Simply perfect cranberry scones that can be made with fresh cranberries or frozen cranberries. Crisp and golden on the outside and light and tender on the inside!

cranberry scones on white board

Why you’ll love these cranberry scones

  • Cranberry scones are the perfect sweet and tart bake.
  • These scones are quick and easy to make with either fresh cranberries or frozen cranberries. They freeze beautifully, too.
  • You’ll love the golden, crispy outside of these scones, paired with the light and tender inside!

Ingredients and substitutions

Cranberries – you can use either fresh or frozen cranberries. For frozen cranberries, use from frozen and allow a bit more baking time. If fresh or frozen cranberries aren’t an option, you could substitute dried cranberries, but I would reduce the added sugar in the scones by a Tablespoon or two, to compensate for the extra sweetness of the dried cranberries as compared to the fresh or frozen ones.

Lemon Juice – the lemon juice in this recipe is used mainly to sour the milk, but that said, don’t substitute buttermilk for the milk, as it may affect the rising agents differently. You could substitute orange juice for lemon juice, for similar results, but with a subtle orange flavour. If you don’t have either lemon or orange juice, simply omit the juice.

Milk – You can use any milk (even non-dairy milk), but I don’t suggest substituting buttermilk for the milk in this recipe, as buttermilk reacts differently with the rising agents and may affect the finished result.

Step-by-Step Photos

photo collage of steps to make cranberry scones 1
  1. Add the lemon juice to the milk, stir and let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Use a box grater to grate the cold butter into the flour mixture.
  4. Add the milk and then use a fork to stir until a dough forms.
photo collage of steps to make cranberry scones 2
  1. Remove the dough to a floured work surface.
  2. Scatter the cranberries onto the dough and work in by folding the dough over, and encasing the cranberries. Do this a few times until all the cranberries are worked in.
  3. Pat the dough into an even 8-inch circle.
  4. Cut the dough into 8 wedges. Remove the wedges to a large baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
photo collage of steps to make cranberry scones 3
  1. Before baking, brush the tops of the scones with milk.
  2. Sprinkle with sugar and bake.
cranberry scones sliced open with a knife and butter


Substitute another fresh fruit for the cranberries! Reduce both the flour and the sugar by 1/4 cup and make with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or other fruits.

cranberry scones on white board

Making ahead, storing and freezing

Allow scones to cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container. Store at room temperature for 2 days.

For longer storage, freeze scones for up to 2 months.

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cranberry scones on serving board

Get the Recipe: Cranberry Scones

Quick and easy cranberry scones, with a crisp, golden outside and a light and tender inside.
4.75 stars from 4 ratings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Chilling Time:: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: 8 scones


  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed recommended
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, measured with the spoon and level method
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, increase to 1/2 teaspoon is using unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, cold, salted or unsalted
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries cut in half if large

Topping :

  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons granulated white sugar, raw sugar or coarse sugar


  • In glass measuring cup or a bowl, stir lemon juice into milk. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a box grater, grate butter into flour mixture and use a fork to mix it with the flour. (If you have some large clumps of butter, use your fingertips to break it up into smaller pieces in the flour mixture). Pour milk mixture into flour/butter, stirring with a fork until a soft, sticky dough forms.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and, with floured hands, gently work in cranberries by scattering over dough and folding the dough over to encase them several times, trying to not crush them and adding more flour to prevent sticking as necessary, until dough comes together and cranberries are dispersed. Pat out to a 8-inch circle; cut into 8 wedges. Place onto a large baking sheet, at least 1-inch apart. Place into refrigerator for 30 minutes or into the freezer for 15 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 425°F (regular bake setting/not fan-assisted).
  • Remove from the refrigerator and brush the tops of the scones with milk. Sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake scones in preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until puffy and golden. Remove from oven and remove to a cooling rack to cool at least 10 minutes before serving or cool completely.


You can substitute orange juice for the lemon juice.
There is no need to thaw frozen cranberries. You can add them to the dough frozen.
You could use dried cranberries in place of the fresh or frozen cranberries. I would suggest reducing the sugar in the scones by a Tablespoon or two to compensate for the sweetness of the dried cranberries.
I believe non-dairy milk should work here, though I haven’t tested it myself.
I don’t suggest substituting buttermilk for the milk, as it reacts differently with the rising agents and without adjustment, may not produce the best results.
Store these scones in an air-tight container for 2-3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Course: Snack
Serving: 1scone, Calories: 321kcal, Carbohydrates: 48g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 32mg, Sodium: 212mg, Potassium: 252mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 413IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 112mg, Iron: 2mg
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