes. But, make sure to use pure vanilla extract and not the imitation stuff.

  6. Lisa Darretta says:

    I’d like to do a blueberry lemon scone. Can I substitute the lemon for the orange and blueberry for the cranberries? But I imagine 1/2cup of lemon juice would be too much? I did see the lemon strawberry cream cheese ones you make but don’t want to use cream cheese.

  7. If you are using dried cranberries, how much should you use? Thanks – can’t wait to try these.

  8. Mine look delicious but I thought there was too strong of a baking soda/powder taste? I’m not a baker but being as I’m self isolating I thought I would try. Any ideas? Thanks

    1. That taste should be neutralized by the orange juice in the recipe. Try using aluminum-free baking powder and make sure to use fresh baking soda/powder.

  9. Christine says:

    I can’t wait to try these! Do you happen to know if I would be able to bake these ahead of time and then freeze them (without glaze), and take them out to thaw for during Christmas?

    Thank you!

    1. Yes, they can be baked and frozen for up to 3 months without the glaze.

      1. Christine says:

        Awesome, thank you for your reply! I made them this weekend and they were absolutely delicious. I only baked 2 of the 8 scones though (so I could taste test.. lol) and I froze the other 6, unbaked. Planning to bake them Christmas morning! Should they be okay to bake from frozen? Any tips?

        Thanks again for this delicious recipe and also for your help!!! Appreciate it 🙂

      2. Yep, you can bake from frozen, just add about 2 minutes to the baking time.