Cranberry Orange Drop Scones

To anyone looking for a quick and easy way to make last-minute scones when you’ve got that craving that just won’t be stilled any other way – give these easy peasy drop scones a try.

They have mostly common pantry ingredients one would have all year around (the fresh oranges might be in or out of season), you can just about use your hands to pull them together if you’re into really getting the feel of your dough, and they don’t need to be rolled out or shaped, just drop them onto parchment, bake and voila – your afternoon tea awaits!

This recipe comes from my former favorite coffee shop in my hometown in Minnesota called Frost & Steam (I know, right?! perfect name for a cozy little coffee shop! So sad when Mom told me it was closed and sold).

My mother even worked there as a barista after she retired. She says she did it to earn a little supplemental retirement income so she could visit her children. But I think it was more about getting herself out of the house and staying in touch with the community, hearing the gossip, and bending the ears of town councilmen, school board members or even the mayor, so she could give them her unvarnished opinion about what was happening in town, whether good or bad!

But back to the scones…

What I got for a recipe was a list of ingredients, but here’s how I pulled them together:

  • Sift all the dry ingredients together
  • You can mix the wet ingredients together at this point so they’re ready to go once you have the butter cut into the flour mixture. A note about the use of citrus rind – I always double whatever a recipe calls for, always. I just find that I really like that extra punch of citrus that comes from the zest, and for me that entails adding more, every time. You can experiment with the level of citrus flavor you like and adjust accordingly.
  • Mix the chunks of cold butter into the dry – you can use your fingers, a pastry cutter or even a food processor. My tendency is to go to pastry cutter, then finish up with my hands to get it to bread crumb consistency.
  • I added the cranberries into the mixture at this point.
  • Then I added the wet ingredients and folded them into the dry. I used my hands here, too – something very satisfying about just digging in with one’s clean hands to pull a dough together! Of course, be careful not to overwork the dough, just mix until the wet and dry are incorporated.
  • I did use a tablespoon to dole out the portions to drop on my parchment, just for some consistency in size. And it’s that easy, just drop on the sheet in rough balls, stick in the oven and bake.

The finished scones should be golden brown and will have flattened out a bit. But the flavor is there, big and bold.

You could give them a cream wash, or add some of the larger sugar crystals for a little crunch. Whatever makes you happy!

Cranberry Orange Scones

  • Servings: ~16 scones
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 3/4 stick of butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 c. dried cranberry, can be rough chopped but it’s okay to have full-sized pieces
  • 1/4 orange zest (here’s where I double and add zest from at least 1/2 an orange)
  • 3/4 c. half & half
  • 2 egg yolks


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt), and cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, your fingers or a food processor.

Once the dry mixture is the consistency of breadcrumbs, add in the dried cranberries and thoroughly mix.

Add the wet ingredients and mix together with your hand or a spoon until it just starts coming together and wet and dry ingredients are fully integrated.

Using a regular tablespoon, drop a good heaping spoonful of batter onto parchment or silicon mat on a cookie sheet, and roughly shape into a circle.

Once you have a full cookie sheet, put in the oven and bake for circa. 20-24 minutes; check after 20 minutes. Bake until scones are golden brown. Continue until all batter is used and scones are on a cooling rack.

Serve when cooled with clotted cream, curd, jam or other scone topping of choice.

Once you’ve pulled the scones out of the oven, let them cool before serving. You can serve with clotted cream or butter, jam or curd – use whatever preferred toppings you like.

I used my cranberry curd with clotted cream, to really get the impact of the cranberry berry, one of my favorite, especially in the winter season. I posted my cranberry curd recipe previously here.

A nice, hearty black tea blend goes well with the strong flavors of the cranberry and orange. Enjoy!

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