Cranberry Scones

This recipe is not new to the blog, but since it is one of my favorite breakfast treats I decided it deserved a reintroduction.  This seems the perfect time of year to be reminded of it, with cranberries in the stores again and turkey day on its way.  These have the kind of texture I love in a scone – light and buttery inside with a slightly crisp crust on the outside.  The tart cranberries and the addition of citrus zest gives these scones an ideal flavor for fall.  I tend to prefer lemon zest in my scones but orange zest would also be wonderful choice here, since it pairs so well with cranberries.

I’ve mentioned it many times before but scones can be frozen after shaping and then baked straight from the freezer simply by adding a few extra minutes onto the baking time.  In case you will be having overnight guests for Thanksgiving, I highly recommend stocking your freezer with some of these scones now.  I certainly don’t feel like getting back in the kitchen and making a mess the morning after such a big meal, so freezer scones with yogurt, homemade granola (premade, of course) and fresh fruit make a really nice breakfast for guests that requires next to no effort.

Cranberry Scones
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8-10 scones

1½ tbsp. freshly grated lemon zest
2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup plus 3 tbsp. sugar, divided
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
6 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1¼ cups fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk1 cup heavy cream
Additional sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

In a food processor*, combine the lemon zest, flour, ½ cup of sugar, baking powder and salt.  Pulse briefly to blend.  Add in the cold butter pieces and pulse again briefly until the mixture resembles coarse meal and the butter pieces are no larger than peas.  Transfer to a medium mixing bowl.

In a small bowl, toss together the chopped cranberries and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar.  Stir this into the flour-butter mixture.

In another small bowl or a liquid measuring cup, combine the egg, egg yolk and heavy cream; whisk to blend.  Add the liquid ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir gently with a spatula or wooden spoon just until all the dry ingredients are moistened.  Knead gently to be sure the dough is evenly mixed, being careful not to overwork the dough.

Place a 2½- or 3-inch round biscuit cutter on the lined baking sheet.  Scoop some of the dough inside the cutter and pat down gently to form a 1-inch thick round.  Repeat with the remaining dough, placing the rounds 2-3 inches apart on the baking sheet.**  Sprinkle lightly with additional sugar.

(To freeze before baking, flash freeze at this point.  Place the baking sheet with the shaped scones into the freezer and chill until frozen.  Transfer to a freezer-safe plastic bag and store until ready to bake.)

Bake in the preheated oven until light golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.  (If baking from the freezer, add approximately 5 minutes to the original baking time.)

*Note: A food processor is not required for this recipe.  You can achieve the same result using a stand mixer, a pastry blender, or even just two knives.  I like the food processor because it is quick and easy, but all methods work equally well.

**Note: There are many different ways to shape scones.  You can pat the dough into one large disc and slice into triangular wedges, roll it out and cut with a biscuit cutter, use a dough scoop and simply make drop scones, etc.  Do whatever you prefer.  I like this method for this particular scone dough because the dough is sticky and this prevents overworking.

Source: adapted from Smitten Kitchen

55 Responses

  1. YUM! I LOOOOVe scones! and cranberries right now!

    • These turned out awesome. I flash froze them . . . and sort of forgot about them (still on cookie sheet!) til the next day. They baked fine. This was the first time I have chopped fresh cranberries and was a little surprised at what they look like inside — mine were completely dry, and almost looked like a pomegranate. I live in Europe and finding cranberries is a bit of a challenge. To me, the insides looked ‘old’ and I was skeptical that the cranberry part of the scone would turn out, but all was fine. The cranberries give a really nice tartness that contrasts with the sweet sugar. This is my first recipe from your site — thanks for a delicious start!

      • Yep, that’s what chopped cranberries look like inside. It’s amazing how moist they become after baking. And definitely no harm if you “flash freeze” for a day or more before wrapping. I’ve done that more times than I can count and it never matters.

  2. I heart scones! They are my fave! I have cranberries and heavy cream that I need to use up so this recipe will be perfect!

  3. Those scones look absolutely delicious! I love anything that can be made ahead and frozen to make life easier on another day!

  4. I love scones and cranberries!! These are so festive too! Love them!

  5. I made these for my family the morning after Thanksgiving too! They are delicious. I froze them too, but mine didn’t seem to want to cook through when I baked them straight from the freezer…

  6. I should have done this with the fresh cranberries I bought instead of make homemade cranberry sauce! These look so good.

  7. These look wonderful! Good luck on your residency interviews!!

  8. I have printed the reciepie cant wait

  9. Ooo these look great; we love scones in our house and the cranberry is perfect for this time of year!

  10. They look fantastic! I’m adding them to my list of things I’d like to try making in the near future.

  11. I am lovin cranberries at the moment as well. A quick question about US measurements. How do you measure cold butter in a tablespoon?

  12. I made these last weekend too. I loved them! I have a couple more in my freezer waiting to be baked, so I’m happy about that.

  13. These are so festive too! Love them!

  14. These look so yummy!! Making and freezing these tonight for when my family comes this weekend.

  15. Is it possible to subsitute frozen cranberries for the fresh ones if fresh isn’t available? I’m loving the freeze then bake method. I’m trying out recipes that are easy to make and bake for my coffee shop. Thanks!

