When craving a warm and cozy dessert, there’s something comforting about the aroma of apples baking in the oven, intertwined with notes of cinnamon and brown sugar. You’ll love this apple cobbler recipe with its flaky crust and delicious spiced filling.
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Once autumn hits, it’s time for baking fall desserts. If you don’t have time to make my classic apple pie, try this easy apple cobbler recipe instead! It combines tender, spiced apples with a sweet biscuit dough topping. I’ve taken my peach cobbler recipe and swapped the summer stone fruit with crisp and juicy apples.
There are two simple components: an apple filling and a cobbler topping. To balance the taste, the apples are seasoned with sugar, warm spices, and lemon juice. To concentrate the flavor, the fruit is pre-baked, then the dough is dropped on top. The cobbler puffs up and turns golden brown for a biscuit-like crust. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the ultimate à la mode experience.
- Apples: Use a combination of tart green apples and juicy Honeycrisp or Fuji. Granny Smith is great for baking as it holds their texture well. The sweeter apples add dimension and also stay firm when cooked.
- Filling: The sliced apples are tossed with granulated and brown sugar, flour for thickening, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest, and juice.
- Cobbler Topping: Just like making homemade biscuits, the dough is made with all-purpose flour, butter, buttermilk, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. It’s lightly sweetened with granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg to enhance the sweetness. The texture is thick but scoopable, so it must be added to the apples with a spoon.
Prepare the apple filling
After a good rinse, peel and cut the apples into 1/2-inch thick wedges. This will help it retain its structure, giving a hearty fruit bite. You’ll need about 9 cups for the recipe. It sounds like a lot of volume, but they reduce in size significantly.
Toss the apples with granulated and brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon. The molasses in the brown sugar adds a caramel-like flavor to the filling.
Pre-bake the apples
Fresh apples contain about 80% water, which can cause a soggy cobbler topping. Pre-baking the apples before adding the biscuit dough drives off some of the moisture. Plus, when the moisture evaporates, the fruit flavor concentrates, and the texture is less crispy.
Spread the apple filling in a greased 9×13-inch baking dish. Bake at 425ºF (218ºC) until the filling starts to bubble and thicken, about 15 minutes.
Prepare the cobbler topping
The cobbler topping is a loose biscuit dough, yielding a delicate texture. The base combines flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to give it structure. Break down pieces of cold butter to create a wet, sand-like texture.
Add buttermilk to hydrate the ingredients, and add a tangy flavor to balance the sugar. Don’t worry. The topping won’t taste sour. It will have a thick cake batter texture, perfect for dropping onto the pre-baked apples.
Assemble the apple cobbler
Add the cobbler dough on top of the apples in the baking dish. They should be about 2 tablespoons in size; they will spread as they bake. Spread the dough out evenly, about 12 mounds. After baking, I add a mixture of sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg to enhance the flavor and golden brown color.
Bake the cobbler
Bake the assembled apple cobbler until the surface of the dough is golden brown and set. The apples should be tender, with a syrupy glaze coating the fruit. The process takes about 30 minutes to cook the topping, with a total baking time of 45 minutes.
It’s hard to resist not eating the apple cobbler right away! It’s best to let it cool slightly to thicken the juices in the filling. My family requests it served warm with whipped cream or ice cream.
This recipe for apple cobbler is easy to customize! Give these delicious suggestions a try:
- Apples: Switch up the Granny Smith and Honeycrisp with other types of apples like Fuji, Jonagold, Braeburn, or McIntosh. Use my apple pie filling and skip the pre-baking step!
- Spices: Besides cinnamon and nutmeg, add in allspice, ginger, or cardamom. Add in a splash of vanilla. If you have pumpkin pie spice, use that instead.
- Sweeteners: Try honey, maple syrup, agave, or coconut sugar.
- Liquids: Swap lemon juice for orange juice, apple juice, or apple cider. Add in Cointreau, rum, or brandy.
- Fruit: Add fresh or dried cranberry to the recipe. Raisins or golden raisins add extra sweetness.
- Whipped cream
- No-churn vanilla ice cream
- Caramel sauce
- Raspberry swirl ice cream
- Chocolate magic shell sauce
Frequently asked questions
I prefer a mixture of two types that hold their structure. Granny Smith green apples and Honeycrisp. The variety gives a balance of tartness and sweetness. Green apples are dry, while red are juicy. You’ll need both for the filling to have a glossy sugar glaze. Golden Delicious, Fuji, Braeburn, Gala, or McIntosh are good swaps. Don’t use apples that break down like red delicious.
It’s best to peel the apples so that the texture is consistent. However, you can leave the skin on if you like a slight chew.
Yes! It’s easy to swap gluten-free flour for all-purpose flour. Bob’s Redmill 1:1 gluten-free baking flour is my top choice.
The cobbler can be baked 2 days ahead, then reheated in a 375ºF (191ºC) oven until warmed through.
Preparing the apples in advance
Here’s a time-saving tip when preparing the apples. The apples can be sliced and soaked in salt water to prevent browning for 10 minutes. Give them a good rinse, then store it in an airtight container for up to 3 days in advance. The salt acts as a preservative, keeping the flesh bright. Toss with the filling ingredients when you’re ready to bake the apple cobbler.
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- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened, to grease baking pan
- 1 ½ pounds Granny Smith Apples
- 1 ½ pounds Honeycrisp apples, Fuji, or Braeburn
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for topping
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Heat the Oven – Set the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat to 425ºF (218ºC).
- Prepare the Baking Dish – Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with softened butter. Set aside.
- Prepare the Apples – Wash, dry, peel, and core the apples. Cut them into ½-inch thick wedges. This should yield about 9 cups of sliced apples. In a large bowl, combine the sliced apples, granulated sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Stir to combine.
- Pre-Bake the Apples – Spread the apple filling evenly in the baking dish. Bake until the filling starts to bubble and lightly thicken, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and place on a wire rack.
- Prepare the Cobbler Topping – In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Toss the cold cubed butter into the flour mixture. Use your fingers to break it into small pieces until the mixture resembles cornmeal or wet sand. Stir in the buttermilk; the topping will be wet and look like thick cake batter.
- Assemble the Apple Cobbler – Drop about 2 tablespoon-sized mounds evenly on top of the apple filling, about 12 mounds. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Evenly sprinkle over the topping and filling.
- Bake the Cobbler – Bake until the topping is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.
- To Serve – Cool the cobbler for 20 to 30 minutes before serving. This will allow the filling to thicken. Serve with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream if desired.
- Apple Substitutes: Golden Delicious, Fuji, Braeburn, Gala, or McIntosh apples taste similar to Honeycrisp.
- Make it Gluten-Free: Substitute with gluten-free flour.
- Make it Dairy-Free: Substitute butter with coconut oil or margarine.
- Storing: Cool completely and cover. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Reheating: Bake at 375ºF (191ºC) until the filling and biscuit topping is warm, about 15 to 25 minutes. Reheat individual portions in the microwave in 30-second intervals on high power, 60 to 90 seconds.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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