These Cranberry Orange Scones make a scrumptious treat with a classic holiday flavor combination. This recipe makes the fluffiest scones you will ever have! I think scones need to be light and fluffy, and these deliver every time. Pair them with my orange honey butter for a mouthwatering bite.

Three fruit scones stacked on top of each other on a white plate.

Why You Should Make This Recipe

I am not a fan of dense or crunchy scones. Some scone recipes are very heavy, which means it gets hard to eat even one whole scone. There’s a reason that traditional British scones are served in halves with jam and cream – it’s needed to cut through the heaviness!

These tart cranberry orange scones, however, are unlike your normal firm, dense scone. They’re as fluffy as can be and are infused with light orange zest and rich cranberry.

The cranberries mixed throughout have a tart flavor, and the orange zest adds a light citrus element, both of which cut through the (usually heavy) scone batter.

Instead of rolling the scones, we are lightly mixing and adding them as dollops of dough to the baking sheet. This keeps them light and fluffy.

Ingredients

Ingredients for cranberry orange scone recipe laid out on a countertop.

fresh cranberries – you can also use dried cranberries in this recipe, but to keep the recipe tart, as intended, make sure your dried cranberries do not have any added sugar.

heavy cream – the heavy cream reacts with the acid of the oranges and curdles to create butter and buttermilk. If you do not want to make the butter from scratch, you can purchase buttermilk and butter, instead. However, you will not get the orange and honey flavor infused into it as you would with this recipe.

turbinado sugar – has a slight caramel flavor that I find lovely, especially in this recipe. You can also substitute with raw cane sugar or granulated sugar if you cannot find it.

Orange Honey Butter Recipe

A key part of this recipe is the incredible orange honey butter. You will need to make this first before progressing with your scones.

Add cream, the zest of 1 orange, honey, and a pinch of salt to a food processor (photo 1). Blend for 4-5 minutes, until the liquid separates (photo 2). The solids in the mixture are the butter you will use to spread on the scones, and the liquid is the buttermilk you will use in the scone recipe.

Cream, orange zest, and honey in a large food processor.

Strain over a bowl to separate the two, and set the butter aside (photos 1 & 2 below). If you have a nut milk bag or cheesecloth, you can use it to help to squeeze the butter and separate it completely from the buttermilk out (photo 3).

A hand straining butter in a nut milk bag over a glass bowl.

Step-by-Step Recipe

Preheat your oven to 350F. Put the cranberries on a baking tray, and roast them for 20 minutes (photo 1). When baked, toss the cranberries with 1 tbsp of sugar and set aside for later (photo 2).

Roasting cranberries on a large metal baking sheet.

You may wish to use dried cranberries instead of fresh cranberries. You will need 1 and 1/2 cups of dried cranberries to replace the freshly roasted cranberries in this recipe.

Now for the scone dough. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, zest of the second orange, salt, and cold cubes of butter to a food processor (photo 1 below). Pulse the mixture until it has the texture of breadcrumbs.

Add the pulsed mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add 3/4 cup buttermilk, and mix to combine the ingredients (photos 2 & 3). You can add more buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. You may not need more, just see how your dough feels as you stir.

Next, add the roasted cranberries (photo 4). Gently fold them in with a spoon or spatula (photo 5). The dough should not be a liquid or tight mixture (photo 6).

Six photos showing the steps to mix cranberry scone dough in a glass bowl.

You don’t need to rest your scone dough before transferring it to a baking sheet. Other recipes may call for resting, but with this recipe, the dough is ready to cook as soon as the cranberries are combined. If you’re not ready to bake yet, your scone dough can be stored in the refrigerator overnight and baked the next day. Perfect if you’re looking to save time and get ahead!

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I’m using a silicone baking mat). With a pastry brush, brush a small amount of buttermilk in the 6 spots where you will put the scones. This will keep them from sticking during baking.

Mold your dough into 6 evenly sized scones. Try not to over-handle the mixture while doing this. When placed on your sheet, brush the tops of each dough form with some more buttermilk.

Clumps of red fruit scones on a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.

Bake the scones for 17-20 minutes. Once baked, place on a wire cooling rack. Once cooled enough, serve the cranberry orange scones immediately with your delicious orange honey butter!

If you do want to freeze the scones for later, you can! Let the scones cool completely before freezing, and place them in an airtight container for maximum freshness. To defrost for serving, let your scones thaw to room temperature and then pop them in the oven for 5-10 minutes.

Two hands holding a scone and spreading butter on it with a knife.

More Holiday Recipes

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Cranberry Orange Scones with Orange Honey Butter

5 from 25 votes
Print Recipe Save
Cranberry & orange is a classic combination for the holidays, & these scones make a scrumptious treat. This recipe makes the fluffiest scones ever!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Kosher, Vegetarian
Servings: 6
Calories: 863kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 lb. cranberries fresh
  • 2 cups all‐purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 stick cold unsalted butter cubed
  • 1 cup buttermilk do not purchase (leftover from orange butter)

Instructions

Orange Honey Butter:

  • Add the cream, zest of 1 orange, honey, and pinch of salt to a food processor. Run for 4-5 minutes, until the liquid separates. The solids are the butter you will use to spread on the scones, and the liquid is the buttermilk you will use in the scones.
  • Strain over a bowl.

Cranberry Orange Scones:​

  • Preheat to 350F. Put the cranberries on a baking tray. Roast 20 minutes. Toss with 1 tbsp of sugar. Set aside.
  • Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, zest of the other orange, salt, and cold cubes of butter to a food processor. Pulse until it is the texture of breadcrumbs.
  • Add the entire mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add 3/4 cup buttermilk. Mix to combine. Add more buttermilk 1 tbsp at a time until the dough comes together. You may not need more. Add the cranberries. Gently fold together. It will not be a liquidy or tight mixture.
  • Line a baking sheet. With a pastry brush, brush a small amount of buttermilk in the 6 spots you will put the scones. This will keep them from sticking.
  • Do not over-handle the mixture. Gently mold into 6 scones. Place on your sheet pan. Brush the tops of each scone with more buttermilk.
  • Bake 17-20 minutes.
  • Let cook on a wire rack.
  • Serve immediately!

Notes

The cranberries are tart, so this scone will not be like your average sweet cranberry scone.
You can skip the orange honey butter and purchase unsalted butter and buttermilk instead of the heavy cream.
Scone dough can be stored in the refrigerator overnight and baked the next day.
If you do want to freeze the scones for later, you can! Let the scones cool completely before freezing, and place them in an airtight container for maximum freshness. To defrost for serving, let your scones thaw to room temperature and then pop them in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
*Inspired by Tyler Florence’s Mixed Berry Scones.

Nutrition

Calories: 863kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 71g | Saturated Fat: 44g | Cholesterol: 249mg | Sodium: 596mg | Potassium: 412mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 2720IU | Vitamin C: 0.9mg | Calcium: 233mg | Iron: 2.2mg
Did you try this recipe?I’d love to hear what you think! Leave a Review to let us know how it came out, if you have a successful substitution or variation, or anything else.

35 Comments

  1. Not sure what I did wrong but mine all melted into each other and were a flat, greasy mess! 🤷‍♀️ Help! I followed PP’s pumpkin pie recipe and it turned out amazing, though!

    1. Oh no! I’m not sure why that happened… I’ve even made this recipe with berries and cranberries, frozen and fresh, and a million times. All I can think of is maybe too much buttermilk in the batter that it made it too loose? Did they hold together when you spooned them onto the baking sheet? Any substitutions? I’d love to help you troubleshoot this, because it’s one of my favorite recipes, and I know you’d love it if it came out. <3, Candice

  2. Love that this recipe uses both the fresh butter and the buttermilk! Genius. Totally happening as ‘kitchen science’ at my house today 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I have never made scones before now. Your recipe was so easy to follow and so good!! I love the flavor combination of orange and cranberries..These barely cooled off before we dug in and so addictive, Thanks for such an easy and yummy recipe.

  4. 5 stars
    This is such an impressive recipe! Homemade butter and roasted cranberries – you definitely don’t see that very often! I also don’t love dense scones, I much prefer the lighter and softer variety and I think you’ve nailed that with this recipe.

  5. 5 stars
    Cranberry and orange – aren’t those two flavors amazing?! The perfect combo to spend a weekend or to start any day actually. With a glass of your favorite drink, of course! 🙂

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