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These bakery-style Cranberry Orange Scones are moist, buttery, and full of sweet-tart dried cranberries and bright citrus flavor. A drizzle of fresh orange glaze makes the perfect finishing touch! Serve the scones for a special breakfast, brunch, or snack with a cup of coffee, tea, hot cocoa or mulled cider. Truly the best recipe, these scones are better than Starbucks!

Close up side shot of dried cranberry orange scones served on a white plate with a drizzle of glaze

Think scones are dry and crumbly? Think again! These decadent cranberry orange scones stay moist and tender, thanks to plenty of butter and rich cream. They’re packed with flavor from tart dried cranberries and a fresh orange glaze, and they’re not too sweet. Grab a warm mug of coffee or a hot cup of tea, because when the weather turns cool, you’ll love waking up to this cranberry orange scone recipe!

Adding cubed butter to a food processor

What is a Cranberry Orange Scone?

A scone is a baked good made of wheat or oatmeal, with baking powder as a leavening agent. They are often slightly sweet (although savory versions also exist) and brushed with an egg or cream wash. Scones are baked on sheet pans and include any variety of mix-in’s — such as chocolate chips, nuts, and fresh or dried fruit. They are very similar in flavor, texture, and ingredients to what we call biscuits in the United States. These cranberry orange scones get their flavor from the addition of dried cranberries, freshly grated orange zest, and a sweet orange glaze.

Grating orange zest on a microplane

Ingredients for Cranberry and Orange Scones

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for the best cranberry orange scones. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • All-purpose flour: the base of the scones.
  • Granulated sugar: just enough for a slightly sweet treat.
  • Baking powder: the leavening agent that helps the scones rise.
  • Salt: to enhance the other flavors in the recipe and to balance the sweetness.
  • Butter: for great flavor! Make sure that it’s very cold.
  • Heavy cream: don’t substitute with lower fat alternatives or your scones will not be as moist and tender. Some extra cream on top helps the scones brown in the oven, too.
  • Egg: for structure.
  • Orange zest: the outer layer of the orange peel is where you’ll find all of the essential oils (and therefore the most potent orange flavor). Make sure that you don’t scrape off any of the white pith when grating the orange zest, or you’ll end up with a bitter taste.
  • Dried cranberries: sweet, not too tart, and slightly chewy, I prefer the dried version over fresh in this recipe.
  • Powdered sugar and orange juice: whisk together to make the glaze.
Adding dried cranberries to dough in a food processor

How to Make Cranberry Orange Scones

Preparing scones at home is almost identical to making biscuits, since moist cranberry orange scones are essentially sweet biscuits. I love the ease of using my food processor to cut the butter into the flour mixture, but you can also use a pastry cutter or two knives to do so by hand.

  1. Combine the dry ingredients.
  2. Cut in the cold butter until the butter is the size of small peas.
  3. Whisk together the cream, egg and orange zest.
  4. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture, pulsing just until the dough comes together.
  5. Gently fold in the cranberries.
  6. Pat the dough into a circle that’s 1-inch thick.
  7. Slice into 8 wedges.
  8. Arrange the wedges 2-inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  9. Cover and chill for 15 minutes.
  10. Brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream.
  11. Bake in a 400°F oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.
  12. Make the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar and orange juice.
  13. Drizzle the glaze over the scones.
  14. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Process shot showing how to make orange cranberry scones starbucks recipe
Square side shot of a plate of cranberry orange scones

What to Serve with Orange Cranberry Scones

These scones are best served warm or at room temperature. Pair them with coffee or tea for a satisfying snack or breakfast. They’re great on their own, but they’re also delicious with soft butter, a drizzle of honey, or a dollop of jam.

If you’re serving a larger breakfast or brunch spread, here are some additional options that go well with the orange cranberry cream scones:

Overhead shot of orange cranberry cream scones on a wooden farmhouse table

Storage

  • Leftover scones are good for about 2-3 days in an airtight container at room temperature. They do not need to be refrigerated.
  • To make a batch ahead or to extend the life of your scones, you can freeze them in an airtight container or Ziploc bag for up to 3 months.
  • To reheat: Thaw the scones on the counter overnight if they’re frozen, or thaw in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds. Then reheat the scones in a 325°F oven just until warmed through (about 5 minutes).
Close up side shot of better than starbucks cranberry orange scones

Recipe Variations

  • I prefer the scones only slightly sweet (these are not too sweet like a dessert), so I use just ¼ cup of sugar. For a sweeter scone, you can increase that amount to ½ cup of sugar.
  • Substitute with fresh or frozen cranberries. They will be more tart and less chewy than the dried variety. If your cranberries are large, cut them in half before adding them to the dough. Do not thaw frozen cranberries — just mix them straight into the scones.
  • Add nuts such as chopped pecans, almonds or walnuts for a bit of crunch.
  • Scones are traditionally cut into triangles (as shown); however, you can also make round scones by using a round biscuit cutter to cut the dough.
Overhead shot of the best cranberry orange scone recipe served on a wooden table