  16. I have found every recipie on your site flawless. My fiancé was looking for a cranberry and orange scone recipie that was like we got in Sydney, and his attempts were pure failure. Bless him, they were rock hard or tasteless or just strait to the bin disaster. He was having quite a daunting time of it. Finally he asked my advice, I gave him this recipie, and what was produced was the most delicate, moist, crumbly, scone melt in your mouth happiness! Only change he did was; 1 cup of cranberries and exchanged orange for the lemon. Now he is spending more time looking things to try then myself! Thanks for taking the time to not only lost these amazing recipes but try them with honest feedback and experience with the lot.

  17. I have a similar recipe (but I am going to try this one soon!). I use orange zest, and then for a little extra- I mix fresh squeezed orange juice and powdered sugar to drizzle a little orange flavored glaze across the top. Love the make-ahead/freeze-ahead tip!

  18. You can’t beat them during the holidays! I always have some in the freezer! I use Ina Garten’s recipe…will try yours this year.

  19. Great scone recipe! I like when you re-post recipes since I’ve missed some of the old ones. Yum yum cranberry!

  20. Wow, these look tasty. I don’t often cook with cranberry.

  21. Yummy….so perfect for a chilly fall morning! And thanks for the freezing tip…we will definitely be doing that when the house guests descend!

  22. Love the presentation. The split scone looks wonderful. Not to mention…cranberries are a healthy food!

    The skewered cranberries are a nice touch!


  23. These looks absolutely delicous and pretty! Your pictures look wonderful, you’ve definitely got an eye for it. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  24. Making these today. I bought a package of cranberries over the weekend, thinking that I would search your site for something yummy to use them in. Found it! Thank you!

  25. I have a similar scone recipe and may I be so bold as to suggest the addition of white chocolate chips and chopped pecans? Trust me it’s to die for. Every single person I’ve made them for has asked for the recipe.

  26. Yummy!! I love cranberries, especially paired with orange zest. It’s such a great flavor combination for Fall.

  27. These look so pretty! I’m buying a big bag of cranberries at Costco today. I love the idea of stocking them in the freezer and serving them warm from the oven:)

  28. yum! cranberry scones are one of my favorite types of scones! i especially like them with orange zest mmm

  29. Gorgeous pictures, Annie – I love the cranberries in the orange juice. And wow, those scones look enormous!

  30. hello, I’ve been meaning to use up the cranberries in my fridge leftover from my ground-cherry and cranberry chutney experience. I love the easyness of scones and my Fiancée Amy appreciates them during her rushed morning too! Thanks for sharing, ill make these today!

  31. I have a couple bags of local cranberries in the freezer marked for new recipes – I can’t wait to try this one!

  32. I love that you are using fresh or frozen cranberries, rather than dried! After I tried SK’s apple cheddar scones, I’ve been dying to try others!

  33. hmmm … round scones vs triangular … time for a show-down!

  34. Great recipe to begin planning for…cranberries are like pumpkin – when the time comes, I cannot get enough!!!

  35. Wow, these look delicious! They don’t look too dry either…I must try!

  36. Do you use an ice cream scoop to shape the scones?

  37. WOW! These look amazing! I will have to try these out! 🙂

  38. Just made a batch of these and froze all but one (taste test!) for my cousin’s baby shower this weekend. Delicious!

  39. The photo of the scone broken in half just makes me want to try it now, they look so amazingly delicious!

  40. I’m on a huge scone kick right now and I love cranberry! Looks yummy.

  41. These were fabulous – so good I had to post them on my blog too! 🙂
    Thanks for sharing such a delicious fall treat!

  42. I made these last night and baked them this morning -FANTASTIC!

  43. I made these over the weekend and they turned out delicious! I posted a little something on my blog. Thanks for sharing your wonderful recipes and inspiring!

  44. I made these scones yesterday and they were delicious!!!

  45. This is my second time making these wonderful scones so obviously they are delicious, but I am having a little trouble with the aesthetics. Mine are falling fairly flat while baking, no matter how small and thick I shape them before baking. Though they taste wonderful, I am trying to make a slightly more robust looking scone. Any suggestions? I don’t think they are overworked.

    • I’m not sure what to tell you. The thickness before baking should determine the shape afterward. My only thought is that your baking powder is old/expired?

  46. These were fabulous! How do you think they would be using half and half instead of cream?

    • I have no idea, haven’t tried it. I’m guessing they wouldn’t turn out quite the same but the only way to know is try it and find out.

  47. I just made these this morning and they turned out amazing! Thanks Annie – I love your blog because the recipes are so easy to follow and the pictures are always so appetizing.

  48. Oh my goodness! I was a little skeptical about baking scones, since they can be a little dry at times, but these came out soo moist and delicious! I am bringing them tomorrow to a brunch and I can’t wait for everyone to try them. I used orange zest instead of lemons since I knew my son would eat the rest of the orange and it wouldn’t go to waste and they were terrific!

  49. Those are SO delicious! I wrote about them on my blog:

    Thank you so much for your inspiring recipes!

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