Wake up this holiday season to freshly baked cranberry orange scones. These tender breakfast pastries are zesty and tart thanks to the in-season cranberries and oranges. Serve them alongside side coffee and tea in the morning or fireside on a cozy winter afternoon.

cranberry orange scone with glaze leaning up against more scones on a plate.

My favorite kind of scones pair citrus fruit and berries. In the summer I bake lemon raspberry scones, but in winter I reach for these super soft cranberry orange scones with orange glaze. They are simply the best holiday scones!

Why this recipe works

They are made without eggs and instead a combination of cream and butter, which yields rich, flavorful scones. This is a good complement to the tart and zesty flavors of cranberry and orange, respectively. You can make these scones ahead of time, then freeze and bake later! Perfect prep for the holidays if you ask me.

Ingredient notes

cranberry orange scones ingredients in bowls labeled with text.
  • Butter: Unsalted butter must be cold for best results. I like cutting the butter into tiny pieces and placing them back in the refrigerator while I prepare my other ingredients.
  • Heavy cream: Another ingredient that must be cold for the best tender texture.
  • Orange juice and zest: Fresh is best! You’ll get the most citrus flavor from a fresh orange.
  • Cranberries: This recipe calls for dried cranberries, but you can use fresh or frozen cranberries too (1/2 cup)
  • Baking powder: This provides lift and rise when the scones bake. Make sure it is fresh and not expired.

Recipe variations

Cranberry orange scones pair well with nuts and chocolate chips. Try swapping out 1/4 cup dried cranberries and adding in 1/4 cup pecans or pistachios. You could also do the same swap, but with 1/4 cup chocolate chips or white chocolate chips instead of nuts.

If you want 16 smaller scones, use a 2-inch round cookie cutter instead. If you don’t have a round cookie cutter, use a sharp knife or pastry scraper to cut the dough into triangles. I prefer an orange glaze for this recipe but you could also do a drizzle of melted chocolate or a simple egg wash like I did for my chocolate pecan scones.

How to make cranberry orange scones

photo collage demonstrating how to make cranberry orange scone dough in a mixing bowl.
  1. Combine dry ingredients: Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Either use a food process or a pastry cutter to cut cold butter into the dry ingredients. Pulse until a crumbly mixture appears, about 30 to 60 seconds.
  2. Add dried cranberries and orange zest to the mixture in a large bowl, stir and set aside.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients: Whisk together cold heavy cream and fresh orange juice. Slowly pour the mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir until large clumps form and dough is stiff.
  4. Shape and cut dough: Transfer dough to floured work surface. Shape into a disk about 9 inches in diameter and 1-inch thick. Use a 3-inch round cookie cutter to cut dough into circles. Reform the dough scraps and cut again until you have 10 scones.
photo collage demonstrating how to brush unbaked scones with cream and drizzle orange glaze on baked scones.
  1. Bake scones: Place scones on a baking sheet, brush with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 F for 18 to 20 minutes. Let them cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  2. Add orange glaze: Whisk confectioners’ sugar and fresh orange juice together. Drizzle over warm scones and serve.

Expert tips

Cold ingredients are a must when making scones, particularly the butter and heavy cream. It guarantees soft, flaky texture! Avoid over-working the dough as the heat of your hands will warm the ingredients.

When adding the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, use only enough heavy cream to form a mixture with large clumps. You still want to see flour bits. Too much liquid and the scones will spread and be dense. Finally, make sure your oven is hot before putting the scones in! I wait 5 minutes after it preheats to make sure the oven is truly at the right temperature.

glazed cranberry orange scones on a plate with orange zest.

Freezing scones

What I love about scones is how well they freeze. The baked scones can be frozen for up to 1 month in an airtight container. To freeze unbaked scones, individually wrap the cut them in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

When ready to bake, remove the scones from the freezer, unwrap them and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Preheat the oven to 400 F. During this time, the scones will defrost slightly, but will still be cold when they go in the oven. Baking time will be 2 minutes longer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are my scones flat?

The dough was too wet or too warm. Remember, use only enough heavy cream to bring the dough into a loose all (you should still see flour bits). Use cold ingredients and avoid overworking the dough.

How thick should scones be before baking?

The dough should be about 1-inch thick when cutting scones.

Can I use milk instead of cream in scones?

Yes, but the scones won’t be as rich. Use whole milk if possible.

How do you make scones more moist?

Use cold ingredients (a combination of butter and cream is best). Also, don’t over-bake the scones. The outside should be golden brown and the centers soft and flaky.

two halves of a cranberry orange scone on top of more scones on a plate.

Did you love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below and if you REALLY loved it, consider leaving a comment further down the page.

glazed cranberry orange scones on a plate with orange zest and dried cranberries.

Cranberry Orange Scones

Cranberry orange scones are buttery and zesty with a touch of sweetness. This festive flavor combo is perfect for a holiday brunch!
5 (5 ratings)

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 2 ¼ cups (280 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (113 g or 1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • ¾ cup to 1 cup (180 to 240 ml) heavy cream

Orange Glaze

  • ½ cup (60 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a food processor, whisk together (or pulse a couple times) flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the cubed butter to the dry ingredients and pulse until a crumbly mixture appears, about 30-60 seconds. The mixture should resemble dry, coarse sand. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and stir in cranberries and orange zest.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup heavy cream and 1 Tablespoon fresh orange juice. Slowly pour the cream mixture into the flour mixture. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir until large clumps form. If mixture is not forming large clumps, add another tablespoon or two of heavy cream. Dough should be firm with some flour spots.
  • Put some flour on your work surface and place dough on top. Add some flour onto the top of the dough, and then pat it out into a disk about 8-9 inches in diameter and 1-inch thick. Use a 3-inch round cookie cutter to cut circular scones. Reform the dough scraps and cut again until you have 10 scones.
  • Place scones on baking sheet about 2 inches apart. As an option, you can lightly brush the scones with heavy cream and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. When scones are golden, remove from oven and let cool.
  • Prepare the glaze as the scones cool. Whisk together the confectioner's sugar and 1 tablespoon orange juice. If a thinner consistency is desired, add more juice. Drizzle orange glaze over the scones and serve.

Notes

Cold ingredients are key to tender, soft scones. Use cold butter and cold heavy cream. Avoid overworking the dough so it stays cold.
Cranberries: I used dried cranberries, but you can also use 1/2 cup fresh cranberries instead.
Storage: Scones are best when eaten the day they are baked, however, they may be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Freezing instructions: You can also individually wrap and freeze baked scones for up to one month. Alternatively, unbaked scones may be wrapped and frozen for up to 3 months. Let the frozen scones defrost slightly on a baking sheet while the oven preheats. Bake according to recipe (baking time will likely be 2 minutes longer).
Serving: 1scone, Calories: 318kcal, Carbohydrates: 42g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.4g, Cholesterol: 45mg, Sodium: 125mg, Potassium: 184mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 18g, Vitamin A: 555IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 73mg, Iron: 1mg

This post was previously sponsored by Coca Cola company. It has since been updated to better suit my readers’ needs.

Share This: