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Fresh Cranberry Orange Scones

The tartness of fresh cranberries with the tart-sweetness of orange juice on a buttery background makes these really bright breakfast treats.

Well, that just sounds like a description that you’d find in a catalogue, doesn’t it? Even better, it’s true!

Drop scones are always fun to make because they’re just so simple to miz and there is no shaping required. Put everything into a bowl, rub in butter and stir in a bit of liquid to bind it together. You can use any liquid, even water, though your results will probably be a bit more satisfying if you use milk, cream or a flavorful juice. Fresh orange juice certainly is flavorful, too, so it is a fantastic choice for scones. The acidity cuts the butteriness just enough to make these fairly addictive. I make them large, so they’re more satisfying, and I am not tempted to eat more than one. Or two.

Fresh cranberries are in season and are just wonderful in these. Though they’re called fresh cranberry scones, you can always use frozen cranberries instead. You may need to use a food processor instead of a knife to coarsely chop them, though, since you shouldn’t defrost them before using. In all honesty, these will turn out very nearly as well with good quality purchased orange juice and the frozen cranberries. It’s just a nice touch to use fresh if you can.

Fresh Cranberry Orange Scones
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
5-6 tbsp orange juice (fresh, if possible)
1 tsp orange zest (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add butter and toss to coat. Using your finger tips, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles very coarse sand. A few large bits are ok, but try not to have any pieces larger than an average pea.
Stir in cranberries. Add 5 tablespoons of orange juice (and zest, if using) and stir. If the mixture does not form a ball, add remaining tablespoon of juice. Divide dough in four pieces and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar, if desired.
Bake for 16-19 minutes, until scones are a light golden color. A toothpick should come out clean, but color is a reliable indicator for these.
Makes 4.

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  • Terri
    November 6, 2005

    Nice recipe! Made these for breakfast this morning and even hubby with his sweet tooth found these just sweet enough. Definitely use the zest with these for the extra flavour. I used frozen cranberries and they cut very easily with a knife. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Cindy
    November 6, 2005

    Oh that’s lovely ! The pic’s beautiful… thanks for the recipe, I’ll try soon. Nice blog by the way, it’s my first visit here but not the last.

  • Cathy
    November 6, 2005

    I can’t resist cranberry orange anything… these look absolutely delicious Nic! By the way, I’m probably crazy, but I’ve always sliced cranberries individually with a paring knife when making cranberry bread (3-4 slices per berry – I must have learned that from my mom). Anyway, that works equally well for fresh or frozen.

  • Luisa
    November 7, 2005

    My boyfriend is totally insane about cranberry breakfast pastries – these look so good. I will definitely have to make them for him soon!

  • Ruth
    November 7, 2005

    So glad I took a stroll through your recent posts. One of the best things about this time of year is the abundance of beautiful cranberries.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • Randi
    November 7, 2005

    These look great, do you think I could sub 1/2 whole wheat flour for 1/2 the AP flour?

  • Nic
    November 7, 2005

    Terri and Cathy – Ok, next time I’ll be brave and cut the frozen ones with a knife! But I’m glad to hear you enjoyed these, Terri!

    Cindy – Welcome and thanks!

    Luisa – This is a good choise for cranberry lovers.

    Ruth – Thank you for sharing it with me!

    Randi – I’m sure that you could. It would make it a tad heavier, but there’s a fair amount of butter to keep things nice and fluffy. If you can find whole wheat pastry flour, that would probably be the best bet.

  • chili&vanilia
    November 8, 2005

    these scones look absolutely gorgeous!I added it to my “to try” folder. Scones aren’t known in Hungary, nor are cranberries.So fot us, this is going to be something exotic:)

  • s.c.a.r.
    October 17, 2007


    These were so awesome!!!! I used to buy these kind of scones and the bakery went out of business. But I personally think these are much better anyway!!!!:):):):)
    And the snickerdoodle was really awesome(says my 12 year old). My son is a homeschooler and he made these yesterday to satisfy me in exchange for doing regular math:):) He calls it “Fun In The Kitchen With Math.”
    Well anyway, he took these to 2 of our friends last night, and these 2 guys and my son ate every last cookie…even the crumbs!!!! :):):):):)LOL
    Thanks for the great recipes!!!

  • Christine
    January 1, 2008

    I made this recipe this morning – my first adventure into the world of scone baking. I used clementines instead of traditional organges and they turned out delicious! Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  • Mansi
    May 16, 2008

    orange-cranberry is one of my favorite pairings!:)

  • Sophia
    September 28, 2008

    Dear Chili&Vanilia,
    Of course scone is known in Hungary!!!
    But We, huns, call it “POGACSA”.
    And also we have about 100 different recipies about scones.


  • Rebecca
    October 26, 2008

    Excellent recipe. I tried this recipe this morning having bought some cranberries at my farmers’ market in Wisconsin. My scones turned out very moist with freshly squeezed juice from a Valencia orange. So many recipes use the dried cranberries, and I’m glad to have found one that uses fresh! I made 8 small scones.

  • SingerGirl
    February 27, 2009

    This was the first scone recipe I’ve tried from this site, and it’s the BEST, in my opinion. Couldn’t find fresh or frozen cranberries, so I just used dried ones that I soaked in some orange juice, (maybe next time I’ll try soaking them in spiced rum). I also added a handful of walnuts and sprinkled turbinado sugar on the top before baking. UNBELIEVEABLY GOOD! And easy to make….now YOU can be a star in the kitchen!

  • web traffic
    April 18, 2009

    Hey, is there a section just for latest news

  • Elizabeth
    December 19, 2016

    I’m baking these right now. No egg, right? Every scone recipe I’ve tried has called for 1egg. Fingers crossed.

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