These Cranberry Orange Scones are the perfect snack for the holiday season or all year round! The scones are flaky and crunchy on the outside but soft and tender on the inside, with a bright orange flavour and juicy pops of cranberry.
Festive baking always fills me with joy. It's such a happy time of year, and I love the build-up to Christmas here in London. I invariably always make my Gingerbread Stamp Cookies or Gingersnap Cookies for the School Christmas Fair. Such a treat!
The flavours of orange and cranberry scream the Festive season. And these scones are full of both. The slightly tart cranberries need the sweetness of the orange zest, and I've even added an orange glaze once baked.
If you love scones as much as I do, then I also have Chocolate Chip Scones and Cherry Scones recipes on my site. They all use this same scone base recipe from my Foolproof Scone Guide. It's a winner and one that you need to try!
🌟 Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Uses everyday basic ingredients. There's no ingredient out of the ordinary that you can't find in your local grocery store. I like to keep it simple and easy with the ingredients used.
- Packed full of flavour. With my great method of getting the most out of your orange zest, the scones have a beautiful citrus flavour. The little pops of cranberries are an absolute winner.
- Simple to make. Follow my simple techniques to create the perfect texture for your scones. No more dry, solid scones for you.
- Quick to make. The hands-on time needed to make these Cranberry Orange Scones is very quick. And you can make these ahead of time and bake them up fresh for breakfast or just before guests arrive.
🧾 Ingredients Needed
It's a relatively short and sweet ingredient list for these Cranberry Orange Scones But, I've written some notes alongside some of the ingredients that are worth reading.
- Butter - Good quality butter really does make a difference when making your scones. It's a primary ingredient- so definitely worth using the best that you can. It also has to be cold before use to create those flakey layers.
- Self-raising flour - Part of the success of making scones lies in the height that they rise. Using self-raising flour will greatly improve your chances as it has a raising agent already mixed through. (Check out my FAQs below if you can only get plain flour.)
- Buttermilk - The buttermilk adds a slight tang to the scones. It can be substituted with sour cream, creme fraiche or greek yogurt, but thin out those subs with milk to get the same consistency as cream. Or use double cream or milk (as in my Sultana Scones), instead!
- Egg - 1 large egg is used to bind the ingredients together, adding richness which improves taste and provides some lift to the structure of the scone.
- Orange - use fresh orange zest from a large orange. The more zest you combine into the mix, the more orange flavour you'll taste. We'll use the juice of the orange in the recommended glaze, so it definitely doesn't go to waste.
- Cranberries - You can use fresh or frozen cranberries here. If using frozen, don't thaw as they'll bleed into the mix and go mushy.
Like in my Orange Cranberry Shortbread Cookies, this flavour combination is a classic and works so brilliantly together. However, here are a couple of ways that you can play with the ingredients.
- Dried Cranberry Scones: If unable to find fresh or frozen cranberries and want to eat these year round, then use 200g of dried cranberries instead. Soak the cranberries for 15 mins in boiling water, then drain before adding.
- Lemon Cranberry Scones: Swap out the orange zest with lemon zest for another citrusy take on the original.
- White Chocolate Cranberry Orange Scones: Add in chopped white chocolate to the scone mix. The three flavours truly sing together. Then drizzle more chocolate over the baked scones. So dreamy!
👩🏻🍳 How to Make
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
Make the Cranberry Orange Scones
STEP 1. Rub zest and sugar together. Add sugar and orange zest together into a bowl and rub together. This releases the oils and brings out more flavour from the zest. It'll make the orange flavour bright and sweet in these Cranberry Scones.
STEP 2. Sift together dry and wet ingredients separately. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Into a large mixing bowl, sift in your dry ingredients; flour, baking powder and salt. Add in the citrus sugar and stir together (Image 1).
STEP 3. Whisk wet ingredients together. In a bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, vanilla and almond extract. Once whisked, set aside one tablespoon of the egg mixture- this will be your egg wash to be used later on (Image 2).
