Cranberry Orange Scones - Handle the Heat
Filed Under: Breakfast

Cranberry Orange Scones

November 20th, 2019
5 from 10 votes
5 from 10 votes

Cranberry Orange Scones are flaky and buttery with tangy buttermilk, dried cranberries, orange zest, and a simple orange icing. Freezer friendly recipe!

Yield: 16 scones

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Fresh, tart, and slightly sweet.
Texture: Flaky, tender, and soft.
Ease: Super simple and easy! Almost takes as long to make as it would to hop in the car and drive to the coffee shop and back.
Pros: Fun seasonal twist on a classic.
Cons: None!
Would I make this again? Definitely – I have some in my freezer ready to be baked!

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The combination of cranberry and orange smells almost as amazing as it tastes.
Cranberry orange scones on a cooling rack with icing setting

There’s just something about that ultra fresh citrus with the tart sweetness of the dried cranberries that makes for magic.

These scones would be perfect to serve around Thanksgiving, Christmas, or even for New Year’s brunch!

If you have leftover Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce, you could even serve these alongside the sauce for an extra dose of flavor.

Homemade cranberry orange scones cooling on a rack

Whatever you do, just keep in mind that scones are definitely best served the day they’re baked. That’s why I included make-ahead instructions in the pink box below as well as in the recipe card.

How to Make Homemade Cranberry Orange Scones

Cutting scones into triangles

How to Get FLAKY Scones

The key is using COLD butter and keeping it cold. The cold butter takes a moment to melt once it hits the heat of the oven. As it melts it releases pockets of steam that create those tall flaky layers. I like to cube then freeze my butter before using it.

Do I have to use buttermilk

Buttermilk makes insanely tender, tall, and flavorful scones. I would highly recommend using real buttermilk because it does make a difference. Check out my side-by-side comparison of real buttermilk vs. DIY buttermilk here to see just what I mean!

Gentler Hands = Tender Scones

Avoid over-mixing the dough or allow it to get too warm. Doing so will result in flatter, tougher, and less flaky scones. My favorite tool for making biscuits or scone dough quickly and easily by hand (so I don’t have to lug out my food processor) is this OXO bladed pastry blender. LOVE.

Make Ahead

The shaped unbaked scones can be covered and refrigerated overnight, or placed in an airtight container and frozen for up to 1 month. If baking from frozen, add about 2 minutes to the baking time.

Homemade cranberry orange scones cooling on a rack

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5 from 10 votes

How to make
Cranberry Orange Scones

Yield: 16 scones
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Cranberry Orange Scones are flaky and buttery with tangy buttermilk, dried cranberries, orange zest, and a simple orange icing. Freezer friendly recipe!



  • 3 cups (381 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 sticks (170 grams) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (100 grams) dried cranberries


  • 1 1/2 cups (188 grams) powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice or milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest


Make the scones:

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the center position and preheat to 400°F. Line two baking pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, zest, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. Add the butter and cut with a pastry cutter or a fork until the butter is the size of large peas.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together the buttermilk, 1 egg, and vanilla extract.
  5. Make a well in the middle and add the liquid mixture. Mix until streaks of flour remain. Gently stir in the dried cranberries until barely combined. Don't over mix.
  6. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and divide into 2 equal parts. Lightly knead each into 3/4 inch thick, 6-inch diameter rounds. Cut each round into 8 wedges and place on your prepared baking pans. Space them out about 2 inches apart.
  7. MAKE AHEAD: At this point the unbaked scones can be refrigerated overnight, or sealed and frozen for up to 1 month. If baking from frozen, add about 2 minutes to the baking time.

  8. In a small bowl, combine the remaining egg with 1 teaspoon water. Brush over the shaped scones.
  9. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. The scones are best served warm, or within a few hours of baking.

Make the glaze:

  1. Whisk all glaze ingredients together until thick but still pourable. Drizzle over cooled scones and let stand until set.

Recipe Video

[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id="cfPUXCtW" upload-date="2022-04-20T22:02:11.000Z" name="How to Make TALL Scones" description="Ever wondered how to make TALL flaky scones?! A little bit of lamination gets the scones to shoot up sky high with tons of flaky layers. Don’t worry, it sounds more complicated than it actually is. And if this seems like way too much work, just skip this step. You’ll still have tasty scones!" player-type="default" override-embed="default"]
Course : Breakfast
Cuisine : American
Keyword : thanksgiving
Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Becky Ramsey — November 2, 2023 at 7:48 pm

    Made these for Garden Club and everyone enjoyed them and asked for the recipe.

