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Cranberry Scones

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Cranberry scones are such a delightful Fall treat! Made using an easy scone dough recipe and filled with frozen cranberries and a hint of orange zest. These scones are slightly crispy outside with a flaky inside. Perfect for an easy brunch during the holiday season.

Close up of cranberry scones and a bowl of frozen cranberries.

Cranberry Scones

Nothing beats a delicious scone to serve alongside that morning cup of coffee. Scones have such a wonderful combination of textures. They’re similar to a biscuit with a golden crispy outside and a flaky buttery inside.

These scones use frozen cranberries which add a wonderful tartness that compliments the sweet flaky scone flavor perfectly. You can certainly use fresh cranberries for this recipe too! They’re not always available in the grocery store but as soon as they are, I love making our fresh cranberry sauce with orange zest with them.

Personally, I am a HUGE fan of scones! They are one of my absolute favorite brunch additions. They also make the perfect afternoon snack with a cup of tea.

Traditionally, many scones are triangular in shape just like our chocolate chip scone recipe. But you can also form them into mounds like I have with this cranberry scone recipe. I find the scone dough to be just too sticky to form into triangles. And it’s so easy to drop the dough onto a baking sheet with a spoon or cookie scoop.

Serve them with easy brunch recipes like homemade waffles, a savory mushroom frittata, yummy french toast casserole, or a breakfast pizza!

Recipe ingredients including bowls of flour, frozen cranberries, buttermilk, orange zest, cubed butter, sugar and baking powder.

Recipe Ingredients

Here is an overview of what you’ll need to make this recipe. Full ingredients with measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  • FLOUR – This recipe uses all-purpose flour. You could also use half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour.
  • SUGAR – Granulated white sugar adds the perfect sweetness.
  • CRANBERRIES – I used frozen cranberries, but you could also use fresh cranberries if they’re in season at your grocery store. If you’re not a fan of the tartness of fresh cranberries, then dried cranberries can work too! You might want to use a bit less though.
  • ORANGE ZEST – Adds the perfect hint of orange flavor. You could also use lemon zest instead.
  • BUTTER – Ensure that the butter is very cold. I used unsalted butter but salted butter will also work.
  • BUTTERMILK –  I highly recommend using buttermilk as it will create that perfect flaky scone. Buttermilk interacts with the baking powder and baking soda to help the dough rise. You can also use regular milk if you prefer, but the results will be a little bit different.
  • ETC – You will also need baking powder and baking soda which will help the dough to rise. And a bit of salt.
Four images showing steps to make recipe. First two have dry ingredients with cubed butter and cranberries added in. Third is cranberry scone dough in a bowl. Fourth is unbaked cranberry dough scones in mounds on a baking sheet.

How To Make Cranberry Scones

Homemade scones are super easy to make. The trick is to use cold butter and a pastry cutter. Here’s an overview of how to make them with the full instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this blog post.

  1. DRY INGREDIENTS – Whisk together the all-purpose flour, sugar, orange zest, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl.
  2. BUTTER – Cut the cold butter into small cubes. Add them to the flour mixture and use fingers or a pastry cutter to crumble them into small pieces.
  3. CRANBERRIES – Now add in the cranberries and stir them in.
  4. WET INGREDIENTS – Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk. Fold the dry ingredients into the buttermilk and rotate the bowl as you go. Keep repeating until the ingredients come together into a dough mixture. The dough will be sticky.
  5. SHAPE – Use a cookie scoop, measuring cup or a spoon to drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Brush the top of each one with a bit of milk (to encourage browning).
  6. BAKE – Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden brown slightly. Transfer to a rack to cool.

How To Store

First, let the scones cool completely to room temperature. Next, you can follow the steps below to store them:

  • ROOM TEMPERATURE – First let the scones cool completely, then add them to an airtight container or plastic bag. These scones can be stored at room temperature for up to 3-4 days.
  • FREEZING – Leftovers can easily be frozen! This is one of my favorite ways to store my baking recipes because I typically take my time to eat through a batch of baked goods. I recommend wrapping each one in parchment paper or plastic wrap. Then place each one in a freezer-safe container or large plastic bag. Remove as much air as possible as this can create freezer burn. These will keep frozen for 6 months.
  • TO REHEAT – Frozen scones can be removed from the plastic and wrapped in a paper towel. Pop them in the microwave for up to 30 seconds for a warm delicious treat!
A stack of cranberry scones on top of eachother.

Recipe Tips

I used to think that scones were intimidating to make at home, but they’re actually quite easy! They’re similar to biscuits in the fact that they need cold butter to create that perfect fluffy flaky filling. Here are a few tips to ensure you have scone-baking success:

  • FLOUR – Spoon the flour into the measuring cup and then level off with a knife. Do not scoop the measuring cup right into the flour bag – you will get too much flour this way. The “spoon and level” method will give you a fluffier scone texture.
  • USE COLD BUTTER – Unsalted butter or salted butter will both work for this recipe. But just make sure that it’s cold! Cold butter is essential to getting the perfect fluffy flaky filling. Once you cut the butter into cubes, place it back in the fridge (or even the freezer) until you’re ready to use.
  • CRUMBLE BUTTER SMALL – I prefer to use a pastry cutter for this, but you can also use two knives or your fingertips. Just crumble the butter into pea-sized pieces.
  • BUTTERMILK – Using buttermilk helps to create a flakier biscuit with a wonderful flavor. I highly recommend using it if you can. However, I’ve made scones with regular milk and it works just fine too.
  • DON’T OVERMIX – Stop mixing as soon as the dough is combined just enough. You do not want to mix too much as it will activate the gluten resulting in a denser scone.
Close up of cranberry scones together.

These cranberry scones are such an easy way to enjoy a sweet treat with fresh cranberries during the Fall season. They’re perfect to serve for a holiday breakfast or brunch, or just enjoy with mid-afternoon with a cup of tea or glass of milk.

For more sweet-tasting brunch ideas, try our strawberry muffins, 10 best overnight oat recipesbanana bread muffins, or 3-ingredient cereal bars.

A pile of cranberry cookies.

Cranberry Scones

Made using an easy scone dough recipe and filled with frozen cranberries and a hint of orange zest. These scones are slightly crispy outside with a flaky inside. 
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes
Servings: 8 servings



  • Cut the butter into small ½” cubes and place in the fridge or freezer until ready to use. Zest the orange peel using a cheese grater, enough to equal 1 Tbsp.
    Chopped butter and zested orange with a grater.
  • Preheat your oven to 400°F, then line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients: all purpose flour, white sugar, orange zest, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk everything together evenly.
    Two bowls with dry ingredients.
  • Using a pastry cutter or two forks (or your fingertips), Cut in the cold butter and mix until the butter turns into pea-sized pieces.
    Cold butter cubes on top of dry ingredients and pastry cutter cutting it in.
  • Next add the cranberries and stir in.
    Cranberries on top of dry ingredients and then mixed in.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet, just until everything is combined.
    Bowl with dry ingredients and a well in center with wet ingredients. Second image is of cranberry scone batter.
  • Use a cookie scoop or measuring cup to transfer the dough onto the baking sheet (the dough will be sticky and hard to handle). Brush the tops of each one with buttermilk.
    Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until the tops have turned golden brown. Let cool then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
    Cranberry scones on a baking sheet. First raw, then baked.


Calories: 291kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 408mg | Potassium: 75mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 388IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 117mg | Iron: 2mg

The nutritional information provided is an estimate and is per serving.

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