Apple Cobbler

Stop by my parent’s house in September or October and likely you will not leave without a bag filled with granny smith apples from their tree. My father grafts several varieties of apples on to his trees, but the granny smiths are the ones that are the most prolific, and they’re also great for pies, applesauce, apple butter, and cobbler.

One of our favorite things to make with our apples is this apple cobbler. The filling is seasoned with cinnamon, lemon, and vanilla and isn’t overly sweet. The buttermilk biscuit cobbler crust is speckled with bits of candied ginger. As much as we love pie, cobblers are much less fussy. You don’t roll out a crust, but just spoon the crust dough on top of the filling. So you get the great taste of pie with half the work!

Updated from the recipe archive. First posted in 2007.

Apple Cobbler

Apple Cobbler Recipe

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8


Filling ingredients:

  • 3 lbs of a variety of good cooking apples such as Granny Smith, Pippin, Fuji, Golden Delicious, Gravenstein
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crust ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest or orange zest


1 Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Cut them into 1/4 to 1/2 inch chunks. As you prep the apples, add them to a bowl and toss with lemon juice to keep them from oxidizing (turning brown).

peel, core, cut apples pre-cook apples

2 Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the chopped apples (and the lemon juice from the bowl), sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Toss to coat with everything so that the spices and sugar are well distributed throughout the apples. Partially cover the pot and cook until the apples are just tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the vanilla, and toss to coat with a tablespoon of flour. Transfer the apple cobbler filling (including any juices from the apples) to a 10-inch pie dish, a 9-inch deep-dish pie dish, or a 9x9-inch baking dish.

cut in butter stir to create cobbler dough

3 Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the cubed butter and toss to coat with the flour mixture. Use your fingertips or a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour mixture until the largest piece of butter is no bigger than a pea. Stir in the candied ginger and zest. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Use a fork to stir the flour and buttermilk together until the flour is all moistened. Do not overwork the dough!

fill pie dish with pre-cooked apples top apples with dough mixture

4 Crumble the cobbler dough over the top of the apples in the baking dish. (If you want extra pizzaz you can sprinkle the top with a little brown sugar.)

remove apple cobbler from oven

5 Place a rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack in the oven (to catch any drippings), and place the cobbler on the next lowest rack. Bake for 10 minutes at 425°F until the top is beginning to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 350°F and bake for 30 more minutes until the topping is cooked through and the filling is bubbly.

Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on Simply Recipes. Thank you!

View Comments / Leave a Comment


  1. Anonymous

    I have a bag of granny smiths just waiting to be made into a crumble your cobbler might change my mind. So I am curious, what is the difference between a pie a cobbler and a crumble?

  2. Diane


    Pie: has a pie crust lining the pie plate, and maybe one on top.

    Crumble: Has a streusel topping (streusel is usually butter, sugar, spices, and a starch like flour or oats,). The whole is then browned.

    Cobbbler: has a biscuit or biscuit-like topping. Usually, the biscuit dough is just spooned on, not rolled out. It is called a cobbler because the spooned out dough looks like cobblestones

    • Laura

      Helpful response, I was kind of thinking the same thing myself…difference between cobbler and crumble….never really could differentiate.

      But cobbler or crumble…I love it when the juices spill over onto the baking dish, makes it looks oh so homemade. Ok, not so fun to scrub off the pan but makes it seem official, ya know?!?

  3. Kacey

    Response to “Anonymous” Cobbler

    My culinary dictionary says a cobbler is a traditional dish in the United States and the United Kingdom, (typically a dessert but may have a savory meat filling) consisting of a filling, placed in a large baking dish, (i.e., Dutch oven), which is covered by a layer of pastry.

  4. Gremlin

    My Moms cobbler is very different from this. Hers is a Southern recipe passed down from her Mom. She makes it in a casserole dish and the crust on top is actually more of a batter consistency and is poured onto the filling before baking.

    The crust turns out sort of cake-like. It’s very good.

  5. Cindy

    Elise, what is and where do you find crystallized ginger? What section of the store would it be in? I really want to make this apple cobbler and I don’t want to substitute any of the ingredients.

    Hi Cindy, I think it depends on the store. I usually just ask a clerk or store manager where they keep it. ~Elise

  6. sam

    Elise, can I use powdered ginger instead of crystallised? Cheers

    I do not recommend it. ~Elise

  7. Leslie

    I had to substitute the ginger for nutmeg cause I just realized I didn’t have it…but it smells very good like my mom’s homemade apple pie, its in the oven right now :-)

  8. kathleen

    I altered the recipe quite a lot and ended up with the best apple pie I have ever made. I used fuji apples with the option for 1/2 a cup of sugar. I forgot to add the vanilla. Otherwise, the filling was prepared per this recipe. I used the all butter pie crust recipe from this site, making a two crust pie. I baked on 425 for approximately 30 mins? Just until the crust was golden. I only got one piece. My husband ate the rest before I could get another!
    I love your site, Elise!

