There are many ways to make apple cobbler but this recipe is my all-time favorite.
The recipe includes plenty of saucy cinnamon and clove spiced apples baked under a chewy cookie topping. The gooey brown sugar topping takes about 5 minutes to make and tastes like a soft, buttery sugar cookie.
The BEST Homemade Apple Cobbler
I can think of few things more delicious than Homemade Apple Cobbler, freshly baked and still warm, served all by itself or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
But, it's possibly even better the next day, eaten straight out of the pan for breakfast, preferably in your bathrobe, a hot mug of coffee close at hand.
But all three recipes include a chewy sugar cookie topping that is TO DIE FOR. Seriously. I can't get enough of the stuff.
What’s the Difference Between Apple Cobbler and Apple Crisp?
Cobblers are called cobbler because of the topping. Unlike pie crust, where the dough is rolled out into a flaky pastry, cobbler topping is messily dropped or spooned over the fruit filling so that it resembles a cobbled road.
A fruit crisp also has a topping that is sprinkled over the filling. The difference is that a crisp topping is, well, crispy. Unlike the soft texture of a cobbler, the topping for a fruit crisp should have some crunch and often also includes things like chopped nuts or oatmeal to give it texture.
There are basically two kinds of cobbler in the world:
- The kind with a biscuit topping
- The kind with a cookie-like topping
This apple cobbler is the cookie covered variety. It's super saucy, but not overly sweet. And, the topping is this wonderful combination of textures - slightly crisp and crumbly on top, and deliciously soft and chewy in the middle.
It's the kind of thing that you scoop into a bowl and eat with a spoon on those days when you just KNOW that saucy apples covered in butter and brown sugar is the kind of self care you need RIGHT NOW.
How to Make Apple Cobbler in Three Easy Steps:
Step # 1. Toss some apple slices with lemon juice, brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Dump the whole mess into a pan and bake for 15 minutes while you make the topping.
Step # 2. Dump all the topping ingredients into a bowl and mix. Pull the cobbler from the oven, and use your fingers to drop the topping all over the fruit.
Step # 3. Bake until the topping is golden brown and the sauce from the apples is all thickened and bubbly.
Also, your house is going to smell soooooo good right now.
What Kind of Pan is Best for Apple Cobbler?
My first choice is to bake Apple Cobbler in a cast iron pan.
Cast iron pans are wonderful for saucy desserts that need to bake at a relatively low temperature because cast iron is a great conductor of heat. This helps ensure that your cobbler will bake evenly regardless of whether or not you have any hot spots in your oven (which you most certainly do).
The main thing to know about baking cobbler in a cast iron pan is that it's super important to make sure the pan is well seasoned.
In new, unseasoned cast iron pans, the acid in the lemon juice and apples can set off a reaction that causes the cobbler to take on a slight metallic flavor. Not exactly what we're going for here.
If you've been using your cast iron pan for a while and are pretty good at taking care of it, it will work beautifully for this recipe.
Alternatives to Baking Cobbler in Cast Iron
You can also bake this cobbler in a square or rectangle glass or ceramic baking dish. If using a 9x12 or 9x13 rectangle baking dish, you can follow the recipe exactly as written with no modifications.
If using an 8 or 9-inch square baking dish, reduce the amount of apples to 2 ½ pounds and the cornstarch to 1 tbsp. Keep all the other ingredients the same.
The only kind of pan to avoid is one that's made with aluminum.
Aluminum will react with the acid in the apple filling and give the whole cobbler a metallic taste that is not at all pleasant.
How to season a cast iron pan:
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Scrub the skillet in warm, soapy water and dry it with a cloth.
- Pour a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil into the skillet and spread it around, or rub the inside of the pan with vegetable shortening to coat. Do the same thing on the outside of the pan so that the entire pan is coated in a thin layer of oil or shortening.
- Place the skillet upside down in the center of your oven, directly on the oven rack. Place a sheet of aluminum foil below the rack to catch any drips. Let the pan bake for an hour, then turn off the heat and let the pan sit in there until completely cool.
What Apples are Best for Cobbler?
I prefer using sweet apples in this cobbler recipe such as Honeycrisp Ambrosia, Jazz, Sweet Tango, or Pink Lady.
There are two main reasons why I like to use sweet apples to make cobbler:
- The fruit filling calls for a decent amount of lemon juice. When combined with cornstarch and sugar, the lemon juice creates a thick syrup that makes the baked apple filing saucy and delicious.
- Sweet apples balance the tart flavor of the lemon juice. Using sweet apples means you don't need to use a lot of sugar to achieve the perfect balance of tart and sweet.
I like to save tart and sour apples like Granny Smith and Macintosh for things like Caramel Apple Pie. In that recipe, which includes a sweet crumb topping and plenty of caramel sauce, tart apples keep the pie from becoming cloying.
Tart apples also hold their shape even after a long bake time. This is a plus when cutting and serving slices of pie. But, cobbler is meant to be scooped out in messy spoonfuls. If the apples get soft while baking, it only contributes to the comforting saucy deliciousness.
Do You Have to Peel the Apples?
I prefer to peel the apples for this cobbler because the skins don't break down while baking and their tough texture interferes with the saucy texture of the filling.