TIP: If your kitchen is warm, refrigerate all the ingredients for a ½ hour (mixing bowl included) before you crack on with the method. Run warm hands under cold water too.
STEP 4. Add butter to flour. Add the chopped butter, and using your fingertips, toss the pieces until they are separated and coated with flour.
Using your fingertips, rub the flour and butter together until it looks like breadcrumbs with some larger pieces remaining (Images 5 & 6).
TIP: Having slightly large pieces of butter in these Orange Cranberry Scones results in a lighter interior structure.
STEP 5. Combine wet with the dry ingredients. Make a well in the dry mix and pour the whisked egg and cream mixture into the centre (Image 7). Use a fork to stir until the mixture forms a dough (Image 8). Don't overmix.
It will still be very shaggy at this point and feel quite sticky. If necessary, use your floured hands to lightly bring it all together, incorporating the dry flour left at the bottom of the bowl.
TIP: If there are dry crumbs at the bottom of the bowl or it looks too dry, then add more buttermilk or even orange juice, 1 teaspoon at a time, and mix in with the fork or hands.
STEP 6. Coat the cranberries in flour and add to the dough. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour to the cranberries and toss till coated (Image 9). Then add them to the dough and mix with your fingertips until it comes together (Image 10).
STEP 7. Bring the dough together and shape it. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface (it'll look quite raggedy) Bring the dough together with floured hands by pressing it together (Image 11).
Fold it in half and then press flat. Do this again if needed to make the dough smoother. This incorporates air into the dough and makes it smoother without having to knead it with the risk of overworking it.
Gently flatten it out into a disc. (I don’t use a rolling pin as I find using my hands works just fine). Using a bench scraper or a sharp knife, cut the dough in two (Image 12).
Shape each half into a round disc with floured hands. Flatten the disc until it's 3 cm (1 inch) thick (Images 13 & 14).
STEP 8. Refrigerate, prep, and then bake. Add the two discs onto the prepared baking tray.
Refrigerate the scones for 30 minutes minimum, or pop them in the freezer for 15 minutes. The scones need a chance to rest for the flour to hydrate and the butter to firm up again. This is a surefire way for you to get those flaky layers.
Prep for baking. Brush each disc with the remaining egg mixture (Image 15). Sprinkle the top with Demerara sugar for extra sweetness and crunch (Image 16). Use a sharp knife to cut each disc into 6 to 8 wedges, then separate and place an inch apart on the baking tray (Images 17 & 18).
Bake Cranberry and Orange Scones in a preheated 180C (350F) oven for 20-25 minutes until golden on top (Image 19 below). Remove them from the oven and set them on a wire rack to cool slightly.
Make the glaze (optional)
This is an optional step, but I think this cranberry scones recipe benefits from the sweet orange glaze.
STEP 1. Combine the glaze ingredients. dd the powdered icing sugar, orange juice and any extra orange zest, if you have any, into a bowl and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over cooled scones (Images 20 & 21).
🥣 How To Serve
Scones are best eaten on the day they are made. They are packed full of flavoured and, unlike traditional British Scones, don't need clotted cream or jam. (I mean, you can if you like!) They are scrumptious alongside a cuppa.
💭 Recipe Pro Tips
- Use cold ingredients and cold hands. The aim is to keep the butter as cold as possible when making the dough so that it melts when it hits the high heat, not before, and creates that uber-flakey interior we're after.
- Don't overwork the dough. Pressing the dough together with your hands rather than over-kneading will prevent the activation of gluten and, in turn, prevent tough scones when baked. It will help with our end goal of flaky layers!
- Refrigerate the dough before baking. This allows the flour to hydrate, the gluten to relax, the butter to re-chill and harden, and the baking powder to get to work. All this helps in creating soft, flaky scones.
- Make them into round scones. You can use a 5cm (2 inch) cookie cutter to stamp out scone rounds.
