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Cranberry Orange Sourdough Scones

Embrace the festive spirit with these delightful cranberry orange sourdough scones. Perfect for those moments when you find yourself with excess sourdough starter, these scones are a tasty solution. The sourdough scone dough can be made ahead of time and baked fresh on Christmas morning. The combination of sweet cranberries and zesty orange creates a delightful harmony of flavors that are perfect for the holiday season. They strike the perfect balance of sweet and tart that will surely brighten your holiday breakfast or brunch.

cranberry orange sourdough discard scones arranged decoratively on a plate. The plate is sitting on the baking sheet used to bake the scones and there are cranberries and oranges arranged decoratively around the plate and scones.

Special Equipment Needed for Cranberry Orange Sourdough Scones

Microplane: To zest the orange

Box Grater: To shred the butter (Note: you can also use a pastry cutter to work the butter into the flour).

This box grater has a built-in removable microplane. It’s perfect for saving space and meets your needs for the box grater and zester in this recipe!

Pastry Brush: A pastry brush is used to brush melted butter over the scones before baking. While this is nice to have, especially if you plan on baking a lot, you can also just use a spoon to spread the butter over the tops.

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Ingredients and Substitutions

Sourdough cranberry orange scone ingredients in individual cups and bowls.

Butter: Butter is the key to making flaky, tender scones. The recipe uses unsalted butter but you can use salted if that is all you have. Just decrease the salt by 1/4 teaspoon. We also use an additional tablespoon of melted butter to brush on top of the scones just before baking. I usually melt the butter by microwaving it in a small bowl for about 15 seconds. Be careful not to heat it too long or it can explode in the microwave (don’t ask me how I know this). 

Cranberries: If you do not have fresh cranberries available you can also substitute dried cranberries. I would cut the cranberries in half of what the recipe calls for as they are more dense. 

Half and Half: You can substitute whole milk or heavy cream for this recipe. Just be aware that milk will make the scones less rich.


Sourdough Starter: Use active starter or sourdough starter discard that was fed equal parts flour and water (by weight). If your starter does not contain these proportions, you may need to add or subtract a bit of flour in the recipe.

Flour: All purpose flour is used for this recipe. 

Brown Sugar: The brown sugar just adds a nice richer flavor compared to white sugar but you can certainly substitute white sugar if that is all you have. 

Baking Powder

Baking Soda


Vanilla Extract: I recommend pure vanilla extract.

Orange: You are only going to use the zest for this recipe so feel free to cut up the rest of the orange and enjoy it! If you do not have an orange on hand, you can also make this recipe with lemon zest. 

How to Make Perfect Scones

Step 1: Preheat Oven

If you are making these scones right away, preheat the oven to 425F. Scones need to be baked at a high temperature to prevent them from spreading. 

Step 2: Grate the Butter

Unwrap the butter and hold the stick with the wrapper. Use a cheese grater to shred the cold butter. Try to work quickly so the butter doesn’t melt. If you are making these in a warm environment, it is better to use slightly frozen butter so it doesn’t melt as quickly.

Grated butter in a large mixing bowl with a cheese grater.

As an alternative technique, you can cut the butter in to the flour mixture in step four with a pastry blender. You can also use a food processor to pulse the butter with the flour mixture a few times until crumbly ( Note: this is not my preferred method, as I think large butter pieces work a bit better for creating flaky scones). 

Step 3: Combine the Dry Ingredients

Whisk the dry ingredients (flour, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder) together in a large bowl. 

sourdough orange cranberry scone dry ingredients in bowl.

Step 4: Add the Butter and Cranberries

Use your hands to work the grated butter into the flour mixture. You want all the shreds coated and evenly distributed in the flour mixture. Next, add the cranberries and give it a quick stir to mix in. 

hands working grated butter into flour mixture in large mixing bowl.
wooden spoon mixing cranberries into dry ingredients in large mixing bowl.

Step 5: Mix the Wet Ingredients

In a medium bowl, whisk the wet ingredients (sourdough discard, half and half, egg, orange zest, vanilla) together. Add them to the flour mixture.

wet ingredients for cranberry sourdough scones in small mixing bowl with fork.
hands mixing wet ingredients into dry ingredients for sourdough orange cranberry scones with a wooden spoon.

Step 6: Mix it all Together

Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to mix the dough until it comes together. Use your hands to knead the dough a few times or until no dry flour remains at the bottom of the bowl.

hands kneading sourdough cranberry orange scone dough in large mixing bowl.

