A little crunch on the outside, tender and light on the inside, sourdough discard scones are such a treat! Like my Easy Sourdough Biscuits, this scone recipe utilizes Sourdough Starter Discard for fabulous flavor and tender texture. Make ahead and freeze for later, these sourdough scones go from freezer to oven for ultimate easy. This recipe is vegetarian and easily dairy free. | This post is brought to you by Bob’s Red Mill.
Sourdough Discard Scones
Scones are reminiscent of a type of food shared with friends over tea or coffee, a lengthy conversation solving the world’s problems or latest gossip. A treat in my book, but something I look forward to while savoring moments with friends and family.
Cranberry orange sourdough starter scones are simple to pull together but seem a little highbrow. Not quite as rustic as a biscuit, yet a pastry somewhere in between casual and fancy. After-all, scones are often served at high-tea!
These cranberry orange scones have a craggy, sugar sprinkled top which offers crunch, and a light, buttery interior. The wow factor comes from the sourdough discard incorporated into the dough. It makes these scones so flavorful and extends their storage life a bit.
If you’re not using sourdough discard in baked goods, it’s time to give it a go! Making sourdough discard recipes is a practical way to use discard tucked away in the back of the refrigerator. I use it in biscuits, muffins, pancakes and more!
Related: Need a sourdough starter for discard? I’ve a handy DIY Sourdough Starter recipe right here on the blog!
Ingredients Make All the Difference
Choosing high quality ingredients is important for flavor and health. It’s a reflection of the love and attention that goes into each recipe I create for my family, friends and the Vanilla And Bean community. I use Bob’s Red Mill Organic Unbleached All Purpose Flour in this and many of my baked goods recipes. It’s a high quality flour that produces consistent results every time.
You’ll find Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour in my Sweet Potato Cornbread Pot Pie, pastry for pies like my Bourbon Pecan Pie, easy Cinnamon Apple Crisp Bars tasty Sourdough Biscuits, absolutely fabulous Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookies and so much more! It’s perfect for everyday and something you’ll always find in my pantry.
Ingredients for Cranberry Orange Sourdough Scones
With a few pantry staples, this sourdough scone recipe can be whipped up in no time. Make them dairy full or dairy free! Here’s what you’ll need to make these flavorful cranberry orange scones (see recipe card below for full recipe):
- All Purpose Flour – I use Bob’s Redmill Organic Unbleached All Purpose Flour
- Baking Powder and Salt
- Corn Starch – for a little more crispy exterior
- Cane Sugar
- Cold Unsalted Butter or Plant Butter
- Eggs – for structure, lift and a tender interior plus egg wash
- Sourdough Starter Discard – 100% hydration stirred down
- Heavy Cream or Full Fat Coconut Milk – stirred down
- Vanilla Extract
- Orange Juice and Zest – about two large oranges, or three small.
- Sweetened Dried Cranberries – look for dried cranberries in the bulk bins for best value
- Turbinado Sugar – for sprinkling on top of the scones
PRO TIP: If your cranberries are seem dry, simply rehydrate them in some very hot water for about 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry before using them in the recipe.
Quick Guide: How to Make Sourdough Discard Scones
Get out your largest mixing bowl, bench scraper and gather your ingredients. Make room in the freezer for a large sheet pan or two small ones – whatever will fit – and line the pan(s) with parchment paper. In summary, here’s how to make this delicious sourdough scone recipe (see recipe card below details):
- First, whisk the sourdough discard, cream, egg, vanilla, orange zest and juice together.
- Second, in large mixing bowl mix the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and corn starch together.
- Third, grate the cold butter into the dry ingredients using a cheese grater.
- Fourth, make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the sourdough starter/cream mixture. Gently mix until shaggy then fold the dough to build layers.
- Fifth, knead a few times then roll or pat the dough out into a 3/4″ thick disk. Cut the dough into wedges.
- PRO TIP: Next, freeze the scones for at least 30 minutes. This, in addition to a hot preheated oven, helps them rise higher.
- Last, egg wash the tops of the scones, sprinkle with turbinado sugar then bake until lightly golden brown.
For overnight sourdough scones, simply keep the scones in the freezer and bake the next morning, ready when you are!
FAQs About Scones
Do scones have eggs in them?
It depends on the recipe. Some recipes do as eggs provide structure, lift and moisture to the scones. However some scone recipes do not call for eggs instead utilizing other ingredients to do the job.
Is a scone supposed to be moist or more on the dry side?
Scones are typically known for having a dryish interior. And again, it depends on the recipe and how the scones are baked. To achieve a dryer scone for this recipe, simply turn the oven off once the scones reach proper internal temperature and prop the oven door open. This allows the scones to dry out further.
What’s the best way to store scones?
If you plan on enjoying scones within a few days of baking, store them covered at room temperature. Otherwise freeze to preserve freshness. Thaw at room temperature and reheat when ready to share.
What’s the correct shape for a scone?
Scones can be cut into squares, rounds or triangles. Really, it depends on preference. Squares or triangles are the simplest to cut because it requires no re-rolling of the dough.
