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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!
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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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
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Would there be a teason not to use Buttermilk instead of Regular milk?
This recipe contains orange juice which is an acid so the acidity from buttermilk isn’t needed.
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,
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!
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.
I’ll check out that other recipe, thanks so much!
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.
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.
I have made these scones many times and it’s absolutely delicious. Very unique taste and texture. This recipe is a keeper!
Jen, The ingredients for your Cranberry Orange Scones list one Tablespoon of Vanilla extract. Is that correct? Thank you.
Yes, I often use 1 tablespoon of vanilla in my recipes. But, make sure to use pure vanilla extract and not the imitation stuff.
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.
Make these blueberry scones and add 1 tablespoon of lemon zest. You can also omit 1-2 tablespoons of buttermilk and replace it with fresh lemon juice.
If you are using dried cranberries, how much should you use? Thanks – can’t wait to try these.
It’s a 1-to-1 swap. So, use 3/4 cup.
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
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.
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?
Yes, they can be baked and frozen for up to 3 months without the glaze.
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 🙂
Yep, you can bake from frozen, just add about 2 minutes to the baking time.