We love this apple cobbler recipe! The easy filling is made with fresh apples, cinnamon, and maple syrup. My favorite part is the topping — think brown sugar cookie on top and a soft, fluffy, sweet biscuit in the middle.
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I love how this easy cobbler recipe calls for fresh apples. Use apples you love! My favorites are Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, and Golden Delicious. In the photos, we used Honeycrisp and Pink Lady apples. This is such a wonderful fall dessert! Here’s our recipe for peach cobbler for when you have access to fresh peaches.
Just like when making apple pie, we peel the apples for cobbler. It isn’t necessary and is entirely up to you. Peeled apples will be softer and fall apart more easily. Apples with the peel on hold their shape after baking. In this easy apple crisp made with oats, we intentionally skip peeling the apples to save time.
What is Apple Cobbler and How is it Different to Crisp?
Speaking of crisps, let’s briefly talk about the difference between apple cobbler and apple crisp. Here’s where we’ve settled: the difference comes from the topping. Apple crisp has more of a crumble topping, made with bits of flour, sugar, and butter crumbled on top of apples, which, to make things even more confusing, can also be called apple crumble! (check out this blueberry crumble for reference)
Apple cobbler has more of a biscuit or cake batter topping (and to add to this confusion even more, apple cobbler is very similar to apple Betty). Whatever we call these incredible apple desserts, consider me on board!
Apple Cobbler Ingredients
The recipe for apple cobbler is below, but here’s where I dive into the ingredients a bit. So, if you have any questions about why an ingredient is included or if you can substitute it, I have hopefully answered them here.
Our delicious cobbler topping is somewhere between a cookie, pie crust, and biscuit. It bakes to be firm on top, like pie crust or shortbread cookie, but stays soft and tender in the middle, like a soft and fluffy biscuit. It’s so good.
- Butter – I use unsalted butter when baking (it’s a habit for me), but you can use salted butter if that is all you have. If you do use salted butter, leave out the salt called for in the topping.
- Flour and baking powder – All-purpose flour does the trick in this recipe. A gluten-free 1:1 all-purpose blend would work nicely. Spelt flour would be amazing, if you have any on hand. The baking powder keeps the middle of our topping fluffy and soft.
- Brown sugar – I love that this cobbler topping calls for brown sugar. It makes it a bit more soft in the middle and adds the most delicious caramel flavor. It also makes the topping a bit darker, which looks nice.
- Milk – We only need a tiny bit (1 tablespoon). Buttermilk or cream are fine substitutes. You can also substitute dairy-free milk.
- Salt and vanilla extract – These bump up the flavor. The vanilla plays off the brown sugar, and the salt helps to bring out the caramel flavors of the brown sugar.
I love this easy apple filling. The apples are soft and tender after baking, and the sauce has the perfect consistency. This really feels like a cozy, old-fashioned dessert. We call for a few baking spices but don’t overdo it so that you can still taste the apples.
- Apples – Our recipe calls for fresh apples, which I prefer to canned apples. When choosing apples for cobbler, look for apples you love. I like using two varieties (just like when I make pie). In the photos, we used Honeycrisp and Pink Lady. If you have canned apples you absolutely love, I am sure you can use them instead of our filling recipe below.
- Maple syrup and brown sugar – I love the maple flavor in this filling. If you’d prefer only to use brown sugar, you can substitute the same amount of brown sugar as the maple syrup called for in the recipe below.
- Lemon juice and vanilla extract – The tartness of the lemon balances the sweetness of our filling, while vanilla adds a classic flavor to this homemade cobbler.
- Flour and spices – A little bit of flour helps to thicken the sauce as the cobbler bakes in the oven. To make it gluten-free, use cornstarch (see notes in the recipe for how much to include). For the spices, we include cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. We also add a bit of salt to bring out the flavor of the apples.
How to Make the Best Apple Cobbler
To make the apple cobbler, we’ll start with our topping. Stir melted butter into flour, baking powder, and salt until a crumbly, cookie-like dough.
Press it into a rough rectangle or disc, wrap it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. We will eventually roll this out, so the shape you choose depends on the shape of the baking dish you plan on using. For me, that meant a rectangle.
