These buttermilk cranberry scones are perfect for Christmas or any winter morning. Pearl sugar on top makes for a festive presentation. This recipe yields a lot, but the scone dough can be frozen, so don’t be afraid to make it ahead of time. Buttery, flaky, festive — I can’t think of a better way to start a winter morning.

An overhead shot of a tray of freshly baked cranberry scones.

Friends, can you believe another year has nearly passed? How does this happen? I am wishing you all a happy happy end of the year.

What are you cooking? For Christmas Eve I’m making Balthazar Moules Marinière and watermelon radish, orange and goat cheese salad. Of course, there will be bread.

On Christmas morning, we are headed to CT to see my parents, sister, and brother. I am counting the minutes till my stepfather makes glogg, my mama feeds us cranberry cake by the fire, my dad and brother break out their guitars, and my sister sings to us morning, noon and night.

PS: Cranberry Buttermilk Breakfast Cake.

PPS: Blueberry Buttermilk Scones

PPS: Currant Scones with Lemon Cream

A large bowl filled with fry ingredients and cubed butter aside a bowl of cranberries and buttermilk.

A food processor filled with pulsed cranberries.

A large bowl filled with cranberry scone dough all mixed up.

A tray of unbaked pearl sugar-topped cranberry scones.

A tray of just-baked, pearl sugar-topped cranberry scones.

No pearl sugar, no problem: regular sugar works just as well:
A tray of freshly baked cranberry scones on a sheet pan.

Heart Scones for Valentine’s Day:
A tray of unbaked heart scones.

A tray of freshly baked heart scones.

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An overhead shot of a tray of freshly baked cranberry snow scones.

Cranberry Snow Scones

  • Author: Alexandra Stafford
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 24 scones


Adapted from Tartine’s most delicious recipe for blueberry scones and currant scones.

If you want to make a half recipe use these proportions:

  • 2½ cups (340 g) flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup butter (8 T.)
  • ¾ to 1 cup buttermilk (I always end up using 1 cup)


  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 4¾ cups (24oz/680g) of flour
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon (3.75ml) baking soda
  • ½ cup (3.5oz/100g) sugar
  • 1¼ teaspoon (6.25ml) salt (I use table salt)
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) grated orange zest, optional
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (9oz/255g) cold, unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups (12oz/375ml) buttermilk plus more as needed
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) melted butter
  • sugar for sprinkling, pearl sugar is pretty if you have it, turbinado is nice, too, regular sugar is just fine as well


  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Butter a rimmed baking sheet (or line it with parchment paper). Pulse the cranberries briefly in food processor. Reference photo for size.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt and orange zest (if using). Add the cranberries and toss to combine. Cut the butter into ½-inch cubes and scatter the cubes over the dry ingredients. Use a pastry blender or the back of a fork to cut the butter into the dry ingredients. When you are finished, the butter should be dispersed throughout the flour in pea-sized lumps (or bigger… mine always are).
  3. Add the buttermilk all at once and mix gently with a wooden spoon until the dough holds together. If the mixture seems dry, add a little bit more buttermilk. (I always add about 6 more tablespoons of buttermilk.)
  4. Dust your work surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Divide the dough into two even portions. Using your hands, pat each portion into a circular disk about 1½ inches thick. (Or, if you want to follow Tartine’s instructions, pat the dough into a rectangle about 18 inches long, 5 inches wide, and 1½ inches thick). Using a biscuit cutter or any round cutter, cut each disk into about 8 circles. Gathering the scraps together and repeat. Brush the top with melted butter. Sprinkle with sugar. Note: You also can cut these into triangles, which is easier.
  5. Transfer the scones to baking sheet. I like to place the pan into another rimmed baking sheet because often the bottom of my scones burn, but if you don’t have issues with your baking sheets, just use one sheet. Bake until the tops of the scones are lightly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool briefly, then serve with butter on the side.

  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American, Britisih

Keywords: scones, butter, breakfast, flaky, cranberry, Christmas