These bakery style cranberry scones are going to blow you away. They’re moist and flaky (no more dry, stodgy scones!), with an incredible flavor from a few secret ingredients.  Best of all, anybody can master this foolproof recipe.

Close up of the a cranberry scone with orange glaze on a parchment lined baking sheet.

The BEST cranberry scones recipe

I have to admit that I wasn’t always a cranberry scones kind of girl. I’ve been hooked on these blueberry almond scones for years, but I didn’t think that a cranberry version could compete. I WAS WRONG. These cranberry orange scones are just as (if not more) delicious, with bursts of tart, juicy cranberries (you can use fresh or frozen) and a hint of cinnamon and orange. They’re the perfect breakfast or afternoon snack, and they make for great hostess and holiday gifts!

Cranberry Scones on a serving platter with plates and butter alongside.

Cranberry orange scones

These buttery scones are brightened up by the addition of orange zest, which acts like a filter, enhancing all of the other flavors. A two ingredient orange glaze provides an irresistible sweet crunch (are you drooling yet?). 

Gluten free cranberry scones

Drumroll please, you can either use regular all-purpose flour in these scones, or you can easily make them gluten free by using a GF flour blend (which is what I use and which is pictured here)! You would never know the scones are gluten free. 

Orange glazed cranberry scone on a serving plate.

Scones ingredients

These scones are made with flour, butter, sugar and baking powder, with a few other ingredients that give them an unparalleled flavor and texture:

All of the ingredients for the cranberry scones recipe arranged on a marble surface.
  • Almond flour helps keep the scones ultra moist. 
  • Cinnamon gives the scones a warm, holiday-like aroma. 
  • Buttermilk makes the scones tender and flaky (see the tips below if you don’t have it!). 
  • Orange zest brightens everything up. 
  • Vanilla paste or extract lends sweet complexity.
  • Fresh or frozen cranberries give the scones a juicy, tart pop of flavor.
  • Chopped toasted walnuts lend a nutty crunch (but you can omit them, if you prefer)

How to make cranberry scones:

  • In a large bowl, mix together flour, almond flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Using the large holes of a cheese grater, grate butter over the top of the dry mixture (alternatively, use a box grater to grate the butter onto a piece of wax or parchment paper, then transfer the butter to the bowl). Place the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill. 
Process shot divided into two quadrants showing how to grate butter into the flour mixture.
  • In the meantime, whisk together an egg, sugar, buttermilk, orange zest and vanilla until smooth. Set aside.
The wet ingredients for the scones in a small mixing bowl.
  • Take the bowl with the flour mixture out of the freezer, and toss the butter with the flour until it’s evenly incorporated.
Process shot showing a hand tossing the cold butter into the flour mixture.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and add the cranberries and walnuts (1). Slowly work the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until the dough is mostly incorporated but still shaggy and floury (2). Scrape the dough out onto a parchment lined baking sheet (3). Using your hands, gently bring the dough together and press it into a 1/2-inch-thick round (4).
Process shot divided into four quadrants showing how to mix the cranberry scone dough and shape it on the baking sheet.
  • Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 8 triangles (make sure you cut all the way through, but you don’t need to separate the triangles). Brush the top of the scones lightly with the egg wash (you won’t need it all). Bake until golden brown, about 22-25 minutes. 
Process shot divided into two quadrants showing how to cut the scone dough and brush it with egg wash.
The baked cranberry scones on a baking sheet, cooling on a rack.

Easy orange glaze

Once the scones cool, drizzle them with an easy orange glaze. The glaze is made with just confectioner’s sugar and fresh orange juice. I also sprinkle the scones with turbinado sugar, which gives them more crunch. 

The ingredients for the orange glaze on a marble surface.
A hand drizzling the orange glaze over the cranberry scones.

FAQ

What’s the secret to making good scones?

For tender, flaky scones, use cold, grated butter, which incorporates evenly into the dough (cold butter creates pockets of steam as the scones bake, resulting in a tender texture). Also, don’t overwork the dough, which could make the scones tough. 

How do I get my scones to rise and be fluffy?

Scones get their rise from baking powder—make sure that your baking powder is fresh. Also, don’t overwork the dough, which could toughen the scones.

Can I substitute dried cranberries for fresh?

You can swap out the fresh or frozen cranberries for dried, but the scones will be drier and won’t have the same pop of flavor that you get from the juicy berries. 

Cranberry orange scones on a serving platter with plates and butter alongside.

How do I serve the scones?

You can serve the scones just as they are or with a smear of softened butter. Serve them for breakfast or as an afternoon treat with a cup of tea or coffee (they’re perfect for entertaining). The scones also make for wonderful hostess or holiday gifts!