- Make ahead by freezing the dough once it has been cut into wedges on the baking tray. Once frozen, store it in a ziplock bag. Brush with egg wash and bake from frozen, adding a couple of minutes to the bake time.
📋 Recipe FAQs
If you don't have self-raising flour, then substitute with plain flour and extra baking powder. For this standard-size recipe I’ve provided today, add 3.5 teaspoons of baking powder to 375g (3 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour and stir together. Continue as per the recipe instructions and the other ingredients, including adding the stated baking powder.
A couple of possibilities here. Your baking powder might be out-of-date. Just have a quick look. If you don’t use it often, it's easy to keep out-of-date powder, which will definitely affect the rise. Also, you may have overworked the dough, inhibiting the rise. Keep the handling to a minimum.
The tops of the Cranberry Orange Scones should be golden brown, and when you pick them up and tap the bottom, they should sound hollow. When you break one open, the interior should be soft, fluffy and not wet and doughy.
❄️ Storage and Freezer Instructions
To store: Homemade scones are best served fresh and slightly warm. To store them, wrap them in plastic wrap or place them in a ziplock bag to prevent them from drying out and retaining their moisture. Leave at room temperature. They should last 1 to 2 days.
To freeze: Once baked scones are cooled, wrap them immediately in plastic wrap or place them in a freezer-safe container and freeze them for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature and reheat in the oven or microwave.
🎁 More Recipes for the Holiday Season
If you tried this Cranberry Orange Scones Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the comments below. I love hearing from you.
Cranberry Orange Scones Recipe
- Baking Tray
Cranberry Orange Scones
- 1 zest of an orange
- 12 g caster sugar, or granulated sugar
- 375 g self raising flour, plus 1 tablespoon extra to toss with cranberries
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 210 g buttermilk , cold
- 1 large egg, cold
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 90 g unsalted butter, cold
- 125 g cranberries, frozen or fresh
- 15 g demerara sugar
Orange Glaze (optional)
- 65 g powdered icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- Rub sugar and orange zest together. Add the sugar and orange zest into a large mixing bowl, then use your fingertips to rub the zest into the sugar to release the oils.
- Sift in dry ingredients. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Into the large mixing bowl, sift in your dry ingredients; flour, baking powder and salt. Stir together.
- Whisk wet ingredients together. In a bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract. Once whisked, set aside one tablespoon of the egg mixture- this will be your egg wash to be used later.
- Add butter to flour. Add the chopped butter to the mixing bowl and using your fingertips, toss the pieces until they are separated and coated with flour. Using your fingertips, rub the flour and butter together, leaving some larger butter bits.
- Combine wet with the dry ingredients. Make a well in the dry mix and pour in the whisked egg and milk mixture into the centre. Use a fork to stir until the mixture starts forming a shaggy dough.
- Coat the cranberries in flour. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour into the bowl and toss to coat the cranberries. Add to the dough and gently mix in with your fingertips. Then start to press the dough together.
- Bring the dough together. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and continue to press together with floured hands. Fold it in half and then press flat. Try not to knead the dough. Gently flatten it out into a disc.
- Cut the dough in half and shape it into two discs. Using a bench scraper or a sharp knife, cut the dough in two. Shape each half into a round disc. Flatten the disc until it's 2 cm (1-inch) thick.
- Prepare scone rounds and refrigerate. Add the two discs onto the prepared baking tray. Refrigerate the tray for 30 minutes or freeze them for 15 minutes. Whilst the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F)Brush each disc with the remaining egg mixture. Sprinkle the tops with demerara sugar. Cut each disc into 6 wedges using a sharp knife. Re-position wedges on the tray so that they sit one inch apart.
- Bake. Bake for 25-35 minutes until the scones are risen and the tops are golden brown. Once baked, remove from the oven.
- Make glaze. Add powdered sugar and orange juice to a bowl and whisk until smooth. Drizzle glaze over scones. Serve immediately. Best eaten the day they are made.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.