While the topping chills in the fridge, we prepare our apple filling. Peel and core the apples, and then slice 1/4-inch thick. At this thickness, the apple slices will be soft after baking (see our photos for reference). If you want a bit more crunch, slice them thicker.
Toss the apples into a large mixing bowl with maple syrup, lemon juice, and vanilla. Whisk flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt in a small bowl and scatter the mixture over the apples, tossing well. The flour helps thicken the sauce surrounding the apples.
To bake, roll out the topping. Placing the topping between two sheets of parchment as I roll helps tremendously. It’s more of a sugar cookie consistency than pie dough, so it will stick to your rolling pin. If you can unwrap the plastic wrap carefully, you can use that as the bottom — like in our photos (I’ve unwrapped the plastic wrap to prevent the bottom from sticking and placed parchment paper on top).
Moving the topping at this point is a little tricky (it might crack on you), so we steer into that and break it apart into shingles. Then, place the shingles on top of our cobbler filling, overlapping them slightly. Bake until bubbly, golden, and firm on top — 50 minutes to 1 hour.
Let it cool a little before serving, and enjoy it with ice cream, caramel sauce, or whipped cream. For a dairy-free topping, try this coconut whipped cream.
Make Ahead and Freezing Tips
You can make apple cobbler ahead of time. Assemble the cobbler and then cover it tightly with plastic wrap or foil. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake it, let it warm up on the counter while the oven preheats. Then, bake the cobbler as instructed in our recipe below.
You can freeze homemade apple cobbler. Assemble the cobbler and then bake it according to our recipe below. Let it cool completely before freezing. Freeze for up to three months. To thaw, let the cobbler sit at room temperature for an hour or two, then reheat it in the oven or microwave.
Related: Here are a few more easy recipes for cooking apples! Try our homemade applesauce, these cinnamon baked apples, and our quick and easy sautéed cinnamon apples.
Perfect Apple Cobbler
Homemade apple cobbler is very easy to make and thanks to fresh apples and the perfect blend of spices, it tastes incredible! I’m over the moon with this brown sugar cobbler topping. It’s somewhere between cookie and biscuit, we love it!
Makes 8 servings
Watch Us Make the Recipe
You Will Need
12 tablespoons (170 grams or 3/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
2/3 cups (135 grams) light brown sugar
2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 large apples, peeled and sliced, about 3 ¼ pounds
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons (18 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon (12 grams) brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Make Topping
1Whisk the brown sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt until well blended. Make a well in the middle and add the melted butter, vanilla, and milk. Stir with a wooden spoon until mixed and crumbly.
2Form the crumbly dough into a rectangle or disc and wrap it with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Shape into a disc if your baking dish is round, and shape into a rectangle if your baking dish is rectangular.
- Make Filling
1While the topping chills, make the apple filling. Peel and core the apples, then slice into 1/4-inch thick slices. Add them to a large mixing bowl and toss with maple syrup, lemon juice, and vanilla.
2In a small mixing bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of flour with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Scatter the flour mixture over the apples and toss well.
- To Finish
1Heat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit (176° C) and lightly grease a 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish with butter.
2Add the apples to the baking dish, making sure to scrape all spices and liquid from the bowl.
3To roll out the topping, open the plastic wrap to lay flat, place a sheet of parchment paper or more plastic wrap on top, and then roll out the dough to be about ¼-inch thick. The dough is sticky, so using parchment paper prevents it from sticking to your rolling pin.
4Tear the dough into pieces and place onto the apples in the baking dish, overlapping slightly — like shingles on a roof.
5Press the dough down onto the apples, then bake until the filling is bubbly, the top is firm like a cookie, and turning golden in places — 50 minutes to 1 hour. For even baking, rotate the baking dish about halfway during baking.
Adam and Joanne’s Tips
- Gluten-free cobbler: Replace the flour in the topping with a 1:1 all-purpose flour blend and use 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in the filling mixture.
- Vegan cobbler: Ensure all sugar is vegan certified, use a plant-based butter, and dairy-free milk.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values.
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Nutrition Per Serving
1 of 8 servings
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