Cranberry Pistachio Scones

Cranberry Pistachio Scones
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These Cranberry Pistachio Scones will change your life

I don’t mean to be dramatic, but once you make these cranberry pistachio scones at home, your life will never be the same! They turn out so delicious, so light yet fulfilling. I find store bought scones to be a little too dense for my liking, and a little too sweet. These are mildly sweetened so the cranberries can shine, while being balanced by the salty roasted pistachios. Add a little orange zest to take these over the top, and you’ll be skipping the fancy cafes and staying in for a delicious scone with your morning coffee.

Homemade scones means balanced flavors and textures

I hate biting into a dense, overly sweet scone drizzled with frosting. It’s a scone, not a cupcake! When you make them at home, it takes no time at all and you have control over the flavors you add, and how much. I love adding pistachios and cranberries because they make a great flavor pairing. Add orange zest to the mix and they’ll taste divine. I like using salted butter and still add a little salt tot he batter because I don’t want my scones to be overly sweet. If you prefer sweeter scones, just add more sugar!

The ingredients have to be at the right stage

There are such few ingredients that go into these cranberry pistachio scones. If you get them right, you’ll get perfect scones. The trick is in the butter, and buttermilk. If you don’t have any buttermilk at home, just make your own by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of milk, Let it sit for a bit. Once it starts looking a little curdled it’s ready. The butter has to be cold. You could cut it into small pieces and pop it in the freezer to ensure it stays cold. It’s those unmelted blobs of butter that will create those airy pockets and layers in the scones once baked.

Don’t overwork your cranberry pistachio scone mixture

If you overwork your scone mixture, they’ll turn out to be dense. Your mixture should look like the top left image before you add the cranberries and pistachios and clump it together into a disc. If the mixture is smooth it won’t bake well. Also, save some of the cranberries and pistachios for the top so you know what’s in them when they’re baked! It also looks great.

Cranberry Pistachio Scones

Cranberry Pistachio Scones

These Cranberry Pistachio Scones will have you ditching the fancy cafes and coffee shops! Make a batch at home and enjoy with a cup of coffee for the perfect treat.
Course Breakfast, Snack
Servings 6


  • cups flour
  • ⅓-½ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup chilled butter chopped
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½-¾ cup dried cranberries
  • ¾ cup roasted pistachios roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp orange zest optional
  • 1 egg beaten for egg wash


  • In a large bowl add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk till mixed. Then add the cold butter. It's easiest if you chop it into small cubes. Work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles large bread crumbs. If the butter gets soft while you're doing this stop and place the bowl in your freezer for a few minutes, then continue till crumbles are formed. There should still be specs of butter.
  • Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk, vanilla and orange zest. Mix roughly with a fork until the wet ingredients have absorbed. The mixture should be crumbly. Please refer to the images above.
  • Pour the mixture out onto your counter. Add the chopped pistachios and cranberries on top. This step is important. You need to make layers while you are bringing the dough together. Instead of kneading the dough, fold it onto of itself, like a book. Carefully repeat until the dough has come together. There should be specs of butter visible. Again, remember not to overwork or knead the dough. It should be a little rough and just come together, it shouldn't be like a pasty dough. Make sure it is not rolled too thin. It should be 1.5 inches high. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigderate for 30 minutes. Overnight works as well.
  • Preheat your oven to 380 F. Take the dough out of the fridge and unwrap it. Press in some cranberries and pistachio pieces on top. Do not let it come to room temperature, it should go in the oven cold. Cut the disc into 8-10 triangles. You can also use a circle cookie cutter to make circle scones. Place the scones a couple inches apart on a lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with a beaten egg and place in the oven for 13-16 minutes, or until the tops are a light golden brown. Serve with clotted cream and jam. Store leftovers in an airtight container.


Variations. There are so many different things you can add. Chocolate chips, butterscotch chips. Dried fruits like blueberries, apricots. You can keep them plain as well. They taste great plain! 
You can add lemon zest in place of orange zest. 
Sweetness. Add 1/3 cup sugar for less sweetness. Add the full 1/2 cup for more! Some people like sprinkling a fine layer of sugar on top of the egg wash before they bake as well. 
Substitutions. If you do not have buttermilk you can either make your own (see text above) or you can use heavy cream.
You can use brown sugar in these if you don’t have white sugar. I have not tried baking these with a sugar substitute. 
I use salted butter intros even though I add the salt to the mix. you can make these with unsalted butter as well. 
Keyword Scone

Have you tried this recipe?

I love hearing your feedback. If you tried this recipe or any of it’s variations I’d love to hear how it turned out in the comments below!

Other recipes to try are:

Southwest breakfast bowls

Crunchy French Toast

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They look so very yummy!!