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Old-fashioned Apple Cobbler with a fluffy biscuit topping
Rustic homemade Apple Cobbler with optional dried fruit
This ultimate Apple Cobbler is made with mounds of lightly sweetened dough dolloped on a juicy apple filling and baked to golden brown perfection.
Fruit cobbler is one of my families favorite summer and fall desserts. It’s hard to imagine anything more delicious or comforting than a bowl of warm homemade cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream.
These fruity desserts are easy to cobble together and nearly impossible to mess up. Made with a lightly sweet shortcake dough as we’ve done here or with layers of buttery pastry and fresh fruit like our old-fashioned Blackberry Cobbler.
For the apple mixture:
- Use any good baking apple like Granny Smith or Golden Delicious that hold their shape when cooked. Peel, core and slice about 3 pounds or 8 large tart apples.
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice for added zing and to help prevent the apples from turning brown.
- Apple cider to create plenty of sauce for the apples to bake in because cobblers should be extra juicy! You can use water in a pinch but I highly recommend trying apple cider (not apple cider vinegar) first.
- Vanilla extract for an added flavor boost.
- Granulated sugar or brown sugar for sweetening the tart apples.
- Cornstarch, all-purpose flour or Minute Tapioca for thickening the apple juices. I usually grab cornstarch for this recipe but often use tapioca if I have a box on hand.
- Ground cinnamon because apples and cinnamon are made for each other.
- A small pinch of table salt to balance the flavors.
- Add dried cranberries or raisins for a nice pop of color, flavor and chewiness. The cranberries plump up when baked in the juices and add the right amount of flavor to the apples.
For the biscuit shortcake topping:
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Granulated sugar
- Cold unsalted butter cut into cubes
- Thick whole fat buttermilk or heavy cream for binding the dough together.
If you only have milk on hand it will work in a pinch but the biscuit topping may spread a little more. The dough should be a little wet and sticky. Feel free to add an extra tablespoon or two of flour if needed.
- Coarse sugar for topping the dough mounds.
- Ground cinnamon for sprinkling on top.
How to make Apple Cobbler:
Prepare the apple filling:
Peel, core and slice or chop the apples and place in a large bowl. Combine the lemon juice, cider and vanilla and pour over the apples. Toss to coat.
Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt together and pour over the apples. Spread the apple mixture in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with cranberries, if using.
Prepare the shortcake topping:
Combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender. Add the buttermilk and stir just until moistened.
Spoon clumps of dough over the apples then sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
Bake until the filling is bubbling and the top is golden brown.
Cool slightly before serving. Top with a scoop of ice cream, a dollop of whipped cream or a drizzle of heavy cream.
How to make a juicy cobbler
Some cobbler recipes skip the added liquid and rely solely on the fruit to create enough sauce to support the cobbler.
I’ve always added additional liquid to our fruit cobblers because they’re supposed to be extra-juicy! For this recipe we use cider which adds intense apple flavor to every spoonful.
All the bubbling, thick juices soak into the bottom of the shortcake biscuit topping creating a sublime bite of flavor. The tops stay crispy and the bottoms are soaked in sweet, syrupy fruit juices. This is an incredibly delicious apple dessert you won’t want to miss.
It’s easy to see why cobblers and buckles have been around for ages and are some of the best fruit desserts ever created!
How to store Apple Cobbler:
Rewarm individual bowls of cobbler in the microwave at 50% power until slightly warmed. The biscuit topping will soften a bit, but still be great to eat.
For longer storage seal leftover cobbler in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 or 5 days. Honestly it won’t last that long so no need to worry!
You can freeze leftovers if you need to and allow them to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
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For the apple mixture:
- 3 pounds tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced (about 10 cups or 8 large apples) like Granny Smith or Golden Delicious
- juice of ½ a lemon
- 1 cup apple cider (not vinegar) or water (8oz)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup granulated sugar (110g) or brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch, all-purpose Flour or Minute Tapioca
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup dried cranberries, or raisins (optional) (35g)
For the topping:
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (156g)
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar (80g)
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter cubed and cold (113g or 4oz)
- ⅔ cup whole fat buttermilk, or heavy cream (5oz)
- 1 tablespoon coarse sugar for topping
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- vanilla ice cream to serve
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch oven-proof skillet, casserole or baking dish.
To prepare the apple mixture:
- Peel, core and slice or chop the apples and place in a large mixing bowl. Combine the lemon juice, apple cider and vanilla in a measuring cup. Pour over the apples and toss to coat.
- Whisk together ½ cup granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt. Pour the sugar mixture over the apples and toss to coat. Pour the apple mixture into the prepared baking pan and sprinkle evenly with (optional) cranberries. Set aside.
To prepare the topping:
- In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, soda, salt and sugar. Using a pastry blender (or food processor) cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and stir just until moistened. Gently press the mixture together using a spatula to form a loose dough. Sprinkle clumps of dough over the apples. Combine 1 tablespoon coarse sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle over the dough mounds.
- Bake until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, about 35-45 minutes. Tent with foil during baking if needed to prevent over-browning.
- Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving. Top with ice cream, whipped cream or a drizzle of heavy cream, if desired.
- Add 2 tablespoons Calvados (apple brandy) to the apple mixture if desired.
- Store at room temperature for up to 2 days, or refrigerate for longer storage