Step 7: Shape and Cut the Scones

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Shape the dough into an approximate 8 inch disc. Use a sharp knife or bench scraper to cut the scones into 8 equal sized wedges. 

hands using a bench scraper to cut an 8 inch round disc of sourdough scone dough into 8 wedges on a wooden cutting board.

Step 8: Finishing Touches and Bake

Transfer the scones to a large baking sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops of the scones with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. 

hands using a bench scraper to cut an 8 inch round disc of sourdough scone dough into 8 wedges on a wooden cutting board.
8 scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper that have been brushed with butter and sprinkled with sugar.

How to Make Ahead

You can refrigerate the scones and store 24 hours ahead of baking in a gallon ziplock bag. You can also freeze the unbaked scones in a gallon ziplock bag and bake fresh. I recommend transferring frozen scones to the fridge several hours ahead of baking so they can defrost a bit. You may need to bake them a bit longer so check for those golden edges when baking. 

cranberry orange sourdough discard scones arranged decoratively on a plate. The plate is sitting on the baking sheet used to bake the scones and there are cranberries and oranges arranged decoratively around the plate and scones.

How to Store 

Store leftover scones in the fridge or at room temperature in an airtight container, in a gallon ziplock bag, or on a plate wrapped in plastic wrap. I recommend using them with 3 days for best results. 

What to Serve With Sourdough Cranberry Orange Scones

These sourdough orange cranberry scones make a perfect addition to breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea. I recommend serving them with a warm beverage like coffee or tea and a side of fresh oranges. 

Scones are also traditionally served with Devonshire cream (also known as clotted cream) and jam or lemon curd. 

You can also top the scones with a delicious orange glaze (which I used in my pumpkin sourdough scone recipe). 

I hope you enjoyed these orange cranberry sourdough discard scones. They are one of my favorite scone recipes and I think they will become one of yours too!

For more sourdough recipes, I invite you to join my mailing list or check out these recipes:

 The Ultimate Fudgy Sourdough Discard Brownies

Cranberry Orange Sourdough Discard Biscotti

Sourdough Pumpkin Pie

Festive Sourdough Gingerbread Cookies

Finished cranberry orange sourdough scones on a plate with some decorative cranberries and orange slice around them.

Cranberry Orange Sourdough Scones

Nothing says the holiday season like the flavors of sweet orange and cranberries. These sourdough scones are the perfect combination of sweet and tart and are sure to be holiday favorite.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 33 minutes
Course Breakfast, brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American, French
Servings 8
Calories 331 kcal


  • ½ cup unsalted butter 1 stick, cold
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • cup fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup sourdough starter discard 100% hydration: see note
  • cup half and half
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest about 1 orange

To Top the Scones

  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar


  • Preheat oven to 425℉.
  • Use a box grater to grate the butter into shreds. Try to work quickly and hold the butter with the wrapper to prevent it from melting.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  • Add the butter to the flour mixture and work it in using either a fork or your hands until the butter shreds are fully coated and crumbly.
  • Add the cranberries and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until fully mixed in.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the sourdough starter, half and half, egg, vanilla and orange zest.
  • Pour the wet mixture over the flour mixture and stir the mixture until it comes together. Use your hands to knead the dough an additional 5-7 times or until all the flour has been fully incorporated into the dough.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into an approximate 8 inch disc.
  • Use a large kitchen knife or bench scraper to cut the disc into 8 equal sized wedges.
  • Transfer the wedges to a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing the scones 2 inches apart.
  • Use a pastry brush to brush the tops of the scones with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar.
  • Bake the scones for 18-22 minutes or until the scones appear golden brown on the bottom and the tops.


100% hydration sourdough starter means starter that has been fed with equal parts (by weight) of water and flour. 


Serving: 1sconeCalories: 331kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 5gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 299mgPotassium: 91mgFiber: 2gSugar: 16gVitamin A: 476IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 66mgIron: 2mg
Keyword mother’s day, Sourdough, Sourdough Discard
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  1. The Cranberry and orange recipe, looks delicious, Sorry i dont understand in the ingredients 1/3 cup, half and half, is this to do with the discard. Thankyou for your lovely recipes

    1. Hi Sue,
      Half and half is a type of milk product you can purchase at most groceries (in the US at least) that is half milk and half heavy cream. You can substitute heavy cream or even whole milk for this ingredient. I hope that helps!

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