The BEST Homemade Apple Cobbler with the Chewiest, Gooey-ist Topping
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.
This Apple Cobbler Recipe involves plenty of saucy apples flavored with cinnamon and cloves and baked under a chewy cookie topping that's soft and gooey, and addictingly delicious. The chewy topping is, by far, my favorite way to make cobbler.
This Apple Cobbler is super similar to my all-time favorite Berry Cobbler and Peach Cobbler with a few modifications. Mainly, of course, there are apples instead of peaches. But, in both recipes, the chewy sugar cookie topping just sends me. I can't get enough.
What makes a cobbler a cobbler?
Cobblers are called cobbler because of the topping. Unlike a smooth, rolled topping, like a pie crust, cobbler topping is messily dropped or spooned over the fruit filling so that it resembles a cobbled road.
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 - crisp and crumbly on top, and deliciously 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.
There are Three Basic Steps to Making Homemade Apple Cobbler:
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.
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.
3. Bake until the topping is golden brown and the sauce from the apples is all thick and bubbly. Also, your house is going to smell soooooo good right now.
What kind of pan is best for baking 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).
Having said that, baking this cobbler in a square (8x8) or rectangle (9x12) baking dish works perfectly well. If using a 9x13 rectangle baking dish, you can follow the recipe exactly as written with no modifications. 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.
If you are going to bake apple cobbler in a cast iron pan, 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.
4 steps to season your cast iron pan before baking:
- 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 kind of apples are best for apple cobbler?
You can use whatever kind of apples you want in this cobbler recipe, but I prefer using sweet apples like Honeycrisp Ambrosia, Jazz, Sweet Tango, or Pink Lady. There are a couple of reasons for this:
- The filling for this cobbler 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 deliciously saucy.
- Because the lemon juice adds plenty of tartness, I want the apples to contribute some sweetness. 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 because their tartness keeps the pie from becoming overly sweet and they hold their shape even after being baked for over an hour.
With a pie, you want to be able to serve it in slices, which means the apples need to hold their shape. But, cobbler is meant to be scooped out all messy like. If the apples get soft while baking, it only contributes to the comforting saucy deliciousness.
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 tsp (2.5g) almond extract (optional)
- ¼ tsp table salt (1.42g) - OR ½ tsp (3g) kosher salt
- 2 tbsp (15g) cornstarch
- 1 tsp (2.64g) ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp (1.1g) ground cloves
For the cookie topping:
- 1 ¼ cup (187.5g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp (2.64g) ground cinnamon
- 1 ¼ tsp (5g) baking powder
- ½ tsp table salt (2.84g) - OR ¾ tsp (4.5g) kosher salt
- 10 tbsp (142g) butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- ½ cup plus 2 tbsp (139.38g) packed brown sugar (light or dark)
- ¼ cup plus 1 tbsp (62.5g) granulated sugar
- 1 tsp (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.
I thought I wasn't supposed to use cast iron to bake acidic foods. Why do you recomend 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.
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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