Looking for a quick and delicious recipe for your next baking project? Try these moist orange cranberry scones that you can bake up in under 25 minutes! Not only are they moist and delicious, but they are also easy to make with simple, everyday ingredients that create scones bursting with flavor and guaranteed to make mornings and snack time more enjoyable.
This recipe for cranberry scones flavored with orange is one of my favorites. And while we tend to think of cranberries as a holiday ingredient, these scones are made with dried cranberries, you can have them year around - like I do!
What do I like about these cranberry scones?
- First, they are moist. I am not a fan of the dry, biscuit-y scone you tend to get from coffee shops. Make your own and you can have a tender scone every time!
- Second, the combo of cranberries and orange is just so good (though I have made a lemon-cranberry version that is yummy, too).
- And thirdly, they are only lightly sweetened and made with 100% whole wheat, so they are way better for you than a lot of other breakfast and snack breads (but you won't think about that after your first bite!).
One of my favorite breakfasts is a Mediterranean egg scramble with bacon, spinach, feta, and olives, and a scone with coffee or tea. Yum.
And these cranberry scones are perfection with tea in the afternoon - especially when spread with a bit of blackberry maple jam.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Here's what you'll need to make this recipe plus a few ideas for substitutions:
- Whole wheat pastry flour- this can't be substituted with regular whole wheat (which would make the scones heavy), so if you don't have pastry flour use half unbleached flour and half regular whole wheat (or use all unbleached flour -you just lose the whole grain goodness).
- White cane sugar (though not a course grind) - there's only two tablespoons in the whole recipe so it's not much - you could try replacing with brown sugar or coconut sugar, but I haven't tested those.
- Orange zest and orange juice - I love the combo of orange with cranberries, but you can leave it out and have plain cranberry scones or use lemon (see variations below for details).
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Butter - if you're avoiding dairy, I'd use ghee instead of coconut oil just to get some of that good butter flavor, but either would work as a substitute.
- Dried cranberries - Some dried cranberries are mostly whole and some are chopped - if yours are whole, roughly chop them to make it easier to cut the dough into wedges. You could also substitute any dried small or cut up fruit like raisins, chopped dates, apricots, or dried peaches.
- Buttermilk - once I saw all the ingredients added to commercial "buttermilk" I now always make the classic vinegar-milk substitute: for this recipe's 1/4 cup milk, add 3/4 teaspoon vinegar and mix.
How to make cranberry scones
Detailed quantities and instructions are included in the full recipe box below, but here are a few extra tips to help with each step:
Step 1: Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in the pieces of butter with a pastry cutter or stand mixer until mixture looks like coarse crumbs with a few pea size pieces (shown above). Stir in the cranberries.
Step 2: Whisk together the wet ingredients and add to the dry just until no flour streaks remain.
Turn dough onto floured surface - it is a wet dough like you see above so flour hands well, too.
Step 3: Knead 6-7 times, keeping surface floured to prevent sticking. Pat and shape into an 8-inch circle and cut into 10 wedges. Separate and place wedges on prepared baking sheet 1-2 inches apart.
Step 4: Brush tops with a tablespoon of milk or cream. Sprinkle with sugar if using. (If you'd like to glaze the scones, you can skip the sugar.)
TIP: To create a moist scone this dough is sticky so "kneading" here just means to fold it a couple of times with well-floured hands and surface, and push the dough together to shape into a round.
Step 5: Bake for about 12 minutes or until just lightly browned.
Here are a few yummy variations for this cranberry scones recipe:
- Plain Cranberry Scones - omit the orange zest and orange juice, upping the buttermilk to 1/2 cup.
- Cranberry Lemon - use lemon zest and juice in place of the orange. Because lemon isn't as sweet as orange, I usually increase the sugar by a half tablespoon.
- Glazed Scones - to make them a bit more special for family gatherings, you can drizzle on a glaze made of orange juice and powdered sugar (or lemon juice for that variation). Mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon of juice (or needed to create a drizzle).
What Is The Secret To Making Good Scones?
My biggest tips for the best homemade scones that are not dry and crumbly are:
- Use cold butter.
- Don't overmix the batter.
- Use pastry flour, regular or whole wheat.
- Don't overbake them - cook until just lightly brown.
More Quick Breads to Try
- Starbucks Inspired Frosted Maple Oat Scones Recipe (Whole Grain)
- Moist Double Apple Scones with Caramel Glaze
- Cranberry Crumb Loaves or Muffins Recipe
- Honey Sweetened Lemon Flaxseed Muffins (Gluten-Free)
Moist Orange Cranberry Scones Recipe
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or unbleached all purpose)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/3 cup butter, cut up
- 1 cup dried cranberries, chopped if there are lots of whole berries
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup buttermilk or cream (homemade buttermilk: 1/4 cup milk + 3/4 teaspoon vinegar, mixed)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon milk or cream
- Coarse sugar for dusting tops, optional*
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line or grease a large baking sheet.
- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl: flour, sugar, zest, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
- Cut in the pieces of butter with a pastry cutter or stand mixer until mixture looks like coarse crumbs with a few pea size pieces. Stir in the cranberries with a spoon.
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together orange juice, buttermilk, and egg.
- Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir gently until no flour streaks remain.
- Turn dough onto floured surface (it is a wet dough - flour hands well, too). Knead 6-7 times, keeping surface floured to prevent sticking. Pat and shape into an 8-inch circle and cut into 10 wedges. Separate and place wedges on prepared baking sheet 1-2 inches apart.
- Brush tops with tablespoon of milk or cream. Sprinkle with sugar if using.
- Bake for about 12 minutes or until just lightly browned.
- Let cool slightly on pan before serving warm.**
- To use from frozen: Let thaw at room temperature for 2-3 hours. Heat in a 300 degree oven 5-8 minutes to warm.