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overhead shot of easy apple cobbler in a white dish, with some topping removed.
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5 from 10 votes

Homemade Apple Cobbler Recipe

Apple Cobbler is Apple Crisp's more sophisticated, cooler cousin. Perfectly spiced apples are topped with a biscuity cake-like topping, made with buttermilk. It is tender and moist, with a perfect golden crisp on the top edge. There is no better way to use a fresh bushel of apples!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12
Calories: 492kcal
Author: Karen


For the apple filling

  • 5 pounds apples peeled, about 9-11 large apples; use a variety of flavors
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest from 1 small lemon
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice from 1 small lemon
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar packed
  • 5 tablespoons all purpose flour* See notes if you are making this without cooking the apples
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cobbler topping

  • 2 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour spooned and leveled
  • 1 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk** cheater version okay, see notes
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup cold butter chopped into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons sugar granulated or raw sugar or both
  • vanilla ice cream for serving, not optional ;)


  • Make the apple filling: Choose your apples. You need 5 pounds of apples for this recipe, which is about 9-11 large apples. I like to use a mix of apples for the best flavor, like Granny Smith, Gala, and Golden Delicious.
  • Use a microplane grater to zest 1/2 teaspoon lemon peel into a high-sided 12-inch skillet. (SEE NOTE for instructions on how to make this without cooking the apples first; you can skip the skillet and place raw apples directly in the baking dish.) Slice the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the pan, about 3 tablespoons.
  • Peel all the apples with a vegetable peeler, or one of those handy apple peelers. Slice the apples very thin, about 1/8 inch, see photos. You should end up with about 9 cups of sliced apples. Add your apples to the skillet with the lemon. Toss the apples with the lemon juice occasionally as you peel, so the apples don't brown.
  • Cook the apples. (Remember this is optional! See notes!) Once you have all the apples peeled and sliced in the pan, set it over medium heat on the stove.
  • Add 3/4 cups granulated sugar and 3/4 cup packed brown sugar over the top of the apples in the pan. Sprinkle 5 tablespoons flour, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon cardamom (optional but delicious), and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt on the apples. Stir it together gently so you don’t break all the apples.
  • Once the mixture is all moistened and you don’t see patches of flour or cinnamon, set a timer for 20 minutes. Cover the mixture with a lid but don’t walk away. Stick around and stir the mixture every 3 minutes or so, replacing the lid each time. Cook for 20 minutes, until the apples are fork tender but still hold their shape. The apples will not soften more while baking in the oven, because of the magic of pectin. So have a taste and see if you want to cook a longer or shorter time. Only you can know your apple al dente perfection level.
  • Once it's off heat, stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Scrape the cooked apples and all the caramel-y-ness into a 9x13 inch casserole dish. Set aside to cool for a couple minutes.
  • Make the cobbler topping:
    Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, add the dry ingredients: 2 and 1/2 cups flour, 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Whisk it together.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup buttermilk* and 1 egg. Pour it into the bowl with the flour, then use a pastry cutter to cut it into the flour, making a shaggy dough. You can use a spoon or fork if you don't have a pastry cutter, be sure to use a cutting motion rather than stirring. It's okay if there are still some dry spots of flour, see photos. Pour or spoon the flour mixture on top of the apples in the 9x13 pan, and spread around evenly.
  • Chop a stick of butter into 1/2 inch pieces. Scatter evenly over the top of the flour mixture.
  • Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over the top. I used half granulated sugar and half demerara (raw) sugar to give it extra crunch.
  • Bake at 375 for 45-55 minutes. The top should be turning light brown. Once it is light brown all over the top (not just in a few spots) and it's bubbling like crazy, it's done.
    If you like an extra crispy top, broil the cobbler for 1-3 minutes at this point. No need to move the oven rack up. It gives it an extra crisp browning that I just love. Who doesn't want a crispy crunchy top? But don't walk away! Keep an eye on it, I can't tell you how many things I've lit on fire in my broiler. Check it every 60 seconds.
  • You are supposed to let it cool completely. Hogwash! Wait 15 minutes to let the juices set up and then dig in! Vanilla ice cream is just not even optional for serving.
  • Store leftovers loosely covered on the counter; transfer it to the fridge after 2 days.


*How to make Apple Cobbler without cooking the apples first:
I do prefer cooked apples for this cobbler, but I know it's a lot of extra steps and sometimes you just need to git er done! It's so easy (and still very tasty) to make this with raw apples:
Follow all instructions as given, but instead of mixing the lemon and sliced apples in a skillet, place them directly in a 9x13 inch casserole dish. Add all the ingredients called for in the filling directly on top of the raw apples in the pan, with only one change: *use 1/2 cup all-purpose flour instead of 5 tablespoons.* This will help thicken our sauce as it cooks in the oven. 
Add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Gently stir the mixture together, being careful so your apples don't go flying everywhere. Your apples should have a light sauce clinging to them, with no obvious patches of flour or sugar. Press the apples down gently in the pan.
Top as instructed in the recipe with the cobbler dough.
Bake as directed, keeping in mind that the longer these apples are in the oven, the better they will be. Take it out of the oven when the cobbler topping is as browned as you can take it! You can even top with foil in the last few minutes of baking if you want, to slow the browning process while still giving the apples plenty of time to soften. 
**Cheater buttermilk: in a glass measuring cup add 1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice (lemon juice is better). Fill to the 1/2 cup line with milk, preferably whole milk. Stir and let sit 5 minutes, then use as directed in the recipe. 
Can you freeze? I don't recommend freezing apple cobbler. I mean you can, it's just going to be a bit soggy after thawing! What you can do is make the cooked apple filling ahead of time and freeze it for a rainy day. Seal in a ziplock. Thaw at least halfway, then add to your 9x13 pan, top with freshly made cobbler dough, and voila! Easy dessert. 
This recipe is super easy to halve! Just cut all the ingredients in half and bake in an 8x8 or 9x9 square pan. (how to halve an egg? whisk one egg in a bowl and use only 2 tablespoons of it. OR just use the yolk and discard the white.) 
Hungry for Apple Crisp? Here's my favorite Apple Crisp Recipe, it's so easy to throw together!


Calories: 492kcal | Carbohydrates: 102g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 361mg | Potassium: 280mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 73g | Vitamin A: 376IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 2mg