Can you freeze sourdough scones?
Yes! Scones freeze beautifully and can be frozen before or after baking.
When do you eat scones?
Scones can be enjoyed for breakfast, brunch or as a snack, really anytime! They’re especially delicious shared with friends and tea or coffee.
A Few Recipe Notes
- Dairy Free Sourdough Discard Scones: Yes Please! Use dairy free butter (I tested this recipe with unsalted Earth Balance) and full fat coconut milk (from a can) instead of cream.
- Need a Sourdough Starter? I have an easy to make Sourdough Starter recipe for you.
- Work quickly when mixing the butter with the flour. The butter should remain cold and pliable throughout the mixing process. If the butter starts getting melty, pop the whole bowl in the freezer (before adding any liquid) for about 10 minutes.
- When mixing the dough, use a folding and pressing motion, scooping up bits of flour and butter from the bottom of the bowl and pressing the dough over and on top of itself. This helps build layers.
- Love Orange and Cranberries? Try my Cranberry Orange Sourdough Bread!
More Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes
For more recipes using Bob’s Red Mill Organic All Purpose Flour and other fabulous ingredients, head to their website.
Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a comment and rating below. I love hearing from you, and I appreciate your feedback!
Cranberry Orange Sourdough Scones Recipe
- 1/2 cup (140 grams) Sourdough Discard 100% hydration stirred down
- 1/4 cup (55 grams) Heavy Whipping Cream
- 2 Large Eggs one for the scones, the other for egg wash
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 tablespoon Orange Zest from about 2 large or three small oranges
- 2 tablespoons Orange Juice fresh squeezed
- 1 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (270 grams) Unbleached All Purpose Flour I use Bob's Red Mill
- 1 tablespoon Corn Starch
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) Cane Sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
- 1/2 cup (114 grams) Unsalted Butter refrigerated
- 3/4 cup (100 grams) Sweetened Dried Cranberries**
- Turbinado Sugar for sprinkling, Demerara or Raw may be subbed
- Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and make room in the freezer for the pan. You can use two small pans if needed. Set aside.
Mix the Wet Ingredients
- In a large spouted measuring cup, whisk the discard, cream, one egg, vanilla, orange zest and juice until smooth. Set aside.
Mix the Dry Ingredients
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, corn starch, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Mix the Scones
- To the flour mixture, grate in the cold butter (just from the fridge) using the largest holes on a grater. Toss the butter with the flour just to coat the butter. To the butter and flour mixture, add the cranberries and toss until evenly distributed. The butter should remain cold and pliable throughout the mixing process. If the butter starts getting melty, pop the whole bowl in the freezer (before adding any liquid) for about 10 minutes.
- Working quickly, make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients. Use a silicone spatula to gently stir the mixture until the flour is just moistened. There still should be some dry patches of flour.Use your hand to scoop the dough up and fold it over on top of itself. Do this 10-12 times (this helps build layers). The dough will be a shaggy mess.
- Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead/press the dough together to form a disk. Work gently, but quickly as the dough needs to stay cold. Roll the dough out to 3/4 – 1 inch (1.9 -2.54 cm) thick disk (7 1/2 – 8 inches wide / 19-20cm) and cut into eight wedges using a knife in one quick motion down. No sawing here.
- Arrange the scones evenly apart on the parchment lined sheet pan(s), and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.Make Ahead: At this point, scones may be frozen solid for a quick bake in the morning or for longer storage. If freezing for next day or longer be sure to store frozen scones in a container or freezer bag.
Bake the Scones
- Arrange an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 Fahrenheit (218 Celsius).Just before baking, crack the remaining egg in a small bowl and whisk with a tablespoon of water. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the top of the scones with the egg wash then sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
- Bake the scones at 425 Fahrenheight for five minutes, then turn the oven down to 375 Fahrenheight (190 Celsius) and continue baking for 15-20 minutes more. The internal temperature will be between 200-205 Fahrenheight when done (93-96 Celsius). Cool slightly, then share warm simply or with orange marmalade or clotted cream. Tip: For a dryer scone, turn the oven off, leave the scones in the oven, and prop the oven door open for about 10 minutes.
Store the Scones
- Store covered at room temperature for up to two days. To Freeze Before Baking: Freeze scones individually on a sheet pan, then transfer to a freezer bag or storage container for up to two weeks. Frozen scones can go straight from freezer to oven baking a few minutes longer if needed. To Freeze After Baking: Allow scones to cool completely before freezing. Freeze scones individually on a sheet pan, then transfer to a freezer bag or storage container for up to two weeks.To Rewarm: Thaw at room temperature, then rewarm scones in a 350 Fahrenheight oven for about 10-15 minutes.
- Substitute Earth Balance Unsalted Butter for dairy butter.
- Substitute full fat coconut milk (from a can stirred down) for the whipping cream.