  2. #
    Earl Williams — October 28, 2022 at 8:11 pm

    The buttermilk was a nice change to the normal cream. It was very fluffy and great texture. However contrary to other respected bloggers, the dried cranberries did not deliver the expected flavor and I will revert to the fresh or frozen cranberries for that flavor.
    The orange did not add much flavor and I will look to other recipes on how to gain that flavor.

    I love your ingredient tests and always follow your advice.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — October 31, 2022 at 1:37 pm

      Hi Earl! I’m sorry you didn’t find that these scones had enough cranberry or orange flavor for your preference. Perhaps different brands of dried cranberries give varying levels of flavor? As far as the orange goes, feel free to add more zest or even 1/4 teaspoon orange extract, for a real punch of orange flavor! 🙂

      • #
        Earl Williams — December 2, 2022 at 8:02 pm

        Hello Kiersten.
        My tastebuds have deteriorated over time (77yrs old) so I could not enjoy how wonderful these are. Since then friends and family have raved about the recipe. They love it as is, but for me I will add in a little more flavor through using your suggestions.

        • #
          Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — December 6, 2022 at 12:18 pm

          I’m glad to hear that your family and friends have raved about this recipe, Earl! I’m glad that adding a little more zest will help you enjoy the flavor more 🙂 Happy baking!

  3. #
    Esther — September 8, 2022 at 6:42 am

    Could I use fresh frozen cranberries?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — September 8, 2022 at 12:02 pm

      Hi Esther! We’ve only tried this recipe with dried cranberries, but that should work just fine! Don’t thaw them before using, though! Let us know what you think once you have tried these out! Happy baking 🙂

      • #
        Esther — September 8, 2022 at 1:52 pm

        Thank you so much for the quick reply! I will try it with frozen cranberries and let you know how they turn out 🙂

  4. #
    R Dane — February 4, 2022 at 9:44 am

    These scones are soft, flaky and delicious. Definitely one of my keeper recipes! I have made a lot of scones and this is the best.

    • #
      Emily — February 7, 2022 at 5:06 pm

      So happy you loved this recipe!

  5. #
    Michelle — June 5, 2021 at 4:53 pm

    This recipe was amazing! I loved the combination of cranberry and orange, the texture was light and airy, and the recipe was easy to follow. Highly recommend trying to scone lovers!

    • #
      Tessa — June 7, 2021 at 2:11 pm

      So happy to hear you loved this recipe, Michelle! 🙂

  6. #
    Miriam Carson — May 20, 2021 at 1:10 pm

    I brought the scones to share with my coworkers. My boss commented that they were “ restaurant quality”! She begs me to bring them again! Easy to make and so good!

    • #
      Tessa — May 21, 2021 at 9:59 am

      So happy these were a hit!!

  7. #
    Linda Lockwood — January 8, 2021 at 2:20 pm

    Very tasty.zall my friends loved them.Thx for the great recipe .

  8. #
    Jean — January 5, 2021 at 7:26 am

    The absolutely best scones I’ve ever made. I used 1/2 almond flour to cut back a bit on carbs. They were so moist and tasty!

    • #
      Tessa — January 5, 2021 at 1:04 pm

      So glad you enjoyed these scones!

  9. #
    Jean Fillman — January 4, 2021 at 3:50 pm

    Absolutely delicious and easy to make!

    • #
      Tessa — January 5, 2021 at 12:58 pm

      Thank you so much, Jean!

  10. #
    Connie Attanasio — January 16, 2020 at 5:14 am

    I’ve made your basic scones so many times but wanted to try something different for the January challenge. I love the flavor combination of cranberry and orange! These are buttery and flaky and not too sweet. Just perfect! I didn’t glaze them just sprinkled some coarse sugar on top but they’re so yummy anyway.

  11. #
    Rebecca Gomez — January 4, 2020 at 7:26 pm

    I noticed that you indicated that this recipe uses fresh cranberries but yet the actual recipe calls for dried cranberries. Can I use fresh cranberries and if yes, how much?

  12. #
    Rosie — November 27, 2019 at 2:32 am

    Can’t wait to try this recipe, it sounds so good!

  13. #
    Vivian @RISVK — November 25, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Never tried these but would like to try some

  14. #
    Ankit — November 21, 2019 at 5:32 am

    Thank you so much for this one cranberry orange scones. I love this cake & I will make this one with the help of your recipe.

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