Tips for the Best Cranberry Orange Scone Recipe

  • Properly measure the flour. Always spoon and level the flour or weigh it on a kitchen scale — do not scoop it out of the package. Incorrectly measuring the flour packs it too tightly into the measuring cup and results in dense, dry scones.
  • Keep the dough cold. I’ll say it again — the key to tall, fluffy and tender scones is cold ingredients. Don’t forget to chill the dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before baking.
  • If the butter or the dough gets too warm, the scones will spread and fall flat in the oven. That’s why it’s important to work quickly and not handle the dough too much.
  • Use an electric stand mixer or a food processor to quickly and easily cut the butter into the dry ingredients. If you don’t have either of those appliances, no problem! You can freeze the butter and grate it into the dry ingredients, or you can cut the butter into the flour mixture by hand using a pastry cutter or two knives.
  • Be careful not to overwork the dough. The food processor or stand mixer are great to quickly pulse the ingredients, but stop processing as soon as the dough comes together (in order to keep the scones moist). Otherwise you’ll end up with tough, dry scones.
  • The heavy cream is an important ingredient in these scones. Avoid thinner liquids such as milk or almond milk, which will just lead to dry, bland, flat scones. Brushing the tops of the scones with extra cream before baking helps them brown in the oven, too!
Hands serving a tray of glazed cranberry orange scones

More Cranberry Recipes to Try

Close up side shot of dried cranberry orange scones served on a white plate with a drizzle of glaze

Cranberry Orange Scones

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Chilling Time 15 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings 8 scones
Calories 502 kcal
These bakery-style Cranberry Orange Scones are moist, buttery, and finished with a sweet orange glaze!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 ½ cups (300 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (½ cup) salted butter, diced and chilled
  • ⅔ – 1 cup heavy cream, plus extra for brushing
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • ½ cup dried cranberries

FOR THE GLAZE:

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment or silicone mat.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and, with the mixer on low speed (or the food processor on “pulse”), mix the butter into the flour until the butter is the size of peas. If you don’t have a stand mixer or a food processor, you can freeze the butter and grate it into the dry ingredients, or you can cut the butter into the flour by hand with a pastry cutter or with two knives.
  • In a large measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together ⅔ cup of cream, egg and orange zest. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir, mix or pulse just until blended. Do not over-mix. The dough should be damp and should hold together when pinched. If it’s too dry, add a little bit more cream (up to 1 cup may be necessary). If it’s too wet, sprinkle in a little bit of extra flour. Gently fold in the cranberries.
  • Dump the dough onto a very well-floured surface and knead it lightly and quickly just a few times. It helps to put flour on your hands to prevent sticking. Pat the dough into a circle that’s 1-inch thick. Using a pizza cutter or knife that is sprayed with cooking spray before each slice, cut the circle into 8 wedges.
  • Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between each scone.
  • Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the cover, brush the tops of the scones with a little bit of cream, and bake for 20-25 minutes (or until the tops are lightly browned and the insides are fully baked). Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes while you prepare the glaze.

FOR THE ORANGE GLAZE:

  • Whisk together powdered sugar and orange juice. Drizzle over scones. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

  • Properly measure the flour. Always spoon and level the flour or weigh it on a kitchen scale — do not scoop it out of the package. Incorrectly measuring the flour packs it too tightly into the measuring cup and results in dense, dry scones.
  • Keep the dough cold. I’ll say it again — the key to tall, fluffy and tender scones is cold ingredients. Don’t forget to chill the dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before baking.
  • If the butter or the dough gets too warm, the scones will spread and fall flat in the oven. That’s why it’s important to work quickly and not handle the dough too much.
  • Use an electric stand mixer or a food processor to quickly and easily cut the butter into the dry ingredients. If you don’t have either of those appliances, no problem! You can freeze the butter and grate it into the dry ingredients, or you can cut the butter into the flour mixture by hand using a pastry cutter or two knives.
  • Be careful not to overwork the dough. The food processor or stand mixer are great to quickly pulse the ingredients, but stop processing as soon as the dough comes together (in order to keep the scones moist). Otherwise you’ll end up with tough, dry scones.
  • The heavy cream is an important ingredient in these scones. Avoid thinner liquids such as milk or almond milk, which will just lead to dry, bland, flat scones. Brushing the tops of the scones with extra cream before baking helps them brown in the oven, too!

Nutrition

Serving: 1sconeCalories: 502kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 6gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 19gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 119mgSodium: 276mgPotassium: 250mgFiber: 2gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 1119IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 112mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: cranberry and orange scones, cranberry orange scones, dried cranberry scones
Course: Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These came out great — light, moist, delicious! Excellent recipe and great pointers (using chilled butter, not overworking the dough). The best scones I’ve ever eaten, if I do say so myself.