But, peeling the apples is not a hard and fast rule. It's simply a matter of personal preference. If you'd rather leave the skins on, go for it.
I do recommend chopping the apples into smaller pieces if you decide to leave the skins on. Slice the apples as directed, then cut the slices into three pieces. This will ensure you don't have any long apple skins swimming around in all that saucy goodness.
All you need to prepare the apples is a sharp knife: Cut the apples into quarters then cut out the core and slice off the peel.
But, if you really want to make quick work of the task, use an apple corer and peeler, like this one from CucinaPro.
Can you make Apple Cobbler in advance?
If you want to prepare this apple cobbler ahead of time, you have a few options:
- Follow the recipe to make the apple filling, allowing it to bake for 15 minutes. Let it cool to room temperature. Prepare the topping and, when the filling is cool, sprinkle the topping over the fruit. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
- Prepare the apple filling, but don't bake it. Instead, put it into an air-tight container and put it in the refrigerator. Prepare the topping, put it into a separate container and pop it in the refrigerator. The filling and topping will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, follow the recipe to bake the filling for 15 minutes before adding the topping.
- Bake the apple cobbler as directed. Allow it to cool at room temperature then cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Serve cold, or reheat in a 350 degree oven.
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Scroll down to rate this recipe and leave me a comment, or take a picture and tag it @ofbatteranddough on Instagram.
For the Apple Cobbler Filling:
- ¼ cup (62.5ml) lemon juice
- 3 ½ lbs (1.58kg) sweet apples (See note)
- ⅓ cup (73g) packed brown sugar (light or dark)
- ½ teaspoon (2.5g) almond extract (optional)
- ¼ tsp table salt (1.42g) - OR ½ teaspoon (3g) kosher salt
- 2 tablespoon (15g) cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon (2.64g) ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon (1.1g) ground cloves
For the cookie topping:
- 1 ¼ cup (187.5g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon (2.64g) ground cinnamon
- 1 ¼ teaspoon (5g) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon table salt (2.84g) - OR ¾ teaspoon (4.5g) kosher salt
- 10 tablespoon (142g) butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoon (139.38g) packed brown sugar (light or dark)
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon (62.5g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5g) pure vanilla extract
Make the Apple Cobbler Filling:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C). Coat a well seasoned (*see note) 12-inch cast iron skillet with a generous layer of butter. You can also use a square or rectangle baking dish – see recipe notes.
- Put the lemon juice into a large bowl.
- Slice the apples into quarters, cut out the core, and slice off the peel. Cut each quarter into 3 slices and add to the bowl with the lemon juice. Stir the apples in the lemon juice to coat, to keep them from browning.
- Add the rest of the filling ingredients to the bowl with the apples and toss gently to mix. Pour the filing into the skillet or baking dish, smoothing it out into an even layer, and bake for 15 minutes. While the apple filling bakes, prepare the cobbler topping.
Make the Apple Cobbler Topping:
- Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to a bowl and stir to mix. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir with a spoon or rubber spatula just until all the dry ingredients are moistened and the mixture comes together into a soft dough. Do not over mix.
- Remove the pan with the apple filling from the oven. Use your fingers to crumble the topping over the apples into an even layer. Put the pan back in the oven and bake for an additional 40 - 45 minutes, until the apple filling is bubbling up all around the edges of the pan and the topping is golden brown and set.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for about 15 minutes before scooping into bowls and serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired.
What kind of apples should I use for this cobbler?
You can use any kind of apple you like in this cobbler, but I tend to like sweeter varieties such as honeycrisp, ambrosia, jazz, sweet tango, or pink lady.
Why do you recommend using cast iron for this cobbler?
If you're using a cast iron skillet, it's important that it's well seasoned. If the pan is not well-seasoned, the acid in the apples and lemon juice can react with the cast iron, giving the cobbler a slight metallic taste. But, well-seasoned pans can handle acidic foods with impunity.
What other baking dishes can I use for this cobbler besides cast iron?
Instead of a cast iron skillet, you can bake this apple cobbler in a 9x13 rectangle or 9-inch square baking dish.
- If using a 9x13 rectangle baking dish, follow the recipe as written.
- If using a 9-inch square baking dish, reduce the amount of apples to 2 ½ lbs and the cornstarch to 1 tbsp. Keep all the other ingredients the same.
Does Apple Cobbler need to be refrigerated after baking?
Apple Cobbler will keep well at room temerature for up to 8 hours. After that, cover it and place it in the refrigerater. Refrigerated, the cobbler will keep well for up to 3 days.
Want to Take This Cobbler Over the Top?
Drizzle servings of apple cobbler with whisky sauce.
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Apple Peeler and Corer by Cucina Pro - Long Lasting Chrome Cast Iron with Countertop Suction Cup
Le Creuset Stoneware Heritage Rectangular Dish, 4 qt. (12" x 9"), White
KOOV Ceramic Bakeware, 8x8 Baking Dish, Square Baking Pan, Ceramic Baking Dish, Brownie Pans for Cake Dinner, Kitchen, Texture Series (White)
Amazon Basics Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet - 12-Inch
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 359Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 416mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 6gSugar: 32gProtein: 3g