Light and fluffy Cranberry Orange Scones are perfect for breakfast, afternoon tea or snack time. Fragrant with orange zest and cinnamon, these buttermilk scones are absolutely bursting with tangy cranberries.
Table of contents
Why these are THE BEST Cranberry Scones
Between my 7-year stint at a British tea shop and baking for family and friends, at this point in my life I’ve baked, literally, tens of thousands of scones.
I love baking with seasonal produce, both fruits and vegetables. At the end of this post you’ll find a whole bunch of special scones recipes you might want to try.
These scones feature the classic flavor combination of cranberries and orange.
- All purpose flour – Medium protein all purpose flour makes a scones that has enough structure to rise high in the oven, but also makes a tender crumb.
- Buttermilk – Acidic buttermilk tenderizes the scones. If you don’t have fresh buttermilk, buttermilk powder is the best substitute. Mix the buttermilk powder according to the directions before adding to the scones.
- Sugar – Just enough sugar is added to lightly sweeten and tenderize the dough.
- Fresh orange zest – The oil in orange zest is where the flavor is at.
- Cranberries – Fresh or frozen cranberries will work in this recipe. If using frozen berries do not defrost them before adding them to the dough.
How to make Cranberry Orange Scones
See the recipe card for detailed measurements and instructions.
- Combine the dry ingredients with the butter and zest. Mix in the wet ingredients until almost combined.
- Fold in the cranberries.
- Knead the dough briefly to finish mixing the ingredients.
- Pat the dough by hand into an 8″ round and cut into 8 wedges.
- Line the scones on a parchment lined sheet pan. Brush with buttermilk and sprinkle with demerara sugar.
- Bake until golden brown.
- Scones are best eaten they day they are baked but will keep at room temperature for a day.
- Baked scones should never be refrigerated.
- Baked scones can be frozen for up to three months. Defrost the scones at room temperature, then warm in the oven to revive the texture.
Pastry Chef tips for making perfect scones
- Combine all the dry ingredients and whisk them together before adding the wet ingredients. Dispersing the salt and leavening helps the scones rise evenly.
- Work the cold butter in with your fingers until the bits are no bigger than a pea. Those little bits of butter will give the scones a slightly flakey texture.
- Once the wet ingredients are added, mix just until the flour is incorporated. I like to make scones by hand to avoid over-mixing the dough.
- You can use a rolling pin, but I prefer to pat the dough by hand to avoid overworking the dough.
- Since the baking powder is activated as soon as the wet and dry ingredients come together, it’s best to bake the scones soon after the dough is mixed.
- To work ahead, mix all the dry ingredients and work in the butter. Combine the wet ingredients and refrigerate the prepared ingredients until you’re ready to finish the recipe.
More Cranberry Recipes
- Cranberries in Red Wine
- White Chocolate Cheesecake with Cranberry topping
- Cranberry Linzer Tart
- Cranberry Orange Scones
- Cranberry Crumb Pie
- Sourdough Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries
- Ginger & Cranberry Biscotti
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
Cranberry Orange Scones
- 12 ½ oz unbleached all purpose flour (2 ½ cups, see note)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 4 oz granulated sugar (½ cup)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 large orange
- 3 oz unsalted butter (cold, cut into 1″ chunks)
- 7 oz buttermilk (¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 8 oz cranberries (fresh or frozen, 1 ½ cups)
- Demerarra Sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 375 °F. Line a ½ sheet pan with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 12 ½ oz unbleached all purpose flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 4 oz granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt, and finely grated zest from 1 large orange. Toss in 3 oz unsalted butter chunks. Work the butter in with your fingers until the bits are the size of a pea.
- Whisk together 7 oz buttermilk, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 1 large egg. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients all at once and mix until just barely combined. Some loose flour may remain at the bottom of the bowl. DON'T OVER MIX.
- Sprinkle 8 oz cranberries over the dough and finish mixing by hand until all the loose flour is absorbed and the cranberries are evenly distributed. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times to bring the dough together.
- Using well-floured hands, pat the dough a 8” round that is 1" thick. Cut the round into 8 wedges. Transfer the scones to the prepared baking sheet.
- Brush the top of the scones with buttermilk and sprinkle with Demerarra or granulated sugar.
- Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.