A scone on a serving plate topped with softened butter.

Can I make the scones ahead?

Yes! The scones can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Tips for making cranberry scones:

  • For gluten free cranberry scones, use a GF all-purpose flour blend. I’ve tested them with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour and Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour, which both work great (you won’t be able to tell they’re gluten free!).
  • Using toasted nuts will give the scones a richer flavor. Toast the nuts in a 375˚F (190˚C) oven or toaster oven until they smell nutty and are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Let cool, then chop.
  • You can swap out the walnuts for pecans. 
  • If you don’t have buttermilk you can use a mix of half yogurt and half milk (whisk them together), OR you can squeeze about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into whole milk. 
  • Using a rimless baking sheet makes it easy to form the scones, although you can use a regular rimmed sheet if that’s all you have. 
  • The cranberry scones are made using the same technique as these blueberry almond scones – check out the video below! 

Other easy baked goods to try (all gluten free!):

Holiday recipes you might like:

Get the recipe!

Cranberry Walnut Scones with Creamy Orange Glaze (Gluten Free)

These ultra tender and fluffy cranberry scones have a hint of warmth from cinnamon, a pop of brightness from cranberries and orange zest, and nutty crunch from walnuts. An easy orange glaze takes them over the top. The scones are a cinch to make and can easily be made gluten free! Using toasted nuts will give the scones a richer flavor (see below for how to toast the nuts—do this before making the dough). The scones freeze beautifully, making them perfect for last minute guests, easy breakfasts and the holidays. Take note that you'll need one small orange for this recipe (you'll need the zest for the scones and the juice for the glaze).
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cranberry orange scones, cranberry scones, cranberry scones recipe
Servings: 8 scones

Ingredients

Scones

  • 2 cups (296g) gluten-free flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour or Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour) OR 2 cups regular all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (28g) almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons (85g) cold unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs, divided
  • 1/2 cup (105g) sugar
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk (*see hack below)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Orange glaze

  • 1/2 cup (60g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1-2 teaspoons turbinado sugar

Instructions

Make the scones

  • Preheat the oven to 400˚F (200˚C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, almond flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Using the large holes of a cheese grater, grate the butter over the top of the dry mixture (alternatively, use a box grater to grate the butter onto a piece of wax or parchment paper, then transfer the butter to the bowl). Place the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill.
  • In a small bowl, whisk one of the eggs with 1 teaspoon of water. Set aside (this will be the egg wash for later).
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining egg with the sugar, buttermilk, orange zest and vanilla until smooth.
  • Take the bowl with the flour out of the freezer. Using your hands, toss the butter and flour until evenly incorporated. Make a well in the center of the bowl. Pour in the wet ingredients and add the cranberries and walnuts. Slowly work the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until mostly incorporated but still shaggy and floury (you’ll finish bringing it together in a minute).
  • Scrape the dough out onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Using your hands, gently bring the dough together and press it into a 1/2-inch-thick round (it should be about 8-inches in diameter). You want the dough to hold together, but you don’t want to overwork it. Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 8 triangles (make sure you cut all the way through, but you don’t need to separate the triangles).
  • Brush the top of the scones lightly with the egg wash (you won’t need it all). Bake until golden brown, about 22-25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool 5 minutes. Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, separate the triangles into individual scones. Let the scones cool.

Make the glaze and serve

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and orange juice until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the scones, then sprinkle the scones with turbinado sugar. The glaze will harden as the scones sit. Serve the scones on their own or with softened butter. SWOON!

Notes

Do Ahead: The scones can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days, or they can be frozen for up to 2 months. Freeze the scones in an airtight container or zip-top freezer bag. Defrost the scones at room temperature or in a microwave. We like to heat them slightly in a toaster oven before serving.
Tips:
 
  • For gluten free cranberry scones, use a GF all-purpose flour blend. I’ve tested them with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour and Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour, which both work great (you won’t be able to tell they’re gluten free!).
  • Using toasted nuts will give the scones a richer flavor. Toast the nuts in a 375˚F (190˚C) oven or toaster oven until they smell nutty and are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Let cool, then chop.
  • You can swap out the walnuts for pecans. 
  • If you don’t have buttermilk you can use a mix of half yogurt and half milk (whisk them together), OR you can squeeze about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into whole milk. 
  • Using a rimless baking sheet makes it easy to form the scones, although you can use a regular rimmed sheet if that’s all you have. 
  • The cranberry scones are made using the same technique as these blueberry almond scones – check out the video above! 

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