Diane G Perris
I’ve been baking for a long time and have a lot of scone recipes, including a few that use sourdough discard. This is by far one of the best I’ve tried. Before commenting on the actual recipe, I really want to give Traci a shout out for the way the recipe is written. First of all, thank you for separating out the wet and dry ingredients. It’s a small thing but so nice to not have to sort through the whole recipe to find them and separate them out. Second, your instructions are terrific and taught this baker a few nice extra steps in scone making. Finally, an extra big thank you for including the ideal internal temp for these scones. I have actually never seen that before and pulled mine out of the oven at exactly between 200-205. If I had waited 5 more minutes they probably would have looked about the same but been over baked. The only instruction that I “disagreed with” was this business of grating cold butter. I have tried this several times in baking recipes from scones to pie dough and I just don’t like it. The shreds clump together and the process makes a mess of a box grater and your hands. So for me it worked just fine to cut the frozen butter into small pieces and work it into the dough as if I was making pie crust.
Other than that I only changed a few small things: 1) I subbed roasted pecans for the cranberries as I’m not a fan of dried fruit, 2) I put the sugar and orange zest into the “dry” bowl first and rubbed them together to release the oils, and 3) I brushed the tops with cream instead of egg.
Absolutely delicious scones that were tender without being too soft. The only other thing I’d do differently next time would be to roll the dough into a rectangle and cut 12 squares rather than 8 wedges, as these were big scones.
These are fantastic! I took them to a long time friends place today and her comment was, “just the way I like them…little crunchy on the bottom and soft on the inside”. So exactly your description. I’ve made these many times and they are always a hit, better than the coffee shop!!! I wouldn’t change anything!!!
These look so good. Could I use whole wheat flour. Thanks.
Hi there Annette! You can exchange whole wheat white flour for AP, but I’m not sure I’d replace all the AP flour with regular whole wheat. It would be an experiment! Keep us posted if you give it a go!
Is the cornstarch necessary? My grandkids can’t have corn. If so, what would be an alternative?
Hi Debe! You can replace the cornstarch with AP flour. Cornstarch gives the scones a nice crunch to the exterior, but they’ll be lovely without it.
SO happy to hear, Val! Thank you for your note :D
I have made these scones a few times with great success. Today I used lemon zest and juice and instead of cranberries I added poppy seeds. The flexibility of flavorings using the standard wet/dry ingredients is fun. One questions, what does “stirred down” mean for the sourdough discard? I usually just measure from the bowl without stirring so I’m wondering how my results would be impacted. I only just noticed the stirring reference. THANKS.
Hi Carolyn! Thank you for your note and sending a smile :D The poppy seeds sound delicious. You’ve discovered the flexibility of this recipe! “Stirred down” is for measurement purposes. If you measure the starter when it’s fluffy, you’ll have a different volume measurement than if you stir the starter down. I hope this helps!
love scones, but don’t have them very often, but weekends, or at least one day a week, are when I allow myself these kinds of carbs, and these are wonderful and well worth it with cranberry orange – one of my favorite flavor combos – love the texture too of scones, so thank you
Hi Sabrina! A rare treat around here too… they’re one of my favorite things! So happy you’re enjoying the scones :D
These were the best scones, will make again for sure!
SO happy to hear, Val! Thank you for your note and sending a smile!
I’ve made these scones about 10x now and every time friends and family ask for the recipe and are shocked that they’re so moist. The recipe is especially perfect when our orange tree is filled with oranges! Thank you!
Hi Angie! Thank you for your note, giving the recipe a go and sending a smile! SO happy to hear you’re enjoying the scones, and with your fresh oranges – what a delight!
Delicious! I made these scrumptious scones gluten free by using refrigerated discard from my mature GF starter and substituting Cup4Cup by weight for the AP flour and the cornstarch (as Cup4Cup is already a starchier blend than others). The scones turned out beautifully with great rise, texture and flavor. This is a recipe I’ll definitely make again!
Hiii Melissa! First the biscuits and now these! Thank you for your notes and experimentation. I’m thrilled to hear you easily made these GF!
These look good. Do you have a gluten free version of these or do you have any recommendations as to how to make these gluten free?
Hi Penelope! I do not have a GF version of this recipe. Without testing a new recipe, I’m hesitant to make recommendations. But, Rachel over at Bakerita has a Gluten Free Orange Scone Recipe you may like!
Katherine | Love In My Oven
We don’t make scones enough! These are perfect – cranberry orange is such a lovely flavor. I would enjoy one of these with a cup of Earl Grey. Yum!
Isn’t that flavor profile so crave worthy? Thank you, Katherine! And yes, with Earl Grey Tea (I’m in!)!
These were easy to make and delicious!
Hi Lalita! You’re quick! Thank you for your note and giving the scones a go :D Super happy to hear!
Cn you fresh cranberries instead of the dried?
Hi Lynn! I’ve made these with fresh cranberries, and they work but I found there wasn’t quite enough sugar in the scones to balance the tartness of the cranberries. If you give it a go, please let us know how they turn out 🙋🏻♀️
MaryAnn | The Beach House Kitchen
Scones are a treat in my book too Traci! And making a batch with Bob’s Red Mill products is certainly the way to go! Top quality! This is a favorite flavor combo too!