  9. Tina Muir

    YUM! This looks wonderful! I really need to make something with apples while the season is still with us, they are so beautiful when cooked. This could also kind of count as a healthy dessert as it contains lots of beautiful apples….trying to be strong with my nutrition these last 2 weeks before chicago! Thanks for the recipe!

  10. Mick14513

    Yesterday I read a great tip from Cook’s Country – *precook* the apples so the natural pectin prevents weeping after the cobbler is cut. (drain the apples after cooking, save for a later application)

  11. Sandy S.

    Will have to try this to see what adding finely chopped crystallized ginger and lemon/orange zest to the crust tastes like. Sounds terrific! Would love to see your father’s apple tree, Elise! Very fond of Gravensteins for baking. Not as popular as they once were, but still a very good apple in my book. Bet this recipe would be perfect for quick individual tarts. And, perhaps for making up separate bags with the filling and topping (sans the buttermilk) to freeze and have ready to make-up anytime.

  12. Joshua Hampton

    “The great taste of pie with half the work” — this is the reason why I love apple cobblers. I haven’t tried it with crystallized ginger before, so I’m now curious how it would taste like that way. Thanks for this.

  13. Natalie | Paper & Birch

    One of my favourite fall desserts!

  14. Arcey

    Elise, is it possible to substitute sour cream for the buttermilk? I make a banana cake that I’ve made a million times that calls for buttermilk, and after years of buying a quart of buttermilk for the 1/2 cup I need, I tried sour cream, and that worked beautifully. I have more use for sour cream than buttermilk and often already have it on hand. So that would make this recipe even easier for me! (I agree about making cobblers and crumbles, vs. pies. I can’t remember the last time I actually made and rolled dough!)

    I still have peaches (Trader Joe’s) so I may try this with peaches instead of apples for now. Looks wonderful! Thanks as always.

    • Elise

      Hi Arcey, sure, I think that would work. Just water down the sour cream until it is the consistency of buttermilk.

  15. Kate @¡Hola! Jalapeño

    That right there is my ultimate dessert. Warm, with ice cream? Yes. Yes. Yes!

  16. Jenny @ The Peachy Pair

    I really should not read food blogs while hungry. Looks amazing!

  17. Masha L

    I made this today and its very good. thank you. I used nutmeg instead of ginger and no lemon zest..

  18. Marj

    Can’t wait to try, but I wii probably cut the recipe in half. Any idea how many apples I would use for 1.5 lbs?

  19. Webb Christel

    Hello Elise

    I am planing to make this cobler.
    Could you explain to me what you mean by (If you want extra pizzaz you can sprinkle the top with a little brown sugar)

    Christel :)

    • Elise

      Hi Christel, the cobbler crust is very much like a biscuit. If you sprinkle some brown sugar over the top of the crust, it will give it a little sugary crunch on the top.

  20. ed artiano

    I made this and it was a huge hit. Wonderful! I wonder if you have a recipe or suggestions for no gluten version that tastes just as good?
    Thanks Eddie

  21. Anonymous

    Hello i was wondering if you can’t find crystalized ginger in your local grocery store could you replace it for something or could i take it out completely ?

    • Elise

      You can easily leave it out. Or you can make your own candied ginger by boiling peeled cut ginger in sugar water. See David Lebovitz’s instructions on making candied ginger.

  22. Eli

    Just found this recipe and plan on making it for Tday on Thursday. Can you please tell me why I would need to put the baking sheet on the rack below the bubbling pie plate instead of sitting right underneath it? Also, any thoughts on replacing the buttermilk/ginger/lemon with heavy cream/nutmeg? Thank you for a gorgeous and easy recipe!!

    • Elise

      Hello Eli, you can put the baking sheet directly underneath it if you want. If it is on the rack beneath there will be more hot air flow hitting the pie pan from the bottom. As for the crust, sure, heavy cream and nutmeg sounds great!

  23. Sharon Saxton

    Just stumbled onto your blog and this recipe in particular as I was using your apple sauce recipe. I LOVE the way it looks in the pie pan! [An Emile Henri? You have sold me one of those too! ] I have just moved into a house with an old apple tree in the backyard and am looking for recipes to use up my apples at the end of the summer. Thanks. You are a great — though simple — cook!

Post a comment

Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for waiting. First time commenting? Please review the Comment Policy.

Some HTML is OK. URLs are automatically converted to links. Line breaks are automatically converted to paragraphs. The following HTML tags are allowed: a, abbr, acronym, b, blockquote, cite, code, del, em, i, q, strike, strong